Big Guys Go Startup Shopping
I’m still trying to recover from the incredible two days that was the mesh conference, and will be posting updates and links to video, blogs, photos and reviews as I come across them, but in the meantime here’s a cross-post from my Globe and Mail blog in which I try to catch up with two of the many tech deals that occurred while I was en-meshed:
It’s been a busy week in tech-land, as media and Internet giants have been snapping up Web startups like kids in a candy store. CBS, which only just finished buying the financial video-blogging show known as Wallstrip (created in part by Toronto venture capitalist and hedge fund manager Howard Lindzon) is paying $280-million (U.S.) to acquire Last.fm, one of the most popular online music tools around today. And as has been rumoured here and other places, eBay — which paid $2.4-billion or so for Skype not too long ago — is buying StumbleUpon, a Canadian creation that was based in Calgary before moving to the Valley.
Last.fm, which is similar to another site called Pandora, allows users to set up a profile with their favourite music (including their iTunes playlists) and then share that with others. The site then recommends new music based on similarities between their selections and those of people with similar tastes. By contrast, Pandora uses advanced algorithms to determine similarities between songs, and then recommend new ones based on those attributes (there’s a good discussion of the differences between the two here).
Scott Karp has some thoughts on the Last.fm deal as a sort of Hail Mary play by CBS because of its radio assets, and there’s a post from one of the Last.fm founders here. In case you are keeping score at home, according to the Times of London (Last.fm was created in London), the three founders will get approximately $38-million each from the deal.