Crowd-Funding Websites Eye Shift
Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today.
Crowd-funding websites eye regulatory shift. The Securities and Exchange Commission is reviewing rules that prohibit social network websites from helping investors buy equity stakes in startups. While a slew of sites already help small businesses pitch and connect with people in an online network—to facilitate donations—those sites are currently restricted from allowing the purchase of equity stakes. SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro said this week a review of these "strategies" is underway and wrote that 150 organizations and individuals are behind a petition that calls for crowd-funding share issues of up to $100,000. For more on the pros and cons of this regulatory shift, read The Wall Street Journal's coverage.
C'mon, is Gilt worth a billion dollars? The Wall Street Journal reports that venture capitalists have invested nearly $150 million in Gilt Groupe, pegging the company's value at a whopping $1 billion. Here's the kicker: Gilt hasn't turned a profit since it was founded in 2007. "I'm a bit of a doubter," Andrew Jassin, co-founder of Jassin Consulting Group, which works with brands that sell to Gilt, told The Journal.
Twitter debuts better mobile app. After criticisms that it was behind the times, Twitter announced this morning the release of a new and improved mobile web application. The new app, which lets users check their feeds, @mentions and messages, reportedly uses HTML5, bringing it closer to the traditional Twitter experience. Only available to a small percentage of iPhone, iPad, and Android users now, Twitter plans to expand it to all in a few weeks.
What makes Austin so good for entrepreneurs? The New York Times observes that Austin, Texas repeatedly gets accolades for its "small-business vitality". What's the explanation? A mix of big employers like Samsung and the university, which also help develop smaller service businesses like restaurants and real estate agencies, as well as a rich community of entrepreneur funders and other champions, among other intriguing factors.
Google's Chrome laptops available in June. Yesterday Google introduced its Chromebook, a laptop that can store all of your photos, files, and music online. The New York Times notes that with the Chromebook, users won't need to worry about software updates or hard drive backups. "I think Chromebooks are a new model that doesn't put the burden of managing your computer on yourself," said Sergey Brin, Google's co-founder and director of special projects. The first Chromebooks, which cost $349 apiece, go on sale June 15 at Best Buy and Amazon.com.
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ALLISON FASS | Staff Writer | Deputy Editor, Inc.com
Allison Fass is deputy editor of Inc.com. A longtime business journalist at Forbes and The New York Times, she has also held roles in venture capital and innovation at Hearst Interactive Media and digital strategy at a start-up consultancy.