An elitist Facebook look-alike launches — Hmmm, this new company, called Top20Network.com is only for Harvard, Princeton, Yale, U. of Pennsylvania, Duke, MIT, Stanford, Cal. Tech., Columbia, Dartmouth, Northwestern, Wash. U., Brown, Cornell, Johns Hopkins, U. of Chicago, Rice, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, and Emory. Keeps out riff-raff.

Here’s the release which floated in yesterday. The site locked us out, because we’re not a student at one of those schools. Interesting logo: A tall building with what looks like a Deutsche Bank logo on it.


NEA ventures to India — New Enterprise Associates has raised $105 million for a new venture capital fund dedicated for India investments, joining the frantic rush by VCs to firmly plant their flags in that virgin territory for start-up investments. The fund will have offices in Bangalore, and is called NEA IndoUS. News began leaking in Indian papers a few days ago, when it emerged that NEA had tapped Silicon Valley’s Vinod Dham — known as “father of the pentium” chip — for the effort. Vinod said he couldn’t talk about it yet. Word is (VentureWire), NEA is targeting $150 million in total wants to make early-stage investments, but we’ll believe that when we see it. NEA is swimming in cash, and is putting many millions of dollars to work per deal (which is hard to call early stage).


Silicon Valley’s Vani Kola is also part of the new fund. Vani’s first start-up, RightWorks, was acquired in 2000 by Internet Capital Group (ICG) for $657 million. Vinod wouldn’t tell us what will happen to his current firm, NewPath Ventures.

InFreeDA, the 411-Metro.com phone service, belly up? — Not quite. We got reports yesteday the free phone directory assistance startup was shutting down, and that offices had already been vacated. We’d we mentioned the company here in January, right after the company had gotten seed funding from Hummer Winblad. It had 15 full-time workers at the time, and was planning to employ a whopping 100 people by the end of this year — making us scratch our head at the time. But could it really be closing so soon? One of our colleagues double checked for us, and turns out the firm couldn’t raise a second round. So it is going through a major reorganization, not shutting down.

News-reader NewsGator, raises $7M — Newsgator, the competitor to Bloglines, Yahoo and a host of others competitors seeking to allow for easy RSS feed-reading (NewsGator permits it from wherever, including mobile phones, email platforms, etc), got the cash from existing investors Masthead Venture Partners and Mobius Venture Capital. That adds to more than $10 million previously raised.

Simple Star, a SF start-up that does the back-end technology for photo slide-shows, strikes deal with Time Warner — Simple Star already handles the photo slide-show technology for photo sites like Snapfish, Flickr, Shutterfly, and has a distribution deal with Walgreens. Now it has partnered with Time Warner, to offer the nation’s first television program dedicated to slide-shows, it says. The company won more than $6 million from venture firm Venrock last year, and it is now looking to raise another round.


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