Startup Envolve takes on Meebo with new browser-based chat

Web-based chat client Envolve unveiled plugins today that are said to give it “deep integration” with Drupal, WordPress and other online content management systems. The bootstrapped San Francisco startup hopes the move will help it mount a challenge to Meebo, the leader in the web-based instant messaging space.

Xing snaps up event startup Amiando

German business social networking site Xing has acquired Amiando, an online event management and ticketing services company, for around 10.3 million euros, as the “German LinkedIn” attempts to engage its more than 10 million members more actively.

Why Facebook’s playing a dangerous game with the Winklevoss brothers

Usually, Facebook’s public-relations officials can be relied on for a good old-fashioned “no comment” on truly sensitive matters. That makes the company’s response to a recent wave of reporting about ongoing litigation with Harvard classmates of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg more than a bit surprising.

Facebook’s big move to Madison Avenue

The world’s largest social network could soon be opening up shop on Madison Avenue, the iconic address long linked to New York City’s advertising industry.

Is Twitter worth $10 billion?

Famed startup investor John Doerr recently said that turning down a chance to put money in Twitter, the fast-growing, San Francisco-based microblogging company, was one of his biggest mistakes.

High-flying Reddit loses chief to its founder’s startup

Social news aggregator Reddit.com announced Monday that its chief executive and lead developer Christopher Slowe is leaving the company, even as the site experiences a year of unparalleled traffic success.

With 300 employees, where will Twitter’s flock nest?

White-hot microblogging startup Twitter is growing at a booming pace, gleefully tweeting today that it just hired its 300th full-time employee as it continues a hiring spree that began last spring.

With layoffs and top execs gone, Digg needs to redesign its business, too

Social news aggregator Digg laid off more than a third of its staff Monday in the wake of a failed redesign, and its top sales and finance executives left — suggesting that more than just the website’s look and feel need fixing. In a post on the company blog, new CEO Matt Williams claimed the cuts, affecting 25 out of 67 employees, were needed in order to achieve profitability by mid-2011.

Angels and VCs partner up to pump $282M into startups

Angel investors and venture capital firms are teaming up to find the best deals, new data released today shows, with investors paying particular attention to startup companies active in the IT and business technology space

WSJ: TechCrunch’s MySpace censorship claim ‘ridiculous’

The Wall Street Journal is fighting back against an article today by TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington (pictured) that claims the newspaper pulled its punches when examining whether or not online social networks were inappropriately leaking personal information about users to advertisers.

Stealth social networking startup CafeBots scores $5M from sFund

Stealth social networking startup CafeBots came into the light in a big way today, after the firm announced it has closed an initial funding round of $5 million from early stage venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’s brand new sFund.

Social buying funding heats up as ShopSocially, Groupalia snag millions

Investors interested in grabbing a piece of the white-hot social buying sector threw more money into the space today, as shopping recommendation site ShopSocially announced $1.1 million in first round financing, and Spanish coupon site Groupalia locked down €5 million in its second institutional round of funding.

Sales leads in social media? Real-time marketer Optify snags $6.1M to prove it works

Many businesses view social media tools like Twitter as time-wasting distractions for employees. But social-media software startup Optify has secured $6.1 million in financing as the group seeks to gain a lead in the already-crowded field of companies offering social marketing tools to blue-chip customers.

Amid Microsoft buyout rumors, Linden Lab founder leaves CEO post

The game of musical chairs in the executive suite at Second Life parent company Linden Lab continued today, as founder Philip Rosedale, who had been serving as interim CEO since June, announced he was stepping down from the job immediately.

Buddy Media locks down $23M to help marketers get facetime on Facebook

Buddy Media, the Facebook page-management service for brands and businesses, said today it has raised $23 million in mezzanine financing as it attempts to keep up with booming growth and capture the attention of deep-pocketed institutional investors.

Honestly? People-review site Unvarnished gets a better name — and funding

Good judgment and patience — the kind of qualities that are vital, yet hard to assess in a potential hire or partner — helped win Peter Kazanjy funding for his startup. And he’s planning to use the money to keep building a site that will help others make similar assessments of people they’re going into business with.

Former Zynga exec lands at VC firm Maveron

Andrew Trader, an early team member of red-hot gaming startup Zynga, is now joining venture capital firm Maveron, the company told VentureBeat late Monday.

Mark Cuban bets $5 million on future of device-tracking firm BlueCava

BlueCava, a credit bureau for devices conducting business online, has closed a $5 million first round of funding led by billionaire Mark Cuban and entrepreneur Tim Headington. The company told VentureBeat it expects to conduct a second round as soon as April.

New Digg CEO apologizes to site’s fans

Some six weeks after he was hired to be the new chief executive of news aggregator Digg.com, Matt Williams greeted community members for the first time today, apologized for  the site’s botched attempt at a redesign, and announced officially that several old features would be returning.

Twitter’s Evan Williams: The revolution will be tweeted

The usage of social networking site Twitter as an agent for political and social change will only increase in upcoming years, predicted cofounder Evan Williams at a public debate today, as the service continues to reach more people in real-time.

Private online community Passenger snags $7.5M, new CEO

Private online community and social networking firm Passenger announced today that it has raised $7.5 million in a funding round led by shareholders Steamboat Ventures, StarVest Parners and Shelter Capital Partners.

Online ticket vendor Eventbrite shines with $20M infusion

Online ticketing agent Eventbrite has clearly caught the eye of investors looking for an upwardly mobile competitor to dominant market player Ticketmaster, on Wednesday announcing it had raising $20 million in mezzanine financing from DAG Ventures and Tenaya Capital.