Nextdoor, the San Francisco-based social network for neighbors, has raised $60 million led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Tiger Global Management. “With the investment, Nextdoor has raised more than $100 million in the last 18 months,” The New York Times’ Dealbook blog reports. “That is bound to set off questions about whether venture capitalists are inflating another technology bubble by throwing money at unprofitable start-ups.”
In a move that will be familiar to older PC users (used to piecing their desktop’s together), Motorola just unveiled a new model for building smartphones that involves modular hardware. “It starts with an endoskeleton frame … and from there you’ll be able to attach different hardware modules to create a smartphone for your needs,” VentureBeat writes regarding “Project Ara,” so-called. “For Motorola, Project Ara would be yet another example of pushing the smartphone market forward.”
Talking technology valuations, The Wall Street Journal thinks it’s starting to look a lot like 1999. “Shares of Internet companies are soaring again, and signs of pre-2000 exuberance can be seen in Silicon Valley and the nearby area,” it writes. Yet, there are clear differences between then and now, the paper suggests. Critically, “companies going public are more mature, the leadership teams more seasoned, the business models more proven.”
Responding to widespread criticism, Twitter is reportedly planning to finally add a female board member -- but not before the company goes public. “The move makes some level of sense, mostly because it would be difficult to have any new board member join [Twitter] now, given that that person would have to sign off on the public offering with little knowledge of its details,” AllThingsD reports. “Sources also added that … the company’s execs … believe that [a new board member] with international expertise is more important.”
Trying to top Apple’s most remarkable retail efforts, Google reportedly has plans to put its flagship Google Glass store on a huge barge off the coast of San Francisco. “Google is actually building a floating marketing center, a kind of giant Apple store, if you will -- but for Google Glass, the cutting-edge wearable computer the company has under development,” CBS’ Bay Area affiliate KCBS reports.
In a not-so-little branding coup for Samsung, the electronics giant just signed a $100 million deal with the NBA. As the NBA’s official provider of tablets and televisions, Samsung devices will now be used to help game referees review plays. More broadly, the tie-up is a “strategic move for two organizations looking to expand their global reach,” The Wall Street Journal reports, citing sources.
While calling Wikipedia a failed experiment would be premature, the site is struggling to maintain an active contractor base, the MIT Technology Review reports. “Wikipedia and its stated ambition to ‘compile the sum of all human knowledge’ are in trouble,” it writes. “The volunteer workforce that built the project’s flagship, the English-language Wikipedia -- and must defend it against vandalism, hoaxes, and manipulation -- has shrunk by more than a third since 2007 and is still shrinking.”
Putting online fraud in their crosshairs, the FBI and the Department of Justice are going after a Romanian-based organized crime syndicate, which, as arstechnica.com reports, they claim took in some $3 million by conducting sham transactions on eBay, Cars.com, and other popular Web sites. “They thought their distance would insulate them from law enforcement scrutiny,” U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch said in a statement. “They were wrong.”
Vivian Schiller, the chief digital officer for NBC News, has agreed to leave the peacock for Twitter, where, come January, she will head up news and journalism partnerships for the micro-blogging leader. The New York Times calls the hire “a bid to reinforce Twitter’s mutually beneficial relationships with the news industry.”
Always happy to ruffle a few feathers, Michael Arrington is suggesting that Google try to buy Twitter before it goes public. “It won’t be cheap,” he admits on his Uncrunched blog, estimating that Google would have to cough up at least $11 billion for the social leader. Still, “It’s just pocket change to Google,” according to Arrington, arguing that Google’s own social strategy (Google+) is going nowhere fast.