Here’s the latest action:
YouthNoise, a social network for social change, raises $1.5 million — The San Francisco non-profit start-up will target users aged 16-22, and organize their profiles according to their cause and issue preference. This allows like-minded peers to search for them. The folks at Omidyar Network, the venture firm supporting social causes and launched by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, has done enough vetting to lead the $1.5 million round, according to YouthNoise.
Facebook not necessarily valued at $2 billion — A mistaken report in Mediaweek suggests that a deal between Interpublic and Facebook implies a valuation of $2 billion for the college-focused social networking company. We checked with Facebook Tuesday, which confirmed that Interpublic, a marketing company, has agreed to spend a minimum of $10 million of advertising on Facebook. Facebook spokeswoman Melanie Deitch also confirmed that IPG has made a .5 percent investment in the company. However, those deals were separate, and the company’s value can’t be derived from the news, she told us: “..the transactions are separate – not in exchange for.”
Mash-ups galore — You could see this coming: A whole bunch of start-ups are being formed to help companies, web sites and developers better exploit mash-ups, or programs that integrate two different Web applications — like Google Maps and Craigslist, to take a popular example. There’s Mashery, which has raised an unknown amount of seed financing to create mashup tools — Jeff Clavier, an angel investor in this SF-based start-up, wouldn’t tell us much, saying only it was a back-end infrastructure play. And there’s Abgenial Systems, a Santa Clara company just funded (amount unknown) by Peter Rip of Leapfrog Ventures. Rip just posted about it on his blog, recounting a painful birth — but it is out in the world now and screaming. He calls it “Programming the Web.” And Marc Canter, of GoingOn, has a good post about why all these open APIs and reciprocation is requiring new tools like feed cache. (Via Jeff Nolan, an SAP guy who has followed the area well.) Finally, another company will launch tomorrow.
NearbyNow, yet another service telling you what local shops are carrying — This is a Mountain View start-up that has raised $2.5 million in a first round of funding. Like Cairo and ShopLocal, it wants to tell you online which shops in your area are carrying the merchandise you are looking for. It will launch later this summer. Of course, NearbyNow aims to let you use your mobile phone to shop, too. Draper Fisher Jurvetson led the round.
Silicon Valley venture firm VantagePoint raises $756M — This is the firm that made a pretty clever investment in MySpace. Venturewire reports that it has had trouble reaching a $1.6 billion target for its latest venture fund. And according to Private Equity Insider, some limited partners protested when the firm’s partners had wanted to claim a 25 percent portion of the profits made from its investments (meaning investors would get 75 percent back) and a 2 percent management fee (a whopping $32 million, if you base that on $1.6 billion intended target). We contacted the firm, and partner Alan Salzman provides a slightly different picture. “At no point did we ever even consider seeking or requesting $1.6 Billion and we never approached any investors about a $1.6B Fund. He says the firm’s fund memo has always said $1 billion, that the firm hasn’t had any trouble raising it, that there “was never any protest,” and that it did not otherwise receive any “meaningful pushback” from limited partners on the fund’s terms. Hmmm.
MetroFi messing things up for competition — The WSJ has a piece about MobilePro, an East Coast provider of wireless networks for municipalities, getting its contract killed by Sacramento, after that city noticed that a Silicon Valley competitor, MetroFi, is effectively offering WiFi for free. MetroFi is paying for the service by running advertising.
Serving the WSJ leftovers — Here’s the latest story about the intriguing character Jim Buckmaster, who is chief executive of the profit-shy SF online classifieds company, Craigslist. We chuckled at how Buckmaster offers the reporter from the WSJ — that chronicler of capitalism — “leftovers” for lunch. How symbolic.
Laid-off PeopleSoft employee draws company to Silicon Valley — Compiere, the open source ERP company, moved its headquarters to Portland, Oregon. But now it has raised $6 million from Silicon Valley firm NEA and is moving again, to be under NEA’s nose. But the official reason is that laid off PeopleSoft engineers make Silicon Valley a great place to hire engineers again, according to a:c.
“Zoove” while you drive — This is a new Palo Alto start-up that puts a code number on billboards that you can call with your cellphone, which then sends you all sorts of info for the advertiser. Sounds great for the advertiser, but will drivers really use this? If the billboards are sexy enough. Hwy 101 could use some spicing up. For that, Zoove gets $6.8 million from WorldView and Cardinal Venture Capital.
Piczo, which offers a way to create your own photo website, raises $4 million — The SF start-up is targeting the teen crowd, of course, and has raised nearly $4M from Sierra Ventures and Catamount Ventures.
Put video in your biz plan, and you will raise cash — RGB Networks, of San Mateo, which specializes in video processing and bandwidth management, has closed a $20 million Series C round, resulting in a tidy valuation of $110 million, according to VentureWire. Lead investor was Focus Ventures.
Linuxcare, former darling of venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, raises up to $15 million — Linuxcare filed to go public in Jan. 2000, despite some $20 million in annual losses, but things went splat after the bubble burst and the company seemed to go quiet. BusinessWeek reports the company is back, renamed Levanta, and helping you manage Linux on your hardware and other machines. It has raised between $13 million and $15 million.
–Cliff Higgerson, a venture capitalist respected in the industry for his investments into telecommunications, has joined Walden International.
—Google testing click per action
—Apple negotiating to put movies on iTunes
—Yahoo has opened its IM to outside developers
–Seven Networks, a Redwood City producer of mobile email software, has raised a fourth round of funding, and VentureWire suggests is was up to $30 million.