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The Big One

BrentDude, how much do you think Foursquare is worth? Here’s a hint: Not even close to the $650M it was valued at just a couple years ago. The location-based app, which has partnered with many other apps that want to give you a chance to peg your location, today announced it has raised $45M at a valuation of about half of the $650M. That’s a nice chunk of change, but it’s also a dreaded down round. And, I guess I’m not terribly surprised. After being crowned mayor of a newspaper and a few government buildings, I totally gave up on checking in via Foursquare. Now, those check-ins are pretty standard in social apps. And, apparently, Foursquare is no longer front of mind for most.

Man, we’re gonna be seeing a lot more of these down rounds in coming months as ballooning valuations get a little correctional love from cautious investors.

Billy: Well, I’ve gotta be honest. I’ve never used Foursquare, which probably takes me down a peg in many of our readers’ eyes, but I’ve read and heard about it extensively. While they were at the front edge of location-based tagging for social purposes, everyone was bound to catch up. They didn’t have a technological edge there, just were able to grow a large user base.

There’s a company I met with at Capital Factory the other day that is going to eat Foursquare’s lunch though. It’s akin to Foursquare’s location-based tagging, but it’s cutting the fat and putting it on ‘roids. The company, Zync Up, is launching in the near future and allows friend groups to see each others’ locations, communicate, and even get a rideshare through the app. I got to see a demo in person and it’s pretty rad. Keep an eye out for it – the founder Aaron Benz is a pretty cool dude too.

Making Moves

BrentGeneral Mills is smashing the gong in Austin. Just a week after the Minneapolis-based company announced the acquisition of EPIC Provisions, it has a new announcement: Its VC unit, 301 Inc., is the lead investor in a $3M of Series C funding for Rhythm Superfoods, another Austin company that makes organic superfood snacks, including kale chips.Billy, this strikes me as part of a trend we talked about a bit at our food and beverage tech event a few months back… and a trend discussed by a Food + City panel at UT a few months ago. That is, a lot of consumers have lost faith (and/or taste) in big food companies. So, those big food companies are snatching up startups that have cool background stories, pronounced food ethics and sourcing and increasing traction with consumers.

So, with that in mind, which company is going to get gobbled up next, dude?

Billy: Talk about reading the tea leaves, amirite? My money is on Bearded Bros bars. One because they’re delicious, two because they have great branding, and 3 because this fits in with GM’s M.O. of acquiring healthy snacks.Brent: And, some more moves. Raytheon|Websense, the Austin cybersecurity division of the global defense company, has changed its name to Forcepoint. The move comes a bit less than a year after Raytheon purchased Austin-based Websense. And it’s not just a name change… the company is announcing a pileup of new products and the acquisition of the Stonesoft next-generation firewall, Sidewinder proxy firewall technologies and teams from Intel Security. (financial terms not disclosed)

Inno Favorites

In the Community

Brent: I caught a bit of the Texas Longhorns’ big win over #17 Iowa State on Tuesday. Dude, if that was any indication, the Horns may have a nice shot at a good seed in the tournament in March. So who’s making similar moves on the tech court? I can think of a few companies that are killing it, and I’m stoked to see if someone nominates them in the upcoming Tech Madness event. (Hint, hint, you can do it right here.) Which Austin company will be most valuable in 5 years? Man, that’s a tough question with a lot of contenders. Will it be a software company? Maybe cybersecurity or biotech? Maybe even a B2C company.

Billy, we gettin’ any killer nominations coming in yet?

Billy: The selection committee is still out dude, but from what I’m seeing, it’ll be tough to trim down all the nominations to a round of 64.

I’m taking biotech though – they’re getting some good VC funding and with the opening of the Dell Medical School, biotech could boom.

Other News

BrentI caught a Facebook post from Primal Sensors today. No hot funding news yet, but founder Jerry King (pictured right) said the profile we wrote about the company “brought some new opportunities and reach all the way to Silicon Valley.” King said his company is now in talks with new investors.

“One connection, one article, one phone number… That can make all the difference between success and failure,” King wrote, also thanking Capital Factory for its support and exposure. Should be fun to see where they go — and what kind of investment they sweep up.

Billy: Hey Brent, that reminds me: Beat’s gotta eat! If any of y’all are interested in sponsoring the Beat or Austin Inno, hit me up and we’ll help you get that Silicon Valley attention like our pal Jerry here.

Keeping Austin Weird and Wired
BrentDude, I got the ˇGrito! What is that, you ask? I’ll let the folks at ˇGrito! explain: “Grito App brings the highly symbolic Mexican battlecry to your pocket.”So, I spent a year in Mexico. Saw plenty of callejoneadas and proved that no matter how beautiful the woman, no matter how good the music, no matter how much tequila I drank… I cannot salsa dance. I also fail pretty hilariously at gritos — like my voice can’t maintain that high pitch. But, for 99 cents in the App Store, I now have access to five stunning gritos. And, yes, I can text and e-mail them so that my friends. Billy, I’ve got one headed your way.BillyGrito’s for everyone! Friend’s birthday? Here’s a birthday grito! Housewarming present? How about a nice bottle of Pinot grito! Looking for a snack? Here’s a handful of grito’s!

Unwanted FeedbackWhat would you like to see in the Beat? Brent@AustinInno.comBilly@AustinInno.com