U2's Bono, the Edge Invest in Dropbox
-- U2's Bono and the Edge are investors in file-hosting service Dropbox, the company announced via Twitter. A picture included with the tweet shows the two musicians with Dropbox co-founders Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowski, and Ali and Hadi Partovi, the founders of iLike and early investors in Dropbox.
Founded in 2007, Dropbox is a popular and fast-growing file-hosting service that allows for online file storage and collaboration with other users. Unlike peer-to-peer services or file-hosting services like Megaupload, which can be repositories of copyrighted content, Dropbox is more of a personal storage and collaboration tool. The company raised a $250 million round of Series B funding in October led by Index Ventures with the participation of Benchmark Capital, Goldman Sachs, Greylock Partners, Institutional Venture Partners, RIT Capital Partners, Valiant Capital Partners and previous investors Sequoia Capital, Accel Partners and the Partovis.
If history offers any indication, Bono and the Edge will not occupy themselves with the marketing of Dropbox or act as liaison to potential partners. Bono is a managing director and co-founder at private equity firm Elevation Partners. Although Elevation has invested in some companies that mix media and technology -- Forbes, Facebook, Palm and Yelp -- that could benefit from his connections, there is no evidence Bono has played a role other than investor.
Another day, Another SoundCloud Partnership
-- This time the audio hosting company has partnered with Ableton, maker of the popular software music sequencer. Current Ableton Live 8 and Suite 8 users can receive a free five-month SoundCloud Pro account and can now upload directly to SoundCloud from within Live. Users who purchase or upgrade to Live 8 or Suite 8 before May 31, 2012, will also get five months of SoundCloud Pro for free.
In addition, the two companies have come up with an interesting contest. From May 14 through May 28, the Beat the Clock contest lets people take a Live Pack of samples from M83, Junior Boys and Nosaj Thing to be used to create an original piece of music. In keeping with the contest's name, participants must submit their entries within 24 hours after downloading the Live Pack. SoundCloud and Live users will vote for their favorites entries. The field will be whittled down to 25 and the three artists will pick the winner. Participants can win a trip to Berlin, lifetime upgrades to Ableton Suite, five years of a SoundCloud Pro Plus account and other prizes.
( Ableton blog)
Valleyarm Opens London Office
-- Valleyarm, a digital distributor based in the Asia Pacific with offices in Melbourne and Singapore, has opened an office in London. Industry veteran Neil Cartwright, formerly with marketing agency Media Junction and digital distributor the Orchard, will head up the new office. This is the company's second European office after one in Berlin. The company says it distributes its content to more than 200 retailers in China, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and others.
( Valleyarm press release)
Google, Earbits Get Laughs With April Fool's Pranks
-- April Fool's Day seemed mild this year since people are less prone to notice hoaxes and jokes on a Sunday. Nevertheless, some technology companies -- including an Internet radio company -- didn't pass on the opportunity to get a few laughs.
Google put some of its $44.6 billion pile of cash to good use with over a dozen April 1 pranks, including slick promotional videos announcing a system of morse code for smartphones called Gmail Tap (it features LL Cool J as Todd Smith, product lead for Gmail Tap), Google Maps for 8-bit Nintendo and YouTube on DVD. Conan O'Brien announced he bought tech blog Mashable and took over as CEO.
Internet radio service Earbits used April Fool's Day to launch a joke aimed at the king of Internet radio -- Pandora. Earbits' "Pandora Stock Trend Radio" runs off a "playlisting algorithm" that both predicts Pandora's financial success and selects songs based on the company's financial outlook. Songs you might hear on the station include "Bad Luck and Trouble" by Harrison Kennedy, "Broke and Busted" by the British Columbians and "Ain't Gotta Dime" by Boo Boo Davis.
( Earbits blog)