What you need to know - 02/10/11

Ronny Kerr · February 10, 2011 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/16e8

Andreesen Horowitz puts $80 million in Twitter; Facebook and Google itching for the company

Abe's Market, an online marketplace for natural products, closed a $3.4 million Series A round of financing led by Accel Partners, who are joined by existing investor Index Ventures and their other angel investors.


Docufide, a SaaS solution for helping academic institutions process transcriptions, raised a $4.5 million Series A round of funding led by Matthew L. Pittinsky, Blackboard's co-founder and former CEO and Executive Chairman.

Nine in 10 U.S. Internet users visit a social networking site monthly, according to comScore. More analytics data about the burgeoning world of social networking here.

Glassdoor, a startup for employees to talk freely about their company, secured $12 million in Series C funding, led by Battery Ventures with participation from existing investors Benchmark Capital and Sutter Hill Ventures.

VatorNews' Faith Merino argues in favor of the controversial Groupon ads aired during the Super Bowl.


Local content provider Examiner.com will be teaming up with LivingSocial to bring daily deals to its 25.2 million unique monthly visitors. 

While Latinos have lower levels of Internet and cell phone usage compared to whites and blacks, when controlled for education and income, their usage is the same, according to a new Pew report.

Social network maker SocialGO raised $2.2 million.


Sparrow, a new elegant email client for Mac, raised a seed round of funding from Kima Ventures.

SpeakerText, a startup that automates video transcriptions, raised $600,000 from a group of angel investors led by Mitch Kapor.


Facebook and Google have expressed ongoing interest in acquiring Twitter for somewhere between $8 and $10 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal.


Major Silicon Valley venture capital group Andreessen Horowitz invested over $80 million in Twitter by purchasing stock in private secondary markets.

Today's entrepreneur is Ethan Anderson, co-founder and CEO of Redbeacon.


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Redbeacon will find the right business or person to handle any local service need. 

Request a service (e.g., gardener, carpet cleaner, dance instructor) and interested local providers will receive your request and respond with their price to do your job at the time and place you need it done. 

You can see information about each service provider, how much they'll charge for your job and book your appointment online with the one you like best. Best of all, it's completely free to use! 

Redbeacon launched in September 2009 and won the top prize at the 2009 TechCrunch50 Conference. 

Whatever you need. Done. 



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What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from Twitter.com, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests. 

Where did the idea for Twitter come from?

Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.

How is Twitter built?

Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes. 

We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.

How do you make money from Twitter?

There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.

In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within Twitter.com, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet. 

At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.

Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on Virginamerica.com that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.


What's next for Twitter?

We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users. 

We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.


Ethan Anderson

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Former Founder and CEO of MyTime and Redbeacon (TC50 winner acquired by Home Depot), Product Mgr on Google Video and Google Image Search, Strategy Director at Buy.com and McKinsey & Co consultant.