VC funding

For such a simple little app, Snapchat provokes some strong opinions.

Much of the reaction to its fundraising, announced on Monday, was one of amazement that the two-year-old ephemeral messaging app could be worth $800m. After all, that’s more than Facebook paid for Instagram last year ($715m after Facebook’s stock slumped from the time of its initial $1bn offer). Read more, the Swiss-based holiday rentals website, became the latest technology start-up to raise money in the recent flurry of funding rounds. The C-round brought Accel Partners in as an investor, alongside existing backers Balderton and Index Ventures. It is possibly the first time these three top European VC investors have all piled into the same company, making HouseTrip seem hot property indeed.

The company, which has raised a total of $60m since it was founded nearly three years ago, is a competitor to US Airbnb, which has also been awash with venture investment money and has a valuation of around $1.3bn. HouseTrip says it focuses more on holiday home rentals, rather than short stays in a spare room. Read more

Kosmix is a very modern media company.

It sells advertising wrapped around online editorial and pictures, just like a newspaper or a blog. But unlike a conventional media outlet, it does not invest a cent in producing its own text, video or photography.

Instead, it automatically calls on thousands of free sources to build its pages. Articles from Wikipedia, photos from Flickr, products on Amazon and Google search results combine to create a “360 degree view of any topic”, says Anand Rajaraman, co-founder of Kosmix. Read more