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Category: AOL

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Top Startup and Tech News Today: 7 Things You Missed Today

1. Samsung Claims 100 Million People Use Its ChatOn Messaging Service


Though ChatOn is rarely heard of, Samsung says that its messaging service is relevant and has caught the fancy of some. In fact, Samsung claims that the “global subscriber base” of 100 million people who employ ChatOn readily enjoy it. Samsung is able to enjoy such a large number because ChatOn is available across a wide array of platforms, from iOS, Android, Bada, to the Web and the Windows Phone. When advertising for ChatOn, Samsung singled out China and India as key markets and touted features like drag-and-drop media sharing and the ability to hand-write messages. Though 100 million may sound like a large number, it is unclear whether that is the number of people who have the app registered on their phone, or the number of people who actually and actively use the chat service.


2. Strap On Your Computer, Wearable Tech Taking Off


The digital and technological world is slowly seeping out of our laptops and into us, as we continue to create items such as vacuum shoes that clean the floor while you walk and fitness bracelets to track your heartbreak and calorie burning. Wearable technology used to be a side-item to the more mainstream laptops and smartphones, but items such as Google Glass and Apple’s rumored iWatch are taking off. Analysts forecast strict growth in the “wearable technology” trend. Last year, this market totaled almost $9 billion – analyst Shane Walker of HIS Global Insights says that this number should climb to $30 billion by 2018.


3. Intel in Deal to Acquire Sensory Networks For Around $20 Million


Intel is acquiring Sensory Networks Inc., which is a Mountain View, California-based startup which provides pattern matching and acceleration software technology. Intel will pay around $20 million for Sensory Networks, said hose familiar with the matter. An Intel spokesman said that revenue contributions from the acquisition weren’t expected to be material and declined to comment on the terms of the deal. Sensory Networks already had partnerships with Intel as well as other semiconductor product makers; the latter are expected to be unwound as part of the deal. The company’s software is used in products such as firewalls or email content filtering, which scan for large amounts of data.


4. AOL Founder Looks To Invest Outside Silicon Valley


AOL co-founder Steve Case is looking to finance entrepreneurs who are trying to build technological companies outside of the Silicon Valley. He is looking to fund startups that will be bankrolled by a $200 million fund that Case’s Revolution Ventures recently announced. Revolution Venture plans to make investments of up to $10 million each in startups during the next three or four years. Case’s fund will receive stacks in the startups in exchange for the money investment.  Although ides from Silicon Valley will not be excluded or disallowed, Case expects that 90% of the money invested will be to those living outside of the Bay Area. The national focus is similar to a $450 million fund that Revolution LLC launched a couple of years ago.


“This is isn’t any negative on Silicon Valley. We think Silicon Valley is awesome,” said Case. “But there are also a lot of great entrepreneurs in other parts of the country and there is not as much capital focused on them.”


5. Tackk Raises $1.2M For Its Content Creation Tools


Startup Tackk, which came out of its beta today, announced today that it raised $1.2 million in its second round of seed funding. Tackk offers tools for creating content that combines text, images, audio, and video. CEO Christopher Celeste says that his goal is to build a “universal content creation tool.”


There are two big advances for Tackk that Celeste touted, the first being the simplicity. The Tackk template doesn’t take much work or expertise. Secondly, Tackk doesn’t force users to create an account or share their media on certain networks. Since its launch a year ago, Tackk has received 700,000 unique visitors, despite minimal marketing, and its users have used Tackk to create photo journals, recipes, real estate listings, and more. Although Tackk was originally built solely as a content creation platform, it has added social features since, such as the ability to follow the profile of other users.


6. Facebook Makes Posts Searchable


On Monday, Facebook announced that it was rolling out an expansion of its search tool to make status updates and posts also searchable. With this change, members will be able to use Facebook’s search tool to sift through posts such as photo captions, comments, and check-ins, granted that they have access to these posts. Facebook says it will first roll out the feature to a small group of users. This feature, which has been on Facebook’s to-do list since the company launched their search tool, Graph Search, earlier this year, is part of Facebook’s aggressive campaign to become more prominent in the real-time conversation of the Web. This is a market that Twitter has already claimed, and Facebook wants in on it.

7. Apple Passes Coca-Cola as Most Valuable Brand


According to Interbrand’s annual report, Apple is now the most valuable brand in the word, pushing the previous no. 1, Coca-Cola, to no.3 This is the first time that the soft drink giant has not been no.1. Apple’s arrival in the top spot was deemed a “matter of time” from Jez Frampton, global chief executive at Interbrand said. Apple was No.2 last year.  “What is it they say, ‘Long live the king’?” Frampton said. “This year, the king is Apple.”


The report estimates that the Apple brand is valued at $98.3 billion, which 28% up from the 2012 report. The value of the Coca-Cola brand also rose, but only by 2% to $79.2 billion. “Coca-Cola is an efficient, outstanding brand marketer, no doubt about it,” said Frampton, technological companies like Apple are “very much the poster child of the marketing community.”