What you need to know - 03/09/11

Ronny Kerr · March 9, 2011 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/17f2

Facebook releases real-time social analytics; Craigslist founder launches social conscious site

Avangate, provider of electronic software distribution and partner management solutions, raised €4 million in equity from 3TS Capital Partners, a central and eastern European-based firm.

Craigslist founder Craig Newmark launched CraigConnects.org, a site aiming to connect and protect non-profits and other organizations across the Web.

Credit Sesame, a free online service that helps consumers make smarter credit decisions and optimize their loans for maximum savings, closed a $6.15 million Series B round led by Menlo Ventures with Inventus Capital participating.

Facebook launched real-time analytics for social plugins, letting website owners track user interaction via likes, comments and more as they happen.

Online film service Fandor launched Wednesday with a library of over 2,500 licensed videos to be the Netflix for independent films.

Web-based advertising platform Flite (formerly Widgetbox) raised a $12 Million Series C round of financing led by General Catalyst Partners, with participation from existing investors Sequoia Capital, Hummer Winblad and NCD Investors.



 Foursquare, the location service that made a huge splash at SXSW 2009, has launched version 3.0 of both its iPhone and Android apps in time for SXSW 2011. The new app focuses on discovery, encouragement and loyalty.

GrubHub, an online site where consumers can make orders for delivery, raised a $20 million Series D funding round led by DAG Ventures with participation from Benchmark Capital.

HubSpot, a marketing software platform for small to medium-sized businesess, raised a $32 million round led by Google Ventures, Salesforce, and Sequoia Capital. Previous investors General Catalyst Partners, Matrix Partners and Scale Venture Partners also participated.

In celebration of National Breakfast Day, the Kellogg Company has created a campaign whereby for every picture that someone takes of their breakfast and uploads to the website, Kellogg will donate one meal to a child who might not get breakfast every day. 

Offermatic, a free online service that automatically saves people money on everyday purchases, secured $4.5 million in a Series A investment led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers with participation from Ron Conway and others.

Enterprise platform-as-a-service (PaaS) company Tier 3 today raised $8.5 million in Series A funding from Ignition Capital and Madrona Venture Group.


Just five days after making a considerable update to its app for iPhone and iPad, Twitter has bowed (slightly) to crowd complaints about the “Quick Bar” by altering its visibility in the middle of the stream: it will no longer overlap tweets in the timeline.

A new personalized iPad magazine, Zite, launched Wednesday and expects to beat out the competition by simply being the best at learning what you like to read.

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Ronny Kerr

I am a professional writer with a decade of experience in the technology industry. At VatorNews, I cover the zero-waste economy, venture capital, and cannabis. I'm also available for freelance hire.

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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.



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Zite "personalized magazine" iPad app will be launching March 9th, 2011.  More information to follow.



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HubSpot is an inbound marketing system that helps your company get found online, generate more inbound prospects and convert a higher percentage of them into leads and customers. HubSpot helps companies get found by more prospects using search engine optimization and marketing, leveraging blogs and the blogosphere and engaging in online social media. By using landing pages, lead intelligence and marketing analytics, HubSpot customers convert more prospects into leads and customers. Based in Cambridge MA, HubSpot Internet marketing can be found at www.HubSpot.com and the Website Grader free SEO tool is available at www.WebsiteGrader.com.