HealthTap, Qwiki, Bo.lt: The 1-Minute Version of Last Week’s Bay Area BizTech News

4/25/11Follow @wroush

Last week saw an unusual number of acquisitions and several interesting company launches in the San Francisco / Silicon Valley corridor.

—San Francisco-based HealthTap opened its health information site to the public. Focused initially on pregnant women and new moms, the site is designed to provide users with personalized health tips and background information on their conditions that can help them to ask smarter questions when they visit a doctor. Our coverage included a video interview with founder and CEO Ron Gutman.

—E la Carte, a Palo Alto startup that emerged last summer from the Y Combinator Venture Incubator, unveiled a system designed to let restaurant guests browse menus, order food, play games, and pay for the meals using tablet computers. Rajat Sur, E la Carte’s founder and CEO, told me the cost of the system is more than offset by the increased spending by guests ordering from the devices.

—San Francisco-based Qwiki, the multimedia reference site funded by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, released a mobile app that lets users browse its three-million-plus articles on the Apple iPad. My impression was that the Qwiki experience makes even more sense on a tablet device than it does in a PC browser.

—San Jose, CA-based auction and e-commerce giant eBay said it’s acquiring Where, the Boston company known for its location-based mobile apps and advertising network. As my colleague Greg reported, the Where team will become part of eBay’s PayPal unit, where they’re expected to help the company refine its mobile payments offering.

—A San Francisco startup called Bolt came out of stealth mode. The company has created Web software that lets anyone clone, edit, and republish Web pages. The system is designed in part to help marketers speed up the creation of Websites with lots of similar pages (e.g. real estate listings), but the startup is also pitching the Bolt service as a social media tool that will promote sharing of Web content. My coverage focused on the potential copyright pitfalls.

—My Seattle colleague Curt took a look at Heroku, Reddit, Netflix, and other Bay Area companies hit hard by last week’s Amazon Web Services outage. Curt’s sources argued that tech companies using cloud services need to think harder about fallback plans for when Amazon goes down.

—In IPO news, Envivio filed S-1 papers and Responsys (NASDAQ: MKTG) saw its shares shoot up 28 percent after its initial offering on April 20.

—In merger & acquisition news, Wal-Mart acquired KosmixSay Media bought Dogster, and Japan’s GREE bought OpenFeint.

—In other deals news, Mobile Spinach raised $1 million, Listia raised $1.75 million, CrowdOptic raised $1 million, Buysight raised $4 million, and Google invested $100 million in an Oregon wind farm.

—Twitter announced that it will remain in San Francisco, moving to new quarters in the old San Francisco Mart building in the Central Market neighborhood by mid-2012.

—My weekly digital media column looked at Baydin Software’s Email Game, a site that uses a countdown clock, rewards, a point system, and other game features to help Gmail users process their e-mail more quickly. In a test, I was able to use the Email Game to plow through 100 e-mails in just 17 minutes. Only 5,000 left to go…

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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