Chegg, Inkling, Color, Y Combinator—The 1-Minute Version of Last Week’s Bay Area Biztech News
For followers of the Silicon Valley startup scene, 320 Pioneer Way in Mountain View, CA, was the place to be last week. The converted warehouse was the scene of Y Combinator’s Winter 2011 demo day, featuring pitches from 43 newly minted startups, 24 of which have already been publicly unveiled (the rest are still in stealth mode). As the spring progresses we’ll bring you in-depth looks at many of these YC startups, and in fact we got started last week with stories on Taskforce, which makes a very useful to-do-list management plugin for Gmail, and Noteleaf, which boosts your salesmanship by sending you mobile dossiers on your contacts 10 minutes before each meeting on your Google Calendar. On the opposite end of the sexiness scale from Y Combinator, there was news from the traditional world of books and publishing, where textbook rental company Chegg overhauled its website to better integrate two course-scheduling and homework-help startups it acquired last year and e-textbook maker Inkling snagged investments from leading textbook publishers McGraw Hill and Pearson. Speaking of investments, the week’s venture fundraising rounds included $10 million for DotCloud, $7 million for CrowdFlower, $2.4 million for HealthTap, $4.5 million for Motista, and $12 million for Inside View; most controversial of all, Color picked up a whopping $41 million for a new proximity-based mobile photo sharing app. Meanwhile, Facebook acquired Snaptu, Meltwater acquired JitterJam, and Shutterfly acquired Tiny Prints, while ServiceSource collected $111 million in its initial public offering. I capped off the week with an essay on the burgeoning “consumer surplus” generated by advances in mobile software and the new tradition of free software updates.