Enron couldn’t happen in Silicon Valley — …”because we’re too honest,” encouraged to be that way by all the people looking over our shoulder and the whispers that would morph into screams if we pulled a scam. Our colleague Mike Langberg opines here. (Skilling and Lay, both convicted, still managed to help bring about the Sarbanes Oxley Act, which has made Silicon Valley even safer)
New Enterprise Associates to raise biggest VC fund ever? — The firm, which has offices here in Silicon Valley, has raised $2.25 billion and is on track to hit $2.5 billion, according to a document the firm filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and reported by VentureWire. This would be larger than the firm’s $2.3 billion raised in 2000.
Jerry Kaplan launches game site Winster — You may recall the quirky Jerry Kaplan, who among other things founded GO, the Kleiner Perkins-backed pen computer startup that failed, a story he spills the beans about in his novel Startup: A Silicon Valley Adventure. We learn via AlarmClock that Kaplan has closed funding for Winster, a Burlingame start-up that offers prizes like Fandango tickets to users who play some online games. It gets $1.5M of a $1.75M Series A funding round led U.S. Venture Partners. Alarmclock notes: Its early days so we will cut Kaplan a break, but the model and site are not terribly impressive. Agreed.
Sequoia to raise $450 million fund, and shake up the fund-of-funds industry? — Dan Primack has a very interesting story about Sequoia booting out some of its the funds-of-fund investors, why, and what it means. We haven’t confirmed any of this ourselves, and while not terribly important to ground-level entrepreneurs, if true, it could cause quite a ruckus upstairs in the money world.
Yahoo and eBay jump in bed — Yahoo and San Jose auction company eBay have announced an advertising partnership, and here’s Mercury News story exploring the details. One thing we didn’t really see written there, or elsewhere, is whether Yahoo will be able to get its hands on all that reputational/personal/historical purchase and sales data for eBays members, which is deep and lovely for the search guys, who’d love to get their advertising embedded everywhere, in a more targeted and thus lucrative way. There are close to 350 million daily searches on eBay, and that data alone could help catapult Yahoo past Google in the amount of data it has to refine advertising for its search results. Yahoo will be exclusive third-party provider of all graphic ads throughout eBay’s site, but we don’t know if eBay is letting it go all the way. Meanwhile, Yahoo’s search features will be integrated into a co-branded version of the eBay toolbar, and the companies say they will explore “click-to-call” ad technologies together.
Our story on M2Z — Earlier, we mentioned the new company, M2Z, which is trying to launch a free nationwide wireless broadband service. We write more here (free registration) and have confirmed that Kleiner Perkins and Charles River Ventures invested $10 million in the company since February. By the way, you can see the complete 100+ pages of their FCC filing, including technology description, here.
Mechanology.com, to generate more power from smaller pieces of machinery, raises $6 million — The Boston company is making advances in compressor technology, and is based on Stanford research by Steve Chomyszak in the 1980s, according to VentureWire. That’s a long time ago, and suggests there could be other gems lying in the dusty archives of the intellectual property office over in Palo Alto. Round was led by Wellington Capital Management.
AnchorFree has raises $6 million to pull together free WiFi providers into a single ad network — The Sunnyvale start-up gets the cash from former MCI Communications’ Chairman Bert Roberts and venture capital firm RENN Capital, according to VentureWire (sub required). AnchorFree, founded in 2003, previously raised around $300,000 from angel investors. Earlier this month, AnchorFree bought MetroFreeFi.com, bringing the network of hotspots to 10,000.
In-game ad company, Double Fusion, raises $5 million — The San Francisco company raised the second-round money from JVP and Accel Partners.
MySpace is in talks about integrating search capabilities offered by Google and MSN — Widely reported earlier. Apparently, Yahoo is not interested. Meanwhile, Google is going to start inserting advertising in video.
Microsoft, Google teaming up to support .mobi — This is the new domain aimed at making it easier to browse the Web. Vodafone and Nokia also backing this effort. Here’s the WSJ story. Thousands of sites have already signed up, so now you’ve got Yahoo.mobi, Hotjobs.mobi, etc.
Plaxo getting sued by LA’s Reunion — Updating your address books is something Plaxo has let you do for a while now, and so it is odd that this lawsuit is happening right now. Reunion, remember, is the company that bought up GoodContacts. Meanwhile, Plaxo is offering a new feature letting you call from your address book via a VOIP call with Jajah. We surmise this was helped along by Sequoia, an investor in both companies?
Here’s how you get venture funding — VCs won’t like us for revealing this secret, but basically you pester the venture capitalist by emailing him every day for a week. That’s what Mark Fletcher, founder of Bloglines and OneList did with Steve Jurvetson, the VC with DFJ. Fletcher, who has been successful in his career, also tells how he is pretty damned frugal. (Via theAlarmClock)
Vonage suggests no bubble after all — Adam Lashinsky of Fortune ragged last week on the terrible technology IPOs in the pipeline, including Vonage. All of them are losing money, except for one, he notes. He suggests we’re in a bubble. Good reading, though one quibble: Vonage has been hammered. If individual investors let this thing bleed toward $0 a share, and Vonage’s insiders don’t profit, is that a bubble? We’ll see.
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