"What I learned on the First Round Startup Trek" (includes video clips). O'Donnell also explains what he sees as his role with First Round in this post for The Business Insider.
First Round was reported this week to be an initial outside investor in Jelli, a crowdsourcing service allowing individuals to indicate their song preferences and influence the playlists of traditional radio stations, such as Live 105 in San Francisco.
First Round portfolio company Aggregate Knowledge of San Mateo CA has raised an additional $9 million, increasing its total funding to date to $34.5 million. (It is not clear whether First Round participated this time.) Aggregate Knowledge has shifted its business model from being an ecommerce recommendation engine to providing display ad analytics to marketers, as Venture Beat explains. Also on the display ad front, Philadelphia-based Invite Media announced it had invaded the UK and Europe with the opening of its London office. Invite Media provides what it calls the first universal buying platform for online display media
Jingle Networks, the free directory assistance company (Free411), raised another $6.75 million to increase its total funding to almost $90 million. CEO Scott Kliger says "all of our current investors participated in this round", TechCrunch reports ; First Round Capital and Comcast Interactive Capital were existing investors. There are questions as to whether Jingle is profitable on a cost per call basis, but Kliger says "the voice service is profitable" and the additional investment will be used to expand its mobile ad network.
The New York Times reported how one investment firm is creating a "fund of funds" including venture capital, which might make it easier for large institutional funds to participate in relatively smaller VC funds such as First Round. Also, Fred Wilson weighs in on the "larger portfolio/smaller portfolio" issue, using First Round as a comparison to Union Square.
The Times also does a writeup on Pittsburgh online apparel retailer ModCloth, which First Round invested in.
First Round portfolio company Pinch Media has merged with Flurry; the two companies will combine their expertise in tracking and measuring the use of mobile applications. The merged company, which will operate as Flurry, may seek additional funding this year.