Here’s the recent news in Silicon Valley deal-making and start-up world worth highlighting:
It’s back to 1999! — Palo Alto start-up PageBites is paying people $100 to go for an interview. It is also paying a $20,000 bonus, which reminds us of the Bubble days. It’s why blogger Om Malik says he loves this country. Or is this just a publicity ploy? Anyway, PageBites.com is another site that allows you to search the Web for job openings and/or resumes. You can also post your resume and/or job opening on the site.
Let’s call it Pinger! — We wrote previously about the secretive voice services company backed by venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, called VoiceVault. It has changed its name for the second time. First it was ProjectEdgar. Now Alarm:clock says the company’s launch name will be Pinger.
The back-story on Writely — Peter Rip, a venture capitalist, summarizes the skills of the founders of online word processor Writely that was sold recently to Google. What he doesn’t say, but everyone else seems to be saying, is that these folks from the beginning built the company explictly to be “flipped” quickly, or in other words sold to a big company like Google. But Rip does say he believes Writely marks the height of the market for these sorts of acquisitions of Web 2.0 companies. In other words, the peak has been hit. Whisper: If you’re a founder of a Web 2.0 feature company, you might want to consider selling while valuations are still high (see Thiel’s comments).
Google isn’t — repeat, isn’t — competing with Microsoft on Writely — So Google chief executive Eric Schmidt says Writely is not meant to be a competitor to Microsoft’s Word. Right. We’re beginning to see a trend here. He said that about some of Google’s products that compete with eBay, as we recall. But check out how Google Base has created a system where buyers can rate a seller’s reputation, and then the latest news about how Google Base is trying to get stores to submit lists of goods and prices in order to create an online presence. May as well call it GoogleBay.
WSJ catches up with David Chao — Chao is a Silicon Valley venture capitalist who has been doing particularly well in China and Japan lately, and we’ve covered him amply. Now the WSJ has taken note.
NBX’s bark sexier than its bite — Online sports entertainment start-up, NBX, has raised $3.3 million in a first round of venture backing led by MK Capital, though it still looks a little green.
The Saratoga start-up is the latest ad-based site to after the market of fantasy sports, where you can create your virtual teams made up of real-life athletes and see how they do against teams created by other users. This site is different in that it lets you create a profile and it can be shared with other people.
Of course, it features scantily clad babes, presumably to draw in male users — and offers some pretty racy animated videos to boot. We first saw NBX mentioned at VentureWire (sub required).
SnoCap raises more cash — SnoCap, the San Francisco digital music licensing and copyright management company co-founded by Shawn Fanning has raised $15 million in a third round of funding, according to a regulatory filing. Court Square Ventures was joined by return backers Morgenthaler Partners and WaldenVC.
Text message company Vazu wants to sell out; co-founder launches Cooliris — Vazu, of Palo Alto, lets you send free text messages to any phone in the U.S. & Canada from your PC. Yes, a bit of a quirky idea. The Merc reviewed the company two years ago, and loved it. But at the time, Vazu seemed focused on different things: letting you synchronize the address book and calendar on your PC with the ones on your mobile phone, or clicking on a search engine result for a pizza place and having the phone listing sent to your phone.
Maybe this lack of focus is a reason why the company is trying to find a buyer, according to VentureWire (sub required). Apparently, it wants buyer that already has the relationships with advertisers that will allow it ads to be pasted alongside the messages.
Co-founder Soujanya Bhumkar, meanwhile, has left Vazu and launched another Silicon Valley company called Cooliris. It reminds us of Browster. It helps navigate your search engine results on Google or elsewhere by providing pop-up images of the results pages. You just scroll over the result page, and don’t have to click on the results themselves. This saves a lot of time. Clicking takes too much effort. One of these services is going to catch on. But what’s the betting that Google, Yahoo or Microsoft will build their own versions?
Azul latest company to eat at Sun’s core — A group of piranha start-ups are being founded or led by ex-Sun Microsystems folks which then turn on their former employer and nibble away at its very being. No wonder Sun is having a tough time. The latest is Azul, and the details are here. Azul is a Mountain View start-up that makes computers for Java. Now there are lawsuits. Sun is finally getting mad, after turning the other cheek for a long time. Remember Menlo Park’s Cassatt, led by Bill Coleman, which launched a few years ago and which hoped to conquer Sun’s data-center management business? Cassatt it still going strong, according to a conversation we had recently with Coleman. He swiped a bunch of Sun programmers, too, when starting out. And then there’s 3ParData, of Fremont, started by two former leaders of Sun’s enterprise server products, which soaked up more than $150M in venture capital — including from Sun! — and then started competing against Sun.
Yahoo will release new Yahoo Messenger service with phone features this week — Om reports the new instant messenger service allows users to make phone calls to regular phones, not just to PCs. The service takes aim at Skype.
Yahoo launches local news — So while we’re finally giving Yahoo attention, we’ll mention Yahoo’s front news page has added local news. Check out San Francisco news. Note that they’ve got the Mercury News as a source, apparently because San Jose news hasn’t been built out yet. One problem we have is that they apparently haven’t sorted news by topic area.
Just because you are in China, doesn’t mean you’re growing — You can get pounded even if you’re in the fastest growing market, because there’s plenty of competition. The collapse of the stock of UTStarcom, of Alameda, is particularly alarming (see below; apologies for blurr, but you get the picture). It is now delaying its latest financial report.