Tech Finance

Maija Palmer

Skolkovo FoundationA delegation from Russia’s proposed ‘Silicon Valley’ development, Skolkovo, came to the UK this week in an effort to persuade UK businesses to invest in the high-tech hub being built on the outskirts of Moscow.

They faced awkward questions, however, about the political landscape that companies might face if they transferred operations to Russia. Denis MacShane, Labour MP for Rotherham, wrote to Lord Green, the trade minister, criticising the UK’s Department of Trade and Industry for hosting the conference, and pointing to the difficulties that many UK companies had faced in Russia. Read more

Mark Zuckerberg

At long last Facebook has filed for its initial public offering, the most eagerly awaited event in Silicon Valley since Google went public in 2004. Having read the prospectus, with its details of how profitable and cash-rich the social networking enterprise is, may I suggest it calls the whole thing off.

There is still time to cancel its IPO and the filing provides plenty of reasons why it ought to, and why Mark Zuckerberg, its founder and chief executive, would probably be happier if it did. He could carry on running Facebook as a private company and would not have to justify himself to outsiders.

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Chris Nuttall

Facebook has finally filed to go public, with plans to raise at least $5bn.  The 845m-strong social network’s S-1 registration statement appeared on the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s website on Wednesday afternoon.

Some key facts from the IPO filing: founder Mark Zuckerberg has a 28.4 per cent stake worth $22.7bn, based on a $80bn valuation for the company. Facebook made $1bn on $3.7bn in revenues in 2011.  It will trade under the symbol FB and Morgan Stanley is the lead broker.

After the jump,  a breakdown of  the contents of the 192-page filing and reaction from around the web as reported in our live blog. Read more

Maija Palmer

Online shopping and renting out spare capacity in flats and cars appeared to be the investment themes in Europe in January, with consumer-facing internet companies once again getting the majority of the money and attention.

Berlin was the fundraising hot-spot with at least four start-ups raising money, from $50m for SoundCloud to a more modest $1.4m for Gidsy.

This is the first of a series of monthly updates on the early-stage technology companies raising money in Europe.

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Maija Palmer

Venture capital investors appear to be growing increasingly wary of European companies. In 2011, they put just E4.4bn into 1,012 start-ups in the region, a 14 per cent drop from the previous year, according to Dow Jones VentureSource.

This was the lowest annual deal count since Dow Jones began tracking investments in Europe in 2000. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Despite the disaster of Solyndra, now is still the best time to invest in solar companies, the FT and Stanford Graduate School of Business’s Financing Innovation conference was told on Tuesday.

In a panel discussion, Steve Westly, a leading cleantech venture capitalist, said that, while the Californian solar cell maker’s bankruptcy had been a terrible thing, four or five global solar brands would emerge within five to 10 years. Read more

Richard Waters

Kleiner Perkins doesn’t admit new partners often. Last year it was the turn of former “Queen of the internet” Mary Meeker, the first to get a seat at the table of one of Silicon Valley’s top VC firms since video games star Bing Gordon in 2008.

So the appointment of Mike Abbott, former vice president of engineering at Twitter, looks like an important hire. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

MasterCard is to invest in mFoundry, a company that provides mobile banking solutions for more than 500 US banks, TechCrunch reports. As part of the deal, mFoundry will offer MasterCard’s PayPass Near Field Communication technology to the banks and credit unions it works with. Read more

Richard Waters

Until now, it has been advisable to take rumours of an imminent Facebook IPO with a large pinch of salt.

Yet according to one person familiar with the company’s planning, all the pieces are now in place for a Wall Street debut that could come in the second quarter of next year – even if that timing has yet to be finalised. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

Black Friday – the day after Thanksgiving – saw $816m spent online sales, according to research and monitoring group Comscore, making it the heaviest online spending day so far in  2011 and representing a 26%  increase against Black Friday 2010. Thanksgiving Day, achieved a  18%  increase to $479m, Comscore reports. Read more

Three and a half years after its unsolicited takeover bid for Yahoo collapsed in shambles, Microsoft has edged back for a second look.

The software company’s revived interest in the fate of one of the internet’s best-known brands marks the beginning of what all sides expect will be an intense few weeks of negotiations, as Yahoo races to come up with a deal that will appease unhappy shareholders before a potential fight for boardroom control breaks out early in the new year.

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Tech news from around the web:

Malware targeted towards phones running on the Android operating system continues to be on the rise, TechCrunch reports. According to McAfee’s security report for the third quarter, the amount of malware targeted at Android devices jumped nearly 37 per cent since last quarter. This follows a 76 percent rise in Android malware in the second quarter. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

Amazon has increased the order numbers for its Kindle Fire tablet computer from manufacturers to 5m units by the end of the year, according to TechCrunch. The tablet is available in the US from next Tuesday. Read more

Richard Waters

Yahoo just moved another step forward in its bid to control the end-game that has been taking shape around its future.

Silver Lake has agreed to enter into confidential discussions with the US internet company, making it the latest private equity firm to go this route – and potentially robbing Alibaba and Softbank of an ally as they consider making a play for Yahoo themselves. But it’s still far too early to call it “game over”. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

British billionaire Sir Richard Branson has made a ‘multimillion-dollar’ investment in mobile payment start-up company Square, a spokesperson for the company has told Reuters. The move  follows a $100m investment led by venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and an injection by credit card company Visa.

Adobe Systems is said to be scrapping its move to bring its Flash Player software to smartphones and tablets, CNET reports. The Flash browser plug-in is widely used on personal computers but has so far only reached a fraction of the mobile phone market.  Read more

Tim Bradshaw

When two key partners at Index Ventures, Danny Rimer and Mike Volpi, moved from London to open the tech investor’s first Silicon Valley office, many European entrepreneurs saw it as a loss for the region.

But as it raises a huge new €500m ($700m) late-stage fund, Index insists that it’s just as focused on Europe – and London – as it’s ever been. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

Downloads of Android’s apps overtook those of Apple’s iOS apps in the second quarter of 2001, Business Insider reports. According to figures from ABI Research, the market shares of Android and iOS were 44% and 31% respectively. However, Apple still gets more downloads per user than Android. Read more

Richard Waters

It seems that August’s stock market mayhem has done little to deflate the latest internet bubble – at least, when it comes to private companies with strong growth prospects and some traction in their business models. The latest case in point: Workday. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Zynga has updated its IPO filing with a breakdown of the sales contributions from its most popular games – FarmVille, FrontierVille, CityVille, Mafia Wars and Zynga Poker – as it faces questions on whether its games cannibalise one another and on how it will maintain its record of success.

The leading social gaming company also announced it would list on the Nasdaq rather than the New York Stock Exchange, with a ticker symbol of ZNGA, although the timing is still unknown. Read more

Chris Nuttall

In this fevered climate of big funding rounds and IPO plans for the hottest tech startups, allegations of founder greed have been flying around.

Airbnb’s founders, who recently suffered a PR disaster when thieves vandalised the apartment of a user of their holiday letting service, this weekend found themselves under fire from bloggers again – this time over their latest funding round.

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