by Lorna Li
Gaia Interactive

San Jose-based Gaia Interactive raised $12M in Series B Funding, led by DAG Ventures, with return backers Benchmark Captial and Redpoint Ventures. Gaia Interactive is a youth-targeted anime and games site where users can create customizable avatars that they can dress up using Gaia gold earned by browsing, playing games and posting on forums.

Participation in the site is free, however Gaia-themed posters, shirts and hats are some ways in which the company has been able to generate revenue. Gaia Interactive’s main business model is to sell advertising.

Gaia Interactive was founded by Derek Liu in 2002 as resource website with a linklist. Over the years it moved towards social gaming. In July 2006 Gaia raised an initial round of $8.93M from Benchmark Capital and Redpoint Ventures.

Photo Credit: Brian Solis

Once again it was STIRR’s time to shine as the Bay Area’s premier event for CEOs, founders, VC’s, engineers, entrepreneurs, media, and bloggers.

Alison McNeill, Chandra Hardester, and Nandor Fejer were on hand to capture the evening for the next installment of tv.

Attendees were treated to a Q&A with Scott McNealy from Sun – which surely strengthened STIRR’s position as the area’s most prominent source for top-tier networking.

And those companies brave enough to endure STIRR’s trademark 60-Second Spot, where now further pressured with the audience of an applause meter! Rafe Needleman of Cnet and Webware continues his reign as the host/moderator and the room’s most respected reporter.
Presenting companies included:

Click Here For Video

• Notable attendees (and the source of some of the night’s best conversations) were among:
• Chris Heuer (blog), Co-Founder, Social Media Club
• Vic Podcaster (blog), Founder & Editor-in-Chief, HotFromSiliconValley
• Tim O’Brien, VP, Business Development, attendio
• Tara Anderson, Marketing/PR, Valleyschwag
• David Young, CEO, Joyent, Inc.
• Ranvir Gujral (blog), CEO, InsightPath
• Julia French, Managing Director, CIM
• Jason Hoffman (blog), CTO and co-founder, Joyent
• Karim Tahawi, CEO & Founder, My Currency Co
• Stowe Boyd (blog), Founder, Blue Whale Labs
• Gabe Rivera, Flounderer, Techmeme
• Ian Kennedy (blog), Corporate Development, Yahoo
• Mital Poddar (blog), VP Marketing, SwapThing
• Niall Kennedy (blog), Fearless Leader, Hat Trick Media
• Peter Pham, Sr. Director, Business Development, Photobucket
• Eric Hansen, CTO, attendio
• Jeremiah Owyang, Director of Corporate Media Strategy,
• Benjamin Wan, Angel Investor
• Larry Chiang, Founder, Duck9
• Renee Blodgett (blog), President, Blodgett Communications
• Beatrice Tarka (blog), CEO, co-founder, Mobissimo
• Kristie Wells (blog), VP, Marketing, Joyent
• Rohit Khare, Director, CommerceNet
• Justin Kan, CEO,
• Aymeril Hoang, Information Technologies Attaché, Embassy of France – Trade Dept.
• Ann Burgraff, VP Marketing, Attendio
• Jeffrey McManus (blog), Founder,
• Sunny Madra, Founder, Posticky

For more coverage from the event, visit Jeremiah Owyang’s place.


by Lorna Li

Search-engine marketing company Vantage Media Corp. raised a whopping $70 million Series A funding from Montgomery & Co., Scale Venture Partners, Tudor Ventures and Integral Capital Partners. Montgomery and Co., which acquired major equity stake in Vantage, helped sell MySpace to News Corp. and has been active in a string of deals with Google Inc., Yahoo Inc. and Sony Corp.

Vantage Media, based in Venice, CA, “specializes in customized, integrated search marketing campaigns for the education sector.” They manage more than 40 million keywords on Web search advertising systems and grew their business by reselling hot search terms from pay-per-click advertising providers Google and Yahoo to online education companies, such as University of Phoenix Online, Corinthian Colleges Inc. and Career Education Corp.

Founder and President Mark DiPaolo originally financed Vantage in 2002 on his credit card, however, the company has been profitable since day one. Vantage Media earns roughly $50M in annual revenue (about $1M per employee) but its new CEO Steve Jillings, the former chief executive of anti-SPAM company Frontbridge Technologies, anticipates growing to $200M in a couple of years. They hope to IPO in 2008.

This is the first time Vantage Media has taken outside funding. The $70M will allow Vantage Media to expand their services to Europe and new industry segments.

For more info, click here.

by Lorna Li

The online job search sector is becoming

Today, Austin’s itzBig raised $4M in Series A funding. Not too long ago, Seattle’s Jobster, a MySpace for job seekers and employers, raised $18 million from investors. Can Web 2.0 revolutionize the way we get our next job?

Here’s my two cents on the job boards out there. I’ve been hunting for a Search Engine Marketing job, ideally for a tech startup. It’s no easy feat, given my background is entirely nonprofit. My recent job search sent me on a tour of several job boards and professional networks, from the no-frills community favorite Craigslist, to former Web 1.0 darling, SimplyHired – the world’s largest search engine for jobs, LinkedIn and Doostang. Now that I am hired, I regret missing out on the opportunity to test Jobster.

As with many things on Craigslist, job-surfing Craigslist comes with a randomness factor of 9. For every 9 tries, you get back 1 relevant response. Don’t use it for dating.

Monster’s registration is tedious, the site is crawled by recruiters, Monster “agents” ping your mailbox with irrelevant job posts, and annoying special offers bar the way between you and the job listing. Oh, did I mention that the jobs are sparse and infrequent. Two thumbs down.

Fortunately, my tech-savvy friends are much more up to date than I. One of my friends invited me to join Doostang. Doostang is an invite only community that gives you access to jobs available through your personal network and affiliation. Definitely promising, and hey VCs – they’re looking for funding!

Nitin Borwanker, founder of, turned me on to Simply Hired and saved me from the pain of registering anywhere else. Simply Hired received a $13.5 million strategic investment by News Corporation’s Fox Interactive Media and prestigious venture capital firm Foundation Capital in April, 2006.

A search on “Search Marketing” pulled up fresh, abundant, and relevant job listings. Nifty buttons will also tell you the salary range for the closest position and who in your LinkedIn network can get you an intro.

In a world, I recommend using SimplyHired and LinkedIn for double impact. If you’re not on LinkedIn, you’re missing out on a primo opportunity to glam up your resume, give yourself the title you always wanted, and pepper your profile with glowing accolades from former clients, colleagues and bosses.

I signed up for LinkedIn years ago, but only recently decided to take Guy Kawasaki’s advice. Check it out:

Ten Ways to Use LinkedIn

LinkedIn Profile Extreme Makeover

Based in Palo Alto, LinkedIn recently raised $12.8 Million from Bessemer Venture Partners and European Founders Fund to accelerate global growth. Previous funding included $4.7 million in Series A funding from Sequoia Capital in 2003 a Series B round of $10 million from Greylock in 2004. LinkedIn reached profitability in 2006.

I love LinkedIn. I get updates from my network and see which of my friends are out there working it. I see my most networking-savvy friends add new contacts exponentially. Because I’m competitive, I’m determined to beat them all. It’s a race – whoever gets to the LinkedIn 500+ wins.

Megan McCarthy of Valleywag, Photo Credit: Brian Solis

It’s a Web 2.0 rodeo and the those behind the new round-up are holding on with both hands!

Fresh from the Dealmaker Media launch event (see here for coverage), Adriana Gascoigne and Nandor Fejer headed over to SFBeta to cover the scene for tv. The event, hosted by Christian Perry, was held at 111 Minna, which is quickly becoming the new 2.0 party HQ. This had to be the event’s biggest turnout yet.

Click here for Video

The bub crew caught up with several entrepreneurs, CEOs, VCs, bloggers, and developers to discuss the latest on the tech landscape, listen to jazz and enjoy cocktails.

Video interviews include:

  • James Hong of Hot or Not
  • Keith Schacht of JobCoin
  • Paul Lancaster with ServePath

We unfortunately missed the opportunity to interview SFBeta sponsor, My-Currency, which was fresh from their launch at Demo 07. So, here’s a link to their video from the Demo instead…

Christian Perry, Photo Credit: Brian Solis

Jeremy Toeman of LiveDigitally and Gabe Rivera of TechMeme

Andre Lewis Demo’ing HotSpotr, Photo Credit: Julie Blaustein
For more pictures from the event, jump over to Brian Solis‘ album on flickr.

For Julie Blaustein’s pictures, jump over to her album on Photobucket.

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