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Groupon Sets a VC Record

Investors spare no expense for the daily coupon site in a record-setting investment, plus the Verizon-AT&T fray and other entrepreneurial news.
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Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today:

Groupon claims start-up gold. The online coupon site may have rejected a $6 billion bid from Google last month, but it's possible their snub was only to pursue a record-breaking cash infusion announced this week. The New York Times reports that several investment firms have lavished $950 million on Groupon, the largest amount of venture capital money ever raised by a start-up. The list of new investors includes familiar Silicon Valley faces like Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. "They've cracked the code on a formula how to basically give access on the Internet as a marketing channel for offline merchants," said veteran investor Marc Andreessen. "It's a very, very big deal because there are a lot of offline merchants that have not been able to use the Internet as a marketing vehicle."

Why Facebook owns us. The success of Facebook has attracted a lot of attention, to say the least, and it's not always positive.  SmartMoney has compiled a comprehensive list of all the contentious issues that surround Facebook, from identity theft to obsession, to downright Facebook addiction (plus the embarrassment of your parents Facebook-stalking your boyfriend).  "It's no secret that Facebook is changing the way people interact," the author notes. "Get ready for some awkward moments."

Reviewing CES's best. What were the best products at CES? PC Magazine has a quick rundown that summarizes the show in pictures and text. For businesses, this is one for the best gadget round-ups to get a grasp of what is coming this year, and what you should be saving up for. And Rob Pegoraro at The Washington Post details five tech trends to keep an eye on post-CES. Among them: Android's ascention, the ubiquity of app stores, and video calling actually becoming standard.

Time for a technology cleanse? If you fall asleep with your iPhone under your pillow or can't step away from your laptop even at the breakfast table with your family, it might be time to try out a technology cleanse as part of your New Year's resolutions. "For all our constant connectivity, our electronic devices often keep us apart," says The Wall Street Journal. "Texting causes misunderstandings. Facebook makes us jealous. Television makes us too lazy or tired or distracted for sex." But doing a tech fast for even a short period of time can be difficult. A couple of pointers: "Be careful not to swap technology use for some other isolating activity. Wean yourself off gadgets gradually. Maybe a week—or even just one day—is too long to go unconnected at first."

Huffing and Puffing Mad. On a flight leaving Las Vegas yesterday, another passenger went Postal on The Huffington Post proprietor, Arianna Huffington. According to Business Wire, Huffington annoyed a skittish passenger by gabbing on her Blackberry after the standard warning to turn off electronic devices had been issued. After the plane landed, both she and the other passenger were escorted off the plane and questioned by authorities about the nature of the altercation. No charges were filed - except in the court of public opinion.

Clash of the carriers. The iPhone war of words is on, and AT&T threw the first punch yesterday. "I'm not sure iPhone users are ready for life in the slow lane," said an AT&T spokesman, suggesting his firm offers faster speeds and better functionality. Verizon fired back, wryly hinting at AT&T's spotty network: "Typically companies try to call attention to their strongest suit," a spokesman said. "It must be backwards day at AT&T." Stay tuned for more barbed statements and ad campaigns, according to The New York Times.

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Last updated: Jan 11, 2011




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