Video Ad Startup Virool Raises $6.62 Million

Virool, a year-old San Francisco-based video advertising startup, has closed on $6.62 million in funding from a long list of investors in what the company claims is the biggest seed round raised so far by a graduate of the the Y Combinator incubator program. (Virool came out of the program last summer.) The company’s institutional investors include Draper Fisher Juvetson and Menlo Ventures; individuals who contributed to the funding include Paul BuchheitDave McClure, and Yuri Milner.

Zynga’s IPO By The Numbers And A Look At Its Three Classes Of Stock: Slideshow

Zynga is preparing to launch the largest Internet company IPO since Google’s, besting Groupon’s offering last month. But several challenges confront Zynga, including at least a temporary slowdown in bookings. The social games developer said on Friday that it plans to sell 100 million Class A shares for $8.50 to $10 a piece, raising as […]

What Not to Do in a Crisis – Lessons from the Airbnb Fiasco

The CEO of hot VC-backed startup Airbnb today issued a public apology for how the online home rental service responded when one of its customers had her home trashed and identity stolen by another customer. Chief executive Brian Chesky also announced new safety measures and a $50,000 “guarantee” to any customers who suffer property damage.

But is Chesky’s mea culpa too little too, too late? It comes more than a month after a blog post from aggrieved Airbnb customer “EJ” went viral and earned the Twitter hashtag #ransackgate. During that time, Airbnb made a number of missteps, appearing uncaring and keeping the story alive. This morning, before Chesky’s apology, 10 media outlets had covered the story, including CNN, Reuters and the Washington Post. That’s in addition to previous stories from popular tech blog TechCrunch, which were widely retweeted.

“I think this is the right response [from Chesky], but it took them too long to get to it and they’ve done a lot of

Slideshow: Who’s Investing Faster — DST or Andreessen Horowitz?

If this year already seems like a blur to you, imagine how the LPs of Andreessen Horowitz and Digital Sky Technologies (DST) must feel. Both venture capital firms are known for aggressively placing outsize bets on companies whose full potential they see as unfulfilled. Still, when on Sunday night, they reported investing a combined $112 […]

Avalon Ventures: the Low-Flying Firm About to Make a Billion Bucks on Zynga’s IPO

You may have been as surprised as me when reading through the list of investors on Zynga’s recently released S-1. Let’s see: there’s Union Square Ventures, Foundry Group, Digital Sky Technologies…and Avalon Ventures? In many ways, 28-year-old Avalon is the antithesis of big-name venture investors like Digital Sky Technologies that burst onto the scene two […]

It Was a Very Good Year (Especially If You’re a Late-Stage VC)

Late stage venture capital firms had a pretty good 2010, according the to Thomson Reuters U.S. Private Equity Performance Index—VC shops investing in late-stage companies enjoyed average returns of more than 35% over a 12-month span, according to data.

VCs like Elevation Partners, Goldman Sachs and Digital Sky Technologies—to say nothing of secondary market venture capital stake buyers, far greater in number—which spent the last year plowing cash into the meteoric ascent Facebook were rewarded…

Facebook Shareholders Head for the Exits

(Reuters) – A group of Facebook shareholders is seeking to offload $1 billion worth of shares on the secondary market, a sale that would value the company at more than $70 billion, according to five sources with direct knowledge of the situation. It would represent one of the largest transactions of Facebook shares to date […]

Billionaire Investor Milner Opens Hong Kong Office

Russian billionaire and venture capital investor Yuri Milner is opening an office in Hong Kong, Reuters reported. Milner’s firm DST Advisors will open an office on the 67th floor of Hong Kong’s International Finance Centre 2 in June, in the city’s business hub, with 10-12 staff, Reuters wrote. Milner has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in companies including Facebook, Groupon and Zynga. This month Milner’s Digital Sky Technologies invested $500 million in 360Buy.com, China’s largest business-to-consumer website.

Slideshow: Monster VC Rounds Grow Bigger and Bigger

Go big or go home has become the mantra for venture capital firms. So far this year, U.S.-based venture firms have made eight investments in information technology companies that have topped $100 million, according to peHUB’s analysis of data from Thomson Reuters (our publisher). That’s a huge increase from the single IT deal that was […]

China’s 360buy Raises Whopping $1.5B

Chinese e-commerce website 360buy.com has closed on a whopping $1.5 billion in a new funding, Reuters reported. Russian Internet investment group Digital Sky Technologies put in $500 million. Digital Sky has previously invested in Facebook and online coupon website Groupon. 360buy said that Tiger Fund had also invested in the firm. In December, 360buy confirmed that it had secured $500 million in funding from six strategic partners including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Reuters said. 360buy sells branded electronics goods online, and has plans for an initial public offering in 2013.

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Secondary Deals Beg the Question: What Are LPs Paying For, Exactly?

Yesterday, eyebrows across Silicon Valley shot up at the news that Andreessen Horowitz invested $80 million for secondary shares of Twitter. It’s the second time in two months the firm has bet a colossal chunk of its three-month-old, $650 million fund on secondary shares. In November, the firm also acquired what co-founder Ben Horowitz calls a “high volume” […]

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The Social (Gaming) Network

Game developers should thank Facebook for only taking 30% of their revenue when the social network’s credits system of paying for virtual goods becomes its sole currency this July. Facebook commands an iron fist over its itsy-bitsy “partners” the way the mob used to muscle corner store merchants a century ago. Game developers are still […]

Kleiner Muscles Its Way Into Twitter Stake

According to the blog AllThingsD, Twitter has finally closed its highly anticipated sixth round of funding, raising $200 million at a $3.7 billion valuation. As expected, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers led the round, contributing $150 million, according to AllThingsD, which reports that existing investors, including Benchmark Capital, Union Square Ventures, Spark Capital and others, […]

Groupon Rejects Multibillion-Dollar Google Offer – Report

Daily deals site Groupon Inc. has turned down an acquisition offer from Google Inc., as first reported by Chicago Breaking Business, which cited “two sources with direct knowledge of the situation.” AllThingsD was the first to report that the two companies were in discussions. Citing anonymous sources, Kara Swisher of AllThingsD reported that Google was […]

Lessons From The Facebook Effect

There’s been lots of buzz this week about Facebook’s debut of Places, its location-based feature that allows your friends to tag you when they check-in to a place. The feature has, naturally, brought up concerns about privacy, as Connie already wrote about. But this is nothing new for Facebook, which now has more than half […]

DST Sells Ownership Stake to Naspers

Digital Sky Technologies, a Russian Internet conglomerate, has sold a 28.7% ownership stake to Naspers, a global media group based in South Africa. The deal involves $388 million in cash, plus Naspers’ 39.3% stake in Mail.ru.

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