Editor’s note: This article by Greg Anderson originally appeared on ArcticStartup, an independent tech blog that reports on digital startups and growth entrepreneurship from the Nordic and Baltic countries.
Do you find your day filled with scheduling meetings, meeting people, and then trying to manage the to-do process afterward?
If you haven’t done so before, it might be time to check out Helsinki-based Meetin.gs, which has relaunched its service with a nice facelift and a renewed focus on mobile. Their product manages to wrangle together all the loose strings associated with professional meetings by plugging into popular business tools.
To schedule a meeting, Meetin.gs now offers a fully brandable “meet me” page, which enables uses to create and publish a calendar page that makes it easier to schedule a meeting time, which solves the problem of that awful email chain where suggested times are pinged back and forth.
This service plugs into the user’s calendar, so occupied time slots are automatically blocked out. Meeting locations are also included, so transit times and meeting durations can be accounted for.
Meetin.gs now also offers a Chrome extension that plugs into LinkedIn, Google Calendar, Gmail, and Highrise, to allow you to immediately schedule meetings with your contact as soon as the opportunity comes up.
Once you’ve got these meetings booked, they can now be found on a nice timeline so you can browse through meeting times, tasks, and documents.
Their newly relaunched product also includes an iPhone application that provides access to meeting information on the go, and even plugs into Skype to join online meetings. It can be found in the App Store.
“Meetings in the business world notoriously tend to be time-sinks”, comments Teemu Arina, Meetin.gs founder and CEO. “We want to help professionals to cut down on administrative tasks around meetings while keeping everything necessary easily available from any device”.
The product boasts a user base of 22,000 currently and is relaunching today at the TNW Europe Conference in Amsterdam. The basic features are free to use, but paid services offer more integrations, storage space, and branding opportunities.
Image credit: Digital Vision / Thinkstock
Ionic Security, a TechCrunch Disrupt SF Battlefield company that offers an enterprise security software, has raised $9.25 million in Series A funding led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers with TechOperators, Ken Levine and Dr. Paul Judge also participating. Ted Schlein, general partner at KPCB, will be joining Ionic Security’s board.
The company originally launched last Fall as Social Fortress, as a way for both consumers and enterprise users to simplify how they access and secure their important data, including emails, Yammer messages, photos, tweets, or status updates. The startup also allowed users to manage who gets to access to this data by encrypting everything.
Since last year, the startup shifted focus to the enterprise, and now, under the name Ionic Security, offers an end-to-end security, identity and access management platform for encrypted data in the cloud. And Ionic provides this without the need for, or use of, gateways. Users can centrally manage all employee login credentials for software apps plus internal applications.
As Kleiner Perkins partner Ted Schlein explains, there are a lot of companies working on access to cloud but no one ever put it together into a seamless system that addresses all aspects of cloud security and is endpoint agnostic.
The company’s software has seen interest from the defense industrial base and the healthcare and financial services industries in both North America and Europe.
“Security needs to change with the times,” says Schlein. “Enterprises have historically secured their data through network security, endpoint protections and central identity management offerings that are no match for the complex security challenges inherent in the combination of cloud services and the rise of bring-your-own-device policies. Ionic Security addresses this challenge head-on by providing enablement, not restriction and is poised to become standard in next-generation enterprise IT infrastructure.
The new funding will be used to expand Ionic’s engineering team, accelerate enterprise sales and for sales and marketing.
Facebook is taking a step today in its bid to position itself as the privacy-respecting social network: it is announcing an alliance with the U.S.’s National Association of Attorneys General to provide teens and their parents more information and tools to manage their profiles on Facebook and beyond. So far, Facebook has linked up with attorneys general in 19 states to put out “state-specific public service announcements,” starting this Tuesday, which will include a safety video and a privacy tip sheet. These will be distributed on Facebook’s own safety page, as well on the AGs’ Facebook Pages and their own websites.
It’s important for Facebook to demonstrate that it’s coming out in front on issues like privacy and child protection online. The social network — which by its definition celebrates sharing information with others — often gets scrutinized for how it pushes the boundaries of privacy. Showing that it’s willing to make it as easy as possible for people — and specifically more vulnerable young people — to control their data could help mitigate regulators making those moves on Facebook’s behalf.
Kickstarted by the Maryland attorney general and NAAG president Douglas F. Gansler, and announced by him today during the NAAG’s Privacy in the Digital Age conference, it’s a mark of where Facebook places this in terms of priorities that COO Sheryl Sandberg is getting behind the alliance.
“At Facebook, we work hard to make sure people understand how to control their information and stay safe online. We’re always looking for new partners in that endeavor – that’s why we’re thrilled to collaborate with the National Association of Attorneys General,” said Sandberg in a statement. It looks like the idea is to bring other state attorneys general on board, too. “We’re grateful for Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler’s leadership on this issue, and we look forward to working with him and attorneys general around the country.”
Privacy, specifically that of younger users, is an increasingly more important point as Facebook continues to add more sophisticated features and services to its platform, making it potentially more challenging for people to control how and where their profiles and information get used. (Facebook Home, the new Android launcher, is an example of how Facebook sees a future for very persistent, always-present applications.)
But just because Facebook is taking decisive steps does not mean that regulators and others are looking any less closely in what the social network does and how users are faring on it.
“We hope this campaign will encourage consumers to closely manage their privacy and these tools and tips will help provide a safer online experience. Of course, attorneys general will continue to actively protect consumers’ online privacy as well,” said Gansler in a statement.
Indeed, the wider scope of the conference currently underway is to take steps to update laws to be closer in line with how people share information in an always-online world. “State laws need to be updated to reflect our modern era in which the very nature of privacy and personal information is changing,” he added. “Attorneys general
have before us an extraordinary opportunity to reorient our enforcement and advocacy efforts toward the unique privacy challenges posed by the digital economy.”
This is not the first step that Facebook has made to help younger users better manage their privacy. In February, just after launching its new, dynamic search engine called Graph Search, Facebook followed up with a note on how it affect teens. Specifically, Facebook limits results in Graph Searches made by teens to other results from those aged or aimed at 13-17 year-olds, following on from its existing limitations for teens:
“On Facebook, many things teens are likely to do – such as adding information to their timelines or sharing status updates – can only be shared with a maximum of Friends of Friends,” Facebook noted at the time. “In addition, for certain searches that could help to identify a young person by age or by their location, results will only show to that person’s Friends, or Friends of Friends who are also between the age of 13-17.”
On top of its wider efforts to give people a better grip on their privacy, it’s also tried to illuminate more of the dynamics about how parents and their kids interact on Facebook.
VC firm Accel Partners is bringing on its first marketing partner with the addition of former Yelp Senior Director of Communications Stephanie Ichinose. In her new role, Ichinose will be responsible for managing the Accel Partners brand and advising entrepreneurs in the Accel portfolio on their strategic positioning and communications strategies.
This is a big talent win for Accel. Ichinose was hired on as Yelp’s first communications strategist in 2006 and helped scale the company’s messaging at all phases of its growth until it became a public company. Prior to Yelp, she oversaw communications for Yahoo’s Search and Marketplace business unit where she also worked closely with entrepreneurs from acquisition announcements such as Flickr, Upcoming.org and del.icio.us. She was also a member of the Sony Computer Entertainment America PR team that launched the PlayStation 2 in the U.S.
As more VC firms offer full-service agency-like services such as PR and marketing, we’re seeing more communications talent in the tech world jump to VC firms. And firms are also using PR talent to help manage their own brands.
“At the end of the day, our goal is to take founders and companies from Series A to IPO…We can help change our companies’ trajectories by adding this level of talent,” said Accel Partner Rich Wong.
Accel most recently announced a new $467 million fund to invest in Europe and Israel.
View original post here: Accel Adds Yelp Communications Exec Stephanie Ichinose As First Marketing Partner
IBM plans to invest $1 billion in research to design, create and integrate Flash into its servers, storage systems and middleware, a reflection of the changing requirements needed for companies to manage massive amounts of data.
As part of the news, IBM also announced a new line of Flash appliances. These storage appliances are based on technology acquired from Texas Memory Systems. IBM says the appliances can run 20 times faster than spinning hard drives and can store up to 24 terabytes of data.
The move comes as more companies need better ways to manage the high volume of data resulting from the influx of mobile apps, the web and the ability to create data with updates in pictures, video and trillions of text messages.
All that data makes for major bottlenecks in systems that have long depended on mechanical hard disks to process information. Those hard disk systems did just fine in an age when vendors built vertical stacks for transaction-based systems, such as ERP and business-management solutions. Today, the market is shifting to a more distributed horizontal mesh where data is spread over tens of thousands of servers.
IBM has a deep history in the server market and middleware and is showing a new focus on storage. But who is this for? If you look at the news, it’s apparent this move is to support its existing customer base, which has long-term investments in credit-card processing, manufacturing and operations that require large enterprise resource planning environments.
IBM’s Flash investment shows how companies are calibrating their strategies according to the data they process. Facebook uses Flash to process Internet-scale applications. IBM will apply Flash to software installations inside data centers at big banks, factories and other large-scale operations. These are two different uses tied together by the universal need to manage data and integrate it into the way we live and work.