Leena Rao

Leena Rao
Leena Rao is currently a Managing Editor for TechCrunch. She recently finished graduate school at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, where she studied business journalism and videography. From 2004 to 2007, she helped lead Congresswoman Carloyn Maloney's community outreach and relations efforts in New York City. She graduated from Columbia University in 2003, where she was the captain of the women's varsity tennis team. She has also contributed technology content for Oprah.com. Disclosure: My husband, Suneel Gupta, was previously an employee of Groupon. We hold stock in Facebook. We also have investments in several mutual funds, some of which are technology-focused. And I hold a miniscule amount of shares in AOL, TechCrunch's parent company. My husband sits on the advisory boards of Adaptly and ToyTalk, and is a shareholder of both companies. CrunchBase profile →

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  • Seesmic Unveils A Formidable New Twitter Client To Rival Tweetdeck: Seesmic Desktop

    I’m live blogging from video conversation platform Seesmic’s headquarters, where Seesmic’s founder Loic Le Meur, is previewing a new Twitter client. We reported earlier about the unveiling of the site. Le Meur says that this is still a work in progress and ongoing changes will made to the product. Seesmic, who also owns popular Twitter app Twhirl, has launched a new… Read More

  • Student Protests Are Turning Into A Twitter Revolution In Moldova

    Students in Moldova are using Twitter as a tool to mobilize opposition against a communist victory in Moldovian elections. According to reports, close to 10,000 protesters gathered at Moldova’s parliament in Chisinau, Moldova’s capital and were able to eventually break through police lines to storm into the building. From looking at the tweets on the subject, it appears that… Read More

  • PopSugar Launches March Madness For Celebrities: PopSugar100

    Sugar Inc.’s flagship celebrity news and photo blog,
    PopSugar, has launched its 3rd annual PopSugar 100 tournament. It’s kind of like the NCAA’s March Madness, except this single-elimination contest is meant to determine who the most popular celebrities are in a given year. PopSugar chose 128 celebrities and divided them into four groups and then ranked them from 1 to 32. Read More

  • WatchMojo.com's Videos Watched More Than 50 Million Times

    WatchMojo.com, a startup that produces professional videos and then syndicates them to social networking and media sites, has streamed more than 50 million videos since its launch in 2006. WatchMojo.com’s content is distributed to Hulu, MySpace, TV.com, Yahoo!, and YouTube as well as newspaper sites. (The Montreal-based startup also produces the business tech blog… Read More

  • Mobile Gmail Becomes More Like Its Desktop Father

    Google has launched a new Gmail mobile web app for the iPhone and Android-powered devices. The app has been revamped to have the same look and feel as your desktop Gmail. The app also has a new floaty bar (more on that below) and offers basic offline support. Google says that the app is faster in performing actions like opening an email, navigating, or searching, and let’s you access… Read More

  • Enterprise Communications Software Socialcast Secures $1.4 million in Series A Funding

    Socialcast, a social communication SaaS provider for enterprises, has secured $1.4 million in Series A funding from True Ventures and angel investors. True Ventures led the round with $1 million and angel investors contributed $400,000. Socialcast was a finalist for the 2009 Crunchies Award for “Best Bootstrapped Startup.” Om Malik, the founder of tech blogging network GigaOm… Read More

  • Adgregate Markets Scores Distribution Deal With Google's DoubleClick

    Adgregate Markets, a TechCrunch 50 startup, has signed a distribution deal with Google’s DoubleClick. Adgregate’s ShopAds allow consumers to browse, interact, and ultimately purchase directly within an ad unit. Normal display ads take users away from a publisher’s site and brings them to a third-party store but Adgregate lets users buy products featured in ads without moving… Read More

  • Private Shopping Clubs Combine Discounts With Luxury (We Have One Kings Lane Coupons)

    Thanks to a surge of consumers looking for deals in the recessionary economy, private online sample sales, which offer highly discounted merchandise from luxury retailers looking to unload excess inventory, is becoming a fast-growing business. BuyVIP, a European private online shopping club with more than 3.5 million members, just secured $14.9 million in Series A funding from Kennet… Read More

  • Google Helps Rock The Vote In India

    Google has launched the Google India Elections Center to help engage India’s 700 million eligible voters in the country’s 15th general election, set to take place over the course of the next month. Google launched similar web based election centers in the U.S. and Australia in the past, but Google India’s election center has some new features which make it worth a… Read More

  • New FriendFeed: Simpler, Faster, Better (Maybe Too Fast)

    FriendFeed cofounder Paul Bucheit was recently asked what it was like to be the R&D department for Facebook. His response was appropriately humble, but you can’t help but wonder how long it will be before Facebook, Twitter and FriendFeed all start to look pretty much identical as the services simply copy the best features from their competitors. One thing is for sure, though… Read More

  • A Picture Is Worth A Thousands Tweets: Pixim And TweetPhoto Emerge

    There’s been a proliferation of photo sharing apps tied to Twitter, including TwitPic, Twitxr (review), and Yfrog (review), giving users a vast amount of choice when it comes to image sharing on the popular micro-blogging service. But TwitPic seems to have emerged as the leader of the pack. The service took the top spot on our list of the most popular Twitter applications according… Read More

  • Phase 2 Strikes Deal With IBM To Sell Lotus Products To SMBs

    Phase 2 International, an SaaS provider has partnered with IBM to provide “Lotus On-Demand,” a suite of enterprise products, consisting of Lotus Notes (enterprise email messaging), Lotus Sametime (secure instant messaging), Lotus Quickr (document sharing), and Lotus Connections (corporate social network). The software is meant for small to medium sized businesses and is priced… Read More

  • Challenge Your Facebook Friends To A Geewa Game Via Chat

    Casual gaming on the Web is quickly moving to the social networks, where people can play with their friends. Just this week, multiplayer casual games site Geewa launched three of its most popular games on Facebook: 8-ball Pool, Backgammon, and Reversi (which is the same as the board game Othello). Geewa, based in Prague (disclosure: it is a sponsor of an upcoming Crunch Meetup there) , is… Read More

  • DeliveryEdge Tumbles Into The Deadpool

    DeliveryEdge, the courier aggregator startup which refocused its business model several times in the past few years (and was previously known as LicketyShip until recently), appears to be in the deadpool. We wrote about the startup’s countless changes to its business model and tumultuous history as a startup here. When LicketyShip launched in 2006, the startup tried to deliver… Read More

  • Dice.com Shows 45% Drop In Tech Jobs

    This morning’s news about the latest unemployment statistics was dismal and quite sobering. The U.S. has lost 5 million jobs in the past 16 months, and the unemployment rate has hit a 25 year high, reaching 8.5%. Our own TechCrunch layoff tracker reports nearly 320,000 tech jobs lost since August. While jobs are being shed at an unprecedented rate, job listings are also being affected… Read More

  • Search Suggestions Come To Gmail

    Google just rolled out a search autocomplete feature for Gmail; If you turn on “Search Autocomplete” from the Labs tab under Gmail Settings, you’ll get suggestions in your search box while you are typing like you do in Google’s search box. The search feature is pretty easy to use and definitely helpful. If you are looking for a contact, you can just type a couple letters… Read More

  • Yelp Focuses On Mobile, New And Improved iPhone App Coming Soon

    Local review sites like Yelp have irrevocably changed the way consumers find businesses in a particular area, and truly given power to the consumer in finding the best place to eat a meal, grab a drink, etc. And the potential of putting local reviews and listings on mobile devices is immense. Yelp’s existing iPhone app is less than a year old and it already accounts for 5% of… Read More

  • Technorati Lays Off Another 10 Percent Of Employees

    Blog search engine Technorati has laid off close to 10 percent of its staff, or 4 employees in its PR, engineering and general admin areas. The company’s CEO, Richard Jalichandra confirmed the layoffs. He says they were necessary for the company to continue on the path towards profitability. The reduction will leave the company with 37 employees. Technorati suffered an earlier round… Read More

  • Opera Browser Chosen For "Mobile Office" Computer In Ford Pickup Trucks

    Can the Web save the Big 3 automobile companies? Probably not, but making Web-friendly vehicles could help to sell a few more cars. Tech companies have increasingly been showcasing web applications for automobiles. Microsoft was working with Hyundai on making an in-car computing system and OnStar may be incorporating Twitter into its vehicle systems. Now Ford will be allowing owners of the… Read More

  • MindTouch Enhances Wiki-like Enterprise Collaboration Platform

    Opensource wiki developer MindTouch has released a new version of its opensource, wiki-like collaboration platform for enterprises, MindTouch 2009. The platform has been beefed up so that developers can build rich applications off of MindTouch and has also added a bi-directional message switchboard. MindTouch’s platform connects teams, enterprise systems, web services and Web 2.0… Read More