It's Who You Know

After Perks, Klout Tries Gamification To Get You to Care About Your Social Media ‘Influence’

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In an email to members today, Klout, everyone’s favorite dubiously scientific social influence analyzer/punching bag announced it would be teaming up with Badgeville, a gamification platform that lets companies like eBay, Samsung, and Dell find and reward engaged customers with badges, tokens and online prizes.

By integrating Klout’s “influence ranking technology,” Badgeville will now, in theory, be able to help those brands figure out which loyal users have more influence and reward them accordingly. Judging by our latest Klout score, this only works for Betabeat if there’s a brand out there interesting in courting someone who influences 2,000 people on topics like “Blogging, Stanford University, Reddit.” That has to at least qualify us for a “Nerd” badge or something, right? What about “People who spend too much time in front of screens”? Read More

Venture Capitalism

ff Venture Capital Quietly Raised a $27 M. Fund Last November and Has Already Invested in 23 Startups

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ff Venture Capital has been giving new meaning to word stealth mode. Tucked into an interview on TechCrunch yesterday was the news, reported for the first time, that the New York City-based seed investment firm had raised a $27 million fund last November. What’s more, it had already invested in 23 companies and expected to finish its goal of 30 to 40 companies perhaps by the end of the year.

According to ff Venture’s—the fund insists on the cummings-style “ff”—Form D filing, which sneakily offers a Roseland, New Jersey address, rather than its Midtown headquarters, the company filed an intent to raise on November, 29, 2010. Partner John Frankel says the firm was already deploying capital from the new “silver” fund even as it was raising the dough. Of the 23 investments, which includes startups like Klout, ThinkNear, Livefyre, Voxy, and Kohort, four have had up rounds. “So, it looks like performance is accelerating,” he told Erick Schonfeld in a video interview.

But ff has another feather in their cap, their previous $6.3 million fund, raised in 2008 “two months after Lehman collapsed,” as Mr. Frankel, a Goldman Sachs refugee, points out. According to him, Prequin ranked that fund, called “ff blue,” the top-performing VC fund through the end of 2010. Read More