GE Spurs Smart Grid Investing, Evernote Opens Its Trunk, Zendesk Touts Twitter, & More Bay Area BizTech News

7/20/10Follow @wroush

It’s an Xconomy tradition: for the benefit of readers who may be too busy to keep up with us from day to day, we offer regular roundups of our news coverage from the past week. Typically we publish two separate roundups each week: one for life sciences news, and one for financial deals and general technology news. Luke usually writes our local life sciences roundups, and this is my first San Francisco biztech summary. So, without further ado:

—At a fancy press conference in downtown San Francisco, General Electric announced that it has co-invested with Foundation Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (both of Menlo Park, CA) as well as Boston’s RockPort Capital and Zurich’s Emerald Technology Ventures in a $200 million fund intended to cultivate new smart grid technologies.

—Evernote, the Mountain View, CA-based online notekeeping service, unveiled a new collection of third-party services that make Evernote’s own technology more useful. Called the Evernote Trunk, the effort represents Phase 2 of Evernote’s growth, allowing its users to capture, browse, share, and redeploy information in more ways, according to CEO Phil Libin.

—I talked with Microsoft FUSE Labs product manager Pat Kinsel about Docs.com, Microsoft’s experimental platform for collaborative document editing on Facebook. “We want to understand what it is that makes Facebook Photos so popular, and whether we, in the lab, can make documents equally easy to share and collaborate on,” Kinsel told me.

—Zendesk in San Francisco (formerly of Boston, formerly of Denmark) added technology to its online help-desk system that allows users to turn Twitter posts into help tickets—called, of course, “twickets.”

—Palo Alto startup mSpot introduced a free iPad app that lets users rent new-release streaming movies. CEO Daren Tsui told me that while Netflix’s iPad app “may have 10,000 titles to stream…you probably don’t want to watch 9,995 of them. It’s all old stuff. Ours has the latest and greatest.”

—Livefyre, a startup in San Francisco, began beta testing a real-time blog comment system designed to make the comment sections of websites more interesting and dynamic and less spam- and troll-ridden.

—Y Combinator alumnus Crocodoc released a new version of its free online document review tool and closed a round of funding from angel investors including Paul Buchheit, Dave McClure, Steve Chen, and Joshua Schachter.

—I profiled Jelli, the San Mateo, CA-based startup that’s out to revolutionize broadcast radio by letting users create music playlists collaboratively over the Web.

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Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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