What you need to know - 03/16/11

Ronny Kerr · March 16, 2011 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/183a

Apple delays iPad 2 launch in Japan indefinitely; Verizon takes 12 percent of iPhone market in month

Online education company 2tor raised a $32.5 million Series C round led by Bessemer Venture Partners, with participation from existing investors Highland Capital, Redpoint, Novak Biddle, and City Light.


The earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan have forced Apple to announced that it will be postponing the Japan release of the iPad 2 indefinitely.


Celergo, provider of consolidated global payroll services, received $15 million in expansion funding from Frontier Capital.

Doximity, provider of an online network for physicians, secured a $10.8 million Series A venture capital investment from Emergence Capital Partners and InterWest Partners.

Yahoo-owned Flickr is losing its head of product, Matthew Rothenberg, who was one of the first employees hired by the service's founders. 


Genius.com closed its Series E round of funding, led by Emergence Capital, with participation from existing investors Mohr Davidow Ventures, Accel Partners and Deep Fork Capital.


Just-Eat, a take-out ordering service, closed a $48 million funding round co-led by Greylock Partners and Redpoint Ventures with support from existing investor Index Ventures.

Seed-stage incubators are thriving in New York City, with five programs helping startups launch this summer. Not only that, but funding rounds have doubled across the board for seed rounds. Is it getting to be too much?


SignNow, which is preparing to launch a new e-signature service in April, secured $500,000 in seed-level funding from unnamed angel investors.


Twitter announced that users now have the option of surfing more securely by enabling HTTPS when accessing the microblogging website.

Social is taking search in a more democratic direction, but are we ready for it? VatorNews' Faith Merino digs deeper in this week's "The Deal."

Just a month since iPhone launched on the new network, Verizon Wireless has taken control of 12 percent of iPhone market share, according to ad tracking firm Chitika.

Visa announced that U.S. customers will soon be able to receive and send funds to any eligible Visa credit, debit or prepaid account, anywhere in the world, extending payments from the point of sale to enabling consumers to pay one another.

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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.