The latest Silicon Valley round-up:
Correlation between bomb building and entrepreneurship? — Former PayPal chief executive Peter Thiel reportedly says four of six founders of the online payment service built bombs while in high school. Meanwhile, Silicon Valley venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson designs rockets.
MyYearbook.com, a social networking site for teens, raises $4.1M – The site looks like a Facebook knock-off. It raised the first round of finance from U.S. Venture Partners (USVP) and First Round Capital. The site, hq’d in New Hope, Penn., is nothing to sneeze at: It boasts 1.7 million members globally, and over 5 million unique visitors per month. It prides itself in shunning banner ads of the kind that run on Facebook, saying teens like more interactive, social ads.
Don’t incorporate in Delaware — We know that’s what they all tell you to do, because of Delaware’s business-friendly laws. But a U.C. Berkeley study shows that an entrepreneur who incorporates in California may make $1.75M more in the event a sale triggers a preference clause, or otherwise leads to a showdown with an investing VC. The threat of a suit in your home state is enough to make the VC back off. Via Paul Kedrosky. Valleywag mentions it too.
SIPphone latest company to launch a new browser based calling service — as it tries to answer rivals such as Jajah, Jaxtr, Wengo. The company’s chief exec Michael Robertson told VentureBeat yesterday that “the call is made via the browser, like Skype, but unlike Skype there’s no big software download/install and registration period. You can walk up to any computer and call any phone number in the world. No mobile or landline is required to play.” More details here.
Latest on Google’s social application — Google’s Niniane Wang (left) is currently leading a team of Googlers to develop a new product in the social application space. Via Blogoscoped.
Google puts Wikipedia definitions at top of search results — Details via Rubel. This is the latest sign of continued momentum for Wikipedia, and comes as founder Jimmy Wales rolls out a Google competitor. Oh, and then there’s Amazon.com’s Wikipedia-clone for products, Amapedia. Confused yet? If not, read on…
Proliferation of Web site review and rating sites — Here’s a summary by Gigaom of the growing number of competitors to Amazon.com’s existing review service. There’s PowerReviews, a Millbrae, Calif. company that raised $6.25 million last year from Menlo Ventures and Draper Richards, and which is a Web-based portal for consumer reviews of products. There’s new player Ratepoint. Not mentioned is MerchantCircle, which lets businesses being reviewed keep up with these proliferating ratings.
Ironkey, a Los Altos, Calif. file encryption company, raises around $2.6M – The funding, apparently part of a larger second round of capital, is led by Leapfrog Ventures, reports Alarmclock.
Amie Street, the company that sells DRM-free MP3s at prices dependent on their popularity — It is looking to raise a first round of capital, reports Techcrunch.
We’re not raising VC! Well, maybe we are.. — CastTV, a video search engine company, which told us in Oct. it was not looking for cash, is reportedly about to close a first round of capital,.
TechStars is a new startup fund/incubator like YCombinator — It gives 10 start-ups a summer camp in Boulder, Colo. and $15,000 in seed funding. TechStars will take 5 percent of the equity in each startup. More at Techcrunch.
News Corp. to invest in ROO — The media giant will invest $12 million for a ten percent stake in the New York online video technology provider, according to the WSJ.
Global warming alert — Six years ago, scientists predicted global temperatures would rise at least 1.4 degrees by 2100. Now, they expect at least 2 degrees. Sea levels will rise between 28 and 43 centimeters. Time to wake up. And it’s not going to be easy.
Mozeen, the stealth mobile web portal — The company, mentioned by AlarmClock, is funded by big-name venture firm Sequoia Capital and the company reportedly claims “top talent from YouTube, Yahoo, Nokia, and Facebook.”
Mobile payment service Obopay has acquired social payment service, Billmonk — Details here.
Pickspal creates popular culture betting site — We covered Pickspal, which raised $6 million for a site where sports fans can bet on event outcomes. Now it has launched Pickspop, which lets you predict, say who will be on this week’s cover of people.
MySQL, the open source database company, is in talks with bankers about going public — Details here, but question is, will Oracle kill it first?