The week in tech startups, December 16, 2011: Robots!, no holiday slowdown for funding and acquisitions, and a great way to keep those health-related New Year’s resolutions

By Editor December 16, 2011

By Brian Kovalesky, StartUp Beat Editor,

So, the flow of funding and acquisitions announcements this week killed my (unoriginal) theory that the holidays would result in a slowdown of F&A activity in the tech sector. Startups and later-stage companies representing a wide swath of technology categories geared up for the new year with new funding rounds, including cloud-based presentation software make Prezi’s $14 million Series B, ‘service’ network TaskRabbit’s $17.8 million Series B, and online merchant lender Kabbage’s $12 million round. See below for a full list of this week’s Seed and Series A announcements.

Notable acquisitions this week included TPG Growth and SurveyMonkey’s purchase of MarketTools, VerticalResponse’s acquisition of social marketing company Roost, StubHub’s pick up of event promo destination Zvents, and Salesforce’s purchase of workforce management software firm Rypple.

StartUp Beat this week included a Featured Startup Pitch from the very cool RobotsAppStore—a site modeled on the mobile apps model where robot owners can buy apps to extend the functionality of their automated helpers. It’s all good until the “self-awareness” app debuts. We also featured a Pitch from HealthRally, which employs a crowdsourced model to motivate people to reach health and wellness goals.

Finally, big tech blog ReadWriteWeb was acquired this week, reportedly for $5 million by SayMedia. Tech news and feature blogs seem to be a prime acquisition target these days. StartUp Beat is a tech blog…I’m just saying… J On the other hand, an example of the possible downside of an acquisition is the aftermath of AOL’s TechCrunch buy, and the news that its CEO (and GM of AOL’s technology properties, post-acquisition) Heather Harde is leaving the tech blog. It’s too bad—along with founder Michael Arrington, who left AOL/TechCrunch a few months ago, Heather and TechCrunch truly redefined technology media.   

Seed and Series A funding announcements this week:

Ecomom – $4 million

PlaceIQ – $4.2 million

MixRank – $1.5 million

Life360 – $3.5 million

PartyEarth – $4 million

BlueSprig – $10 million