Fresh Capital

Chris Anderson’s Drone Startup Just Raised Another $30M

Mr. Anderson. (Photo: 3D Robotics)

Guess who’s still droning away? Former Wired editor in chief Chris Anderson has just raised a $30 million Series B for his startup 3D Robotics. Investors include Foundry Group, True Ventures, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures and SK Ventures. It’s in addition to $5 million raised last year.

The company plans to use the money to “mainstream aerial robotics and surveying,” i.e., turning this hobbyist habit into something relatively affordable and approachable for those who aren’t lifelong subscribers to, well, Wired. The team is zeroing on commercial use cases, the big example being agriculture. Mr. Anderson said in a statementRead More

Facebook Faceoff

MessageMe, the Addictive App Facebook Tried to Buy Before Cutting It Off, Already Picked Up More Than 1M. Users

Screen shot 2013-03-19 at 8.26.54 AM

There have been a rash of reports recently about Facebook’s mercurial approach to third-party developers. The social network may not want to be “in the business of king-making,” by boosting–or suppressing–traffic to popular apps, as Douglas Purdy, director of developer products, told Reuters. But Facebook is increasingly willing to shut the castle gate on competitors.

While Facebook claims it’s an effort to stop spam and promote apps that add value to the network, “Developers say the crackdown is an attempt to stifle applications that compete with Facebook-owned services,” or pay for ads on Facebook, the Wall Street Journal reported last night.   Read More

Fresh Capital

LittleBits Raises a $3.65M. Series A to Build Toys That Aren’t Cheap Trash

Too cute. (Via: Littlebits.com)

Local maker-minded startup LittleBits just announced a $3.65 million Series A, led by True Ventures. Also participating were Khosla Ventures, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures and Lerer Ventures.

Founder (and MIT Media Lab alum, and TED speaker) Ayah Bdeir told Betabeat that the round will help the company to–pardon the expression–kick it up a notch. “The first phase was really sort of a proof of concept,” she said. The response did not disappoint: LittleBits sold better than expected, “so that we actually now know it’s time to press the peddle.”

The company describes itself as “an open source library of electronic modules that snap together with tiny magnants for prototyping and play.” And what does that mean, precisely? Think wired Erector Sets. Read More

Location Location Location

Caterina Fake’s New Startup: Pinwheel, ‘A Flickr for Places (Ish),’ Lets You Leave Notes on a Map

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Last June, Flickr and Hunch cofounder Caterina Fake announced that she had raised $2 million from investors like New York’s Founder Collective, True Ventures and SV Angel with an emphasis on consumers and social. If you’ll recall, in November of 2010, Ms. Fake left Hunch, a New York City-based startup she cofounded with Chris Dixon to build a “taste graph” of the Internet, rather abruptly. Speculation was that Hunch’s pivot—away from a consumer destination site towards a platform to power other sites (it was acquired by eBay last November)—was too far out of Ms. Fake’s wheelhouse. “The things I’m good at are building communities, participatory media, places where people contribute things of their own making,” she blogged at the time. Mr. Dixon chalked it up to a “founder-market fit;” other people had other ideas.

Regardless new startup Pinwheel, which launched out of private beta last night, seems to fit her comfort zone. The app lets users “find and leave notes all around the world.” The notes, which are pinned on a specific location on a map, can be both private or shared with an individual or group, as well as organized into sets.

For example, “Every place that you told me that you loved me, circa 2008″ (one of the potential sets Ms. Fake offers) you might want to keep private. Whereas “Find me a Nearby Toilet NOW,” (another example from Ms. Fake) might be a question you pose to a group. There is, of course, a social networking element, with the opportunity to follow both friends and sets: Read More