A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology…
Uber Said in Early Talks to Raise Another $1 Billion (Recode)
Uber is in fundraising mode again to bring in about $1 billion to finance its rapid international expansion, said people familiar with the situation. Travis Kalanick, the car-booking company’s co-founder and chief executive officer, is seeking a higher valuation than the $17 billion Uber got in its $1.2 billion fundraising from investors led by Fidelity Investments in June.
The Clever Solution Behind Path’s Place Messaging Service (Street Fight)
In late September, Path added a feature to its messaging app called Places that allows users to text local businesses with questions, and, often within minutes, receive an answer. The experience is simple and habitual, yet the infrastructure inside is a patchwork blend of technology and people that demonstrates a remarkable empathy for the realities of the market today.
The ‘Moral Imperative’ Behind Small Business Marketing (Screenwerk)
Greg Sterling: There is a “moral” dimension to helping SMBs succeed with digital marketing. If they don’t get it right they will fail and our economy will not only suffer but we’ll all be reduced to choosing between Walmart and Subway: giant corporations that don’t particularly care about communities and franchises that have no local character.
5 Hyperlocal Platforms With Acquisition-Based Pricing (Street Fight)
Local merchants are looking for immediate results with their hyperlocal marketing programs, and most aren’t willing to pay up front for the online clicks of a customer who may or may not actually show up. As vendors search for better ways to serve the small business market, the focus is shifting away from website clicks, and toward customer acquisition.
YC Alum Fivestars Sees Explosive Growth in LA, Fights for the Loyalty of Consumers and Local Merchants (Pando)
One of the fastest growing tech companies in LA may not even be based in the area. FiveStar, the four-year-old San Francisco-based loyalty and marketing automation company has seen its active user-base in the region grow by 90 percent in the last six weeks to more than 1 million users.
After Quietly Raising $20M, Zerve Opens Its Local Activity Platform to Consumers (TechCrunch)
Zerve, a startup backed by Yahoo founder Jerry Yang, has built a merchant platform for local businesses to list activities, and then take sign-ups and payments for them — think OpenTable for events. It’s opening up for business as a direct-to-consumer portal, taking what was once a back-end platform that powered listings and sales for other businesses and making it open to all.
Ignoring Investments in Local News Startups Makes No Sense (Reynolds Journalism Institute)
Nikki Usher: Homicide Watch, the highly interactive website which has been a force in journalism and the community since 2010, is shutting down because it can’t find a backer in the District of Columbia. If there’s one resounding failure, it’s been the inability of local news startups to attract any sufficient backing for their efforts.
ReservationHop Ditches Restaurant Reservations, Launches Scheduling Tool OK Shift (TechCrunch)
Hey, remember ReservationHop? You know, the much-criticized service that promised to sell restaurant reservations to users? Well, founder Brian Mayer is officially abandoning the idea.