Tech Finance

In a rare event, a crowdfunded start-up has gone on to raise mainstream venture capital.

Digital Spin, which raised £60,000 in August from platform Seedrs, has now received several times that amount from Passion Capital and Balderton, two of London’s most active venture funds. Could this be the start of growing links between amateur and professional early-stage investors? Read more

Robert Cookson

Duedil, a start-up that provides information on every private company in the UK, has raised $5m in funding ahead of an expansion into more than a dozen countries across Europe.

The London-based company takes data from public and private databases and links it together to provide users with insights that would otherwise have been impossible to obtain. Read more

Roy and Eldar Tuvey, the British brothers who sold their startup ScanSafe to Cisco for up to $183m in 2010, have announced a new venture, this time in mobile services.

Wandera helps companies save money on data roaming by compressing data in the cloud before it is sent to an employee’s phone or tablet. On Wednesday it received $7m in backing from Bessemer Venture Partners, whose past investments include Skype, Box and Linkedin. Read more

Richard Waters

The Tesla Model S was Motor Trend car of the year last year and starts at a base price of $62,400. So how could you get one for an all-in cost of $500 a month?

Simple: start by valuing your own time at $100 an hour. That, at least, is according to the creative accounting that Tesla has just come up with for a new lease deal for the vehicle. Read more

A $500bn game of chicken. That’s what it feels like as a handful of the biggest US technology companies posture over what they plan to do with their “trapped” overseas cash holdings. But like all games of chicken, the end must come eventually – and it’s hard to see that this is one the tech companies will win.

John Chambers, chief executive of Cisco Systems, struck the most provocative pose in an interview with the FT last week. After four fruitless years of arguing in Washington for a tax holiday for repatriating his foreign cash to be invested in the US, he says he’s had enough and is going to spend it somewhere else instead.

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Tim Bradshaw

Just for a change, Apple investors are jumpy. After ticking about 1 per cent lower throughout Tuesday morning, Apple stock suddenly leapt in high-volume trading just after lunch to close up 1.4 per cent for the day.

The reason for this latest share-price volatility seems to be a fresh bout of speculation circulating on Twitter about what Apple might announce at Wednesday’s annual shareholder meetingRead more

Berlin has scored a victory over London in the battle to be the main hub for Europe’s start-up companies after Seedcamp split its flagship event of Europe’s largest support programme for fledgling tech businesses between the two cities.

The incubator programme, which began life with a week-long event at London’s Imperial College in September 2007, will now hold four such gatherings in the UK and German capitals. Read more

It is ironic that both Dell and Apple shared big news last week.

Back in 1998 Michael Dell, then the crown prince of the personal computer industry, recommended that Steve Jobs shut down Apple, which was in dire shape, and distribute the proceeds to shareholders. By contrast, reflecting the turmoil now afflicting all PC makers, Mr Dell is negotiating to borrow money to make his company disappear from public view. Apple, meanwhile, announced that its shareholders would receive a Valentine’s day dividend of $2.5bn – a tiny portion of its $137bn cash pile.

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Apple lost its crown as the world’s most valuable company this week after its quarterly profits disappointed Wall Street. However, worries of slow growth didn’t discourage some tech observers from rooting for Silicon Valley’s star tech power to bounce back.

Farhad Manjoo at Slate called suggestions that Apple was somehow losing its allure with consumers “totally bogus”. The only thing that held it back, he added, was an inability to keep up with customer demand: “Limited supply, unlike limited demand, is something Apple can fix. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not such a terrible problem.” Read more

Tim Bradshaw

It’s been a torrid 12 months on the public markets for consumer internet stocks, with Facebook, Groupon and Zynga all seeing their valuations collapse after going public.

Yet during that period, privately held Twitter has managed to increase its valuation: a tender offer to employees by a BlackRock fund prices the social media site at more than $9bn, sources familiar with the situation told the FT. Read more

If Microsoft isn’t prepared to take a bet on the PC, then who is?

This explains why the world’s biggest software company is now considering dipping into its $67bn of cash reserves to back a buyout of Dell, a casualty of the fierce wars raging in the hardware industry.

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Buzzfeed, the social news website that publishes everything from funny pictures of cats to long-form reporting on the US presidential race, has secured $19.3m in funding to bulk up its original editorial content and expand internationally.

The website will launch an office in London later this year, according to Jon Steinberg, Buzzfeed’s president and chief operating officer.

“London is the natural next expansion,” said Mr Steinberg. Although the office will include both editorial and sales staff it will be “very small” with “fewer than 10” staff. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Motion-sensing advances in computing will be a major feature of next week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas with companies including eyeSight, InvenSense, PointGrab and PrimeSense showing their technologies and Intel emphasising the “perceptual computing” of voice and gesture commands at its press conference.

But Leap Motion, which will be demonstrating its motion controller’s capabilities at the show, claims its technology is over a hundred times better than the competition and today it is announcing a a $30m funding round and a deal with Asus. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

The so-called PayPal mafia is a force to be reckoned with in Silicon Valley: Max Levchin joining the Yahoo board is just the latest example of a network that spans Facebook, YouTube, Yammer, LinkedIn, Square and – with Elon Musk’s SpaceX – the edge of the earth’s atmosphere.

In the British start-up world, the closest analogy is Lovefilm. The DVDs-by-post turned video-on-demand service was acquired by Amazon in January 2011, but even before that, had started the careers of many London tech-scene notables.

Now, Adam Valkin – a co-founder and sometime chief executive of Lovefilm, who went on to join TV producer Endemol and, three years ago, Accel Partners’ London office – is helping to take the Lovefilm mafia abroad. Read more

Is the US system for financing technology innovation broken?

It’s certainly damaged, according to one of the most successful US tech investors of recent years. If he’s right, both entrepreneurs and investors could be living with outsized expectations that were set in a different era and have little bearing on what is to come.

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The FT’s latest ebook is about Amazon and its voracious expansion from online book retailer into technological giant.

Is the company a force for good? Can it justify its current stock price? Why does Amazon compete with the companies it provides services to? Will Amazon agree to pay more tax in the UK as Starbucks just agreed to do?

Thanks to everyone who took part in the Q&A. If you have further questions, please post them to Twitter using #FTAmazon. Barney Jopson, the FT’s US retail correspondent, and Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson, global media editor, will answer them here as soon as possible. Read more

Richard Waters

After two quarters of declines, iPhone sales ticked up again in the latest period, to nearly 27m. Meanwhile, iPad sales dropped to 14m as rumours of a new iPad mini spread like wildfire. But for Wall Street, this was just the appetiser: the real banquet will be Apple’s current quarter, when iPhone sales are projected to jump to 50m and iPads to 22m. Speaking on the earnings call, Apple executives sounded optimistic about their ability to ship the new products in high volumes – though they warned that profit margins would suffer a temporary dent.

See below for our blow-by-blow take on the company’s latest earnings call. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Demo Fall 2012 is underway with more than 75 new ideas being pitched in six-minute presentations by startups at the annual event in Silicon Valley.

Hardware, software and services are being featured covering the social, entertainment, media, commerce, communications, big data, infrastructure, health and education sectors. A sample of the most impressive demonstrations – from a tabloid social-network app to an Instagram for video – is after the jump. Read more

Richard Waters

The hotly anticipated IPO of Workday could help to advance Morgan Stanley’s rehabilitation in the wake of the Facebook fiasco. But given the way other recent tech deals led by the bank have been structured, it is still too soon to pass a verdict on its performance – or to tell how much long-term damage the debacle surrounding the Facebook offering will do to its business in Silicon Valley. Read more

Maija Palmer

SkyDox, the online document sharing company, has bought its larger US rival  Workshare and raised £20m from venture capital groups in order to create a stronger UK challenger in the market for online work collaboration.

Anthony Foy, chief executive of Brick Lane-based SkyDox, said the combination of the two companies, which creates an entity with annual revenues of around £20m,  would allow them to better challenge rivals such as Box and Dropbox in a fast-growing market. Read more