29 posts and columns on Russian
News Byte23andMe said it has raised more than $50 million in a new funding round, a near doubling of its investments so far. 23andMe has already raised over about $68 million since it was founded in 2006. The new financing includes Russian investor Yuri Milner, as well as existing investors Sergey Brin of Google, 23andMe CEO and co-founder Anne Wojcicki, New Enterprise Associates, Google Ventures and MPM Capital. The money will be used by the Mountain View, Calif., company to grow to one million customers and also to cut the price of its Personal Genome service to $99, which offers 244 reports on health and personal traits, as well as genealogy and ancestry information. That price was originally $999 and provided only 14 reports.
Zynga is poised to file for its initial public offering, according to sources close to the situation, as early as this week, or next week at the latest. The San Francisco-based online gaming company’s valuation in its last round of funding was $10 billion, but it is likely to price itself higher in an offering, given the recent series of strong IPOs for Internet companies.
Yesterday, in a major policy speech in Washington, D.C., Secretary of State Hillary Clinton jumped on the Internet bandwagon again, unveiling a $25 million government investment for entrepreneurs to allow dissidents to thwart “thugs, hackers and censors.” Since that’s about the amount a third-string social photo-sharing site gets while walking down University Avenue in Palo Alto, Calif., from venture capitalists with bags of money to spend, let me just say the money is, well, underwhelming. Clinton’s speech, thankfully, was much better.
Groupon is in talks with Chinese Internet giant Tencent to form a partnership to accelerate its effort in the critical Asian arena, said several sources with knowledge of the situation. Terms of the deal are unclear, but sources said that it is likely to involve some sort of co-branded joint venture effort between the two–a key strategic move for Groupon, given the hard-to-penetrate-if-you’re-not-Chinese Chinese market.
According to sources close to the situation, the aggressive Russian investment outfit DST Global is out of the running to fund Twitter. Instead, the prize is almost certainly going to Kleiner Perkins, the legendary Silicon Valley venture firm of Web 1.0 that has been making a big push of late into the Web 2.0 market. The valuation for the new round–which sources said is well above $150 million–will be from $3.5 billion to $4 billion. There also might be smaller investors in the new round, which could be completed next week.