Tech Finance

Tim Bradshaw

Valuations in technology mergers and acquisitions nearly doubled last year and have continued to rise into 2012, even as dealmaking has waned in other areas this year, a study has found.

American Appraisal, a valuation advisory group, said that on average, the multiples of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation that technology companies paid for acquisitions in 2011 leapt from 7.7x in 2010 to 14.1x in 2011, a trend it says has continued during 2012. Read more

Interesting commentary from around the Web on the tech story that made headlines this week.

As Facebook’s lock-up period expired this week, its stock price tumbled, fueling concerns that the social networking site may crack under further pressure from investors to expand its revenue streams. Read more

Care.com, the website for finding nannies, pet sitters, and caretakers for the elderly, has raised $50m in late-stage venture capital funding, bringing the five-year old company’s total financing to $111m.

Sheila Lirio Marcelo, founder and chief executive, said she would use the money to support the Massachusetts-based company’s international expansion efforts. Read more

Richard Waters

The biggest investment yet made by Silicon Valley’s most-talked about new venture capital firm is in a start-up most people have never heard of.

But if you work in open-source software development, then GitHub is quickly turning into an essential utility – which explains why this mix of social network and content management system could be a model for how to make money from distributed online communities. Read more

Rupert and Wendi Murdoch©AP

The guest list features Jordan’s king and queen, Italy’s prime minister, three mayors, two governors and the director of the CIA. But technology and media superpowers will be the focus of attention this week as Allen & Co hosts its annual moguls’ retreat in Sun Valley, Idaho.

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Facebook’s second full week of trading ended just as dismally as the first, and it wasn’t the only one that was ailing. Tech stocks across the board, from Zynga to Groupon, were down. While this was partly a result of a broader market decline, doubts about social media’s money-making potential have taken hold on Wall Street. Read more

Richard Waters

Speaking at the D: All Things Digital conference in California on Wednesday, former Morgan Stanley internet analyst Mary Meeker summed it up succinctly: it is hard to overstate the scale of the shift to mobile access, but ways of making money lag woefully behind.

Ms Meeker, now a partner at Kleiner Perkins, laid out her analysis in the annual slideshow in which she sums up the big forces at work in the internet industry. Slides after the jump. Read more

Maija Palmer

After the excitement of Facebook’s $104bn IPO and the subsequent fall in its shares, something more modest is coming onto London’s alternative investment market.

Incadea, an Austrian company that provides software for BMW and other car dealerships, will raise around £17m on Friday, in a stock market float expected to value the company at £47m.

It’s a lot smaller than Facebook, but it is a rare technology listing in London, where the tech IPO market has been considered closed for a long time.  Read more

Richard Waters

After the breathless build-up, Facebook’s fizzling stock price is drawing plenty of negative reaction this week. But compared to one alternative scenario – a big first-day “pop”, which many investors seemed to have been betting on – this is far preferable in the long run for both the company and its shareholders. Read more

Facebook has become the public network – no longer a private company, the social network now has shareholders and a ticker symbol (FB) to go with the 900m users of its service.

Its initial public offering was priced at $38 on - the top end of its range, giving the Silicon Valley company a valuation of $104bn. But after opening at $42.05, Facebook’s underwriters had to fight to keep it above its float price, the shares closing at just $38.23, up 0.6 per cent.

For a Facebook “Timeline” of its opening day – from before the opening-bell ceremony at its Menlo Park headquarters through a frantic trading day – read Tim Bradshaw and Chris Nuttall’s live blog after the jump.  Read more

Maija Palmer

Funding Circle, a UK-based online marketplace where individuals lend directly to small businesses raised $16m of Series B financing from joint investors Index Ventures and US-based Union Square Ventures. This brings the total amount raised by the company to $21m.  Launched in August 2010, the company now facilitates around £1m in loans each week. The company is planning to use the funds to double its staff over the next year.

Dragonplay, a Tel Aviv-based games developer raised $14m in a Series A funding from Accel Partners.  Dragonplay specializes in makes card, casino and board games for smartphones and social networks and is best known for Live Holdem Poker Pro, which has more than 2m monthly active players.  The company will use the investment to expand its portfolio of games. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Needle has been making its point about mobile and social, taking its office-on-wheels around the San Francisco Bay area this week to meet customers, hire staff and hold parties.

Its Airstream motorhome, which I visited as it was parked on Union Square (pictured), has served as a headquarters, recruitment office and promotional vehicle for the Salt Lake City start-up. Read more

Richard Waters

Amidst the rising anticipation ahead of its IPO,  Facebook’s latest quarterly numbers are like a splash of cold water in the face. The growth in user numbers continues unabated, but revenues and profit margins are not what some investors were expecting. Here are a few things to note: Read more

Path closed a $30m round of Series B funding on Monday, giving the mobile social network a $250m valuation.

The current round was led by Redpoint Ventures, with several other investors participating, including Sir Richard Branson, head of the Virgin empire, who said he is betting as much on Path’s chief executive, Dave Morin, as his product. Read more

Richard Waters

Can you name this start-up?

Some 18 months after launching, it reaches 20m users and may be on the way to owning its category. An established internet giant, which has been trying to break into the same market, jumps in with a takeover offer worth more than $1bn – even though it’s not clear how the start-up will make money. With a market value that has soared to over $100bn, though, the acquirer feels it can afford the risk.

No, this is not Facebook buying Instagram – but the parallels are striking. Read more

There are many laws that help us to make sense of the world: the laws of physics; the law of averages, write George Osbourne, the UK finance minister, and Eric Schmidt, Google chairman. However, one of the more significant is Moore’s law, which forecasts that the processing power of the latest computer chips doubles every two years. This prediction has proved to be unerringly accurate over the past 50 years, and means that the pace of technological innovation is accelerating, not slowing nor flatlining.

However, it is not just the pace of technology progress that is accelerating. The role that technology plays in driving job creation and economic growth becomes more important each day.

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Spring cleaning was in the air for Apple this week as the company announced its plan to pay a dividend and institute a share buyback programme. The announcement had many tech commentators putting themselves in the shoes of Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, to ask: what else could Apple have done with its cash? Read more

Chris Nuttall

Apple has announced plans to pay a dividend and institute a share buyback  programme as it deals with a cash mountain that has grown to more than $100bn.

The maker of the iPhone and iPad said it would begin with a quarterly dividend of $2.65 a share, sometime in its fiscal fourth quarter, which begins on July 1.  A $10bn share buyback would begin in its next fiscal year, starting September 30 and be executed over three years.

Apple held a conference call to discuss the moves (it also revealed a record weekend of sales for the new iPad). Our live blog on that, and the reaction to it, is after the jump. Read more

Maija Palmer

The frenzy to invest in mobile payments providers continues with Boku, the San Francisco-based start-up raising $35m, in a funding round led by Telefónica Digital. It will take the total raised by the mobile transactions company to more than $75m since 2008.

Investors in this round also included New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Andreessen Horowitz, Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures, Index Ventures and Khosla Ventures. Read more

Maija Palmer

A little bit of much-needed consolidation is finally taking place in the European Venture Capital industry. On Wednesday DFJ Esprit and Tempo Capital announced plans to merge their secondary investment businesses.

Tempo is a specialist in this market of buying existing venture capital investments, and DFJ has been dipping its toes in since 2007 when it bought out Cazenove’s venture capital fund. Read more