Etsy lands $20M, bringing valuation to nearly $300M, hires ex-Googler as COO

It’s a busy time for e-commerce site Etsy, which focuses on handmade arts and crafts. The company announced yesterday that it has snagged $20 million in its fifth round of funding, led by Index Ventures. And just this morning, it was revealed that former Google international executive Adam Freed (pictured) is joining the company as COO, reports All Things Digital’s Kara Swisher.

Ex-Googler founds Dasient for internet security, finds seed dollars

Neil Daswani, a former Google security product manager, has launched his own stealthy internet security company called Dasient. And the San Jose, Calif. company just announced $1.34 million of an expected $1.87 million in seed funding from Maples Investments, according to VentureWire. Prospective users can sign up for its private beta on Dasient’s web site — that’s all the information it currently makes available.

Ex-Googlers' firm Merus Capital raising $125M fund

Merus Capital, a venture firm founded by former Google and Microsoft executives, is raising $125 million for its debut fund, and has raised $10 million so far, according to an SEC regulatory filing cited by VentureWire. The firm focuses on three areas of investment — algorithm intensive software, online marketplaces and Web-based consumer software and services.

Facebook's executive musical chairs: Ex-Googler Elliot Schrage to manage its developer platform

Facebook’s developer platform — you know, the software that spawned all of those third-party applications that have since invaded users’ lives — is going through some managerial changes. Facebook’s newly-hired vice president of communications and public policy, Elliot Schrage (pictured), is assuming executive-level responsibility for it. The source of this story has consistently provided accurate inside information on Facebook in the past. This is a bit odd. Why put the senior communications guy in charge of such a tech-focused part of the company? Schrage, a lawyer turned business executive (but not a software engineer), is taking over from Chamath Palihapitiya, who will move on to other roles within the company, according to the source. Schrage joined Facebook in May. He left a very similar job at Google, where he did things like represent the company in front of Congress when it was getting its feet held to the fire for censoring its search results in China. Palihapitiya, though, seemed like he would have been a good fit for such a large, tech-oriented duty like the platfrom. Earlier in his career, he’d had complete responsibility for AOL’s AIM and ICQ instant message services. And he is also a techie, having graduated with first class honors the University of Waterloo in electrical engineering.

Tiny Review iPhone app makes everyday photos into special moments (exclusive)

As photos become the new status update, we’re going to see big changes in the way people create, combine and consume words and images. The latest example is from a 500 Startups company called Tiny Review, which unites microblogging and social photo-sharing in its free photo storytelling app. And with a new update for the app out today, the Tiny Review craze is about to take off.

Casual games expand in new directions at Seattle conference (photo gallery)

Casual Connect is one of the most interesting conferences in video games now because the social and mobile game companies have crashed the party and completely turned the casual game industry — which was previously selling $20 games on web sites to old ladies — on its head. Now the Seattle show, which concluded today, is filled with talk about DAUs (daily active users, a measure of how often users return to a game), and retention.