Here’s the latest action:
Scribd hype — Maybe because it calls itself the “YouTube for documents,” the young Scribd is getting a lot of interest from Silicon Valley’s venture capitalists. We’ve talked to some eager to invest. Rumors are leaking out, including at Gigaom and Techcrunch that the round is almost done, with GigaOm saying it is done and citing a large $10 million valuation. We talked with Scribd’s Trip Adler today, and he didn’t want to say much. He said those other reports are “inaccurate.” He hasn’t closed the round yet, he added. (Our coverage of Scribd here.)
Adobe open sources Flex platform tools — The company announced that outside developers can use its Flex platform to participate in building rich Internet applications for the Web, including Apollo applications for the desktop. This is significant because Adobe’s Flex/Flash platform — around which many cutting-edge Web sites are being built these days — has remained relatively closed. Announcement here, and more details here. Robert Scoble had an early look.
Sponsored by VB
Grand Central offers its one-telephone number feature via mobile devices — You’ll recall (VentureBeat’s coverage) that Grand Central is the company that lets you create one telephone number for all your needs. Through a Web dashboard, you can direct calls to whatever phone you want to use, and centralize voicemail. Now, you can control all this from your cell-phone too. (Grand Central Mobile)
Oak Pacific Incorporated falling apart? — The Chinese Web company that some have called the Chinese Myspace, backed by U.S. venture capitalists, has laid off serious numbers of employees. From recent blog posts (here and here, you’d think the company is disintegrating, and chief executive Joe Chen out of control. However, we talked with David Chao, partner at DCM and an investor in OPI, and he said bloggers have focused on the visible lay offs from units that have struggled, in part because of new regulations imposed by China Mobile. Those regulations increase the revenue share on wireless services such as SMS, MMS and voicemail management, and also restrict their use in some ways — so the revenues of all wireless companies got hit, not just OPI. That said, OPI is sort of like IAC — a holding company with lots of properties. Some units are going to do poorly, and they’ll be cut. Others are growing quickly, including Mop.com and Xiaonei, which Chao likens to the Facebook of China, and is on fire — one of the fastest growing companies in China, in terms of page views and visits. We covered Xiaonei here. All told, Chao says the business is a “net positive.” And chief executive Joe Chen is talented at making multiple bets, he said.
Red Herring not as dire it seems — While we had Chao on the phone, we asked him about the struggling business magazine Red Herring, where Chao is a board member. ValleyWag says the mag is in default, and that it has the proof to show it — in the form of lawsuit papers filed by Comerica. Sighing at the question, he said he didn’t want to get in a pissing match with another publishing company (i.e., Valleywag’s parent, Gawker) but that the financials aren’t as bad as they appear.
Tim Draper in Vietnam — Tim Draper, who has been expanding his Silicon Valley venture firm, Draper Fisher Jurvetson more aggressively internationally than just about any other firm, announced a $50 million Vietnam fund last year (see our coverage). He was in Ho Chi Min City a few days ago to celebrate its launch, and looks quite at home.
Razz, the voice-mix service, raises another round — The San Francisco company, earlier known as Phonebites, lets you insert noises while you are talking on the phone. As Thealarmclock puts it, “farts” for example. Mayfield Fund, one of the alleged new investors, did not respond to our request for confirmation of the investment, reported by PE Wire. Besides Mayfield, Cardinal Venture Capital, Garage Technology Ventures and Greenpark Capital also reportedly invested. (Our past coverage)
Cozmo.TV, latest personalized TV site — The San Francisco start-up joins a crowded space of players wanting to let you personalize and share the TV programming you watch. With Cozmo, you select shows from places like YouTube, Google, MySpace and combine them into channels that you then roll into an embeddable widget, which you share. Problem is, there are other sites that do something similar. There’s Blinkx, Channels.com, Joost and MeeVee. (See Techcrunch)
Speaking of Blinkx, it is being taken public — The video search company will go public on the London AIM exchange, which has somewhat of a flimsy reputation. Om says Blinkx has been adrift, and suggests public investors may be duped.
Speaking of Joost, it is signing up lots of advertisers — This is advantage you get if you have the name recognition Skype co-founders Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis. The duo haven’t even formally launched their company Joost, yet have lined up several major advertisers. The company wants to send free videos and other programming to your TV. The NYT says United Airlines, Microsoft, Sony Electronics and Unilever are among 30 on board as “launch partners.” The launch is planned for Tuesday, the Times says.
In other news:
— Metamatrix, a company backed by venture firm Kleiner Perkins, has been bought by Redhat, and some suggest it was at a loss. Kleiner did not respond to a request for comment.
— MySQL, the open source database company that lots of Web sites run on, got $50M in revenue last year and plans to go public, its chief executive says.
—ChinaCache raises $32 million from Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Ignition Partners, IntelVC, Internet Investor Growth, JAFCO ASIA, SIG, Starr International, and Susquehanna International Group. It is a ten-year old company, and helps speed up content delivery over the Web.
—Lifelock, an online identity management and identity theft prevention company based in Phoenix has raised $6 million in Series B funding from Kleiner Perkins, according to Gigaom. Word is, it’s valued at more than $40 million. Kleiner declined comment.
–Here’s a beginner’s guide for Twitter. It has everything (via Nolan).