Source: Corporate Mac Sales Surge 66%
As expected, real estate listings and search site Zillow has just filed its S-1, which indicates that the company will be pursuing a public offering. Zillow wants to raise $51.75 million in the offering, according to the SEC filing. It’s important to note that this is a placeholder amount that could change in the coming months. It appears that Citigroup is one of the underwriters of the IPO (others include Allen & Company, ThinkEquity, Needham & Company, and First Washington Corp.).
Zillow, which saw 19 million visitors in March, is now listing 100 million U.S. homes, including homes for sale, homes for rent and homes not currently on the market. For the years ended December 31, 2008, 2009 and 2010, the company generated revenues of $10.6 million, $17.5 million and $30.5 million, representing year-over-year growth of 49%, 65% and 74%, respectively. Unfortunately, in terms of income, Zillow has been taking a loss for the past three years, according to the filing.
Zillow, which launched a mortgage marketplace in 2008, expanded into rentals and mobile. The company’s traffic to its web and mobile sites is up 90 percent year-over-year and in March 2011, Zillow was used on a mobile device more than 8 million times, with more than 1.4 million homes viewed on mobile devices each day.
In terms of financial specifics, Zillow appears to be losing less money each year. The company lost $12.8 million in 2009, and lost roughly half of that ($6.7 million) in 2010. The company, which launched to the public in 2006, also revealed that as of December 31, 2010, it has an accumulated deficit of $78.7 million. Zillow forecasts that its revenue growth rate will decline in the future as a result of the “maturation” of its business.
Costs are also expected to rise for the company has it invests more money into product development; sales and marketing; technology infrastructure; strategic partnerships (Zillow powers Yahoo real estate listings) and acquisitions (Zillow just bought Postlets), and the general administration, including legal and accounting expenses related to being a public company.
From the filing, “If we fail to continue to grow our revenue and overall business and to manage our expenses, we may continue to incur significant losses in the future and not be able to achieve or maintain profitability.”
Marketplace revenues grew from $3.9 million in 2009 to $13.2 million (increase of 238 percent), and represented 43% of total revenues in 2010 compared to 22% of total revenues in 2009. Zillow says the increase in marketplace revenues was primarily due to the growth in the number of subscribers in its Premier Agent program from 2,764 as of December 31, 2009 to 8,102 as of December 31, 2010, which is an increase of 193%. Marketplace revenues also increased as Zillow began to charge mortgage lenders for participation in the mortgage Marketplace in January 2010.
Thanks to more traffic, display revenues increased from $13.6 million in 2009 to $17.2 million in 2010 and represented 57% of total revenues in 2010 compared to 78% of total revenues in 2009.
photo © 2006 Gene Tew | more info (via: Wylio)In case you haven’t already received the ominous sounding email, data held by email marketing firm Epsilon was compromised earlier this week – the hack apparently executed by one person.
The breach, which keeps broadening in scope as more companies inform their customers, has thus far affected these top brands: TiVo, Walgreens, US Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Capital One, Citi, Home Shopping Network, McKinsey & Company, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, Marriott Rewards, New York & Company, Brookstone, and The College Board.
The notification emails each brand has been sending their customers is some version of the below.
We have been informed by Epsilon, the vendor that sends email to you on our behalf, that your e-mail address may have been exposed by unauthorized entry into their system.
Epsilon has assured us that the only information that may have been obtained was your first and last name and e-mail address. REST ASSURED THAT THIS VENDOR DID NOT HAVE ACCESS TO OTHER MORE SENSITIVE INFORMATION SUCH AS SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER OR CREDIT CARD DATA.
Please note, it is possible you may receive spam e-mail messages as a result. We want to urge you to be cautious when opening links or attachments from unknown third parties.
In keeping with standard security practices, the College Board will never ask you to provide or confirm any information, including credit card numbers, unless you are on a secure College Board site.
Epsilon has reported this incident to, and is working with, the appropriate authorities.
We regret this has taken place and apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. We take your privacy very seriously, and we will continue to work diligently to protect your personal information.
The College Board
Epsilon is assuring its customers that “only” email addresses and customer names were revealed in the breach but that’s actually not so reassuring. The ability to target spam emails to specific people leaves those affected by the attacks more vulnerable to phishing. People are more likely to trust something that looks like legitimate, direct communication. Again: Put on your thinking cap before you give anyone sensitive information like a password or social security number online.
The world’s largest email marketing service, Epsilon sends 40 billion emails a year and manages the customer email database for 2,500 clients according to Security Week. It is currently investigating the incident according to its own announcement.
Defensive patent aggregatorÂ RPX filed an S-1 form with the SEC Â on Friday, stating its intention to go public. According to the form, RPX is looking to sell up to $100 million of its shares in an IPO underwritten by Goldman Sachs, Barclays, Allen & Company LLC and others.
Founded by John Amster and Geoffrey Barker, RPX only launched two years ago but it revenues are through the roof at $10 million in profit onÂ $65.2 million in net for the first nine months of 2010. Â It says something about how broken the patent system is that there is so much demand for this sort of patent troll insurance.
Groupon has closed the remained of that huge $950 million financing round which we first reported on in late December. They closed on roughly half of it then, from DST, Fidelity and Morgan Stanley. We then learned Kleiner Perkins was also in the round.
Now we have the rest of the details, and the company will issue a press release today on the round. True to their never be totally serious attitude, the press release will be titled Groupon Raises, Like, A Billion Dollars.
A whole slew of new and existing investors are participating in the round, which values Groupon at a whopping $4.75 billion. New investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Battery Ventures, Greylock Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Mail.ru Group, Maverick Capital, Silver Lake, and Technology Crossover Ventures. As we previously reported, Allen & Company LLC acted as financial advisor.
There are no additions to the board of directors in this round. And multiple sources have confirmed to us that Fidelity is in fact a new investor in this round, they just aren’t listed in the press release.
Here’s the full full press release. My favorite line, other than the title, is “Groupon has been called…â€œAmericaâ€™s best websiteâ€ by one of
Grouponâ€™s television commercials.”
Groupon Raises, Like, A Billion Dollars
Investment to Continue Rapid Growth of Global Social Commerce Platform
CHICAGO â€“ Today Groupon announced that it has completed a $950
million round of financing. Groupon will use the funds to fuel global
expansion, invest in technology, and provide liquidity for employees and
The financing consists of several venture capital firms and late-stage
investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, Battery Ventures, Greylock
Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Mail.ru Group, Maverick
Capital, Silver Lake, and Technology Crossover Ventures. Allen &
Company LLC acted as financial advisor. Previous funding rounds were
led by New Enterprise Associates, Accel Partners, and Mail.ru Group
In the last year, Groupon has been called â€œthe fastest growing company
everâ€ by Forbes Magazine and â€œAmericaâ€™s best websiteâ€ by one of
Grouponâ€™s television commercials. In 2010, Groupon:
â€¢ Expanded from 1 to 35 countries
â€¢ Launched in almost 500 new markets (from 30 markets in 2009)
â€¢ Grew subscribers by 2,500% from 2 million to over 50 million
â€¢ Saved consumers over $1.5 billion
â€¢ Worked with 58,000 local businesses, serving over 100,000 deals
â€œWeâ€™re thrilled that Groupon has earned the confidence of some of the
worldâ€™s most respected investment firms,â€ said Andrew Mason, founder
and CEO of Groupon. â€œWith their support, we will continue on our mission
to change the way people shop locally and serve the worldâ€™s local
Groupon, launched in November 2008 in Chicago, features a daily deal on
the best stuff to do, eat, see and buy in more than 500 markets around the
world. Groupon uses collective buying power to offer unbeatable prices
and provide a win-win for businesses and consumers, delivering more than
650 daily deals globally. For more information, visit
The media company, which of course publishes the Playboy magazine but also runs an Internet business segment called Playboy Online, alongside TV and radio networks, will be taken private for $6.15 per share by Icon Acquisition Holdings.
The latter is a limited partnership controlled by iconic Playboy Enterprises founder Hugh Hefner (who also just got engaged, hurray!).
The $6.15 price represents a 18.3% premium over the closing price Friday, January 7, and a 56.1% premium over the $5.50 a share closing price on July 9, 2010, the last trading day before the proposal was first announced.
Icon Acquisition Holdings has obtained equity commitments for the transaction from an affiliate of Rizvi Traverse Management and a debt commitment for the transaction from affiliates of Jefferies & Company.
Playboy CEO Scott Flanders will remain with the company in his current position and maintain a significant equity investment in Playboy. He says the goal is to transform Playboy into a brand management company:
“This transaction will advance our efforts by strengthening our balance sheet and streamlining our operations, while creating opportunities to participate in new ventures. I am excited about the future, and I look forward to working with our new partners as we guide Playboy into the next era.”
More details on the transaction are available in the press release.
Under the radar startup Personal has just announced a round of funding from a group of impressive backers. Personal has raised $7.6 million in a Series A round of investment from Grotech Ventures and Steve Case’s Revolution LLC with participation from Allen & Company and Eric Semler of TCS Capital Management (although this SEC filing indicates the startup raised $7.3 million)
Founded by the same management team that built business mapping application The Map Network (which was acquired by NAVTEQ in 2006), Personal aims to give consumers control over their digital data. Details are still sparse on how Personal does this, but the company says that it helps users prevent companies tracking, compiling and selling digital information without the consumer’s consent.
In particular, Personal highlights the invasiveness of online tracking as a problem in the consumers web. Shane Green, president and CEO of Personal says, “We aim to fundamentally turn the tables to empower consumers to become gatekeepers of their information and, if they choose, be rewarded for granting access to it, even anonymously.”
Personal, which is in private beta, is certainly emerging at a time when online privacy is a heated issue. Whether it be via Facebook, or through online advertising tracking methods, consumers are more aware of the privacy issues surrounding their digital data. Personal could be away for consumers to regain power over their data on the web.
Nick Lane’s book Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution has just won the Royal Society’s science book prize. The book chronicles the history of life on Earth through ten of evolution’s greatest achievements, from the origins of life itself to sex, eyes, and DNA.
The judges said that the ease with which Lane communicates these complex scientific ideas is what makes the book shine.
“Life Ascending is a beautifully written and elegantly structured book that was a favourite with all of the judges. Nick Lane hasn’t been afraid to challenge us with some tough science, explaining it in such a way that we feel like scientists ourselves, unfolding the mysteries of life,” said Maggie Philbin, chair of the judges. [The Guardian]
Instead of dumbing down the science, Lane’s words build the reader up to an understanding of evolution’s work.
Lane is a superb communicator. He knows exactly how much technical detail is required to provide satisfying explanations for the evolution of the genetic code, photosynthesis, complex cells, muscles and eyes, and his enthusiasm is catching. [The Guardian's book review]
Lane, a biochemist himself at University College London, believes in what he writes about. He studies and formulates hypotheses about the evolution of life for his job, and loves to communicate these ideas.
“Writing is my way to understand the world. I tried to get across the boundary between what we know and what we don’t know,” Lane explained. “It’s a thrilling tapestry that writing can take you across – you can ask any question you want, but there’s responsibility that goes with that.” [Nature]
Alas, this may be the last year of the prestigious book prize. It lots its sponsor, pharmaceutical company Aventis, in 1997, and has run out of funds.
Image: W. W. Norton & Company