Data killed the HiPPO star

As the former CEO of OpenTable, Jeff Jordan can attest that most CEOs believe they intuitively know which product developments will make the biggest impact. In this article, Jordan makes a compelling case for letting data — and not the CEO — drive product development.

AirBnB gets $112M in new investment

AirBnB, a San Francisco–based person-to-person room-, apartment- and house-rental startup, has raised $112 million in Series B funding from a group of investors including Russian Internet investor DST Global, General Catalyst and Andreessen Horowitz. AirBnB has raised about $120 million. More details after the fold.

OpenTable Buys Toptable.com for $55M

OpenTable (s OPEN), one of the big beneficiaries of the emergence of mobile Internet, acquired UK-based toptable.com today for roughly $55 million in cash. With this acquisition, OpenTable is indicating that it is ready to go after the European market in earnest.

For OpenTable, Mobile Means Mo’ Money

OpenTable is a holdover from the Web 1.0 economy and it might be finding new growth opportunities, thanks to the growing popularity of mobile devices and the rise of anywhere computing. Now all it has to do is think smartly about its business.

Mobile Devs: Install Rates of Free Apps Higher Than Paid Apps

[qi:gigaom_icon_apple] As web-based companies struggle to monetize their content, mobile application developers face the same battle. Since so many popular web apps are free to use, people expect the same free access when it comes to mobile apps, said a panel of iPhone application developers during a breakout session at VentureBeat’s MobileBeat conference today. As a result, they said, install rates are significantly higher for free apps than they are for those that cost money.

And if an application is free, it should stay that way. Tapulous COO and co-founder Andrew Lacy said install rates for one of its free gaming apps dropped 95 percent overnight when the company started charging 99 cents for it. On the other end of the spectrum, according to Epic Tilt’s Nikao Yang, there’s a small class of mobile users who will install paid applications regardless of the price. “The install rate doesn’t change dramatically from 99 cents to $4.99,” he said.

But if more often than not, the only price a mobile consumer wants to pay is no price at all, how can developers make money off mobile apps? The panelists, which also included OpenTable’s Scott Jampol, said advertising is a key way to monetize applications (see a related post on GigaOM Pro, subscription required). Indeed, with mobile ad spending forecast to hit $5.7 billion by 2014, mobile advertising startups such as Nexage and AdMob have been among those receiving funding despite the struggling economy.

Next Hot Tech IPO: LogMeIn

logmeinlogoUpdated: The almost moribund market for technology initial public offerings might make a comeback if Woburn, Mass.-based software maker LogMeIn has a successful debut on the public market. The company is looking to raise $107.2 million, and the deal will be priced this coming Tuesday. The company is offering a total of 6.7 million shares expected to be priced in the range of $14 to $16 a share. It will trade under the ticker symbol “LOGM.”

LogMeIn makes software that allows folks to access their computers over the Internet remotely. It competes with Citrix (GotomyPC), Microsoft (s MSFT) and Cisco Systems’ WebEx (s CSCO). The company had sales of $51.7 million but lost $7.75 million in 2008. During the first quarter of 2009, LogMeIn had sales of $17.2 million and a profit of $1.5 million. John Fitzgibbon, a longtime IPO analyst and founder of IPOScoop, told The Wall Street Journal that this is the IPO that “should blow the socks off people.”  Read More about Next Hot Tech IPO: LogMeIn

Could OpenTable’s IPO Lead to More Tech M&A?

[qi:115] OpenTable’s (s open) stunning performance in its first day of trading is a sign of unexpected warmth in the market for technology IPOs. But while the market success of the restaurant reservations software developer may not be a true bellwether that leads to a flurry of additional IPOs, the new listing’s surprising gains could signal a shift in the balance between venture capitalists’ two traditional exit opportunities: merger-and-acquisition deals and public offerings. With tech IPOs absent during the nine months between Rackspace’s August 2008 offering and SolarWinds’ offering earlier this week, that “balance” has been more or less nonexistent, but a perceived revival of IPOs could prompt more activity on the M&A side as well. Read More about Could OpenTable’s IPO Lead to More Tech M&A?