Airbnb announces super-sized vacation rentals for millionaires. Plus, Flipboard's big deal, the programmer shortage, and more of the day's news.
Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today.
Have money, will rent a village. Like to travel? Have a Napoleon complex? Airbnb's new arm might just be your dream come true. The vacation rental start-up, in partnership with Rent a Village by Xnet, now allows you to rent an entire village—or even a small country!—for your vacationing pleasure, Mashable reported last night. These vacations are not for the faint at heart or slender of wallet: a one-night rental of Liechtenstein (the tiny country sandwiched between Switzerland and Austria) will cost you $70,000. As renter-in-chief for the day, you'll be greeted with keys to the city, a custom medieval festival, and fireworks to celebrate your arrival. Ka-boom? Cha-ching.
Big deal for Flipboard. The much-talked app that pulls personalized RSS, Twitter, and Facebook feeds and displays it as a digital "magazine," told All Things D that in a second funding round it had raised $50 million. (That's a both a huge endorsement for the "social endorsement" engine and enough dinero to rent Liechtenstein for 714 days.) The deal values Flipboard at $200 million. Insight Venture Partners, which also backs Twitter, is the lead investor, along with Comcast's venture arm, Index Ventures, Kleiner Perkins and a slew of individuals like Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey and Ashton Kutcher. The piece notes that Flipboard has inked agreements with 17 publishers including a new one—also announced yesterday—with Oprah's network, a joint venture of Harpo and Discovery Communications.
The most desirable people in the universe. Nope, we're not talking about Brad Pitt, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Gisele Bundchen. It's an altogether different type of California celebrity—engineers. The Wall Street Journal takes a look at a number of companies that are looking to hire more engineers this year, but found one consistent problem: there aren't any left. "The talent pool isn't growing nearly that fast," The Journal notes. "Almost all of our companies are looking for Android and iPhone developers," says Bijan Sabet, a general partner at Spark Capital, a Boston venture capital firm, whose portfolio includes Twitter, Tumblr, and OnSwipe. Some firms are getting creative with current employees, and repurposing some software engineers to have a more active role in mobile development: "Given the mismatch between supply and demand, many companies say they have no choice but to retrain software engineers in the art of mobile development."
Two juggernauts debate Internet privacy. Reid Hoffman and Tim O'Reilly two of the "biggest thinkers in the Valley," head to TechCrunch to talk about Web 3.0 and Internet privacy on the auspicious TechCrunch TV. In it, Hoffman discusses what he calls the "next wave" of the Web, in which companies will be able to run on any platform "using the last few decades of data being gathered on our virtual and actual selves to build stunningly innovative new products and services." Yikes.
Businesses forecast cloudy. The excitement mounyting over the past decade about cloud computing, which allows users to access information from remote data centers anywhere over the Internet, initially didn't translate to wide-scale adoption of more efficient systems. The New York Times today gives a reassessment: More businesses are ready to fully embrace the new technology, investing heavily in the cloud to provide a greater variety of services for customers. Most recently, AT&T and Verizon have entered into the cloud business, and IBM most recently introduced a new range of cloud services where customers can pay for varying levels of security, support, and availability. The IDC, a technology research firm, estimates that by 2014, the cloud will account for 30 percent of total spending on software applications, and the industry will reach $55.5 billion in revenue.
America's Youngest CEO. She's 10 years old and her parents work for her. In West Bloomfield, Mich., Hannah Altman and her family make a living off of things called Squishes, Pig Poppers, Gomu and Crazy Bones. MSNBC shows the story of how she started about three years ago, has sold over 100,000 pencil toppers and still gets her homework done.