Jonathan Kaplan, founder of the Flip video camera business and now a chain of toasted-cheese-sandwich restaurants, is putting his foot on the accelerator with his expansion plans this weekend – driving away the first of an intended fleet of more than 100 food trucks to supplement his store openings.

The move will bring The Melt, backed by top Silicon Valley VC firms Sequoia Capital and Benchmark Capital, closer to its goal of opening 500 outlets nationwide over five years. Read more

The latest Personal Technology column in the FT’s Business Life section looks at the new version of the Flip camcorder:

“The success of the Flip style of camcorder has encouraged rivals such as Kodak, Samsung and Sanyo to launch similar devices, but the Slide­HD is the first low-cost camcorder to feature such a large HD widescreen.”

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The Flip video camera became a best-seller in the US last Christmas as a cheap, dead simple device for capturing video and uploading it to a computer or the web.

Its maker Pure Digital was also capturing the market for a moment in time and has sold more than 2m units to date.

But Pure Digital’s sale today to Cisco may also be a perfectly timed exit for its VC backers – much bigger competitors are bearing down on the startup, looking to copy its success. Read more

Webbie HD@CES, Las VegasFlip camcorders from San Francisco’s Pure Digital were Christmas best-sellers in the US, but electronics giant Sony has hit back in January with its own take on the low-priced point-and-shoot video cameras.

It unveiled a new line of camcorders called “Webbie HD” at its press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show on Wednesday evening, with the MHS-PM1 (pictured) paying homage to the Flip’s design and features. Read more