Daily Roundup for 2008-02-29

  • The relationship between the venture capitalists of Sand Hill Road and the securities firms and power investors of Wall Street has long been a cozy one. VCs hoping for a return on their investments will need banks eventually, while Wall Street needs VCs to nurture the most promising startups until they’re ready to go public.  Or do they?  Lately, some of New York’s biggest players have been cherry-picking the best pre-IPO investments for themselves.
  • Although the tiny, family-run Joy’s Spa and Nail Salon in Adams Morgan may never get a critique in a newspaper, it’s received 42 reviews on Yelp.com.  Reggie Tull, the owner’s son and a massage therapist, said he noticed an increase in traffic with every new review posted on the recommendation site. He’s also surprised by the time writers invest in each posting.

  • Reuters reports that eBay may be on the prowl for acquisitions in 2008 after interviewing Lorraine McDonough, eBay’s VP of Corporate Development. McDonough told Reuters that eBay had passed on a lot of potential deals that were good strategic fits but valuation challenged. She said eBay may have the opportunity to revisit some of those opportunities in 2008. Reuters reported that eBay has accumulated "a war chest of about $5 billion in cash and short-term investments on its balance sheet."
  • After years of battling auction giant eBay in the courts, MercExchange has finally found closure. eBay announced it has acquired three MercExchange patents that have been at the heart of a grueling legal war between the two firms. According to a release issued by eBay about the settlement on Thursday afternoon, it also acquired some additional related technology and inventions and a license to another search-related patent portfolio that was not asserted in the lawsuit. eBay declined to disclose how much it had paid for the patents and technology.
  • What’s most important to consumers when making a purchase online? Personal identity. Consumers are taking more notice of their individual online security after a string of recent identity theft cases made major headlines. According to a recent survey by the University of Southern California’s Center for the Digital Future, 61 percent of adult Americans said they were "very" or "extremely" concerned about the privacy of personal information when buying online, an increase from 47 percent in 2006. Prior to 2007, that number had been decreasing for the past six years.
  • AOL CEO Randy Falco thinks a potential merger between Microsoft and Yahoo to compete with Google is all about search — and a mistake. But he’s happy to watch the spectacle. "I’m hoping the two of them will beat each others brains out over search and leave the display market to us," he told the 400 attendees here at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s annual conference.

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