SoundCloud set to monetize
The six-year-old music streaming service SoundCloud now has 175 million monthly users, making it four times bigger than Spotify. And the company has decided the time is right to begin monetizing them. The Berlin-based firm announced Thursday that it would begin showing ads on the site, while musicians and record labels will be able to collect royalties from music streamed through the service. Previously, revenues came from the fees SoundCloud charged its most active users.
SoundCloud has grown thanks to a simple, bottom-up approach (anyone can post music), but has received criticism for its handling of copyright violations. In fact, the New York Times reported that several major record labels are asking for equity stakes in SoundCloud in exchange for not pursuing lawsuits against the company. Current investors in SoundCloud include Kleiner Perkins, Union Square Ventures, and Index Ventures.
Y Combinator’s six hour Demo Day
Y Combinator, the premier seed-stage accelerator, held its biannual Demo Day this Tuesday. With an acceptance rate lower than Stanford’s, to even be considered by Y Combinator is an accomplishment. That being said, reports suggest that several start-ups stood out over the course of the six hour event. Some of them tackled the mundane, like Fixed, which contests parking tickets and collects a fraction of the original fine if it’s successful. Others, like U/Power, which showed off a prototype of the world’s first nuclear battery, presented solutions to decidedly more audacious problems. Founded in 2005, YCombinator has previously incubated Airbnb, Dropbox, and Stripe.
Stripe to help Twitter dive into e-commerce
A report by Re/Code claims that Twitter and payments start-up Stripe are teaming up to bring “in-Tweet” purchases to the eight year old microblogging service. The vision is an option for retailers to include a “Buy” button next to the “Retweet” and “Favorite” icons that currently exist beneath tweets, allowing users to make purchases without ever leaving Twitter. Twitter has surpassed Wall Street expectations of late, but the company is still after consistent profitability. An e-commerce feature like this would appear to help.
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This Week in Numbers
Alfresco, an enterprise content management and Red Herring Top 100 North America winner, has raised $45 million in new funding led by Sageview Capital.
Guardicore, a provider of data center security solutions, has closed an $11 million Series A round.
Agricultural harvest data and analytics provider Farmlink raised $40 million in Series B financing.