Instagram is set to raise a massive Series B round of venture financing and, according to AllThingsD, the round will be led by preeminent VC firm Sequoia Capital — the same firm that funded the likes of Apple, Google, YouTube, PayPal, Oracle, and Yahoo!. The company will reportedly be raising $50 million on a $500 million valuation, which is a hefty price point for a 17-month-old company with a headcount of 13. The service boasted 30 million iPhone users prior to its Android launch earlier this week, after which they received 1 million new signups in less than 24 hours. Now all it need to do is figure out a way to turn its popularity into dollar bills…
Image credit: Instagram founders @Kevin @mikeyk by Robert Scoble
Crippled by its recent financial scandal, Olympus is in need of a bailout and has been open to the idea of forming a strategic alliance with other companies. The latest news is that Sony is on the brink of acquiring a 20-30% stake in the beleaguered medical device and camera company, a sizable increase from the 0.03% it currently owns. The alliance would combine Sony’s expertise in making camera sensors with Olympus’ expertise in medical devices. Fujifilm has also been named as a company that’s interested in investing in Olympus, but Sony seems to currently be the clear front-runner.
(via Nikkei via 43 Rumors)
Image credit: EOS Bridge for NEX-5/NEX-3 by 246-You
Reuters is reporting that US-based investment firm TPG Capital has expressed interest in pouring $1 billion into Olympus in a joint deal, and has notified other possible suitors including Sony, Canon, Fujifilm, and Panasonic.
Nearly all of Olympus’ profits are generated from its dominant 70 percent share of the global market for flexible diagnostic endoscopes. The steady cash flow from that business has allowed it to prop up its digital camera business, which is on course to lose money for a second straight year.
TPG would consider taking over the other less desirable parts of the firm to facilitate a deal. This could include the digital camera operation, which is in need of a major overhaul, including job cuts, the person said.
It’s interesting that the camera division is one of the “less desirable parts” of Olympus, since that’s what most consumers know the company for.
TPG willing to invest $1 billion in Olympus [Reuters]
Image credit: OLYMPUS E-P1 by DORONKO
The mobile photo sharing space is hot right now, with services like Instagram, Picplz, and Path growing like weeds. A new contender called Color is causing some buzz after successfully raising a whopping $41 million… before even launching. The company has seven notable founders who have either started successful companies in the past (e.g. Lala and BillShrink) or have held executive positions at them (LinkedIn). Among the investors is Sequoia Capital, one of the most influential and successful firms in Silicon Valley and the firm that funded Google. They gave Color more than they gave Google.
Real time photo sharing service TweetPhoto has raised a $2.6 million Series A investment from a group of investors led by Canaan Partners.
The San Diego-based startup is one of the closest competitors of TwitPic, the most popular photo sharing service for Twitter. As long as Twitter doesn’t compete in this space with 3rd party sites by starting its own service or acquiring one of the services, the future looks bright for TweetPhoto. Last year, TwitPic raked in $1.5 million in revenue and turned down an offer “much higher than $10“.
Although TweetPhoto still lags behind TwitPic in terms of traffic, TweetPhoto is attempting to ensure its growth and survival by spreading its eggs across multiple baskets. Unlike TwitPic, TweetPhoto has expanded to support other social networks including Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and Foursquare.
GigaOM also reports that the company is thinking about changing its name, and will likely do so at some point in the future.
Real time photo sharing is just getting started and, if the investors are correct, we should be seeing much more growth and innovation in this space in the near future.