The White House Smiles on Entrepreneurs, TripAdvisor Smiles on EveryTrail, Hearsay and ReadyForZero Debut, & More Bay Area BizTech News

2/7/11Follow @wroush

Last week was just about the most hectic news week since Xconomy hung out its shingle in San Francisco last summer.

—The White House, continuing on the innovation theme sounded by President Obama in his State of the Union address, unveiled a “Startup America” initiative highlighting dozens of programs around the country designed to improve conditions for high-tech entrepreneurs. We summarized that story in a news analysis that also looked at the surprising recent developments at venture incubators Y Combinator and TechStars.

—EveryTrail, a Palo Alto, CA-based startup that makes a GPS app for producing map-based slide shows, was acquired by Massachusetts-based review site TripAdvisor. I talked with a TripAdvisor exec about how EveryTrail’s publishing platform might be integrated with TripAdvisor’s own mobile products.

—Hearsay, founded by former Salesforce exec Clara Shih, unveiled a social media management platform designed to help corporations with lots of local branches manage the social media activities of their branch managers.

—MassiveHealth, a stealth-mode company working on mobile apps to help people manage chronic conditions like diabetes, obesity, and hypertension, collected $2.25 million in seed funding. I talked with co-founders Aza Raskin and Sutha Kamal.

—I profiled ReadyForZero, a Y Combinator-backed company that’s created Web-based dashboards to help credit card holders understand their debt situation and pay off their cards as quickly as possible. The startup will earn revenues through referrals—candidates for lower-interest debt-consolidation loans will be referred to Lending Club, for example—and by providing credit-report-like vouchers for users’ payment performance.

—Foodily, a recipe search startup based in San Mateo, added some key sharing features to its website, with the goal of making meal planning more social. I interviewed CEO Andrea Cutright.

—There are two Ruby on Rails platform-as-a-service startups in San Francisco. And since Heroku has been getting so much attention lately as a result of its purchase by Salesforce.com, I decided to investigate its older cousin, Engine Yard. I got the whole back story about the company from CEO John Dillon and co-founder Tom Mornini—including the likely reason why Salesforce passed the company by.

—In my February 4 column, I took a close look at The Daily, the new iPad-only newspaper from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. Murdoch’s gambit, I concluded, could force other news operations to raise their games and think more carefully about how to take advantage of mobile touchscreen platforms and how to price their content.

—Intel is funding a new effort at the University of Washington to make it easier for researchers and academics to collaborate on experimental chips that merge electronic and photonic components. Modeled on USC’s successful MOSIS project, UW’s new OpSIS project is designed to help Seattle steal the lead in optoelectronic technology, as Luke reported.

—The TurboTax division of Mountain View, CA-based Intuit introduced the first mobile app for filing your tax return, as Bruce reported.

—In deals news, Solar Power Partners raised $3 million, Aria Systems raised $20 million, Path raised $8.65 million, Instagram raised $7 million, Rentjuice raised $6.2 million, Seesmic raised $4 million, Loc-Aid raised $13 million, and Storify raised $2 million.

—Two Bay Area companies began trading on the Nasdaq exchange. Mobile medical reference provider Epocrates came out of the gate on February 2 at $16 per share, bringing in $57 million, and Velti, the advertising conglomerate based in both San Francisco and Dublin, debuted at $12 per share, raising $133 million.

Wade Roush is Chief Correspondent and Editor At Large at Xconomy. You can subscribe to his Google Group or e-mail him at wroush@xconomy.com. Follow @wroush

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