Piczo allows teenagers worldwide to creatively express themselves, build personal communities, and share ideas and experiences with their friends in a safe online environment.
Piczo recently introduced Piczo Zone. It allows users to decorate their profile pages in much the same way as teenagers decorate their rooms – with posters, music, etc. Piczo Zone has over 35 categories including sports, music and design. It allows users to search for creative content easily and advertisers can have their ads targeted to the global teen market. Like MySpace, Piczo earns revenues from ads. >>>
For the moment, this will be my last Vertical Search Engine on the deal radar, while we turn the spotlight onto other segments. We have discussed TheFind and Wize. Today we will take a look at Retrevo, another shopping search engine. We had profiled Vipin Jain, CEO Retrevo last year.
Retrevo is a product review search service that makes finding, buying and using electronics fun. The site’s real-time independent web service aggregates, comprehends and summarizes important information on electronics products and presents answers in easily digestible and actionable form that average consumers can use. >>>
We profiled Tom Patterson, CEO of Wize.com last year. The site compiles both expert and user reviews and inserts them into a scoring algorithm to rank products. The site’s proprietary WizeRank gives each product a 1 – 100 score, utilizing collective wisdom ferreted from all over the web. >>>
We profiled Siva Kumar, CEO of TheFind.com, a discovery shopping search engine last year. This is yet another vertical search engine optimized for visual merchandising oriented lifestyle products.
In July 2007, TheFind raised $15 million in a third round of funding from Bain Capital Ventures, Ignition, Lightspeed and Redpoint. It had previously raised $11 million in two rounds ($7 million in Series A & $4.5 million in Series B) from Cambrian Ventures, Lightspeed and Redpoint. >>>
Rich Barton and Lloyd Frink, founders of Expedia, launched Zillow, a real estimate site in Feb 2005. Zillow is known for providing free home valuations called Zestimates, which are somewhat accurate. Zillow also provides house specs, graphing, mapping, and analysis tools. Zillow launched Smart Search along with enhanced Neighborhood Pages that makes it easier for consumers to zero-in on homes. The Company has 155 employees and is based in Seattle, WA.
In September 2007, Zillow raised $30 million financing led by Legg Mason Capital Management, along with prior investors Benchmark Capital, Technology Crossover Ventures and PAR Capital. It has earlier raised $25 million in July 2006 and $32 million October 2005.
So why are investors funneling these large sums of money into Zillow? >>>
LinkedIn is a professional business networking site founded by Reid Hoffman in 2003. It allows members to showcase their profiles and caters to the age 25-65 professionals demographic. It generates revenues via subscriptions and advertising. Recruiters use the site to tap talent, and is LinkedIn’s primary revenue generating segment.
In 2003, LinkedIn secured $4.7 million in Series A funding from Sequoia, and in 2004 received a Series B round of $10 million from Greylock. In January 2007, the site secured another $12.8 million from Bessemer and the European Founders Fund (EFF). >>>
Stardoll.com, formerly known as Paperdoll Heaven, is an online community for girls aged between 9 and17. It is a free online version of dress up dolls and is meant for those in love with fashion and style. The site features over 330 dolls and tens of thousands of virtual garments and accessories. It is now the No. 1 site for girls aged 9 to 17, according to comScore.
Key attractions include the ability to dress up celebrities and network with others. The MeDoll feature allows users to create a personalized doll that they can dress with merchandise from a virtual shop in its virtual galleria, the “starplaza.” >>>
It is raining cats and dogs. Electricity was out this morning and we just got it back. I am very behind in everything, including my writing. But here we go …
Trulia is a real estate vertical search engine that could be a potential Web 3.0 consolidator for the online real estate category in a similar vein as Kayak is for Travel. Besides vertical search, Trulia also has Trulia Voices, an online community that allows users to have a dialog. Trulia has also released Trulia API and Trulia Widgets, in the spirit of high-traffic sites opening up their platforms to third-party developers. >>>
As we have discussed, Online Travel is a large category, and active in entrepreneurship. Web 1.0 produced giant companies (Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Priceline), and in Web 2.0 we have a couple of vertical search engines that are pulling ahead.
Kayak, the world’s largest travel search engine, receives more than 6 million unique visitors per month. Kayak makes money mainly through advertisements and referral fees. Kayak also enables travel search for AOL, Comcast, CNN, About.com and USAToday.com. Kayak’s CPM range is $2-$6, and it gets between 50 cents and $1.00 per click. >>>
Given how much you heard me talk about personalization being an open opportunity, I would like to start my Deal Radar 2008 series with MyStrands, a company that has taken the personalization opportunity seriously.
Founded in 2003, by Dr. Francisco J. Martin, MyStrands has developed a social recommender engine designed to provide personalized recommendations of products and services through computers, mobile phones and other Internet-connected devices. MyStrands is a free desktop application that allows users to discover things they like and didn’t know about. The Company is a team of 90 people and is headquartered in Corvallis, Oregon. Their music video service is very similar to Middio, MOG and iLike.
MyStrands raised $24 million in its Series B2 round of funding this December. Spanish bank BBVA led the funding along with existing investor Debaeque. In June 2007, the company had raised $25 million in Series B funding led by Spanish media mogul Antonio Asensio, owner and CEO of Grupo Zeta, with existing investors Debaeque and Sequel R&D. It had earlier raised $6 million in March 2006 from Debaeque and Sequel R&D. The Company has thus raised $55 million till date. >>>