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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  • Kontagent Now Offers Uber Analytics For iPhone And Web Applications Using Facebook Connect

    Kontagent Now Offers Uber Analytics For iPhone And Web Applications Using Facebook Connect

    Kontagent, one of last year’s fbFund winners and social analytics platform, has launched measurement tools for iPhone and web applications with Facebook Connect support. Kontagent’s application integrates tightly with platforms such as Facebook to offer widget and Facebook application developers a high level of analytics data. Now Kontagent is offering its free tools to… Read More

  • Early Beta Data From Microsoft AdSense Competitor Encouraging

    Early Beta Data From Microsoft AdSense Competitor Encouraging

    We are getting reports that Microsoft’s PubCenter, a self serve thirty party ad publishers platform through AdCenter, is doing quite well with beta testers. Microsoft began testing PubCenter last summer. One beta tester we spoke with said PubCenter is paying significantly more than Google AdSense and Yahoo Publisher. All three of these programs let third party publishers add contextual… Read More

  • Y Combinator Demo Day Spring 2009

    Y Combinator Demo Day Spring 2009

    The 16 startups from Y Combinator’s spring session presented their ideas and initial products at Y Combinator’s Silicon Valley office this afternoon. Of the 16 startups in this group, 8 have already launched, 6 are in the process of launching and 2 remain in stealth mode. Most of them have been in development for only three months. Y Combinator celebrated some good news recently. Read More

  • Delivery Agent Is Monetizing Product Placement For TV Networks

    Delivery Agent Is Monetizing Product Placement For TV Networks

    Want the latest jeans that Lauren Conrad wore on MTV’s pseudo-reality TV show, The Hills? Or maybe you want to snag the Dwight Schrute bobblehead toy that is shown on NBC’s The Office? Delivery Agent is helping television networks capitalize on this content by creating an online marketplace for products and merchandise that are seen on television shows. Delivery Agent has signed on… Read More

  • Nobody is Dancing At ChaCha. One Third Of Employees Get Pink Slips, Salary Cuts For The Rest

    Nobody is Dancing At ChaCha. One Third Of Employees Get Pink Slips, Salary Cuts For The Rest

    Mobile Q&A answer service ChaCha is shedding one third of its employees. We’ve confirmed with the company that it laid off 25 people, leaving it with 56 employees. ChaCha cited the layoffs as necessary to ensure profitability in the future. The layoffs have been added to the TechCrunch layoff tracker. From one tipster who says she was let go today: Wanted to drop you a quick… Read More

  • The Perils Of Cloud Computing: Privacy Group Wants To Take Your Gmail Away

    The Perils Of Cloud Computing: Privacy Group Wants To Take Your Gmail Away

    The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the privacy and security measures of Gmail, Google Docs and Google’s other “cloud computing” services for consumers. The complaint highlights Google’s recent security breach with Google Docs, citing this as one example of the dangers of putting consumers’ data… Read More

  • SocialCalendar Organizes Your Social Life

    SocialCalendar Organizes Your Social Life

    Facebook application SocialCalendar is steadily gaining popularity as a go-to calendar for users to manage their social lives on the network. With over 11 million total installs and about 2 million monthly active users, SocialCalendar is one of the only widely used, general purpose calendars on Facebook. SocialCalendar lets you plan events among Facebook friends, get movie showtimes and… Read More

  • Spigit Launches New Version Of Idea Generation Innovation Software

    Spigit Launches New Version Of Idea Generation Innovation Software

    Social productivity startup Spigit, has launched a new version of its idea generation software, InnovationSpigit 2.0, which tries to use social networking to promote innovation with the enterprise space. The software helps businesses and teams contribute ideas, offer feedback and evaluate concepts to streamline idea generation and promote innovation. InnovationSpigit 2.0 uses game-theory… Read More

  • Loudcrowd Marries Gaming And Music In A Virtual World

    Loudcrowd Marries Gaming And Music In A Virtual World

    Startup Conduit Labs has launched Loudcrowd, a online community that integrates a virtual world with social gaming and music. Loudcrowd users can create their own virtual world with avatars and access music playlists while playing a series of music-themed games with friends. Loudcrowd is launching with 50 artists and over 250 songs featured on the platform, including music from the Indie… Read More

  • Use Cloudkick To Manage Amazon Web Services' EC2

    Use Cloudkick To Manage Amazon Web Services' EC2

    Cloudkick, a Y Combinator startup, offers a free, easy server management system to businesses whose web infrastructure is maintained by Amazon’s EC2 or Slicehost cloud-based servers. Built off of Amazon Web Services’ API, Cloudkick gives users a single control panel where you can manage all of your servers (or instances) through various platforms. Cloudkick’s dashboard allows… Read More

  • Facebook's fbFund Is Accepting Applications For FB Connect And iPhone Apps

    Facebook's fbFund Is Accepting Applications For FB Connect And iPhone Apps

    fbFund, a $10 million seed fund focused on supporting entrepreneurs who are building their business around Facebook.com or with Facebook Connect, is now accepting applications for its third funding round. The fund, which is backed by Facebook, Founders Fund and Accel Partners, is shifting its focus to funding Web and iPhone app developers leveraging Facebook Connect. In the past, fbFund focused… Read More

  • BestInClass Tries To Help Consumers Find The Perfect Digital Camera

    BestInClass Tries To Help Consumers Find The Perfect Digital Camera

    Startup BestInClass is trying to solve a problem many consumers face when trying to pick out a digital camera that best suits their needs and preferences. Most consumers spend hours on the internet looking at editorial and user reviews to figure out what digital camera to buy. The site has launched a digital camera recommendation service that helps consumers sort through all of this information… Read More

  • Elevator Pitch Friday: HerHotSpot Is A Social Network Merged With Cosmopolitan Magazine

    This week’s elevator pitch comes from HerHotSpot.com, an online community for Gen Y women to share stories, ask questions, and get advice on life, love, fashion, work and health. While the name is regrettable, the pitch by founder Brette Borow is well articulated and she does a good job of getting her points across. Launched last year, HerHotSpot is trying to merge the social features… Read More

  • FanSnap Is The New Kayak For Event Ticket Searches

    FanSnap Is The New Kayak For Event Ticket Searches

    Event tickets are a big business and startup FanSnap is entering the game with a compelling ticket search engine. FanSnap is launching the public beta of its nifty Kayak-like live ticket search engine for sports, concerts, and theater events. FanSnap, through partnerships, provides free ticket search results for close to 60 of the leading ticket providers, including StubHub, eBay, Ace… Read More

  • The 2009 List Of Tech Billionaires And How Much They Lost

    The 2009 List Of Tech Billionaires And How Much They Lost

    Forbes released its list of the world’s billionaires and it looks like the U.S. tech billionaires took a pretty hefty hit from the economic crisis. The 40 tech billionaires we identified on the list collectively lost $81.5 billion compared to their standing in last year’s list. That is a drop in the bucket compared to the $1.4 trillion in net worth that disappeared from the… Read More

  • Amazon Web Services Rolls Out New Pricing Model For EC2

    Amazon Web Services Rolls Out New Pricing Model For EC2

    Amazon has changed the pricing model of its cloud computing platform, Amazon Web Services, creating what’s called “Reserved Instances” for its EC2 Product. Reserved instances basically lower the price of the service and guarantees storage capacity in exchange for a commitment to use EC2 for a year or more. Amazon says that its new pricing model lowers cloud computing costs… Read More

  • Plaxo Adds Commenting And Trip Info Sharing Features To Pulse

    Plaxo Adds Commenting And Trip Info Sharing Features To Pulse

    Social contacts platform Plaxo is adding two new stream aggregation features to its stream service Pulse. Pulse, which tries to build a social network around third-party data, allows users to stay connected to their friends’ updates (using oAuth, the secure data portability standard), via a feed, across different social networks and platforms. Plaxo is now adding a… Read More

  • GrandCentral To (Finally) Launch As Google Voice. It's Very, Very Good.

    GrandCentral To (Finally) Launch As Google Voice. It's Very, Very Good.

    GrandCentral, a phone management service that first launched in 2006 and was acquired by Google for $50+ million in 2007, hasn’t been in the news much lately. Other than a few good natured jabs at their marketing gimmicks and coverage of outages, that is. Get ready for that to change as the service prepares for a public launch under a new product name: Google Voice. The 21 month… Read More

  • Social Investing Site KaChing Opens Up API To Developers

    Social Investing Site KaChing Opens Up API To Developers

    Social investing site kaChing is opening up its investment data API to the public and investors to create applications off of its platform. kaChing, which also has a popular investing app on Facebook, allows anyone to create a virtual portfolio to gain followers. kaChing lets members see the managers who are make the most money and how they are doing it. Soon, the managers will be able to… Read More

  • Zappos and Magnify Join Forces to Combine The Thrill Of Retail Therapy With Web 2.0 Video

    Zappos and Magnify Join Forces to Combine The Thrill Of Retail Therapy With Web 2.0 Video

    Online footware and apparel retailer Zappos.com is partnering with video hosting and sharing platform Magnify.net to launch a “BoxBreak” campaign to engage the retailer’s customers into building a video community around Zappos. BoxBreak will encourage customers to first capture their experience (via video) of opening a Zappos box when it arrives and then upload the video… Read More