Vicarious: Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg Put Money Into A.I.

Mar 21, 2014, 3:49 pm EDT
Vicarious: Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg Put Money Into A.I.

Vicarious, which develops artificial intelligence (A.I.) technologies, has snagged $40 million in venture funding (according to a report in The Wall Street Journal). True, in Silicon Valley, this is normal stuff. But the Vicarious deal is a bit different. Source: Flickr

First of all, the company has attracted some of the world’s most notable investors, such as Facebook’s (FB) Mark Zuckerberg’s and Tesla’s (TSLA) Elon Musk. Even actor Ashton Kutcher has participated in the round. Keep in mind that Kutcher has a knack for investing in cutting-edge companies, such as Airbnb (which is in the process of raising a mega round of capital).

Vicarious is also a super-secret organization. Yes, this goes against the grain of the Valley, where startups seem to always be trying to gin up PR and social media momentum. But with Vicarious, the company wants to make sure no competitor steals its sophisticated technologies. Read 

Airbnb Could Be Worth $10B; On Verge of Huge Funding Round

Mar 20, 2014, 3:21 pm EDT
Airbnb Could Be Worth $10B; On Verge of Huge Funding Round

Airbnb, which operates a popular online rental platform, reportedly is close to snagging a massive round of capital, led by TPG Capital. According to the Wall Street Journal, the amount is likely to be between $400 million and $500 million at a valuation of more than $10 billion.

Surges in social stocks such as Facebook (FB), LinkedIn (LNKD), Twitter (TWTR) and Pandora (P) has startups capitalizing on the frothy markets for financing. The most recent case in point: Tango just announced a $280 million round of funding, with much of the money coming from Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba.

As for Airbnb, its meteoric rise was far from guaranteed. When the company got its start back in 2007, it was focused on providing short-term stays for people who couldn’t find hotel rooms around big conferences. Often it meant sleeping on a couch or an air mattress, but … well, it was something. Read 

The WhatsApp Effect: Alibaba Pours Cash Into Tango

Mar 20, 2014, 11:43 am EDT

The Tango app, which allows for messaging on mobile devices, just announced a huge fundraising from several investors, but primarily Alibaba — the Chinese e-commerce company that just can’t get its name out of the headlines of late.

The Tango app’s recent fundraising was for a whopping $280 million, which would put the service’s valuation at more than $1 billion. Alibaba, which already holds a minority stake, was good for $215 million of that.

The deal is just the latest mobile messaging transaction, seemingly spurred by Facebook’s (FB) $19 billion mega-deal for WhatsApp in February. Read 

The Best Ways to Buy the Alibaba IPO

Mar 19, 2014, 2:41 pm EDT

It’s official.

Alibaba, China’s gigantic answer to Amazon (AMZN), announced on its company blog that it was foregoing a listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, opting to launch an initial public offering on a U.S. exchange (likely the NYSE). Speculation about the Alibaba IPO pegs the company’s valuation at beyond $130 billion, which would make it one of the biggest initial public offerings of all time.

Moreover, I’d put good money on Alibaba’s stock price doubling when it opens for trading. Unfortunately for you, those shares will be next to impossible to acquire prior to the offering. Read 

NYSE Might Have Locked Up the Alibaba IPO

Mar 18, 2014, 4:52 pm EDT
NYSE Might Have Locked Up the Alibaba IPO

It appears the New York Stock Exchange is likely to get the coveted listing for the Alibaba IPO, according to sources interviewed by the Wall Street Journal. The deal would be one of the largest in U.S. history, with the amount raised estimated at about $15 billion.

And unfortunately for the Nasdaq, it continues a changed narrative of tech offerings slowly moving away from the exchange.

The NYSE has been gaining ground on the tech front for the past few years, landing premium listings such as Pandora (P), Workday (WDAY) and Twitter (TWTR). Much of the momentum shifted away from the Nasdaq following the botched IPO of Facebook (FB), but tech companies have had plenty of reason to gravitate toward the NYSE anyway, such as the NYSE’s history of focus on servicing blue-chip companies. Read 

Playing the IPO Boom: Are Big Bank Stocks Your Best Bet?

Mar 18, 2014, 2:58 pm EDT
Playing the IPO Boom: Are Big Bank Stocks Your Best Bet?

After a stalling for a long time, the IPO market finally got into gear last year. Perhaps the biggest factor was the rebound in Facebook (FB), which created enthusiasm for tech offerings like Twitter (TWTR).

Buying big bank stocks is the obvious way to capitalize on this trend, but is it necessarily the best way?

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