Business Startup

iVLG News Roundup Week 13 2014: Facebook Buys Oculus VR; Washington Passes Crowdfunding; Bitcoin Taxation

Facebook Buys Oculus VR; Non-equity Stakeholders Feel Slighted

After raising $2.4 million through a Kickstarter campaign that helped bring their virtual reality headset to real reality, Oculus VR sold to Facebook in a cash and stock deal worth $1.99 billion. The company announced it was joining Facebook because “[t]his partnership is one of the most important moments for virtual reality: it gives us the best shot at truly changing the world. It opens doors to new opportunities and partnerships, reduces risk on the manufacturing and work capital side, allows us to publish more made-for-VR content, and lets us focus on what we do best: solving hard engineering challenges and delivering the future of VR.”

The trajectory the company took to a $2...

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Business Startup

iVLG News Roundup Week 12 2014: Seattle Startup Acquired; Microsoft Trade Secret Victim?; Time Warner CEO Makes $42,000 Per Hour

Former Microsoft Employee Arrested for Stealing Trade Secrets

A former Microsoft software architect, Alex A. Kibkalo, was arrested in Bellevue this week on federal charges cased on the allegation that he unlawfully passed proprietary information, including unreleased Windows 8 code, to an anonymous blogger. But Microsoft failed to maintain momentum as the victim in the case when it was criticized for the method by which it uncovered the crime it ultimately turned over to the FBI.  Microsoft was approached by a source who had been asked by the blogger to help interpret the misappropriated proprietary data, and the source disclosed that the blogger used a Microsoft account. Per the Microsoft terms of service, Microsoft decided it had the right to read the...

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Business Startup

iVLG News Roundup Week 11 2014: Crowdfunding Platform Expands; Top Level Domain .Sucks; Seattle #4 for Startups

Fundable Acquires LaunchRock; Candy Crush Goes Public

Equity crowdfunding platform Fundable acquired crowdfunding user engagement company LaunchRock in a deal that seeks to create “one of the largest, if not the largest, footprints in business crowdfunding.” The acquisition price, which was paid in cash and Fundable stock, was not disclosed.

Fundable reportedly used LaunchRock to help launch its business only 18 months ago, and Fundable CEO Will Schroter “love[d] the company so much [he] bought it.” With more than 10 million combined users and 500,000 combined registered startups, the deal highlights the potential size of a growing equity crowdfunding market.

Candy Crush game maker King Digital Entertainment, profiled in earlier news roundups for their aggressive trademark registration and “defense” tactics, filed this week to go...

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Business Startup

iVLG News Roundup Week 10 2014: Bitcoin Turmoil and Creator’s ID?; CNN Flips Zite to Flipboard; SEC Employees Make Insider Trading Gains?

Bitcoin Turmoil and Creator’s ID Apparently Revealed

After the Mt. Gox bankruptcy unfolded last week, this week brought news that the CEO Autumn Radtke of First Meta bitcoin exchange died under suspicious circumstances in Sinapore. And Canada based bitcoin bank Flexcoin revealed it was shutting down after being robbed of $600k worth of bitcoin. The response to the Flexcoin theft was muted in wake of the ~$350 million Mt. Gox heist. And in response to the Mt. Gox debacle, Japan decided bitcoin is not a “cryptocurrency” and announced regulations and taxes that treat bitcoin like a tangible commodity. 

What’s more, Newsweek revealed the apparent name and location of the alleged creator of bitcoin inviting ire from many, especially after the 64 year old California resident led press...

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Business Startup

iVLG News Roundup Week 9 2014: Bitcoin Under Fire as Mt. Gox Implodes; Candy Trademark Abandoned; Personal Service Startups Take Center Stage

Bitcoin Processor Mt. Gox Implodes

The bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox imploded this week after the company failed to make it through the theft of approximately $473 million due to a security flaw in the company’s software. The bitcoin heist perpetrated by still unknown thieves sent shock waves through the bitcoin community; some regulators, including US Senator Joe Manchin, took a stance in response that seeks to ban the cryptocurrency. While it may be just the growing pains of a new bitcoin industry or that a rogue Mt. Gox acted without responsibility, or both, some nations, including Russia, China, Vietnam, and Thailand have taken steps to end bitcoin use. Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday, which means the extent to which the Mt....

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Business Startup

iVLG News Roundup Week 8 2014: Mergers and Acquisitions for Google (and Apple?); Tesla Celebrates in Seattle; Seattle to Host First Bitcoin ATM (not)

Google Continues Mergers and Acquisitions Spree Buying Spider.io to Protect Ad Revenue Web

Google announced Friday that it has acquired London based ad fraud detection group Spider.io, which is led by a small team of talented developers. The firm specializes in discovering pay per click ad fraud, which has for a long time cost web marketers big money. Terms of the acquisition weren’t announced. Considering Google makes money from clicks, it may seem like the fox is now guarding the hen house. But a more appropriate analogy is probably that Google’s Spider.io is now guarding its massive online advertising web.

Tesla Beats Washington State Auto Dealers and Does Not Deny Apple Acquisition Rumors

Tesla won a victory at the Washington State Legislature this week...

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Business Startup

iVLG News Roundup Week 7 2014: Seattle Startups Invest and Expand; Bitcoin Regulation and Hacking; Seattle Business’ Trademarks and Parody

Seattle Startups Win Investment and Expand

Seattle based Frontdesk, a startup that makes business management and payment processing solutions for service based businesses, raised $4 million dollars in a Series A investment round that included venture capital firms Floodgate and Second Avenue Partners, as well as storied Seattle based entrepreneur Richard Barton. The company plans to use the money to expand.

Seattle based startup Tableau also announced expansion plans and are setting up more offices just down the street from ours in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle. The maker of data visualization software is taking over a gym and there is no word yet whether they will leave the basketball and squash courts.

Bitcoin Faces Regulatory and Hacking Challenges

Bitcoin users faced an assault on two fronts this...

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Business Startup

iVLG News Roundup Week 6 2014: Secret Apps and Insider Trading; Microsoft’s Path Forward; Paper and the Importance of Registering Trademarks

Rising “Secret” Apps Could Affect Securities Laws Regarding Insider Trading

Apps that allow users to send anonymous and semi-anonymous messages may cause trouble for securities regulators looking to avoid the type of insider trading that has recently been in the news with the SAC saga. The app “Secret” was launched recently, and Silicon Valley startup rumors and more than occasional passive-aggressiveness seem to be among the most shared “secrets”. While some of the rumors were debunked, including the rumor that Evernote was going to be acquired, others, including that Google is planning to buy Squarespace, have yet to be debunked.

These anonymous sharing apps, including Snapchat, Whisper, Secret, among others, have varying degrees of anonymity, especially given recent data breaches, but the potential...

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Business Startup

iVLG News Roundup Week 5 2014: Washington State Advances Crowdfunding; Microsoft CEO Search Nearing End; Bay Area’s Tough Week

States, Including Washington, Take the Lead on Equity Crowdfunding through Intrastate Offerings

It has been widely reported that states are taking the lead on advancing legislation that gives startups access to capital through equity crowd funding. And this week Washington state joined the leaders as the crowdfunding exemption bill HB 2023 advanced through the Washington state house of representatives. The bill is designed to provide an intrastate exemption to Washington’s rules for certain smaller deals, which would allow some of the promise of Title III of the Jobs Act to be realized for intrastate offerings. The bill must still move through the senate, and if it does, Washington would join Wisconsin, Georgia, and Kansas in passing crowdfunding legislation.

Microsoft to Name New CEO

Microsoft announced that it will meet this weekend to decide...

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Business Startup

iVLG News Roundup Week 4 2014: Seattle Startups Acquired; Candy Crush and Pinterest’s Trademark Battles Continue; Supreme Court, Congress, and Patents

Seattle Startups Sparq and Scout Acquired; Scout’s Board Sued

The Seattle Times announced Wednesday that “San Franciscans came to Seattle for a football game and left with a couple of startups.”

First, the online marketing startup Sparq was acquired by Yahoo and Sparq said it will discontinue its services. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but given that Sparq had raised only $1.7 million so far in several small financing rounds, the deal was relatively inexpensive for Yahoo.

Then, the same day, it was announced that San Francisco based revenue management company ServiceSource acquired Seattle area cloud-based analytics company Scout for $32 million in cash. Scout’s celebration of the deal is likely subdued as last week a group of Series A...

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