Archive | August, 2014

The new and improved GoDaddy

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GoDaddy, the controversial domain registrar known for its provocative Super Bowl TV ads, is turning over a new leaf. Blake Irving (formerly Chief Product Officer at Yahoo) has come on board as CEO since the private equity consortium acquired the business in 2011. Apart from getting rid of the usual scantily clad women in its commercials, GoDaddy has further positioned itself as a full-service marketing platform for SMBs and has expanded its product offerings. It has acquired Outright, a cloud-based financial management firm; M.dot, a mobile website development tool; Afternic, a domain marketplace; Locu, a tool that helps SMBs manage across multiple platforms; Ronin, an online invoice company; Media Temple, a premium domain hosting and website services company; and recently, Mad Mini, an email service for small businesses.

With an upcoming IPO and revenue of $329 million in the first quarter of 2014, GoDaddy seems intent on adding a few more strings to their metaphorical bow.

Telstra acquires Ooyala

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As part of its efforts to continue to control distribution, systems and platforms in the digital age, Telstra, Australia’s largest telecommunications company, has invested US$270 million to increase its stake in Ooyala, a leading Silicon Valley-based startup that provides cloud-based video platform services. The funding is on top of Telstra’s $61 million investment in Ooyala over the past two years and has increased Telstra’s stake in the company to a majority of 98% from 23%. Under the deal, Ooyala will operate independently under the leadership of its present executive and management teams and all employees will be retained. It will also continue to serve its existing clients like Univision, Comedy Central, NBC Universal, Telstra, ESPN, Telegraph Media Group, and Telefonica, among others.

So why is Telstra so interested in Ooyala? Analysts are predicting that Telstra wants to transition from being a traditional telecommunications enterprise to a global technology company. Telstra already owns 50% of video on-demand operator Foxtel and has expanded into digital media, file sharing and e-health. With Ooyala, Telstra will gain a substantial foothold in the thriving personalised cloud TV and video technology market and now has the expertise to compete with Google’s YouTube, Brightcove, and other emerging players.

Is bitcoin the currency of the future?

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We’ve all heard about bitcoin. If you’re a techie, you might have mined and used it. Despite being hacked and stolen many times in the past, the tech community continues to champion its use, while governments around the world struggle to control it.So what is bitcoin? Bitcoin is a virtual currency that utilizes cryptography for security. Unlike cash, bitcoins are not issued or regulated by a central bank and therefore it’s immune to manipulation. Like traditional forms of currency, bitcoins can now be used to make purchases online and in physical stores. What’s more, bitcoin is now legal in more than 20 countries including the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan and the UK. Investments in bitcoin-related businesses are likewise taking off. Last month alone, Andreessen Horowitz invested $2.8 million in Tradeblock, an online cryptocurrency data provider while Greylock Partners and Index Ventures infused $20 million in Xapo, an online bitcoin wallet service. Analysts predict that based on the amount of funding being poured into bitcoin businesses to date, total investments in bitcoin are expected to reach as much as $250 million this year.

Could Zillow and Trulia take over the real estate industry?

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Could Zillow and Trulia take over the real estate industry?

Zillow has just monopolised the US online real estate listing space with its $3.5 billion all-stock buyout of its fiercest rival, Trulia. Though the company will continue to operate both brands in the marketplace, the resulting company will combine Zillow’s 83 million monthly unique users with Trulia’s 54 million, making it the clear leader in the US online real estate space. Since the acquisition, Trulia stock has surged by more than 40% and Zillow stock is up 25%.

So what does this mean for the real estate industry? Fears have arisen that the acquisition will continue to squeeze traditional brokers. Zillow is in a position to wield a lot of power over advertising channels and leverage its scale to raise fees. There is also fear in the industry that Zillow will seek to disintermediate the entire market and remove brokers from the real estate process all together. It’s a wonder that with their notable credentials in running double-sided marketplaces, we haven’t seen ebay make more of an intentioned move into the real estate market. Could this be their next move?