Venture capitalists come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes a venture capitalist is a no nonsense middle aged man in a pair of slacks with a Bluetooth in his ear. Sometimes he's a 19-year-old multiplatinum selling recording artist and constant source of amusement to the tabloid press.
Yes, we're talking about Justin Bieber, the fabulously wealthy global boy-celebrity. And, belieb it or not, J-Biebs has a pretty solid investment record. Back before it was released in the States, Bieber was an early investor in a little music streaming service called Spotify. So, when Anne Frank's favorite celebrity from the future drops $1.1 million into a new social network for teens called Shots of Me, it's worth paying attention.
So does all this mean that between world tours and visits to South American brothels, Justin Bieber is a tech tastemaker with his finger on the pulse? Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson asked friend of the show and tech critic Molly Wood.
"My suspicion is that Justin Bieber himself has not done a ton of thinking about Shots of Me -- let's be honest," Wood says. "Previously, his investment strategy has been lead by his manager, Scooter Braun. But Justin Bieber is a guy who came up through social media, and so the idea of him helping to develop a social media app or site of some sort -- there aren't many details about it -- that's actually really realistic."
It also helps that some 46 million people follow Bieber on Twitter.
"He's in the rare position, I think, of a celebrity who could have some influence on a brand," Wood says.
The social media site expects to raise $1.8 billion. Many are watching to see how it fares and whether there are any problems such as those that plagued Facebook's initial public offering in May 2012.
With all the attention on Twitter's initial public offering today, it's worth a look back at the hot tech IPO of November 2011 as it reports earnings: Groupon, the daily-deal site.
Groupon stumbled out of the gate, with low profits, lots of competitors, and high costs. It's been in turnaround mode ever since.
The turnaround picked up steam this year. In January, Groupon dumped its CEO. Since then, there's been a website re-design and a re-launch of the company's mobile apps. It's been expanding overseas.
But the company's best days are behind it, says Hilary Kramer of A & G Capital. "The game is over now for Groupon," she says. "The competitors are going to do its job better than Groupon ever did."
She means companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Google. They can offer you a deal on anything you like. And, having gotten pretty intimate with you, they know what you like.
But Internet analyst Greg Sterling thinks that, whatever happens with Groupon, it's made an important contribution. Groupon pioneered the idea of making e-commerce local.
"What they did was get to you to buy offline services," he says -- meaning, say, manicures -- "then pay for them upfront in an e-commerce transaction, and fulfill them in the real world. And that will survive them, even if they don't stick around."
So, next time you buy a disconuted parking spot with an app like SpotHero, thank Groupon.
A hundred years after his birth, French writer and Nobel laureate Albert Camus is perhaps best-known around the world for novels like The Stranger and The Plague and his philosophy of absurdism. But it's his politics and views about Algeria's brutal fight for independence that continue to make waves in France.
It seems obvious to say that a high approval rating helps a president, while a low approval rating hurts him. But there are reasons to think Obama's weak standing in the polls isn't as troublesome as it sounds.
As a multitude of mobile devices dominate our work and personal lives, people are buying fewer pens, especially high-end ones. That's doomed many mom-and-pop pen shops, including a century-old New York City store that closed its doors in August. But a few stores are still holding on, relying on those who treat pens like jewelry.
The health care law is helping low- and middle-income Americans pay for their insurance. Where does that money come from? In part, it is a matter of the well-off helping pay for those who have less. But that's not the full answer.
In 2001, Portland, Ore., was the first to develop a new kind of streetcar system. Success there led to a resurgence, with at least two dozen cities planning, building or expanding trolley lines — places like Atlanta, St. Louis and Tucson, Ariz. But some wonder whether it's the best way to spend limited transit dollars.
The Olympic torch was launched into space on Wednesday night. It will accompany astronauts on a spacewalk before returning to Earth on Nov. 10.
An online statement attributed to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb says the pair from Radio France Internationale were killed in response to French troops operating in Mali.
As of Tuesday's election, New Jersey is the latest state to raise the minimum wage. In the past few years, 21 states, the District of Columbia and scores of cities have boosted wages above the federal minimum.
Politicians often call members of their own party to congratulate them on a successful campaign. But Biden seems to relish the opportunity, personally reaching out to 10 winning candidates in state and local races around the country Tuesday night.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn says he's ready to approve a deal to get the firm's 26,000 former customers their money by the end of the year.
If you find yourself dissatisfied with the offerings from regular television producers tonight -- either the broadcast networks or cable and online -- there's a new out-of-the-box alternative:
Amazon announced it's going to start offering its own original content. The first one is a half-hour comedy called "Alpha House." It premieres November 15 to Amazon Prime members.
Meredith Blake, entertainment reporter for the Los Angeles Times, says the format of television is changing rapidly and bigger and bigger stars are ponying up to make internet only content.
"I think the resistance, the snobbery if you want to call it that, is quickly fading. You've seen this with TV in general. Now it's become cooler to be on TV than to be in the movies, and so I think that's changing with these web outlets as well."
Democrat Terry McAuliffe's win over Tea Party Republican Ken Cuccinelli in the race for Virginia governor was frozen in place long before the government shutdown or the Obamacare debacle, experts say.
Children conceived by in vitro fertilization have the same chance of developing leukemia and brain cancers as their peers, a large study in the U.K. finds. There was a slight increase in risk for two rare cancers. But overall the findings are good news, reaffirming the safety of the fertility treatment.
It's the latest in a wave of "nut jobs" in California's Central Valley that local reporter Rich Paloma believes are linked to organized crime.
That's what the Kentucky Republican wants to know, after being criticized for using the work of others without attribution. Paul, who appears to be preparing for a run at the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, is now on the offensive.
It's been a year since Washington state voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use. That's meant some big changes along Interstate 5, sometimes called the "Marijuana Highway." Police are phasing out pot-sniffing dogs, but are becoming more vigilant about what some call "green DUIs."
You've heard of 3-D printing — now add one more dimension. Researchers are figuring out how to create structures that move and respond to their environment after they're printed.