Tag Archive | "spend-the-money"

Twitter Doubles Its Q3 Revenue, But Its Aggregate 2013 Loss Has Widened To $133.8M

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According to its newly refiled S-1 document, Twitter has lost $133.8 million to date in 2013. That compares negatively with its equivalent loss of $70.7 million in 2012. Both loss figures include the results of the first 9 months of the calendar year.

Twitter’s initial S-1 covered only the first two quarters of 2013. That report indicated that Twitter had lost $69.2 million in the first half of the year. The figures therefore indicate that Twitter lost $64.6 million in the third quarter alone. Or it lost almost as much in the third quarter of 2013 as it did in the first three quarters of 2012.

What did Twitter spend the money on? According to its balance sheet, a large chunk went to research and development costs. Twitter’s accumulated R&D tab in 2013 rose from $111.8 million for quarters one and two, to $199.1 million through the third quarter – Twitter spent $87.3 million in the third quarter on research and development. Just under $30 million of that third quarter R&D tally comes from stock-based compensation, it’s worth noting.

Twitter’s accelerating losses could throw a shade over its public offering, if investors are concerned about its path to profitability. While its nine-month 2013 loss is essentially double its equivalent 2012 loss, it has work ahead of it to prove its long-term viability.

The other side to all this is that Twitter’s revenues are rapidly expanding. The company posted third-quarter revenue of $168.6 million, which compares favorably to its collected $253.6 million in the first half 2013 revenue.

Twitter has opted to file its IPO on the NYSE, moving away from the tech-traditional NASDAQ exchange. It will raise up to $1 billion in its flotation. Oh, and Twitter’s growth is slowing rapidly.

Top Image Credit: Emmanuel Huybrechts

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

With 28M Users, Art Community deviantART Gets Strategic Funding From Autodesk

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deviantart screenshot

Online art community deviantART is announcing that it has received a strategic investment from software company Autodesk.

The financial terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed, but deviantART co-founder and CEO Angelo Sotira told me this makes Autodesk his company’s largest investor. Autodesk’s vice president of consumer products, Samir Hanna, will be joining the deviantART board of directors, but Sotira also said the deal doesn’t affect “control of the organization” (in other words, deviantART remains a founder-controlled company).

deviantART was founded in 2000, which wasn’t exactly a great time for startups looking to raise funding. Sotira said the company “had to get creative from the very early days,” and it didn’t end up raising a full outside round until 2007. He also noted that deviantART’s outside funding has come entirely from strategic investors: “That’s not a strategy, it just made the most sense.”

When asked about how Autodesk and deviantART might start working together, both Sotira and Hanna didn’t offer any specific plans, pointing instead to their shared mission of serving artists – deviantART with its community, Autodesk with software like Pixlr.

As the name suggests, deviantART isn’t a stuffy art community; the site showcases a pretty broad range of digital art, traditional art, photography, and more, sometimes wholly original, sometimes inspired by existing media properties. Sotira said the average user is under 24 years old, and Hanna described the site as “the coolest place for artists to show off and learn from each other.”

But what is Autodesk hoping to get out of the deal? “Sometimes what you get out of an investment or a partnership doesn’t have to be very tangible,” Hanna said, adding that what he really wants is to see the deviantART community grow and become more engaged. “If that happens, well, we have all sorts of tools that artists use. If they choose to use our tools, that’s great, but that is not something that we would be pushing for.”

As for how deviantART plans to spend the money, Sotira said it will allow the company to expand efforts such as “bringing the deviantART experience and full capability to mobile.” At the same time, he said the vision will remain the same: “This is all about making deviantART more devious, more deviantART.”

deviantART says it now has 27.8 million “deviants” (i.e. users) who have created 253 million “deviations.” It receives 2.5 billion pageviews each month, with 80,000 pieces of art submitted daily.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Y Combinator-Backed Canopy Labs Unveils A Self-Serve Approach To Customer Modeling

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canopy labs

Canopy Labs, a company in the current class of startups incubated by Y Combinator, aims to help mid-sized businesses prioritize their sales leads and identify high-value customers.

Co-founder and CEO Wojciech Gryc says that large enterprises usually hire outside consultants to build these kinds of lead optimization tools and customer models. Slightly smaller companies (namely, those that still have more than 10,000 customers) could still benefit, but they probably aren’t going to spend the money.

Naturally, that’s where Canopy Labs comes in. Instead of paying to develop their own tools, mid-sized businesses can buy Canopy’s self-serve product, and while that might not be quite as good as a custom solution, Gryc argues that what these businesses really need is not “the most accurate, the best model ever built,” but rather something “actionable and quick” that’s usable by your average marketing analyst or sales analyst.

Canopy Labs imports data from the services that a business is already using — email, e-commerce platforms, social media, voicemail, and call center recordings. Then Canopy uses its statistical models to rate customers in four main areas, namely risk (how likely they are to remain a customer), value (how much they’re likely to spend), sentiment, and engagement (how likely they are to communicate with or about the brand in some way). Canopy Labs customers can then use that data to prioritize their sales leads, or to customize their marketing messages to different types of customers.

Gryc is a Rhodes Scholar who studied earned Master of Science degrees in Mathematical Modelling and Social Science of the Internet at Oxford. He also worked at McKinsey and at IBM Research. His co-founder and chief scientist Jorge Escobedo, meanwhile, recently earned a Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from the University of Waterloo, and has done research on string theory. So it sounds like they’re tackling the problem with some real expertise and experience.

The company’s product is still in private beta, but it claims to have already processed 3 million customers records, and it has already put up a few case studies on its website. In one sales campaign, Canopy claims to have increased conversions by 200 percent.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Etsy Wants to Give Female Programmers $5,000 to Attend Hacker School

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Hacker School etsy logo

Etsy, the popular marketplace for all things handmade, just announced that it will not just be hosting the 2012 session of Hacker School at its headquarters in New York, but that it will also offer ten $5,000 grants to women who would like to attend this year’s session but don’t have the financial means to do so. As Etsy’s VP of engineering Marc Hedlund notes, the idea here is to ensure that about 50% of the next Hacker School class of about 40 participants will be female.

Hacker School is one of the many recently launched programs that aim to teach budding programmers to become better hackers. It’s a three-month, full-time program based in New York. The application deadline for this year’s summer session is May 7 and the program will run from June 4 to August 25. Hacker School itself is a free program and those who get the Etsy grants “can spend the money on whatever expenses necessary to free you up for Hacker School, no questions asked.”

Hacker School co-founder Nick Bergson-Shilcock also notes that the female applicants will be judged on the same scale as men. “It frustrates us a little that we feel the need to say that,” writes Bergson-Shilcock, “and we think it underlines the sexism (intentional and not) that so pervades the programming world.”

Etsy’s Marc Hedlund acknowledges that “20 is a small number,” but that he himself has only hired about 20 female engineers in the past 17 years. He also notes that he would be more than happy to hire any of the female engineers from this next batch of participants, “but more importantly, we just want to see these women go on to get fun, creative, lucrative jobs in technology — and hopefully tell other women about the great experiences they’ve had.” At Etsy, a site that has given many female entrepreneurs a chance to start their own businesses, eleven women currently work in Engineering and Operations. That’s up from just three last September. Etsy has about 100 employees in Engineering and Operations.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Oh By The Way, CloudFlare Raised $20 Million Last November

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It’s a rare startup that closes a $20 million venture round and doesn’t bother to mention it more more than half a year. But Cloudflare, the almost-winner of TechCrunch Disrupt: SF 2010, did just that. They raised a healthy $20 million last November, on top of a more modest $2.1 million raised in 2009.

“We’re just now starting to spend the money we raised last year, CEO Matthew Prince told me yesterday, so we thought it would be a good time to announce it.” New Enterprise Associates led the new round, and previous investors Venrock and Pelion Venture Partners also participated, says the company.

The company, which offers websites a dead simple and very inexpensive content delivery network plus security and analytics platform, is on a tear. In May the websites using CloudFlare had 3.5 billion page views. Today their customers have 7 billion monthly page views, from 200 million unique users. And it’s growing about 50% per month. We’re also a customer.

That’s a significant portion of the entire online population. And that breadth of network, says Prince, helps CloudFlare keep sites fast and secure. “CloudFlare has stopped 2.1 billion attacks against its users’ websites” says the company. They have twelve data centers around the world to optimize delivery and keep things humming.

The company also has positive gross margins, meaning their revenue pays for the actual cost of delivering the service (but not headcount and other real costs, yet). They charge just $20/month to run a site, plus $5/month for additional sites from a user. There are no bandwidth or additional costs. That’s a ridiculously small fee to charge, and the big CDNs like Akamai, charging massive bandwidth and storage fees, must be taking note.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Five Things To Know About iOS 4.0

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Welcome to the future, or at least like the first five minutes of it. iOS 4.0 should be available now for iPhone 3GS and newer (post 2009) iPod Touches. Do you have an iPhone 3G or (shudder) the first iPhone? You’re SOL, my Luddite friend. Go back to the commune, you hippie.

I kid, I kid. Why spend the money if you don’t need to and besides, we’ve been playing with iOS 4.0 for a few weeks now and here are our initial comments.

1. Multi-tasking is still in its infancy – Apple gave developers very little time to really go full-bore on the problem of multi-tasking. As a result, you’re basically dealing with a form of proto-multi-tasking that may or may not do what you want it to do. MG wrote about this last weekend:

The component that all of these apps share is the ability to do fast app switching. What you may traditionally think of as multitasking isn’t the same on iOS 4. Multiple apps aren’t running all of their functions in the background at once — obviously, this would take up resources and eat up battery life. Instead, Apple allows third-party apps to do certain functions in the background now, as well as create an easy way for all apps to save their states to enable this fast app switching.

So you’re not going to go all Minority Report on your apps. You’ll be able to switch out of one app – a game, say – to hit a GPS program, but there is no definitive guarantee that you’ll be able to swap back into the game where you left off. In fact, Backgrounder, a jailbroken app for background activity, works better than multi-tasking in iOS 4.0 right now.

Read more…

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

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