European news roundup

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As European startups prepare to march en masse to The Next Web conference in Amsterdam next week, the European tech scene is still feeling buoyant, whatever the global economic outlook. Certainly that was the feeling at Plugg in Brussels last week, a conference I chaired, and where the startups presenting were all now showing an increasing quality, in contrast with perhaps a few years ago. According to new data, 2007 was a bumper year for tech company exits – but reality has bitten in 2008, and there remains a debate amongst VCs about whether we are in a slump or a market correction.

TechCrunch people are starting to make a habit of chairing conferences in fact, as our own Eric Schonfeld will be doing just that at Next Web. To give him and you a heads-up, I’ve prepped a short outline about the companies presenting. And if you’re going, be sure to say hi to Eric and I. In the meantime, here’s a roundup of news from this side of the pond:

• Last.fm expanded in Germany and plans to “scrobble” video/TV as well as music… more

• XING, the European business social network competing with LinkedIn hit revenues of $30.98 million and the member base increased to nearly 5 million … more

• 100 Euro Tech startups were picked out for the Red Herring’s annual European competition… more

• The Guardian newspaper hired Matt McAlister, currently the director of Yahoo’s developer network to begin building a development platform… more

• Zemanta launched its alpha for blogging on acid… more

• Facebook’s UK figures bounced back after the holiday period… more

• 3i re-terated that it was exiting from early stage in Europe… more

• IBM started a Cloud Computing Centre in Dublin… more

• We reviewed Intruders.TV, Europe’s answer to FastCompany.tv… more

• Video startup BlinkBox inked a deal with FreemantleMedia… more

• France’s Wikio RSS news aggregator launched in the UK… more

• EU startups competed at the Plugg conference… more

• Myrl launched a Web-based virtual world… more

• Spinvox raised $100m (as story we broke) … more

• Isango raised $8 million for its ‘travel experiences’… more

• WAYN.com looked like it was on the block again… more

• CloudMade raised €2.4m to supercharge open source maps… more

• WeLoveLocal sold a majority stake to a local radio group… more

• Pointlessly, EU taxpayers were forced to fund a $306m Google rival… more

• We reviewed Forkd – a social network for recipes… more

• 20 UK startups are to visit Silicon Valley in April – come meet them… more

• The Russian government to buy YouTube clone for $15m… more

• Scott Rafer joined Polldaddy… more

• Google had strong European growth… more

Elsewhere:

• Online video viewing stats tripled in the UK… more

• UK real estate startup Zoopla! got off to a cracking start… more

• European mobile Internet users will triple, reaching 125 million by 2013… more

• Russiona search player Yandex questioned Google’s claim to dominance in Russia… more

• UK startup Reevoo received funding from a French VC firm… more

• The EU officially endorsed DVB-H for handset TV video… more

• Apple appears to be waiting for 3G iPhones before launching in Spain and Italy… more

• Behavioural targeting firm Phorm has been branded ‘illegal’ by a policy group amid further criticism of the company’s plans to track users via their ISP… more

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