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Ron Conway declares his portfolio failure rate has decreased from 77% during the dot-com boom to 40% today. Additionally, repeat entrepreneurs in his portfolio have a 33% failure rate.

DST announces intention of offering a public offering next year and has selected Goldman Sachs.

Internet & Gaming

Facebook launches Questions to 3-5M users. Competing directly with Quora, the answer solution isn’t quite ready for production (my installation is broken).

Playdom announced a partnership with Harrah’s to launch an official World Series of Poker game on Facebook. The news comes on the heels of a forthcoming repeal of the 5 year ban on online gambling. John Pleasants, CEO of newly acquired Playdom, reported that 50% of Facebook users play social games, generating 40% of total minutes.

Groupon announced some rough figures:

  • the service is available in 170 cities across 22 countries
  • the company has 1000 employees
  • 97% of businesses featured want to be featured again
  • user breakage rate is about 10% (groupons purchased but never redeemed)

Vevo has been growing at 45% per month with 48 million US uniques, 141M global uniques in June

Amazon releases $139 Wifi only Kindle and $189 M2M Kindle dropping price point to reach the reading masses. Amazon also announces Stieg Larsson is the first author to sell 1M Kindle book copies. Lastly, Amazon integrated Facebook Connect to improve recommendations and present birthday announcements but makes it quite clear that purchases are not shared with Facebook without user consent.

Zynga hires Dave Wehner, formerly MD at Allen & Co. as CFO.

Mobile

Google announces location-aware display ads for iPhone and Android, complementing the location-aware text-ads. The new display ads appear on Google Maps and Google Maps for Mobile. Google will charge on a cost-per-call basis. Mobile ads with location deliver 8% higher CTR and click-to-call enabled ads drive a 6% increase in clicks.

Apple switches to in house Wifi access point database, leaving Skyhook.

For the first quarter in 3 years, Sprint announced positive net adds of 111,000 subs, likely tied to the launch of the Evo 4G.

GetJar announces 3M downloads per day and 1B cumulative downloads, representing 300% y/y growth. This growth is a bell weather for the rise in application downloads globally.

Enterprise

Tencent announces cooperative development of a cloud computing platform with Novell in China. The companies will establish a research institute in Shenzhen.

Financings and M&A

Norwest invests $15M in AdMeld.

Facebook rumored to acquire HotPotato.

CloudMade, makers of OpenStreetMap, raises $12.3M from Greylock.

Adobe acquires Swiss content management system developer, Day Software for $240M on revenues of $35.5M

GameStop acquires Kongregate for an undisclosed amount. Kongregate has 10M monthly users and aggregates online games, unifies them with an identity and currency system. 

Elemental Software, makers of video encoding and streaming servers, raises $7.5M from Disney’s Steamboat Ventures.

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