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


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

Do You Love Startups Enough to Subscribe to a Swag-of the-Month Club?


You can’t really call your startup a startup until you’ve ordered a few t-shirts and stickers with your logo on them. Startup Threads is one of a number of merchandising services for startup and specializes in t-shirts and stickers, though the company can also organize custom orders. But what if you don't go to a lot of conference and don't run a startup or work for one and you still want to get some startup swag? Here’s Startup Threads genius solution: the company just launched a monthly swag-by-mail club. For $15 per month (plus shipping), they will send you a package with a t-shirt, sticker and one surprise (trinkets, discounts, etc.) with a startup’s logo every month – and you don’t even have to attend any parties or conferences to get your monthly dose of swag.

This month, the featured company is travel startup Hipmunk. Other companies that have worked with Startup Threads include Reddit, Boxee, twilio and Breadpig. Startup Threads will send your bag anywhere in the world, though international shipping is a bit more expensive than shipping package inside the U.S.

Back in the early days of the last Web bubble, a company called Valleyschwag offered a similar service. There, too, $15 per month would get you a monthly bag of swag from Silicon Valley’s hottest companies. While the service was popular for a while, its founders quickly moved on to other projects. StartUp Schwag filled the hole left by Valleyschwag for a while, but they, too, ended their $15/month subscription service after a successful 32-month run in 2010.


9:13 am

Wajam Wants to Make Your Social Search More Social


Social search is, without doubt, one of the hottest topics in the search engine business today. Google and Microsoft have made it the central focus of their latest search engine features and numerous small players are also trying to get a foothold in this nascent business. Among these smaller players is Wajam, a Canadian startup that lets you easily add social search results to virtually all of the majorsearch engines and shopping sites you use today, including Google, Bing, Amazon, Tripadvisor, Wikipedia, and Yelp.

The idea behind social search has always been intriguing, as there is, after all, a good chance that the links your friends share online are more relevant to you than other links. To make this really work, though, a social search engine needs to be able to easily tap into all your social networks, not just either Twitter or Facebook. That’s where Wajam shines. It lets you connect to all your favorite social networks and then indexes all the links (and the content of the pages these links point to) that your friends have shared. Then, when you search, it transparently pins these results at the top of your regular search results on your favorite search engine.

Among the nifty features here are the ability to also add your Google+ account and search through it – something that Google still doesn’t let its users do. You can also filter results so you just see photos or just the links a specific person has shared. Earlier this month, Wajam also added a location feature, which lets you easily see who of your friends live in a given city and what places your friends have liked there.

Earlier this week, I talked to the company’s founder and CEO Martin-Luc Archambault. According to Archambault, his team mostly consists of engineers, as the company runs its own servers and has to not just pull in a very large amount of data (my friends, for example, have shared more than 3.5 million links) but also rank it. The ranking, indeed, could still use some tweaking, but in general, the search results are relevant, though the best ones are often under the fold (by default, Wajam only shows one result).

Overall, though, Wajam has turned out to be quite a useful addition to my search arsenal, especially because it pulls in data from such a wide variety of sources.


Enhanced by Zemanta

4:12 pm