By Michael Gaiss
Michael Gaiss is a Senior Vice President at venture capital firm Highland Capital Partners. The opinions expressed here are his own.
Facebook opened its doors to venture capitalists on Tuesday.******The world's largest social media company, which landed $200 million in funding in May, wasn't trying to drum up any more cash for itself.******Instead, it was promoting a couple dozen start-up companies that leverage its technology and could further the strategy of making Facebook a key building block for Internet businesses and services.******The start-ups were selected by Facebook earlier this year through fbFund, a joint venture between Facebook, Accel and Founders Fund that provides seed funding (typically between $15,000 and $75,000 per start-up) to Facebook application developers.******The start-ups toiled through the summer in Facebook's erstwhile Palo Alto, California headquarters and Tuesday was show-time: a chance to show off their progress and, they hoped, secure a more substantial chunk of funding from the VCs assembled.******Unlike traditional Facebook applications, such as games that run directly within the Facebook Web site, many of the products showcased on Tuesday were stand-alone Web sites that tap into a Web surfer's network of Facebook friends using the Facebook Connect service.******Thread.com, an online dating site, allows people to cull through their Facebook friends' friends, searching for say, single women in a certain age group, and to contact a prospective date via a trusted friend.******Another start-up, Sociable, provides a service that it said can boost sales for online retailers by integrating transactions with Facebook. The company said it was already generating revenue and that concert-promoter LiveNation is a customer.******According to Founders Fund's Dave McClure, who organized Tuesday's event, five fbFund companies are already break-even or profitable, and another three expect to get there by the end of the year - no small feat given the rough economy.******Facebook will need more such success stories as it seeks to transform its own company from the Web's top social networking destination into the underlying social fabric of all Web sites.
peHub‘s Dan Primack spoke with Reuters about a new kind of startup that’s designed to develop an idea and then be snapped up by a larger company.
Buying something online can be a frustrating process. The shear numbers of websites offering the same product can lead to endless hours of surfing to try to find the right deal. Consumers often become overwhelmed and end up not buying anything at all.
Yesterday we presented entrepreneur Prashant Nedungadi (read his entrepreneur journal) and his startup website IMshopping.com, which offers a platform whereby consumers can ask specific retail-related questions, through the website directly or via Twitter, and have them answered by an online community of retail experts. (click here to read Nedungadi’s pitch)
Bill Gates was 19 when he came up with the idea for Microsoft. Michael Dell was the same age when he started selling computers out of his dorm room. Who are the teenagers and 20-somethings trying to hatch the big tech and media ideas of tomorrow?
Leave it to a savvy law firm headquartered in the heart of Silicon Valley to develop an online tool that actually generates draft financing term sheets for startups using the simplicity of a web-based questionnaire.
Forty U.S.-based venture capital firms raised just $4.3 billion in the first quarter of 2009, according to data released this morning by Thomson Reuters and the National Venture Capital Association. The downside is that this represents the lowest number of funds to raise capital since Q3 2003. The upside is that the actual amount of capital raised was higher than the $3.5 billion raised in Q4 2008 (slight solace, but solace nonetheless).