With Apple’s iPhone struggling to gain a foothold in China, a new deal with the country’s largest wireless network might turn around some of its fortune. China Mobile is expected to start selling the device beginning Jan. 17. [The New York Times]
Careful, sexters! A new Snapchat update from adds fancy filters, bigger text, and the ability to replay a snap. [Gizmodo]
Buoyed by conferences and video, Aol-owned Huffington Post is expected to be profitable next year. [Reuters]
Here’s an inside look at Google Ventures. [Fortune]
Spotify downloads have increased fourfold since its free streaming announcement. [CNet]
A year and a half after bailing on the blog life during the Great TechCrunch Conflagration of ’11, MG Siegler is wading deeper into the world of venture capital. He announced today that he’s heading to Google Ventures as a general partner. He’ll join Kevin Rose and Wesley Chan, focused on seed and early-stage investments.
Mr. Siegler said he’d “continue to work closely with CrunchFund” on investments they’ve already made as well as writing the occasional column for TechCrunch, because apparently that place is actually the Hotel California. But perish the thought of his revealing confidential info from inside the notoriously secretive GOOG:
Cha-ching! GigaOm reports that TechStars New York just got its first acquisition: 2011 graduate ThinkNear, a hyperlocal mobile ad startup, was acquired by GPS purveyor Telenav for $22.5 million. The startup will be incorporated into a newly launched mobile ad platform called Scout Advertising. It’s the largest TechStars acquisition thus far.
Not too shabby.
First Round Capital has built a brand-new platform for startups seeking press coverage: HackPR, designed to connect them with journalists. The firm is hoping to replicate the same kind of buzz that made Warby Parker an e-commerce darling after an early profile in GQ. [TechCrunch]
Kids from Cornell got a tour of the New York startup scene yesterday. [New York Daily News]
Kleiner Perkins, Andreessen Horowitz and Google Ventures are all backing a startup called LendUp, which’ll make small loans (think $300) to people with poor credit. Basically, it’s an alternative to the traditional payday loan, with friendlier customer service. Good luck and God bless. [AllThingsD]
No, you’re not just imagining it: There are Meetups everywhere, all the time, for everything. You’re going to need to be strategic in your selection. [WYNC]
Please enjoy this cri de coeur against Instagram filters, which are basically photography training wheels. [Wired]
The Amazon phone nobody wanted is coming. [The Verge]
Different ads looping simultaneously on the MTV website is just one version of hell. [Wall Street Journal]
“Our company is at the intersection of X and X” is the new “It’s like X for X!” [Bloomberg]
Paul Graham is talking shit on Google Ventures. [Business Insider]
Reddit nabbed 3.4 BILLION pageviews in August, thanks in large part to Obama’s AMA. [Daily Dot]
Good news if poorly selected background music makes you miserable: Music tech startup Roqbot has raised a $1.2 million seed round, led by Google Ventures and Detroit Venture Partners and including Penny Black, T5 Capital, and Accelerator Ventures, as well as angel investors.
Roqbot aims to offer a more interactive alternative to the background music services that produce the anodyne mixes you’ll hear in the grocery store, without requiring the level of participation of a jukebox. Customers in a bar or bowling alley request whatever they’d like to hear via a smartphone app. So the business gets final approval, but doesn’t have to painstakingly build a playlist or default to a standard background music service. The idea is to create “a streaming music solution that’s customized for each location, that lets the customers engage with the music and discover what’s playing,” explained cofounder and CEO Garnett Dodge.
Exit This Way
Say you’re a small business trying to figure out whether a deal with Groupon or ad on Yelp will bring customers to your door. That already-tricky marketing decision gets more complicated when you factor in fragmentation among daily deals sites and all the other publishers that could potentially host your ad. If you wanted, however, Read More
It appears we now have a concrete reason for Oink’s mysterious shuttering yesterday. Kevin Rose, Internet cutie pie and ex-overlord of Diggnation, has been hired by Google. According to AllThingsD, “Google is not outright buying or ‘acqhiring’ Milk, the sources explicitly said, but Rose and some others from the company have been hired.”
A few weeks ago, Betabeat jumped down the rabbit hole of legal starts that were trying to bid farewell to the billable hour by making it cheaper and easier to get legal advice and legal documents.
At the time, we had a heaping handful of signs that the venture capital market thought the time was ripe for legal disruption. Just last year, Nolo.com was acquired for $21 million, LegalZoom picked up $66 million (and rumors of an IPO), local TechCrunch Disrupt winners Docracy raised $650,000. Google Ventures led a $1 million round in LawPivot and an $18.5 million round in Rocket Lawyer.
But apparently that was just the beginning.