Venture Capital

Pet sitting site DogVacay fetches $6 million more in funding

DogVacay, the site that matches people who need a dog sitter with people who are interested in caring for dogs in their homes, is growing faster than a kibble-guzzling puppy.

The company, which launched in March and has about 8,000 hosts signed up on its network, recently hit $1 million in payments to its hosts. It's just received a $6 million investment from Benchmark Capital, co-founder and CEO Aaron Hirschhorn revealed today.

The site, which acts like an Airbnb for dogs, offers an affordable -- and more social -- alternative to kennels for dog owners, while giving hosts … Read more

What Square's rise means for the startup ecosystem

Square is different than any other startup that has come before it, and its growing influence and size will inevitably lead to a change in the way entrepreneurs run their companies and venture capitalists invest.

There's no doubt that Square is on the rise, but it is set to accelerate its growth, thanks to a strategic investment from Starbucks that places Square's technology in front of millions of consumers. And thanks to Starbucks, Square's revenue and valuation are set to soar.

Perhaps this is why more pundits are calling Square "Silicon Valley's next great company,&… Read more

Friendster founder raises $1.7M for social startup Nuzzel

A decade after his startup Friendster paved the way for online social networks, Jonathan Abrams is back with a new social project. And as of today, he has some high-profile investors supporting his plan.

Nuzzel, a startup that collects all the most-shared links in your Facebook and Twitter feeds and presents them in a clean, easy-to-read format, raised $1.7 million in seed funding from investors including 500 Startups' Dave McClure, "The Lean Startup" author Eric Ries, Slide's Max Levchin, Andreessen Horowitz's Ronny Conway, and the Founders Den's Zachary Bogue, who is also the husband … Read more

Google Ventures reportedly gets $100 million funding boost

Google Ventures, the search giant's venture-capital arm, is getting more cash to play with.

Google Ventures will now be allowed to invest up to $300 million a year into startups, up from the previous limit of $200 million per year. The boost was reported to Reuters by Google Ventures managing partner Bill Maris, who told the news outlet that the increased cash "puts a lot more wood behind the arrow if we need it."

Google Ventures kicked off in 2009 as a way for the search giant to identify early-stage companies and give them cash to help … Read more

ItsOn gets its funding on, targets mobile data 'bill shock'

A mobile company that wants to change how you access data just raised a boatload of cash.

ItsOn announced today that it has closed a $15.5 million Series B round of financing. Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz led the round. The firm was joined by investment company SV Angel.

ItsOn takes a unique stance on data usage by allowing customers to choose how much data they need and for what purpose. The company's Web site is shy about details on its service, but in a statement, ItsOn founder and CEO Greg Raleigh says that his firm's focus … Read more

The secret to creating the next Silicon Valley

New York. London. Los Angeles. Dublin. Chicago. Berlin. Every one of these cities (and more) have been mentioned as having the potential to become "the next Silicon Valley," a new technology hub that could rival the Bay Area's dominance when it comes to tech.

All of these cities are working hard to compete with Silicon Valley. London just hired a prominent Facebooker to become the CEO of its technology project. Dublin has f.ounders and the Dublin Web Summit. New York has a collection of high-profile tech companies, including Foursquare, Gilt Groupe, Fab, Tumblr and Quirky. Chicago … Read more

Yahoo's Marissa Mayer makes her first acquisition

Yahoo has acquired its first startup: Stamped, a recommendations engine built by former Google colleagues of Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer -- a team Mayer wanted to bring into the fold at Yahoo.

Stamped, which launched as a smartphone app last November, lets users recommend books, movies, restaurants, and other things to friends by giving them a virtual stamp of approval. It uses a Twitter-like social graph that lets users follow recommendations from both friends and celebrities, like chef Mario Batali.

The company had raised about $3 million from a range of investors including Bain Capital Ventures, Google Ventures, and singer … Read more

Udacity snags $15M to continue its assault on higher education

Few industries are under greater assault by technology than higher education -- and few companies are doing more to upend the way people learn the world over than Udacity, the young Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup that's brought computer science classes online and watched hundreds of thousands of students enroll. For single classes.

The startup is led by Sebastian Thrun, a former Google VP and fellow who led the development of Google's self-driving car and Google Glasses. And those are just some of his accomplishments. It was while he was a professor at Stanford University that he stumbled … Read more

Ka-ching! Mobile ads cranking $1.1B a year for Facebook

Facebook's stock is on a tear today, poised to post its biggest one day gain since it went public in May. This comes a day after the company's strong third-quarter earnings report and, perhaps more importantly, its upbeat call with analysts in which CEO Mark Zuckerberg said flat out, "I want to dispel this myth that Facebook can't make money on mobile."

While Zuckerberg and his top execs stressed that Facebook is in the early days on this front -- it only started trying to make money from mobile in March -- they did share … Read more

Ben Horowitz: Every breakthrough idea looks stupid

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Ben Horowitz, co-founder of Silicon Valley venture firm Andreessen Horowitz, told a crowd at today's Y Combinator startup school that running a company is a nerve-racking experience; that you shouldn't be fooled into thinking everything's been done; and that "every breakthrough idea looks like a stupid idea" at first.

"Sure we look for big markets and blah, blah, blah," Horowitz told some 1,700 entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs packed into Stanford University's Memorial Hall auditorium. "But we're all looking for a breakthrough idea. And by definition, … Read more