Latin American startup gets $1.3M for 3D social gaming

Zio Studios, a 45-person animation and gaming startup based in Bogotá, Colombia, has announced that local venture capital firm Promotora, has invested $1.3M in the company in a first round of institutional funding.  According to CEO Alejandro Gonzalez, the new funding will allow Zio Studios to execute on its vision of combining social media and 3D gaming.

Profitably raises funding to cull data for small businesses

New York startup Profitably recently closed a $300,000 round of funding with a group of New York investors. The company offers an online software application that analyzes data from Quickbooks, a small business accounting package sold by Intuit.  The “data-driven” business model employed by companies that extract (or “mine”) valuable information from data has been gaining steam in many segments of the software industry.

Microsoft continues to emphasize "the cloud"

Microsoft held a meeting for financial analysts today to present the company’s strategy for its consumer, enterprise and small and medium business markets. A clear theme ran throughout the presentations: Microsoft’s continued emphasis on the industry transformation taking place around cloud computing.

Search-engine marketing tool Kenshoo raises new funds to fuel growth

Kenshoo, a company that provides software to help online marketers manage campaigns, has closed an undisclosed round of funding with Sequoia Capital. The company plans to use the funds to grow its client base, deepen profitability, broaden offerings (for example, into social media) and expand internationally.

Adobe spends $240 million to fill out Web product line

With today’s acquisition of Day Software, a Swiss Web content management software company, Adobe continues to fill out its enterprise software line. The two companies reached an agreement for Adobe to acquire all of the publicly held shares of Day Software.

Ask.com joins the Q&A party

Search site Ask.com launched a Q&A service today, making it the latest in a host of companies to do so, including Quora, Yahoo and Linkedin. The new version of the site will integrate the company’s search technology with a new feature that routes questions to appropriate members of the Ask.com community. Members are selected based on their interests and areas of knowledge.

Tiger Global invests in Russian travel portal Anywayanyday

Tiger Global Management, a New York private equity firm, has apparently invested approximately $10 million for a 40% stake of Russian online travel portal, Anywayanyday. This is according to an article in Russian newspaper, Vesomoti, and the Quintura blog. The article goes on to quote a company official stating that the size of the online travel market is $600 million and that the company’s current yearly revenue stands at $5 – 6 million.

Skype founders place $6 million bet on MadBid.com

Atomico Ventures, an investment group started by Skype cofounders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, has invested £4 million, or more than $6 million, in a first round of institutional funding for pay-to-bid auction site MadBid.com. As with sites such as Swoopo and Fluttero, which have been growing in popularity, MadBid.com is part of a move to bring the feel of a Las Vegas casino to e-commerce.

Why are more web companies placing bets on Latin America?

With the recent news that Groupon, the well-funded group buying site, just acquired two start-ups in Latin America, many in the region view it as a sign of things to come. Whereas, previously, only well-financed startups with strong revenues made it onto the radar of potential strategic acquirers; today, smaller startups in the region, such as Argentinean start-up, Three Melons, which was recently acquired by Playdom, are fair game. So, what has changed?

Startup Sency takes simplified approach to real-time search

Thanks to services like Twitter that let users publish quick messages nearly as fast as they come to mind, a host of real-time search engines have recently emerged — engines that quickly index these messages and serve up the most current ones related to a particular search keyword. Sency is the latest startup to jump into this market. And so far, it seems to be keeping its head above water despite all the competition. Its real-time search engine launched in October and has already seen traffic grow from 10k to 150k hits in 5 months.

Brazilian startup Compra3 launches group buying site

Brazilian start-up Compra3 is leaving beta testing today and opening up its group buying site to the public, complete with social networking features, more than 100,0000 users, and almost one million products on offer. The site exclusively targets the Brazilian market at the moment, although the company says it is considering some options for expansion to Spain and the US.

Startup VivaReal bets on Latin American real estate market

While companies such as Trulia and Zillow duke it out within the hard hit US real estate market, new startup VivaReal is targeting Latin America, a market with strong prospects for growth and higher online advertising rates. Since launching in May 2009, the company’s site has amassed 600,000 monthly visitors and almost as many property listings.

New startup Joincube joins social software fray — targets small businesses

Social software — software that gives companies and individuals ways to interact and share information — has quickly been winning the interest of companies looking to track progress and share knowledge better among their employees. A number of software offerings already cater to large enterprise customers. But Joincube, a new startup from Argentina, is now targeting smaller companies.

Could a Twitter-Amazon partnership be on the horizon?

A couple of days ago, Twitter announced some improvements to its API and Terms of Service (TOS). Effectively, it’s raising the limit on the number of calls per hour that each application can make and opening up its Firehose API (already available to Google and Microsoft) to other developers as a paid service.

Young startup LetMeGo.com to take on big-time travel sites with extra-personal service

Most of us have special requests when we travel, but don’t really expect our lodging providers to be interested in these much less take them into account. Nevertheless, celebrities, heads of state and royalty can depend on their lodging providers to cater to their every whim. If Alexander Torrenegra, serial web entrepreneur and founder of new venture LetMeGo.com, has his way, you may soon get the same kind of service.