TokBox, Kiva, WalmartLabs: The 1-Minute Version of Last Week’s Bay Area BizTech News

8/8/11Follow @wroush

As the eyes of the world focused on the debt debacle in Washington, D.C., business churned on as usual last week along the 101/280 axis between San Francisco and Silicon Valley. The brief summary:

—I profiled TokBox, a San Francisco startup with technology that lets Web publishers and developers embed multi-way video chat features in their websites free of charge. TokBox CEO Ian Small told me that he was encouraged, rather than worried, about big developments in the video-chat area such as the debut of Hangouts, the group video chat feature in Google+, and the alliance between Facebook and Skype.

—Design software giant Autodesk acquired community how-to site Instructables of San Francisco, less than a week after I profiled the startup. The Xconomy halo effect?

—I visited the startup formerly known as Kosmix and now known as WalmartLabs in Mountain View. Co-founder Anand Rajaraman told me how his team, which has developed a semantic social-media analysis system it calls the “social genome,” intends to help make the world’s largest physical retailer into into the leading e-commerce player as well.

—San Francisco-based microfinancing startup Kiva has chosen Detroit as the first U.S. city for a crowdfunded microfinance programs, as my colleague Sarah Schmid reported. Kiva Detroit will allow supporters of Detroit to lend as little $25 to small businesses in the city, with the impact of the loans doubled by matching funds from the Knight Foundation.

—A quarterly survey of cleantech venture deals by the accounting firm Ernst & Young found that second-quarter cleantech investments were up slightly compared to the first quarter, but down substantially compared to the year-ago quarter. Just over half of all new cleantech financing went to companies in California.

—In my Friday column I pondered the phenomenon of unbound media—what happens to traditional media formats like radio “shows” or music “albums” once the producers of such content make the jump to digital distribution.

—In M&A news, Facebook acquired iPad e-book publisher Push Pop Press, and Fusion-io acquired IO Turbine.

—In other deals news, Inkling raised $17 million, Lending Club raised $25 million, Leyden Energy raised $20 million, Restoration Robotics raised $41 million, Kixeye raised $18 million, Get Satisfaction raised $10 million, 6waves Lolapps raised $35 million, and Emergence Capital led a $15.5 million round for Janrain.

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

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