links for 2009-08-17

  • Earlier this year, as the stock market plunged, most bankers and other financiers hoarded capital and throttled back on new deals. But not Josh Kopelman. Even in the bleakest months, the co-founder of the venture capital firm First Round Capital hustled after startups to write them checks.
    Take one sunny morning in February. Kopelman sits in the San Francisco loft of First Round's West Coast office across a table from Gary Briggs. A veteran entrepreneur, Briggs just took over as CEO at Plastic Jungle, a startup building an online marketplace where consumers can buy, sell, or trade gift cards. "There's about $40 billion of unused gift cards on retailers' balance sheets," says Briggs, so focused he doesn't touch the salad ordered in for his lunch.
  • Facebook just bought the rights to nearly everything you do online. And it cost them only $47.5 million.
    Facebook's purchase of FriendFeed, an obscure social-media platform, is potentially momentous. To understand why, we must understand FriendFeed, a start-up that is ubiquitous among techies and unknown to everybody else. It's a sleek application that acts as a clearinghouse for all of your social-media activities. Post something to Flickr? That will show up on your FriendFeed page. Digg something? FriendFeed will know. Post to Twitter from your phone? FriendFeed will syndicate your tweets. Once you initially tell it where to look, it will collect everything and tell it to the world.

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