Tungle Makes Cross-Calendar Scheduling Simple [Calendars]

If you're looking for a web-based application for scheduling meetings, you'll find no shortage. Want that application to sync to common calendar applications like Google Calendar, Outlook, and iCal? Prior to Tungle you were out of luck.

Tungle combines the best features of a variety of calendar syncing and meeting scheduling tools and rolls them all into one. With Tungle you can quickly jump from your existing calendar application to sending invites to your team members, checking their calendars even if you all use different applications, and optimizing everyone's schedule for the best meeting times. Check out the demonstration video below to see Tungle in action:



Tungle is a free service and is accessible by the Tungle site, an iPhone app, a Firefox plugin for Google Calendar, and a variety of apps for various social calendars.



DFJ, Claremont invest $6.5M in out-of-home ad network

targetcastTargetCast Networks isn’t a company that gets talked about in the same breath as Twitter. TargetCast makes the technology for televisions in bars and nightclubs, the tech that puts even more ads on TV screens in Applebee’s, Chili’s and Hooters. I haven’t confirmed yet where you can see TCN in action in San Francisco, where engineers build gadgets to turn bar TV sets off.

In the past few days, though, TargetCast has announced both the acquisition of rival Ripple and a $6.5 million B round of funding, with Claremont Creek returning after lending $6.3 million in Series A two years ago.

Draper Fisher Jurvetson got in on this round, and DFJ managing director John Fisher has joined the board of directors at TargetCast.

Fisher wrote in a prepared statement: “The giant sucking sound of media dollars draining out of traditional print media and into the digital realm is proof of the attractiveness of this contemporary advertising medium.” How many dollars, John? All the money advertisers spend through Google is less than 3% of the total amount of money spent on advertising in America. I’m wondering how big DJF thinks the part of the pie is that will be fed into TargetCast’s displays.


City of Portland, Oregon Officially Backs Open, Structured Data

portland max by Stu Seeger.jpgThe City Council of Portland, Oregon unanimously approved a resolution today that directs the city government to open data to outside developers and encourages adoption of open source solutions in technology procurement.

Like the creation of railroads and highways fostered economic development in the past, giving software developers access to a landscape of municipal data could be the beginning of a foundation for a new era of innovation.

Sponsor

"This [resolution] will increase efficiency in local government... democratize public data itself... and it will foster innovation among Portland's world class software community," said Skip Newberry with the Mayor's Office in his testimony according to a report on the local tech blog Silicon Florist.

The full text of the resolution has been posted as text (from a PDF) on the same blog.

Portland joins San Francisco, Chicago and Vancouver, British Columbia as cities with major initiatives to offer municipal data in formats that will enable independent developers to build new applications leveraging that data. Making municipal data openly available for developers could be the contemporary economic equivalent of paving roads and installing electricity that can be used to open new businesses and better serve the people living in that city.

Portland, Oregon isn't new to tech innovation, of course. It's a place where the city bus system has its own app store, it's home to red-hot mobile development shops like Small Society (built iPhone apps for Starbucks, WholeFoods etc.) and Urban Airship (iPhone push infrastructure) and it's the home of Linux creator Linus Torvalds, wiki inventor Ward Cunningham and one third of the staff of ReadWriteWeb - amongst other geekery.

What could come next? How about more cities getting on board, a national or international standard for municipal data and delivery of that data in real time? One Prefecture in Japan has announced that it will promote the mobile Augmented Reality app Sekai Camera to display historical data about locations in the area. Seeing individual cities move in this direction is a great start.

What US city will move in favor of open source and open, structured data next? Seattle? New York? Someplace in the Mid West? Place your bets now as these are unlikely to be isolated developments.

Photo: "Max" Creative Commons by Stu Seeger

Discuss


Satiety fills up on $25.3M for obesity treatments

Satiety, maker of a minimally-invasive medical device that reduces obesity, has raised $25.3 million of an anticipated $33 million round of equity and rights, according to a filing with the SEC. The Palo Alto, Calif. company was previously backed by HLM Venture Partners, Morgenthaler Ventures, Pinnacle Ventures, Skyline Ventures, Thomas Fogarty, Three Arch Partners and Venrock. It has raised four rounds of funding to date, not including a $7.5 million bridge loan from its investors brought in early this year.


Nokia N900 Mega Review Might Be Longer than Device’s Own User Manual [jkOnTheRun]

n900_10

If a 300 word overview isn’t quite what you’d call a satisfying review, then this gargantuan preview of the upcoming Nokia N900 is right up your alley. It’s so big that I expect it to be republished as either an abridged version or a 12-part series. My-Symbian covers just about everything possible on a pre-release N900 — every aspect of the hardware, practically all of the included software and even shares some YouTube video from the integrated camera. I think it’s safe to say that if you’re even remotely considering an N900 — and have an hour to kill — this is a must-read piece.

All in all, the device seems to get through the preview with flying colors. Performance seems stellar in general, the resistive screen works well, and the connectivity options appear rock solid. One quibble does stand out though. It looks like third-party app storage is limited to a 256MB storage area. That could simply be a pre-production limitation, so don’t panic just yet. We’ll have to wait and see if that’s an issue when the device hits. If you hurry and start reading the preview now, you just might finish it before then. Seriously! After slogging through the preview, I’m starting to think that Nokia is on to something with Maemo and this form factor. I can’t add a T-Mobile line to my monthly budget, but I may hit a T-Mo store after launch and have some playtime with an N900.

Ryan Higa to Speak at NewTeeVee Live [NewTeeVee]

Is there anyone in the world who can make a short film, put it on the Internet with zero marketing and get more than 2 million views in one month? Don’t say only Joss Whedon. Ryan Higa, a goofball comedian who posts home videos made with his friends to YouTube, did just that with his recent project Ninja Melk. His account Nigahiga (which usually consists of short-form rants, lip-syncs and sketches) is the No. 1 most-subscribed channel on YouTube. And he’s just committed to speaking at NewTeeVee Live this year.

Higa — who magnanimously tells his fans not to “hate on fred,” meaning Lucas Cruikshank, last year’s YouTube king and a show-stopping speaker at NewTeeVee Live ‘08 — has more than 1.5 million subscribers on YouTube. The 19-year-old started making videos as a kid in Hilo, HI, and is now studying film at University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

If you want to see Higa in person, along with the rest of our awesome lineup of speakers, sign up for NewTeeVee Live today.

Financial reporting software maker HyperRoll sells off assets to Oracle

HyperRoll, developer of software for data aggregation and financial reporting, says it will sell off its intellectual and technology assets to Oracle. Based in Mountain View, HyperRoll was backed by Sequoia Capital and Greylock Partners. The deal continues Redwood Shores-based Oracle’s strategy of acquiring smaller companies to expand its own software offerings, particularly its Enterprise Performance Management portfolio.

Previously, HyperRoll provided software to help large companies tally up their finances at the end of each quarter to clients like IBM, Miscrosoft and of course Oracle. Only some of HyperRoll’s employees will be retained by Oracle after the deal closes this year, the company says. No financial terms have been disclosed.


iPhone Rules Mobile Web; Android and webOS Pick Up Steam [GigaOM]

iphone3gThe iPhone still rules when it comes to traffic on the wireless web, according to the latest figures from AdMob, but Google’s Android and Palm’s webOS are picking up steam. The San Mateo, Calif.-based mobile ad company today said the iPhone (not including the iPod touch) accounted for 40 percent of wireless web usage in August, up from 33 percent in February. Android showed steady gains as well, jumping to 7 percent from 2 percent during the six-month period, and webOS — which only became available in June with the launch of the Pre — claimed 4 percent market share.

The Pre’s market share of mobile Internet traffic is impressive given its June launch date and the limited number of handsets on the market. And Android’s momentum is likely to continue in the coming months as a slew of new handsets with the OS are launched from manufacturers including HTC, LG, Motorola, Samsung and INQ.

But a closer look at AdMob’s geographic breakdown indicates a huge opportunity for newcomers in Asia, where Nokia currently owns 50 percent market share of mobile web traffic and its Symbian platform claims an astonishing 85 percent. Nokia has done a fantastic job tapping emerging markets where fixed-line Internet access is rare, but mobile data usage in Asia will ramp up quickly as 3G networks and handsets come online in China. China can be a difficult market for foreigners — as evidenced by the government’s mandate to disable Wi-Fi on the iPhone — but look for the iPhone OS to build on its 12 percent share of the region’s wireless Internet traffic in a hurry as Apple’s phone becomes available to users in the world’s largest handset market.

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Create Mind Maps on the Go With MindJet for iPhone [WebWorkerDaily]

MindJet_LogoMeryl recently wrote about the benefits of developing mind maps with pen and paper. However, what about those of us who are cursed with poor penmanship and want to develop mind maps on the go without having to carry around paper and a pen?

One option is MindJet for iPhone, a very easy-to-use mind mapping app. It also works with the iPod touch and is available for download from the iTunes Store for $7.99.

I downloaded this app because I was looking for ways to capture ideas on my new iPhone 3GS, and I regularly use MindJet MindManager on the Mac and Windows PC to generate ideas and other brainstorming activities (see Imran’s review of the desktop app). My big requirement for on-the-go mind mapping was that I didn’t want to have lug along a legal pad, or even a Moleskine notebook, so MindJet for iPhone seemed like a good choice.

Inside MindJet for iPhone

Let’s take a look at its more notable features:

Performance. Developing a mind map using MindJet for iPhone means you can enjoy the nimbleness of the iPhone/iPod touch user interface. Zooming in and out and scrolling around is a joy. While it took some time to get the hang of creating sub topics, it was easy once I got the hang of it.

iPhone_MMAP_example

Manage Topics. Perhaps the biggest strength of this application is how Mindjet adapts to the iPhone/iPod touch user interface for the creation of mind maps. While I am far from calling myself a mind map ninja, the app was easy to use because it stayed true to iPhone application standards.

iPhone_MMAP_Topic

Email Mind Maps. Perhaps it is just my personal experience, but my mind maps stay with me because they are part of my own composing process. However, if you are working on a project team where mind maps are a standard communications medium, you have the option of emailing mind maps you create with MindJet for iPhone to yourself or other team members.
iPhone_MMAP_Send
Transfer Mind Maps back to your PC. While you have the option of using MindJet for iPhone as a standalone application, you can also transfer your mind maps back to your PC for further work. Choose Transfer and you have the option to use BonJour with Safari or Internet Explorer to transfer your mind maps back to your PC via Wi-Fi. The Transfer function presents you an IP address you can enter into your PC’s web browser where you can access and download the maps in either native .immap format or MindManager .xmmap format. You can also upload mind maps from your PC to the iPhone application via this interface. I was a little disappointed that there was no option to sync mind maps back to your PC via iTunes, but being able to save maps via Wi-Fi makes up for it somewhat.

You, Mind Maps and Your iPhone
If you are like me, your smartphone is a major conduit for your ideas, plans, and other random synaptic misfirings. MindJet for iPhone is an ideal application for this kind of a user because it is nimble, so you can be productive after a short learning curve.

Do you create mind maps while on the road? What tools do you use?

Gmail Notifier Keeps Track of New Email [Downloads]

Windows only: System tray utility Gmail Notifier tells you when you have new email messages, allows you to check multiple accounts, and lets you read, delete, or mark the messages as read right from the notification utility.

Once you've installed the utility, made sure that IMAP is enabled in Gmail, and added your Gmail account, you can access the preferences from the tray icon to immediately turn off the rather annoying notification voice or add a new account. The main notifier window shows a list of your accounts, and allows you to read unread messages, mark them as read, or delete them. Since the notifier uses IMAP, the changes are reflected immediately on the site.

It's not a perfect notifier, with some odd UI quirks—for instance, the minimize button turns the window into a search box—and the actual notifications consist of a plain tray icon alert instead of the slick notifications we're used to in other products. The interesting piece is the ability to quickly preview messages and mark them as read right from the interface itself, which could be useful for keeping your inbox clean. Gmail Notifier is a free download for Windows only.



Lunch’s Twitter List: Recommendations With Rationale

twitterlist_lunch_sept09b.jpgAfter selling VirtualTourist to Expedia, J.R. Johnson launched Lunch to encourage intelligent content and critical dialogue. Today, in expanding his mission for meaningful engagement, Johnson is launching Twitter Lists. This new service asks users to rationalize their Twitter recommendations. While services like Twubble, Mr. Tweet, Chirpio and even Twitter itself offer suggested accounts, Lunch is the only site that also requires a good explanation.

Sponsor

twitterlists_lunch_sept09c.jpgWhen ReadWriteWeb covered Lunch's launch in late March, we noted that it "wasn't just another drive-by review site." Similar to dating site OK Cupid, users rate a series of items and the Lunch "similarity network" matches them with like-minded members. Instead of gaining potential mates, we get the most relevant lists and recommendations on the topics that interest us most.

Twitter Lists take the recommendations even further. In the past, individuals have recommended Twitter users directly from their accounts with the hashtag "#followfriday." However, as the Twitter ritual gains popularity, spammers and phishers have begun infiltrating the site and reducing the reliability of recommendations.

Johnson describes Twitter Lists as a "smart follow friday." Rather than offering instant gratification, the service actually increases the time users spend suggesting new Twitter feeds by forcing them to write earnest justifications. Members suggest their list of up to 35 recommendations and then retweet the list in a bit.ly URL. From here, your list appears in the Lunch community, and you can choose to alert those you've followed via an @ message. Fellow bee keepers, science fiction fans and movie buffs gain from both the information in regular Lunch lists as well as the real-time feed from these new Twitter Lists.

Power Twitter user and author Tara Hunt has already created her Lunch Twitter List. After taking her book tour on a karaoke road trip, Hunt created a "Best Follows for Karaoke Lovers" list, complete with funny anecdotes. To check out all of Tara's Twitter and Lunch lists, visit her Lunch Page, or if you'd like to build your own list, register at Lunch.com.

Discuss


Blackwave Raises $7M for Video Storage and Delivery [NewTeeVee]

Blackwave has raised $7 million in Series C funding from return backers Globespan Capital Partners, Flybridge Capital Partners and Sigma Partners, the Acton, MA-based company announced today, after being outed yesterday for an SEC filing that disclosed part of the round.

Blackwave has been around for quite a while, and had previously raised more than $22 million, but brought in a new team this year and finally shipped its first product, the Blackwave R6, an appliance that uses hard disks optimized for video storage and delivery. The company said the new funding would be used to bulk up its sales force. Here’s an excerpt from our story on the R6, when the company signed CDNetworks as its first customer and said it would be courting wireless operators who need to build out video infrastructure:

By optimizing conventional disk drives for video, Blackwave can offer a viable and cheaper alternative to solid-state drives. It brings the price for delivering a 3.5 Mbps stream to under $20, said Kilian. Some of its special sauce is in the real-time scheduling of data as well as avoiding overprovisioning of disk space. Those tweaks improve on addressing some common strains induced by video — for instance, big bursts of concurrent watchers, or on the other hand, UGC that’s only seen by a few people.

Blackwave bragged today in an emailed press release that one R6 customer condensed its storage and delivery infrastructure from 20 racks to two, and another lowered planned infrastructure expansion costs by 70 percent.

Résumé Achievements Not Worth the Ink [Resume]

The purpose of a resume is to tout your talents to a prospective employer; however, not all talents deserve a listing. Yahoo's HotJobs sets out criteria for which achievements you should include and which you should leave off entirely.

Photo by jon tunn.

According to their post, any accomplishment you highlight should meet three criteria. Subjective wiggle room notwithstanding, the accomplishments in question should be 1) truly noteworthy, 2) relevant to your current career goals, and 3) relatively recent.

On the other hand, job seekers should leave off what the post calls "The Unquantifiable Accomplishment," meaning bragging rights that can't be confirmed by your current employer or through another simple inquiry. Using superlatives to describe your work skills generally meets this no-no.

Also worth avoiding is "The Not-So-Notable Accomplishment," such as a less than stellar grade point average (though the further into your career you get, the less relevant your G.P.A. is anyway) and any offbeat accomplishment that bears no relevance to the job you're applying for. We would add however that an offbeat accomplishment can be useful as a talking point or springboard during the interview itself, or even as a way to distinguish your resume from the pile, so don't rule these out entirely.

Browse the post for other accomplishments better left off your resume, then read up on the six words you should kill and phrases to avoid to keep your resume relevant. If you've got more to say on the subject, let's hear it in the comments.



Google Wave: There Will Be Backlash

2000053637785328007_rsHave you gotten your Google Wave invite yet? Just kidding — they’re not out yet. The team (which is based in Australia) decided to push them out later today so they could be up to deal with issues surrounding the massive influx of new users. And judging from the response on the web, “massive” is also the perfect word to describe the anticipation for the service.

Ever since it was unveiled at Google I/O this past May, it seems that everyone wants to know everything about Wave. And yesterday, when it was revealed that a big roll-out to more than just developers was around the corner, interest spiked again. Since then, the term has not left Twitter’s Trend Topics area. But there is always a downside to so much hype, and I’m pretty certain we’re going to see it in the coming days and weeks with Google Wave too: Backlash.

Actually, some amount of backlash started immediately after it was first revealed in May. While we were wowed after a hands-on demonstration we got, writing that Wave “drips with ambition,” there were plenty in the press and general public who quickly jumped on the other side of the coin. Upon seeing the public demonstation, reactions ranged from “Wow” to “I don’t get it.” But the real test will come later today when many of those people actually get to use it for the first time.

We have been using Wave since Google I/O, and while it has been very buggy, the team has worked hard to iron out a lot of the kinks since then. Still, there will be plenty who begin using it today who will be disappointed. It’s a tricky situation for the Wave team. From the get go, they’ve said that the ultimate vision is for Wave to be a new communication platform for the web — meaning they hope hundreds, if not thousands, of other services are built with Wave as the backbone. But that’s a long ways out. Today, all we have to play with is Google Wave, the service, which is still very early in its lifespan.

It’s really Google Wave’s ambition that is a dual-edged sword. Because the team is trying to do so much with the product, there will be plenty of people who find it confusing and cluttered. And to some extent, they’re right. But anyone who labels it a failure at this point is either a curmudgeon or an extremely shortsighted person claiming to have foresight. It’s a nice thought that every product should be a taut bundle of execution with an easy path to monetization. But the web, and really the world, would be a much more boring place if that were the case.

CNSPhoto-Monk-ThereWillBeBloodPart of Google’s strategy with Wave, and part of the reason they’re putting it out there early, is to see what developers and the users make of it. In that regard, it’s not all that different from Twitter, which started as a simple status-update side project, and transformed into something much different thanks to its users and the third-party developer community around it.

Wave is much more complicated than Twitter, and that could well be a downside (remember, keep it simple, stupid). But there’s a difference between clutter and ambition, especially when you have the resources of Google behind you. Shooting for the Moon is a good thing, and Wave has a unique opportunity to do that.

I’m not saying Wave will be a success. Many of the most ambitious projects often crash and burn — it’s the nature of high risk/high reward. But we’re still way too early in its lifespan to make that call for Wave. I can see the backlash already, and I think we should give it a chance. The end result could well be something that greatly benefits us all, but getting to that point, if it ever does, will take time.

[images: Paramount Vantage]

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HP Envy 13 Hits Reviewers’ Hands — It’s No MacBook [jkOnTheRun]

envy-13-screen-comparisonThe first thing that occurred to me when I saw the HP Envy 13 in person was that it looked very much like my 13-inch MacBook. The similar design is no accident — HP admitted they used the MacBook as inspiration for the Envy. It’s no surprise that as the Envy hits reviewer hands that there will be no shortage of MacBook comparisons.

Joanna Stern may not work for LAPTOP Magazine anymore but she obviously still has contacts, as she has an Envy 13 in her hands. She has published a solid review of the Envy and likes it overall, but finds it doesn’t quite stack up against the MacBook. It’s a lot more money, too, so we’ll have to see how the market reacts to the Envy.

The display on the Envy impressed Joanna as much as it did me, but the multitouch trackpad was problematic. I didn’t get to play with the trackpad but I wondered how it would compare to that of the MacBook line. The MacBook trackpads are the best I’ve ever used, so HP had a big job in front of them.

Lunch.com’s Twitter Lists make every day #followfriday

l1Lunch.com founder J.R. Johnson has already made his money. Now he wants his social network to foster critical thinking. “I don’t want to have people just say ‘I’m for universal health care,’ he told me on the phone this morning. “I want them to talk about why they’re for it.”

Lunch’s technology creates what the company calls similarity networks, which attempt to auto-find people like you. Lunch skews the content it shows you to be mostly from people whom it thinks are like you.

Lunch debuted in March, to lukewarm reactions from San Francisco’s Web 2.0 crowd. CNet writer Caroline McCarthy shrugged it off as “a Wikipedia for opinions.” But wait, that sounds like a good idea. Lunch’s similarity network would be a great overlay for Twitter, where I crash into people I simply have nothing to talk about.

l2Today, Lunch is debuting what it calls Twitter Lists. They’re lists of people that users think are worth following, grouped around a theme. “You get to editorialize as to why each person is worth following,” Johnson told me over the phone. “Plus you give [other Lunch users] some expectations of what to expect from them.”

The lists feel like longer here’s-who-I’m-into collections of the sort people tweet on Fridays on Twitter. The practice, called Follow Friday, caught on organically as a way to goof off and to praise other tweeters for their valued tweets during the week.

Lunch sent me three lists that were built covertly before the feature was officially turned on just now.

I’m sure the ICanHazCheezburger crowd will stop buy and create a bunch of goofy groups. But isn’t that an important conversation, too? They’re trying to tell us something.


Cleantech trumps IT, biotech as dominant investment sector in Q3

It’s official: cleantech is the darling of the rebounding investment market. Not only has the sector maintained the momentum it picked up in the second fiscal quarter of this year, it has emerged as the No. 1 sector in U.S. venture investing overall — surpassing long-time leaders IT and biotechnology, according to a new report released today by the Cleantech Group and Deloitte & Touche.

Other than this revelation (and it’s a big one), the data highlights roughly the same three takeways as Greentech Media’s preliminary Q3 roundup released earlier this week: 1) Cleantech’s star is on the rise, with $1.59 billion invested in 134 companies in the third quarter; 2) Government support in the form of grants and loan guarantees has reduced some of the risk involved in green investing at all stages, encouraging freer flow of capital; and 3) Battery maker A123Systems‘ blockbuster IPO last week has “opened the floodgates” for more lucrative public exits in the cleantech sector — even in the next two quarters. As the overall exit market thaws, the banner IPOs coming down the pipe will be disproportionately green, says Scott Smith, partner at Deloitte and co-author of the report.

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Taking a closer look at the broad impact of federal and state stimulus dollars on the business — the Cleantech report pointed out that all of the third quarter’s major deals (including the IPO) involved companies that had benefited from massive government support:

  • Cylindrical solar panel maker Solyndra brought in $198 million in private capital and received a $535 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy
  • Electric car company Tesla Motors brought in $82.5 million in venture financing after receiving $465 million in low-interest loans via the DOE’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program
  • Solar firm Solfocus landed a contract with the city of Mesa, Ariz. to build a large solar array and took $77.6 million in venture funding
  • Green construction supplier Serious Materials received $60 million venture funding in anticipation of receiving at least $50 million in federal stimulus funds
  • A123 brought in $380 million from its IPO after receiving $249 million in stimulus funds in August.

There is a clear and direct correlation here — investors are emboldened by the knowledge that government has cleantech’s back. Some reports have suggested that the government’s role has temporarily displaced private investment in later-stage cleantech companies. Just yesterday, VentureBeat reported that CMEA Capital canceled plans for a $500 million late-stage cleantech fund. Jim Watson, managing general partner at the firm, implied that government funds had made venture funding less necessary (it bailed on the fund after spotting too few opportunities in the late-stage category at the right price). But the Cleantech Group doesn’t think this will be a trend — instead, government spending will continue to motivate investment. After all, someone needs to help pay back the millions in government loans.

“We like to think of the stimulus money as the starter fluid that will help catch the coals of venture investment,” says Cleantech Group managing director Dallas Kachan. That said, the amount of VC money going to late stage companies did drop in the third quarter, with seed and early-stage startups getting the bulk of the attention.

Investors are now excited about investing in emerging companies with the potential to become the next A123Systems. As that company’s success has shown — positive balance sheets are not mandatory for big exits. The battery maker never turned a profit before going public last week — in fact it recorded losses exceeding $40 million dollars in the first half of this year. But that didn’t scare off investors, who were keeping a closer eye on the company’s revenue growth. With huge gains being made in revenue, A123 was able to hit a valuation of $1.9 billion by the time its first day of trading (Nasdaq: AONE) closed.

The Cleantech Group and Deloitte declined to discuss upcoming IPOs in the sector, though other analysts have tapped Solyndra, Tesla and smart metering company Silver Spring Networks as the most likely candidates. Looking at the breakdown of investment and deals in Q3, it seems like solar power might be the best bet. Drilling into the numbers (which notably don’t include separate figures on Smart Grid investing):

  • Solar brought in $451 million in capital, led by Solyndra’s $198 million from Argonaut Private Equity
  • Transportation took in $383 million, led by Tesla’s $82.5 million
  • Green building companies took $110 million, led by Serious Materials

Greentech Media’s report, released Monday, included very similar data. But the Cleantech Group’s results diverged from it in several key areas. The former counted $300 million given to algae-based biofuel maker Synthetic Genomics by Exxon as venture capital, which the Cleantech Group did not (accounting for the difference between the $1.9 million and $1.59 million in total cleantech investing reported by the two firms, respectively). Kochan of the Cleantech Group explained that Greentech’s report misplaced several deals in or out of the venture capital category.

The two reports also anointed different venture capital firms as the leading players in the space. Greentech Media gave honors to Khosla Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Foundation Capital and CMEA Capital. The Cleantech Group and Deloitte highlighted Intel Capital (which participated in six funding rounds in Q3), New Enterprise Associates and Braemar Energy Ventures — in addition to Kleiner Perkins — as the top firms. Here are some more details direct from the report:

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None of these discrepancies change Q3’s big story: Cleantech is king, and is expected to keep its throne for several quarters to come.

You can view the Cleantech Group’s press release on the data here.

greenbeat_logo1VentureBeat is hosting GreenBeat, the seminal executive conference on the Smart Grid, on Nov. 18-19, featuring keynotes from Nobel Prize winner Al Gore and Kleiner Perkins’ John Doerr. Get your early-bird tickets for $495 before Sept. 30 at GreenBeat2009.com.


Facebook’s Plan To Trounce Orkut In India May Be Working

With the growing market of internet users in the country, India has become a battlefield for social networks. Google-owned Orkut has long been the most popular social network in India, with Facebook fighting to catch up. But Facebook has been upping the ante over the past few months, and according to August’s ComScore numbers, the plan may be working. In August, Orkut’s unique visitors in India dipped by 800,000 within a month, from 16 million visitors in July to 15.2 million visitors in August. On the other hand, Facebook grew its unique visitors in India by 700,000, from 7.5 million visitors in July to 8.2 million visitors in August.

This the largest drop in unique visitors Orkut has seen in India over the past year, while Facebook has been steadily growing each month. In fact, Facebook’s audience in India is up 228 percent from a year ago, compared to a 35 percent annual gain for Orkut.

There are a couple of key factors that could be attributed to Orkut’s recent drop in visitors. First, in India, Facebook has been pushing out an aggressive campaign on its social network to get users to import their friends from Orkut with a special Orkut import tool. It basically lets them find friends on other social networks, like Orkut, who are also on Facebook and makes it easy to send a friend requests to those contacts. The purpose of the tool is to make it easy for users to quickly find new friends and establish their social presence on Facebook. The social network offers this in the U.S. for Gmail, AIM and other contact platforms. But this new tool in India is for Orkut specifically. Facebook users are also seeing is the Orkut contact importer in Brazil, Orkut’s home base and stronghold where Facebook is clawing for market share.

Another reason for Facebook’s growth in India could be the recent launch of Facebook Lite. India was one of the original target markets for the lightweight version of the social network, since it is particularly useful in developing countries where high speed Internet connections are sparse or non-existent.

Facebook has been eying India’s huge market and steadily adding features that help the social network establish its reach in the growing country. For example, Facebook launched availability for several Indian languages including Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam, in May of this year.

It’s plainly obvious that Facebook is growing fast in India and could quite possibly overtake Orkut in the next few months. Meanwhile, other social networks are dropping like flies in the race; with Yahoo shutting down SpotM and MySpace considering layoffs in India because of the its lack of traction among users.

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