Voki begins to Twitter

 imageNow Voki has a new trick up its sleeve - the next version of the Voki avatar will link to Twitter and lip synch to your Twitter messages.

Voki is the site that came up with the slightly doleful looking avatars that you can pattern after your own likeness and embed on your web page. When visitors arrive at a web page, the Voki’s moppet like eyes follow the mouse around the page, and mouth snippets of wisdom.

Fred Wilson of A VC reports that the Voki avatar service from Oddcast, one of his portfolio companies, will let you link Voki to other services such as Twitter, in its next release.

Could be an attention grabber for a web page, but it still remains to be seen if an animated avatar can have real commercial value.

Earlier we reviewed Fix8, where you can impose an avatar image on your video, to make your own animated action movie strip. Great technology but again, it will be interesting to see how this category of eye candy can be monetized.

Technorati Tags: voki, twitter, fix8

Avail Media Raises $30M for IPTV

image Avail Media Inc. has completed a $25M Series B round which will put it well on its way to expanding its IPTV domain. The current round includes Valhalla Partners along with Columbia Capital, Novak Biddle Venture Partners, and Pioneer Ventures, from the prior round. The funding raised includes another $5M in debt financing from a strategic investor, and Silicon Valley Bank.

Reston, VA based Avail media delivers IPTV content to customers on a variety of platforms - cable, telecom and internet. The company will use its latest funding to expand its market reach and to add new features to its offerings.

Clearly, Avail Media has pedigree. The company was formed as a merger between Auroras Entertainment and Broadstream Communications. CEO Ramu Potazu was previously the CEO of Broadstream Communications, and before that, COO of Intelsat. Diane Smith, formerly the CEO of Auroras Entertainment, is president of Avail Media. 

image Avail Media, founded in early 2007, added VOD (Video on Demand) to its repertoire by acquiring ViewNow, a provider of VOD programming.


Technorati Tags: avail media, columbia capital, novak biddle venture partners, pioneer ventures, broadstream communications, auroras entertainment, Intelsat

XSCapacity receives funding from Venture Farm

image Irvine based VentureFarm, an early stage venture fund, has invested in XSCapacity, an online marketplace that allows businesses to solicit competitive bids on the shipment of freight, directly from trucking companies.

XSCapacity makes it possible to utilize excess capacity in partially filled trucks that ply across the US every day. According to the company, this can result in savings for the shipper, not to mention the reduction of the environmental impact of empty or partially filled trucks moving across the country. According to Sid Mohasseb, managing partner of Venture Farm, “XSCapacity is the Priceline of the transportation industry”

XSCapacity is founded by CEO Steve Krubenski, who has a background in accounting and transportation, and Dave Dobbins who directs carrier operation and has 3 decades of experience in freight. Steve Krubenski and Dave Dobbins are associated with IBP corporation, a company that offers freight logistics support and technology through its product LTCQuickbid, which was rolled out in July of 2006. The group also operates other logistics websites such as XSTrailerspace.com.


Technorati Tags: xscapacity, IBP corporation, LTC quickbid, freight, logistics, trucking

Motion 2 Energy - charging batteries through normal motion - gets $8M funding.


Motion 2 Energy has a neat solution to the power issue for mobile devices.

Capture the normal motion of the things/people to charge the device!

The solution consists of a micro-generator combined with traditional battery storage to create a system that captures the kinetic energy of normal everyday motion—human or vehicular—to generate electricity sufficient to power mobile devices.

The M2E battery is also lighter compared to the usual alkaline battery. It eliminates the hassle of re-charging batteries, the and the burden of carrying power cords everywhere. And god knows, we can all use little exercise.

In fact, some of the prized automatic watches from 60’s did the same, captured the movement of the wrist to power the watch. This is a natural extension of the same concept.

Currently the company is focused on meeting the mobile power needs of the military. The startup’s mobile power equipment consists of a micro-generator combined with traditional battery storage. In addition to military applications, the startup also plans to sell its technology to cell phone makers who will be able to turn around self-charging cell phones.

Here is a prototype of some of the batteries.

M2E Power has received a total of $8 million in funding from a group of VC firms and select angle investors. OVP Venture Partners, Highway 12 Ventures, @Ventures, the CMGI Inc., clean technology venture unit, seem to be participating in this funding.

M2E also has filed six patents on technology and is partnering with General Dynamics.

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