Over 131 Startups Now Valued at $1 Billion, Says CB Insights

Two years ago, venture investor Aileen Lee coined the term “unicorn” for what was then a fairly rare commodity: a startup company that investors valued at $1 billion. In the current market, at least 131 startups are valued at a total of $485 billion, says research firm CB Insights, making the designation “unicorn” — a mythical beast — less accurate. Apparently, unicorns not only exist, but only half of the current crop hail from their birthplace in Silicon Valley. And they now focus on a wide variety of industries. Continue reading Over 131 Startups Now Valued at $1 Billion, Says CB Insights

Chinese Tech Firm Makes Major Investment in TV Remote App

E-commerce giant Alibaba is taking another significant step beyond its core business by investing $50 million in Mountain View-based startup Peel, which makes apps that allow consumers to use their smartphones and tablets to control their TVs. The Android version works with TVs, cable boxes and streaming video boxes, while the iOS version can replace the remote for Dish and DirecTV boxes. Peel’s Android version also comes preloaded on some HTC and Samsung mobile devices. Continue reading Chinese Tech Firm Makes Major Investment in TV Remote App

Course Reversal: eBay Plans to Spin Off PayPal Biz Next Year

Facing new competition in the mobile payment space, including the recently unveiled Apple Pay, eBay announced yesterday that it plans to spin off its PayPal business into a separate publicly traded company in late 2015. This is an about face by the online retailer, which had defended keeping the companies together after investor Carl Icahn aggressively pushed for a separation. EBay now says that a split will provide both companies with better competitive positions and allow them to focus on strategy. Continue reading Course Reversal: eBay Plans to Spin Off PayPal Biz Next Year

Alibaba Sets World IPO Record After its First Day of Trading

While Apple had a big weekend selling more than 10 million new iPhones, it wasn’t the only tech giant breaking records. Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. closed its first day of trading on Friday at $93.89 per share, a 38 percent increase from its IPO price, and the biggest first-day jump for an IPO of at least $10 billion. The IPO became the largest ever at $25 billion, after underwriters exercised a greenshoe option to increase the deal size by 15 percent based on strong demand. Continue reading Alibaba Sets World IPO Record After its First Day of Trading

Alibaba Raises $21.8 Billion in IPO: Ready to Take On Google

The Alibaba Group, China’s leading e-commerce operator, raised nearly $21.8 billion in its initial stock sale yesterday. While not the biggest initial public offering to-date, Alibaba did have one of the strongest stock sales on record, surpassing those for Facebook and General Motors. When it begins trading today on the New York Stock Exchange, it is poised to become one of the world’s most impressive Internet powerhouses, a compelling blend of Amazon, eBay, Google and other tech giants. Continue reading Alibaba Raises $21.8 Billion in IPO: Ready to Take On Google

Alibaba Growing, But Not a Threat to Top Cloud Services Yet

In May, Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba filed for a public stock offering in the United States. However, this fast growing company still has a way to go before it will be able to compete with the American tech giants that currently control the multibillion-dollar cloud computing business. For now, Alibaba appears to be focusing on expanding in China, where it already has four data centers and handles up to $5.8 billion in commerce per day at its peak. Continue reading Alibaba Growing, But Not a Threat to Top Cloud Services Yet

Nearly 40 Million Twitter Users Do Not See Ads on Site or App

About 14 percent of Twitter’s 271 million users do not log in directly to the mobile app or website, where Twitter features its ads. These 37.9 million consumers instead access Twitter content through third-party apps such as Flipboard, Instagram, Foursquare or various news sources. When Twitter filed its IPO last year, the company projected that the number of people accessing via third-party apps would decline. However, growth of the third-party app population has doubled since then. Continue reading Nearly 40 Million Twitter Users Do Not See Ads on Site or App

E-Commerce: “Buy Now” Buttons Appear in Twitter Mobile App

One new feature suggests that Twitter may be experimenting with online shopping. “Buy Now” buttons began appearing in the mobile app this week in tweets from Fancy, an online retailer. The buttons previously took users to a checkout page, but the function is no longer active. If the function is restored, it will be the first time that Twitter allows users to pay for products from a tweet. Twitter has been expanding its e-commerce capabilities since the company went public. Continue reading E-Commerce: “Buy Now” Buttons Appear in Twitter Mobile App

China’s Alibaba Group Launches U.S. Shopping Site 11 Main

The largest e-commerce company in China, Alibaba Group Holding, has launched a U.S. shopping website as it plans to go public in what is expected to be one of the largest IPOs in history. The new site, 11 Main hosts over 1,000 merchants in categories such as clothing, jewelry and interior goods. The site is currently available to users who sign up and receive an email invitation. Alibaba has invested in a range of U.S. companies over the past year, including e-commere and mobile messaging. Continue reading China’s Alibaba Group Launches U.S. Shopping Site 11 Main

Alibaba Combats Counterfeit Goods After Filing IPO Prospectus

As part of its effort to streamline the process of addressing counterfeit goods, Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group has begun to automatically remove from its biggest shopping site products that certain brands have deemed as fake. Alibaba’s Taobao shopping site is one of the busiest in the world, and counterfeit goods have been a concern ahead of the company’s IPO. Its expedited take-down process will initially apply to products identified by less than two dozen brands participating in the program. Continue reading Alibaba Combats Counterfeit Goods After Filing IPO Prospectus

Major Record Companies Invest $3M Each in Shazam Music App

Music-identification app Shazam has landed investments from the industry’s biggest record labels, including Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment. London-based Shazam’s most recent valuation was $500 million. Its value for the labels involves its potential as a marketing partner. Not only does the app enable users to identify music playing on the radio or TV, but it lets them share a song’s name via social media, download it from iTunes, or stream it via services such as Spotify. Continue reading Major Record Companies Invest $3M Each in Shazam Music App

Chinese E-Commerce Company Alibaba Files IPO in the U.S.

Alibaba, China’s largest and fastest growing e-commerce company, filed for a $1 billion IPO, which could make it one of the most valuable tech companies in the world. The company made $6.5 billion and saw a 57 percent increase in revenue in the last nine months of 2013. Alibaba handles more business than any other e-commerce company, with transactions on its three online sites — Taobao, Tmall and Alibaba.com — totaling $248 billion, which is more than eBay and Amazon combined. Continue reading Chinese E-Commerce Company Alibaba Files IPO in the U.S.

Sprint and Spotify Partner to Promote Streaming Music Service

Wireless carrier Sprint and streaming music service Spotify are reportedly joining forces to push the music service out to Sprint’s customers, similar to a plan already underway between AT&T and Beats Music. The new partnership will include free Spotify trials for Sprint customers and the option to pay for the music service using Sprint’s billing system. Spotify’s premium service costs $9.99 per month, although some Sprint customers will likely qualify for discounts. Continue reading Sprint and Spotify Partner to Promote Streaming Music Service

Pinterest CEO Unveils Revenue Growth Plan for the New Year

Since its launch in 2010, Pinterest has quickly transformed from a quirky website into a social media base used by one-fifth of American adults. To continue nurturing this growth, Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann has announced a new business model that will finally start to generate revenue. Pinterest plans to charge advertisers for promoting their products on the site. An analyst at Wedbush Securities believes this has the potential to earn Pinterest more than $500 million in 2016.  Continue reading Pinterest CEO Unveils Revenue Growth Plan for the New Year

Fake Twitter Accounts Boost Individuals and Trending Topics

Twitter estimates the percentage of its accounts that are fake is less than 5 percent, but some independent researchers think that number is closer to 9 percent. Fake accounts are a big market for those looking to boost their popularity and influence on Twitter, despite efforts by the social networking site to weed out the imposters. One man who manages 10,000 robot accounts for roughly 50 clients offers a glimpse into the market. Continue reading Fake Twitter Accounts Boost Individuals and Trending Topics

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