SiliconFilter

With 5 Million More Euros in the Bank, Pearltrees Gets Ready to Scale and Start Monetizing

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The Paris-based social curation platform Pearltrees just announced that it has raised a Series B round of 5 million Euros (about $6.62 million USD). The money is coming from Group Accueil, which had also invested in the service’s previous round. In total, Pearltrees has now raised 8.5 million Euros. The company, which launched its first alpha almost 3 years ago, aims to use this money to scale its product and – maybe even more importantly – implement a freemium business model for its service.

The company did not publicly discuss what exactly this freemium model will look like.

Pearltrees is probably best known for its highly visual interface to its collaborative curation service. Some of the most interesting technology the team has developed, however, actually powers the discovery mechanism that is slowly becoming a more important part of the user experience (especially in Pearltrees’ recently released iPad app). This so-called “TreeRank” algorithm – named after the way you organize your bookmarks/pearls on the site – allows the company to interpret and expose the interest graph its users generate through their bookmarking  activity on the site.

Pearltrees, according to its own data, had about 1 million unique visitors in January, which accounted for about 30 million pageviews. In total, about 350,000 contributors now use the site. Interestingly, only about 25% of Pearltrees users are American.

Pearltrees and Pearltrees story / Pearltrees development / Ecosysteme in Patrice Lamothe (Patrice)



11:00 pm


Uber Arrives in Paris – Closes $32 Million Round from Menlo Ventures, Goldman Sachs and Bezos Expeditions

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Uber, the private car company that is especially popular in San Francisco these days, today announced that it is launching in Paris today. After 18 months of operating in the U.S., Uber is now expanding internationally. As the company’s CEO co-founder Travis Kalanick told CrunchFund’s MG Siegler on stage at LeWeb in Paris today, the idea for Uber was actually born out of the frustration of finding taxis in Paris. Rolling out in Paris, Kalanich noted, was similar to rolling out the service in San Francisco, as the regulatory environment is quite comparable. Uber also aimed to stay ahead of the copycat industry that is so prevalent in Europe and often makes entering the European market hard for U.S. firms.

Coming to Paris – More Cities in the Works

Uber expects to roll the service out in about 20 more cities in Europe in the next year or so. The idea for the company is to launch in about one or two cities per month.

It’s worth noting, though, that Uber fares in Paris will be roughly 75% more expensive than regular taxis in the city. Uber is launching with 60 cars at first. According to Kalanick, about a third to half of all of Uber’s drivers are fully dedicated to using Uber. Others use the product to fill their dead time.

Raising $32 Million

In addition, Travis Kalanick also announced that Uber just raised $32 million from Menlo Ventures, Goldman Sachs, and Jeff Bezos’ venture capital firm Bezos Expeditions. With this, the company is also likely on course for an IPO in the next few years. Uber actually raised closer to $39 million in this C-round, but is keeping some of the money on the table for now.

 



10:18 am


SiliconFilter Goes LeWeb

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For two years now, I’ve attended LeWeb in Paris in December and this week will mark my third trip to Loic and Geraldine Le Meur’s annual event. Every year, over 3,000 people come together to see some of the most important Internet entrepreneurs from the U.S. and Europe on stage at LeWeb. The conference may not be the cheapest or easiest to get to, but I can’t really think of any similar event that is organized more professionally than this one and attracts a higher quality of participants. As an “official blogger” at the conference this year, I will make LeWeb the main topic on this site for the next few days.

For the first time ever, the conference is scheduled to run for three days instead of two. With appearance by Google’s Eric Schmidt and Marissa Mayer, Foursquare’s Denis Crowley, Flipboard’s MikeMcCue, Path’s Dave Morin, Spotify’s Daniel Ek, Evernote’s Phil Libin, Techmeme’s Gabe Rivera and plenty of other Internet stars like Sean Parker, Leo Laporte and Kevin Rose, chances are, we won’t be lost of interesting things to write about.

Follow LeWeb on the Net

The conference runs from Wednesday to Friday and thanks to the time difference between Europe and the U.S. chances are most of the news will have already happened by the time you wake up if you are in the U.S. If you are awake (and maybe in Europe or another country where the time difference is a bit more convenient, you will also be able to watch a number live video streams: the main stage, the secondary stage (scene of the startup competition, among other things) and the LeWeb Live TV studio hosted by Leo Laporte and others.



4:00 pm