Andreessen-Horowitz, the prestigious VC firm started by Silicon Valley veterans Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, has just announced that it’s added its fifth general partner: Jeff Jordan, the former CEO of OpenTable and former executive at PayPal and eBay.
In conjunction with the news, A-H is also announcing Jordan’s first investment: a Series A funding round in hot Palo-Alto based startup LAL (also known as LikeALittle). When it’s completed, the round will total over $5 million in new funding for the company. Also contributing to the round are notable angel investors who include TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington (see below).
Oh, and we hear that LAL landed a valuation of over $35 million. Not bad for a startup that got its start last fall as a college flirting site.
This is actually A-H’s second investment in LAL in the last few months — it also participated in a seed round in late April. Neither Jordan nor LAL had much to share about LAL’s progress aside from the funding, but it’s clear that A-H has high hopes for the company and how it will deliver local context (which is a problem plenty of other apps are trying to solve as well).
As for Jordan’s addition as a partner, Marc Andreessen says that the firm has been on a two-year search as it sought to expand the team (in addition to Andreeseen and Horowitz, the other general partners are Scott Weiss, John O’Farrell, and now Jordan). Andreeseen says that over the course of many conversations with startups, Jordan’s has been a name that regularly comes up —either as someone that a startup already has, or wished they had — as a board member or advisor.
You can find LAL founder Evan Reas’s blog post on the funding here.
Note: As noted above, TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington is investing in LAL. You can read more about his investment policy here.
As part of the new Google+ service came Huddle, a group texting app available to Android users. This makes mobile group collaboration easier, says Google. So far so good. Except…
There’s already a five-year-old group collaboration startup called Huddle, which has to date raised $14.2m in venture capital and has office in Chicago and London.
We’re reaching out to Google for comment on this, but Huddle itself has declined to comment at this point. However, sources close to the company told me that they are looking into the use of the word “Huddle” by Google with their attorneys. TechCrunch understands that Huddle may have trademarks associated with use of the word where it is used to describe a business application around collaboration.
There’s an irony that Google picked this word for its group messaging app – which will probably also concern startup GroupMe – in that ‘Huddle the company’ has been providing collaboration and group messaging services to businesses and SMEs for some time.
Clearly it’s a popular word. Huddle also only recently secured Huddle.com after being Huddle.net for several years.
One of the major features in iOS 5 is iMessage, which is Appleâ€™s new messaging service forÂ iPhone,Â iPad andÂ iPod Touch, which will allow iOS 5 users to send text, photos, videos, contacts, locations and group messages to their family and friends who have an iOS device.
iMessage includes a number of features to the Messages app, which you can check here, but Apple has also resolved one of the minor irritants.
If you are a heavy SMS user, you might have noticed that the keyboard occupies half the screen with no way to hide it, which is not convenient when you just want to look at the message history.
Apple has fixed this irritant in iOS 5. You can now hide the keyboard in the Messages app, by tapping on top of the text box and swiping downwards.
It’s another minor feature, but we’re glad that it is finally possible to hide the keyboard in the Messages app. What about you?
Summer is here and our 6th annual August Capital Party is just around the corner. Last week we released 100 tickets, all of which sold out in under an hour. Today we are releasing our next set of 100 tickets. The August Capital Party will be held on the gorgeous Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park on July 29th from 5:30 – 10:00pm, preceding our Mobile First CrunchUp. This party is a great way to see an amazing mix of startup demos, network, enter into giveaways, have some drinks and some fun in the sun. Tickets are $40 and tend to sell out very quickly. If you would like to come, please act fast. If you aren’t able to purchase tickets today, stay tuned – we will have a ticket giveaway this Friday and will release more tickets next week.
Tickets are on sale here.
Our Mobile First CrunchUp is sold out. However, we still have a limited number of press passes. Contact Elin Blesener to request press pass consideration.
Here are the logistics for the party.
About the 6th Annual Summer Party at August Capital
July 29, 5:30 – 10:00 pm
2480 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park CA 94025, Map
Get Tickets @ Eventbrite: $40 based on availability. Tickets to be released weekly in batches. Stay tuned to TechCrunch for releases as they sell out quickly. #tcaugustcapital
The combined CrunchUp – Summer Party also gives us a great sponsorship platform for start-ups and brands to reach both conference and networking attendees. Please contact Jeanne Logozzo or Heather Harde to learn more about sponsorship packages and custom opportunities.
The online music race is now an all-out sprint: Amazon, Google, and Apple are now all offering (or preparing to launch) services that let you upload your music collection to the cloud, letting you listen to the music you own wherever you are. But they aren’t just competing with each other — another group of services that includes MOG, Rdio, and (eventually) Spotify lets users stream any song as often as they’d like for a reasonable monthly rate of around $10 a month.
It’s getting fun. And today, MOG is making the race all that much closer.
The service has just rolled out a new Beta player to users that streamlines the MOG experience, putting a much heavier emphasis on building out playlists and recommendations than its predecessor did.
Up until now, MOG users have been using a Flash-based player that appeared in a popup — you navigate the site in your main browser pane, adding songs as you go, and those songs are added to your playlist, which you control in the smaller popup window. It works fine, but compared to services that have adopted a more iTunes-like interface, it can be a little confusing.
The new player fixes that. It’ll look familiar to anyone who has used the MOG web app on the Chrome Web Store, which launched in December (it’s a variation on that player). But it includes some key additions, and it’s also rolling out as a beta option to all MOG users (previously the only way to access it was through the Chrome store, which many people don’t know about).
The new player actually has fewer features than the old one — it’s missing ratings and the ability to see the profiles of other users, for example. But, aside from a more intuitive and faster HTML5 interface, it adds features that are probably even more important: namely, recommendations and better playlist creation.
Now when you log into the new version of MOG, the service will look at your Facebook Likes (and the Likes of your friends) to start recommending artists immediately. I logged in with a test account populated with some of my favorite bands, and sure enough, the service immediately presented me with albums by The Darkness and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
MOG CEO David Hyman says that the team actually had some help from Facebook when it came to integrating this functionality. Hyman wouldn’t say anything about the rumored Facebook Music initiative that’s in the works, other than to say that he “hopes to do more great stuff with them in the future”.
MOG and other all-you-can-eat music services are increasingly competing on features like speed, recommendations and social sharing than they are on the size of their libraries. MOG already offers solid mobile applications, and this update makes the desktop experience significantly more compelling, especially for new users who are now met with a personalized homepage rather than a generic list of popular music.