[Updated] Here’s a roundup of the latest action:
Filmloop’s forced shut down, continued — Filmloop co-founder Prescott Lee says investors turned on the company in late November, forcing a sale by end of December, even though some potential suitors weren’t ready to do it so quickly. We’ve updated our account of the Filmloop story, based on our interview with ComVentures and reporting by PE Week.
Frank Quattrone returns? — The famous Silicon Valley banker, caught in legal controversy concerning allegations he awarded hot bubble-era IPO stock to friends, was recently exonerated. Now he’s apparently planning a return, perhaps to private equity.
Copyright protection mess — Last week, Apple chief Steve Jobs suddenly argued the four big labels should drop digital rights management (DRM). Then David Goldberg, until recently head of Yahoo Music, was quoted saying he thought the same. Rumors are growing the labels are considering it.
Google to buy video game advertising company Adscape Media for $23 million — Story here. Adscape places dynamic ads inside of the games. This matches Microsoft’s purchase of a similar type of company, Massive, last year, for a reported $200 to $400 million. [Update: One winner here is H.I.G Capital, a firm with offices in several cities, including SF, which invested $3.25 million in January of last year, according to VentureWire (sub required).]
Next up, ads in mobile games — Greystripe, a SF start-up developing free, ad-supported games for mobile phones, is looking for another round of financing this quarter. Its system wraps ads around games without developers having to do anything. Its “ad wrap” marketplace works like Google’s Adwords: Advertisers bid on placing in the game. Things are moving quickly. A year ago, a mobile game producer had two avenues available for advertising. It either signed a deal with the carrier, which claimed a huge 50 percent or more cut, or it tried to insert advertising on its own, which was unwieldy and costly. Greystrip now has a software client it inserts directly into a game, so ads can be served across multiple games. The company claims about 50 customers, with more than 200 games.
Healthline’s new Symptom Search — Healthline, the health search engine, released a feature Tuesday called Symptom Search. Type in “knee pain,” for example, and it will give you 22 different possibilities of what is causing that pain. Sometimes you might have multiple symptoms, say knee pain and fever, in which case you can put both those terms in, and you get back a more refined list of causes. Once you pick the likely cause, Healthline gives you professional treatment advice and other info. Competitor Kosmix has a “symptoms” option, but its carries ranked results from its database, which is useful (there are some great knee pain pages), just not organized in the same way as Healthline. See image below. Note the targeted advertising for knee pain treatment.
While we’re on health, here’s the latest — SmartMedicalConsumer, created by Dr. Banu Ozden, lets you track medical expenses. We’ve written about the latest health start-ups, including the Web-based MedBillManager. SmartMedicalConsumer goes a step further, it says, by helping automatically detect billing errors. It is in beta (testing) mode.
VB's research team is studying web-personalization... Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.