SwipeGood, Lanyrd, Samsung, and PARC—The 1-Minute Version of Last Week’s Bay Area BizTech News
I spent a couple of days at the Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco last week, but unfortunately the news didn’t slow down to accommodate my absence from the office.
—Our marquee infotech event of the spring, Beyond Mobile: Computing in 2021, is coming up tomorrow at SRI International in Menlo Park; you can get your ticket now. One of the panelists coming in to help explore the long-range future of consumer computing is Dan Reed, head of Microsoft’s eXtreme Computing Group (XCG); on a Q&A published last week, I asked Reed how he compensates for the inevitable uncertainties in technology forecasting and where he thinks cloud computing, mobile computing, and AI research are heading.
—Staffers at PARC published a blog post taking issue with Malcolm Gladwell’s New Yorker article last week about Apple, Xerox, and the nature of innovation. PARC argued that Gladwell’s picture of innovation at the legendary lab is outdated, and that if Steve Jobs were visiting PARC today, he wouldn’t be allowed to walk away with the lab’s best ideas—there’d be a collaboration informed by the philosophy of open innovation.
—The tech world buzzed with discussion over Microsoft’s $8.5 billion takeover of Skype, which has major operations in the Bay Area. My colleague Curt up in Seattle rounded up blog reaction to the acquisition, Microsoft’s largest ever, while Greg reported on his conversation with Microsoft online services president Qi Lu, who said Skype’s Internet calling functions will enhance existing Microsoft products like Xbox Kinect, Windows Phone 7, and Lync instant messaging.
—I was one of 5,000 attendees at Google I/O to pick up a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Android tablet computer. I’m a committed iPad fan and will remain so, but as I reported in my Friday column, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 (which hits stores in the U.S. on June 8) comes closer to matching the iPad 2 than any other tablet on the market. In fact, it bests the iPad 2 in some respects—it’s thinner, with a larger screen and much better cameras, for example.
—What if there were a site that tracked every conference you’d been to or are planning to go to, and did the same for your friends—a kind of IMDB for the event world? That’s exactly what Lanyrd is, and it means you’ll never have to fear missing a good conference again. I profiled the Y Combinator-backed startup, founded by the husband-and-wife team of Natalie Downe and Simon Willison.
—Back in April, San Francisco-based video search provider Blinkx acquired a Massachusetts online advertising network called Burst Media. I got a behind-the-scenes look at the rationale for the Burst purchase from Blinkx CEO Suranga Chandratillake, who says Blinkx is now on a path to become a niche publishing network with enough eyeballs to pull advertisers away from television.
—San Francisco-based Levi’s and American Express have teamed up with LevelUp, a spinoff of Cambridge, MA-based SCVNGR, in a test of a new deals technology designed to encourage repeat visits to retail locations. LevelUp’s technology, which offers American Express card holders a series of escalating discounts if they make repeat purchases, will be tested in Levi’s stores in San Francisco, Boston, and King of Prussia, PA.
—I profiled SwipeGood, a Y Combinator-backed startup that hopes to change the way non-profits raise money. The company tracks consumers’ credit- and debit-card spending, rounds up each transaction to the nearest dollar, and donates the difference each month to the users’ favorite charity. I interviewed co-founder Steli Efti about the startup, which he hopes will grow to rival other huge fundraisers like Salvation Army and United Way.
—San Francisco-based Riverbed Technology announced a collaboration with Akamai in Cambridge, MA, to build technology that will help enterprises run their applications across hybrid public-private cloud computing infrastructures, as Greg reported.
—In deals news, Palantir Technologies raised $50 million, Funzio raised $20 million, Pageonce raised $15 million, Demandbase raised $10 million, BranchOut raised $18 million, and ThredUp raised $7 million.