Groupon’s new Scheduler feature has potential, but two very big IFs

Groupon today launched a wide beta of its Groupon Scheduler product. The Scheduler is an online calendaring tool that allows service businesses such as spas, yoga studios, contractors and photographers to take reservations online. It’s open to all merchants, not just companies that run deals with Groupon. The daily deals company is billing it as a “free trial,” and it’s unclear whether Groupon will eventually charge for the service. Groupon did not respond to two requests for comment on this story.

Who is protecting the investors in the new crowdfunding bills?

Crowdfunding has gained a lot of press over the last few months with the passing of the crowdfunding bills in the House in November and then again a few weeks ago. The bills have generated numerous opinions about how this will spur economic growth by unlocking capital from investors who have never had the opportunity to invest in startups and making it easier for startups to raise capital.

How Amazon can be a friend to small businesses

I’ve been testing out the Kindle Fire tablet for the last several weeks. At $199, it’s a tremendous value. It’s no iPad — I just upgraded to the new iPad as well — but it provides a solid base-level tablet and reader. I can think of a lot of uses for it: an e-book reader, a video consumption device, and a dedicated Sonos controller. But the most exciting use I can see for it would be for Amazon to turn into a device that helps small, local retailers.

Neil Young’s path to the multibillion-dollar mobile social game market (interview)

Neil Young sold his San Francisco startup Ngmoco to Japan’s DeNA for $403 million in the fall of 2010. And that was just the beginning of Young and DeNA’s quest to create a multibillion-dollar mobile entertainment group, he told VentureBeat last year. DeNA, with $1.4 billion in revenues in the last year, has already cleared many hurdles on that path. Ngmoco has integrated its NG Core technology with DeNA’s Mobage social mobile gaming network to create a new platform for smartphone entertainment.

Tim Cook says new iPad had a “record weekend” for sales

On a call to discuss its first-ever share dividend Monday morning, Apple CEO Tim Cook admitted that the new iPad had a “record weekend” for sales.
Cook did not get specific with sales numbers because the call was focused on the new dividend and share buyback. However, the announcement is a curious one because of the notable lack of sell-outs at many stores around the country this past weekend.