Meet the man who’s beating Airbnb in Europe

European vacation rentals site HouseTrip has everything going for it right now: not least fast growth and a fresh new round of funding. Co-founder Arnaud Bertrand lays out why he thinks his site can carry on winning — and reveals the scale of his ambition.

Why Trifacta is teaching humans and data to work together

A new startup called Trifacta, founded by UC-Berkeley professor Joe Hellerstein and Stanford professor Jeffrey Heer, wants to eliminate much of the hassle of making messy data usable. The company combines machine learning and human-computer interaction, and has raised $4.3 million from Accel Partners.

RelateIQ: A hush, hush data-savvy startup

Data is a hot topic among the startup community, which is why stealthy startup RelateIQ has a bunch of people excited about its product and plans. The startup has some big data street cred with executives from Palantir and LinkedIn’s former data scientist DJ Patil involved.

Qualtrics gets $70M to boldly scale like no one has scaled before

Qualtrics, a decade-old marketing research company has raised a $70 million first round of venture capital. This isn’t a growth capital deal, despite Qualtrics’ age and the large amount. This is designed to scale Qualtrics like a startup — from 200 to 450 employees.

Prezi zooms forward with $14m from Accel

Cloud-based presentation service Prezi kicked up a fuss when it offered a dynamic alternative to dreary formats. Now, two years after launch, the Hungarian startup has scored a serious round of funding to take the battle to PowerPoint.

Criterion Collection Does Web Video

What does the highly esteemed Criterion Collection, distributor of film buff collectors’ editions, do in a digital age? Very few of its chosen “important classic and contemporary films” are available in any online format. If you want to buy a movie online, chances are it’s going to be Zoolander on iTunes. But Criterion this week started offering its own digital videos on its own web site (there’s a cute Sharpie-drawn introductory video on the main page, but it’s not embeddable).

criterionidiamin

We gave the “online cinematheque” streaming system a whirl on this quiet Friday. Here’s the deal: Movie rentals cost $5. You can stream them as many times as you want for a week. Then that $5 counts towards the purchase of a DVD. Today there are only 20 films to choose from, but apparently more will be posted each week.

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Freemasonry, Lost Art of Founder-Networking

Ever lament the fact that you don’t have that coveted Harvard/Stanford/Wharton MBA? Sure, such emblems open doors, but there are plenty of calling cards and networking organizations that can help you get access to marquee investors. In fact, some of these networks have been around a long time — longer even than Harvard.

I recently stumbled upon a post at Paul Kedrosky’s blog under the title Freemasons, and Social Networks in the Markets. In it, Paul asks: “Does being in the right social network mean an easier time getting credit?” (Just guess.) Apparently Paul read an interesting new paper that looked at whether, historically, Freemasons favored their fellow entrepreneurs when it came to funding. (Guess again):

…Using a unique data set of 410 companies quoted on the London Stock Exchange between 1895 and 1902, I find that Masonic managers were associated with greater access to credit in small and young companies whose securities where traded over the counter. These companies earned higher profits, but the effect is not statistically significant. On the other hand, large publicly quoted corporations that were managed by Freemasons did not obtain greater access to credit; they had lower profits and lower Tobin’s Q.

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