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SparkLabs Global Ventures launches $30M seed fund to help startups go global

SparkLabs Global Ventures raised a $30 million seed fund to help entrepreneurs around the world execute on their global vision.<p>The fund will invest in early-stage companies seeking support with international expansion. The fund is headed by Net Jacobsson, a former Facebook executive; Frank Meehan, …

Russian Mobile-First Banking Startup, RocketBank, Nabs $2M From Runa Capital

Another startup seeking to shake up the banking market with a convenient, mobile-first approach has bagged $2 million in seed funding from Runa Capital. Russia’s RocketBank launched its service in July 2012 and has since accrued “a few thousand” users. Its iOS app includes the ability to pay a …

Online Attorney Marketplace UpCounsel Raises $1.5 Million, Opens Its Patent Practice To All

UpCounsel has spent the last year building out its marketplace to provide its clients with affordable legal services. After serving more than 1,000 startups and small businesses, the company has raised $1.5 million and is announcing a few new products that should lower the cost of patent and …

Detroit's Packard Complex Could Sell Below $100,000 If Deal Fails

The Packard plant, which once symbolized the might of America's auto industry, is at risk of heading to auction if a pending development deal fails. If that happens, <i>The Detroit Free Press</i> reports, the 35-acre site eventually could be sold "for as little as $21,000," a figure that comes from Wayne …

Language learning heats up: Voxy gets $8.5M to help the world learn English

These are interesting times for language learning startups. In the past few months, several companies in the space have been acquired or raised …

Investors step back from Internet IPOs

After Facebook's initial public offering 14 months ago - featuring a computer malfunction, misplaced trades and lawsuits galore - a nuclear winter …

Venture Capital

MBank And The Future Of Responsive Banking

I’m not a huge fan of banks, but when senior director Michal Panowicz approached me about mBank, my interest was piqued. How could a banking spin-off of BRE Bank and founded in 2000 create one of the coolest, most high-tech banking experiences I’ve seen? The more important question, however, was …

Thrive Capital’s Kushner Looks To Build A Modern Health Insurer With $40M For Oscar

With new parts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) going into effect next year, Thrive Capital’s Josh Kushner is betting that health insurance — an area long considered off-limits to tech entrepreneurs because of its legal and political complexities — is finally ripe …

Refer A Startup To FundersClub For Crowdfunding, Get Paid If It Exits

Think you know about the hottest startups before anyone else? Equity crowdfunding platform and online venture firm FundersClub wants you to be their eyes and ears, so they’re offering to give you 10 percent of their carry (profit) if a startup you refer to them has a big exit. The FundersClub Refer …

Dropbox Acquires Mobile Coupon Startup Endorse A Month After Shutdown

About a month after it shut down its app, mobile coupon startup Endorse has been acquired by Dropbox, the team announced on its blog today. The deal follows a number of other recent acquisitions Dropbox has been making, as it looks to add headcount in an increasingly constrained talent …

Family Books $500,000 Private Jet Flight Through An iPhone App

What was unusual, however, was the way the family booked: through an Iphone app.<p>"We were surprised," said Carol Cork, director of marketing at <b>PrivateFly</b>, the London-based jet charter company that took the Middle East booking. "But for us this was a massive verification of our mobile …

Ready For Hedge Fund Commercials? SEC To End Ad Ban

Imagine driving down the highway and seeing Bill Ackman, Carl Icahn or Steve Cohen on a billboard asking you for money for their next fund.<p>Okay. That’s unlikely because none of those guys are hard up for assets, and two of them manage their their own money anyway. But under a new rule passed today …

Local Food Delivery Service Fluc Goes Live In Palo Alto And Menlo Park

People like to eat and generally don’t like to cook. All of which means that food delivery is becoming all the rage among startups lately.* Anyway, there’s a whole new food delivery service called Fluc, opening up for service in Menlo Park and Palo Alto, that hopes to let people pick and choose all …

Shadow Banking Threatens China's Economy—but What Is It, Exactly?

Needed government reforms to the country's byzantine financial system may nonetheless upend China's growth.<p>Last week, the Shanghai interbank offered rate (Shibor), China's once-anonymous version of London's LIBOR, made news around the world when it suddenly spiked at all time high. Expected to …

LoveFilm Will Now Require Amazon Account to Log-In

While we knew that Amazon-owned Netflix rival LoveFilm was to offer its users the option to switch their login details over to use their Amazon credentials, it seems this will now become compulsory.<p>“We’re asking you to change how you log in to LoveFilm,” the UK-based company says in a blog post …

Biba Comes Out Of Stealth With $15M In Funding For Mobile-First, Password-Free Conferencing And Messaging Service

The smartphone is changing how people work but so far the applications for web conferencing have not taken much of a mobile-first approach. Biba, a new company coming out of stealth, has spent more than a year and $5 million in a Series A investment to quietly build a service that offers a …

Travel Search Site Wego Closes $17M Series C

Travel search site, Wego, just closed its Series C round of $17 million.<p>The round was led by Crescent Point, a fund manager with offices in Singapore and China that focuses on investments in Asia.<p>Wego’s site provides a metasearch across about 600 airline carriers and 400,000 hotels, and charges …

The Roots of the Next Financial Crisis—How Wall Street Undermines Reform

As Wall Street money flows to Republicans, Democrats are scrambling to get back in big money’s good graces, writes Lawrence Lessig.<p>Fifty-one percent, …

'Glow' App From Max Levchin Will Help Women Track Fertility

Can an app help you get pregnant?<p>Max Levchin thinks so.<p>The PayPal co-founder is now working on a fertility app called Glow, and demonstrated how it works at the D: All Things Digital conference last month. Calling the fertility industry "ridiculously 15th Century," Levchin explained that he'll use …

Online Coupon Giant RetailMeNot (Formerly WhaleShark Media) Files For $230M IPO

Online coupon giant RetailMeNot has just filed for $230 million IPO, according to an S-1 released today.<p>RetailMeNot, which was acquired in 2010 by the $300 million-funded WhaleShark Media, operates one of the largest digital coupon marketplaces (WhaleShark was subsequently rebranded as RetailMeNot …

IMF Says Sequester Hurting U.S. Economy, Delaying Recovery

As much as half of U.S. economic growth this year has been slashed due to tax increases and indiscriminate federal spending cuts known as sequestration, according to a sobering new forecast by the International Monetary Fund, which urged lawmakers to repeal the cuts.<p>Risks to U.S. growth are …

AT&T GoPhone plans to support LTE, drop most data add-ons on June 21st (updated)

AT&T hinted that it was shaking up its GoPhone plans later this month, and it's making good on its word. As of June 21st, customers using the prepaid service will have access to the same LTE service as their subscription peers; AT&T will mark the occasion by selling the Samsung Galaxy Express to …

The plunging Hang Seng suggests another awful year for Hong Kong IPOs

Hong Kong isn’t a friendly place for companies looking to raise capital. As the Hang Seng tumbled 2.19% today, China Harmony Auto Holding Ltd—a dealership shelling Rolls Royces, Ferraris and other posh rides—lost 15.6% in its first day of trading today, following its IPO last week. And Hopewell …

Hong Kong

Tower House has Powerful Verticals, Horizontals & Views

Sometimes a design concept gets in the way of good design, but at other times, a generative idea can carry through to create a space both remarkable …

Architecture

Yoghurt tycoon named world's best entrepreneur

The Turkish founder of a Greek yoghurt business has been named the world's best entrepreneur for building a $1bn (£640m) turnover business in less than six years.<p>Hamdi Ulukaya, who launched New York-based Chobani in 2007, won the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year competition in Monte …

Ernst & Young

7 financial terms every serious entrepreneur should know

<i>Jed Simon is the chief executive officer of FastPay, an online finance company focusing on digital businesses.</i><p>There are brilliant technologists and business leaders in today’s tech world, but while startups have their own, great talents, we’re seeing one common weakness: lack of understanding …

Goji launches smile-please smart lock | Financial Times

Days after August’s launch, yet another smart lock has come knocking on the door in the shape of Goji, which launches an Indiegogo crowdfunding …

Appurify Raises $4.5M Series A To Automate Mobile App Testing On A Wide Range Of Devices

San Francisco-based startup Appurify is announcing its $4.5 million Series A round today, funding which will help the company continue to build out its exhaustive and extensive app testing platform, and to expand its sales and marketing teams to help spread the word among mobile developers. …