Category Archives: News

words and pictures by Brian Solis

At TechCrunch40 today, Angel investor and startup advisor Jeff Clavier announced a new $12 million early stage venture fund, SoftTech VC II.

Per Clavier’s post, “After 3 years of angel investing in 20+ Consumer Internet startups (and profitably selling 5 of them), I am very excited, and humbled, to announce the launch of my very own VC fund…I have taken the step (back to the Dark Side ?) and have raised outside capital, from a mix of fantastic institutional and private investors.”

The group will invest in 30 to 40 seed stage startups with an average “bite size” of $250K, ranging from $100K to $500K.

Clavier’s recent investments include:

SocialMedia.com was co-founded by Seth Goldstein and has been building an infrastructure and an ad network targeted at social network application developers. The company will help these developers manage, market and monetize their applications. After just a few weeks, last Friday’s revenue on Facebook alone, was over $10K – most of which was distributed to independent developers.

Active Athlete Media’s focus is active consumers who participate in sports, and the advertisers desiring to reach this passionate audience engaged in the sports they love, on thousands of mid to long tail websites.

Satisfaction Unlimited brings to life a People-Powered Customer Service network where the wisdom of the crowds can get together to help answer questions.

Grouply There are hundreds of millions of users of message boards, email lists, forums and online groups products like Google Groups and Yahoo Groups, and they have not evolved for a long long time. Grouply will help solve that by enabling users to easily adopt a richer and more powerful experience for their existing online groups.

by Brian Solis

Mark Zuckerberg sat down with Michael Arrington for a fireside chat at TechCrunch40 to close out the day.

I’ll save the details for a later post,but I will report on the news that Zuckerberg just dropped.

Facebook will introduce the FBFund in conjunction with Founders Fund and Accel Partners, which will offer grants between $25,000 – $250,000 for developers of applications for the Facebook network.

It’s not a fund for angel investments however, as Facebook and its partners are not taking an equity stake. They are opting instead for the first right of refusal to participate in the next round should the company seek it through institutional channels.

The advisory board for the fund will include, among others, Zuckerberg, Peter Thiel of Founders Fund, Jim Bryer of Accel, LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman, Stanford Professor Rajeev Motwanti and First Round Capital’s Josh Koppelman.

by Brian Solis

I received an invitation from Lee Oden to jump into Yahoo’s new Mash social network and while I reserve a more in depth post for later, I definitely wanted to take a moment with you to share some initial reactions.

First, Y! Mash is cute. Yes, cute. It’s more related to Myspace than Facebook, so its not a river of relevance or an online hub for your personal brand – at least not in business anyway.

Like Facebook however, it shares a compartmentalized design template featuring modules that can be moved around to create the profile design you prefer, including the ability to upload backgrounds, CSS stylesheets and also to simply customize the colors.

In fact, I’d think of it as a Myspace for dummies ;)

Why?

It’s painfully simple to customize your profile and there are already several applets to further personalize the page, and, even add some fun little games for viewers.

And if you’re into Tamagatchi style pets, you’ll love the little mash pet you get to feed and take care of. WOOT!

OK, but seriously, you can edit not only your profile, but your friend’s pages as well – hence the Y! mash.

It also features the ability to bring in modules, which are basically widgets that add embeddable functionality and fun to each page. For example, you can add RSS feeds, Twitter status, flickr photos, Last.fm artists, and Youtube videos – among many other games, time wasters, and tools.

Mash also features a “pulse,” which is similar to the newsfeed of Facebook, to highlight the latest updates and activity from you and your friends.

Surprisingly however, the social network is missing the viral functionality of searching for friends. The “search” box on each profile is simply for Yahoo search.

If you’re looking for me, here’s the direct link.

Mash is currently in Beta, but if you’re looking for an invite, jump over to InviteShare.

More at TechCrunch, PR2.0 and Social Days.

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With the TechCrunch20 TechCrunch40 coming up next week, the news about what’s going on at the conference is already starting to hit the streets.

Research toolbox, diigo is going to introduce Webslides for RSS Feeds and Bookmarks at the event.

The new Webslides widget is an embeddable player that presents feeds or bookmarks as live web pages in an interactive slideshow format – complete with the full content, pages, links, comments, and ads. It can be sent to friends and colleagues and also placed on websites, blogs and in social networks. Each slide that is displayed actually registers as a page view for the content owner.

Webslides also adds a new layer to the web by allowing any Diigo user to annotate each page on the fly with sticky notes to share thoughts or to highlight important sections. Viewers can also bookmark, tag, share, and clip content from the pages in WebSlides for future reference in their own Diigo online folders.

To create WebSlides, users simply enter a feed or list of bookmarks and add background music or voice narration. By clicking “Play,” the list transforms into a slideshow, bringing Web pages and user comments to life.

story and picture by Brian Solis

Marshall Kirkpatrick is back!

Richard MacManus announced that Kirkpatrick is joining the team full time as their lead news writer.

Per MacManus, “I’m very pleased to announce that Marshall Kirkpatrick is joining Read/WriteWeb as a Lead Writer, starting this Monday. Marshall teams up with Josh Catone in this role, meaning that Read/WriteWeb now has three daily writers…Marshall will focus on breaking news for Read/WriteWeb, something he is very skilled at and which will complement Josh and I well.”

I’m a fan of Marshall’s style and it’s good to have his insight to help dissect and assess the good and the bad through the escalating volume of web news.

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