Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Bay Area Tech Wire -- Jan. 28

BAY AREA TECH WIRE -- Jan. 28, 2015
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Mountain View-Based UserTesting Raises $45.5 Million in Third Round
San Jose-Based Adobe Completes Acquisition of Fotolia
o San Francisco-Based Fingerprint Acquires Cognitive Kid and Scribble Press
Sunnyvale-Based Yahoo to Spin Off Remaining Alibaba Stake
FCC Warns Hotels Not to Block Personal Wi-Fi Hotspots
Briefly Noted: OpenDNS, Rocket Fuel, FiberTower


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o Mountain View-Based UserTesting Raises $45.5 Million in Third Round

Mountain View, Calif. -- UserTesting, the Mountain View-based developer of a user experience platform, said on Wednesday it has landed $45.5 million in its third round of funding, led by Accel Partners. OpenView Venture Partners also took part in the round, which the company will use to expand its capabilities beyond app and website testing to cover virtually any user experience. UserTesting boasts more than 30,000 customers, including Google, Facebook, The Home Depot, Verizon Wireless and Amazon. Customers receive videos of people interacting with their products and services while speaking their thoughts out loud. "Most companies rely solely on analytics and only know what their customers are doing. They don't know why they're doing it," said CEO Darrell Benatar. "This financing is going to help user experience testing become ubiquitous." 

o San Jose-Based Adobe Completes Acquisition of Fotolia

San Jose, Calif. -- Adobe, the San Jose-based developer of web publishing software, said on Wednesday it has completed its $800 million acquisition of New York-based Fotolia, developer of a marketplace for royalty-free photos, images, graphics and HD video. The acquisition, from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, TA Associates and management, was first announced in December. Fotolia will be integrated into Adobe Creative Cloud, providing members with the ability to access and purchase more than 35 million images and videos. Fotolia CEO Oleg Tscheltzoff will continue to lead the business as part of Adobe's Digital Media business. 

o San Francisco-Based Fingerprint Acquires Cognitive Kid and Scribble Press

San Francisco -- Fingerprint, a San Francisco-based developer of mobile play-and-learn networks for kids, said on Wednesday it has acquired mobile education companies Cognitive Kid and Scribble Press. Financial terms of the deals were not disclosed. The moves add a series of apps, games and e-books to the company's content library, which has grown 10-fold since just last year. "The market for apps and games targeted at kids is more than $3 billion and there are more children using mobile devices than ever before," said CEO Nancy MacIntyre. "It's our goal to find best-in-class educational content and bring it to the Fingerprint family of mobile networks." Scribble Press' book-making digital product has been used in more than 35,000 classrooms by kids aged 6-12. Cognitive Kid is the developer of the Ansel and Clair line of kids apps. 

o Sunnyvale-Based Yahoo to Spin Off Remaining Alibaba Stake

Sunnyvale, Calif. -- Yahoo said it plans to spin off its remaining stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group into a new publically traded investment company. Following the tax-free spinoff, Sunnyvale-based Yahoo will continue to operate its core business and hold a 35.5% interest in Yahoo Japan. The new company, to be known as SpinCo, will own all of Yahoo's remaining 384 million shares of Alibaba, valued at approximately $40 billion. "We have actively engaged experts in tax efficient structures over the past two years and have considered a variety of alternatives," said Yahoo CFO Ken Goldman. "Our plan is designed to achieve the most advantageous return of capital to Yahoo shareholders with the absolute highest probability of success."

o FCC Warns Hotels Not to Block Personal Wi-Fi Hotspots

Washington, DC -- Citing what it called a "disturbing trend," the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a new warning that it's illegal for hotels and other commercial businesses to block personal Wi-Fi hotspots. The move comes in the wake of several recent complaints about commercial Wi-Fi operators intentionally disrupting personal hotspots. "No hotel, convention center or other commercial establishment… may intentionally block or disrupt personal Wi-Fi hotspots," said the FCC in a statement. "Such action is illegal and violations could lead to the assessment of substantial monetary penalties." In October, the FCC fined  Marriott International $600,000 for blocking access to guests' personal Wi-Fi.

o Briefly Noted:

(San Francisco) San Francisco-based OpenDNS, a provider of cloud-delivered security, on Wednesday named Brian Roddy as its executive vice president of engineering and operations. Roddy previously led the engineering and operations organization at Jive Software. 

(Redwood City, Calif.) Redwood City-based Rocket Fuel, a developer of artificial intelligence advertising and marketing tools, said it has opened a new office in Brazil to expand its Latin American operations. The company has named Edvaldo Acir to lead the office as managing director. He is the former managing director of Vizury. 

(San Francisco) San Francisco-based FiberTower, a provider of wireless spectrum services, said it has opened a millimeter wave spectrum technology lab in Maryland. The lab will conduct research and development into wide-area licensed millimeter wave bands, focusing on small cell backhaul and 5G mobile access technologies.

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