Evernote Snags Sequoia, Kleiner Perkins Goes Social, Zuckerberg Speaks Out, & More Bay-Area BizTech News

Companies building cloud-based services got lots of attention last week, as did those building social applications. And companies building cloud-based social applications? Watch out!

—Evernote, the Mountain View, CA-based online notekeeping service with nearly 5 million users, collected another $20 million in venture backing in a Series C round led by new investor Sequoia Capital. I interviewed CEO Phil Libin about the investment.

—I took a close look at Zoho, the Pleasanton, CA-based company offering small and medium-sized businesses free and low-cost alternatives to desktop productivity software such as Microsoft Office and even newer cloud-based services like Salesforce.com.

—While the Apple iPad may lack a camera, there’s no shortage of cool photo apps for the device, and I reviewed 10 of them in my regular Friday column.

—Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers announced the formation of the sFund, a $250 million fund that will be used to invest in startups building social Web applications. Facebook, Amazon, and Zynga each put some money into the kitty.

—I profiled AudioPress, a San Francisco startup that recently launched a versatile audio management app for the iPhone. The app lets users organize podcasts, streaming radio, and spoken-word articles into personalized playlists.

—San Francisco-based Siluria Technologies, which is developing a way to make natural gas into ethylene as a precursor for many types of plastics, raised $13.3 million in a Series A venture round, as Luke reported. Alloy Ventures, Arch Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Altitude Life Sciences Ventures, Lux Capital, and Presidio Ventures participated.

—I Went to Startup School, and All I Got Was This Lousy Video. Just kidding—I had a great time attending Y Combinator’s Startup School event at Stanford on October 16, and as a bonus I was able to make of video recording of a 30-minute interview between Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Y Combinator partner Jessica Livingston. Zuckerberg talked about what the makers of The Social Network got right, and what they weren’t so careful about.

—As a follow-up to my column two weeks ago comparing two leading run-tracking apps, Abvio’s Runmeter and FitnessKeeper’s RunKeeper, I staged a virtual “smackdown” between Abvio co-founder Steve Kusmer and FitnessKeeper founder Jason Jacobs.

—San Francisco’s Crosslink Capital participated in a $12.5 million Series B financing round for SiOnyx, a Beverly, MA-based company working on a method for making “black silicon,” a highly photosensitive form of silicon that could eventually be used in image sensors for camera phones, as Greg reported.

—In other tech deals news, Sharethrough raised $5 million, Causes raised $9 million, Revolution Analytics raised $8.6 million, and Kontiki raised $10.7 million.

—In Xconomy news, we announced our first-ever San Francisco event: a public forum with Michael Moritz of Sequoia Capital. Moritz is widely respected as one of the leading venture capitalists in Silicon Valley, and I’ll be interviewing him on stage at San Francisco’s Kicklabs on Tuesday November 30. You can register for the event now.

Wade Roush is a freelance science and technology journalist and the producer and host of the podcast Soonish. Follow @soonishpodcast

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