PayPal offers small businesses simple Bill Me Later financing option

PayPal is enabling small and medium-sized merchants to offer Bill Me Later as a financing option for online transactions. Consumers can get no-interest financing for six months on purchases of $99 or more. The move should help small businesses by increasing order sizes and conversions.

Sequoia leads $5M investment in FutureAdvisor

FutureAdvisor raised $5 million from Sequoia, Keith Rabois and Jeremy Stoppelman to build out its personal finance advising service. The Seattle company makes it easy to get tips on how to reduce fees and taxes, diversify your portfolio and achieve your financial goals.

Great expectations: It’s not easy being Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook reported earnings that met estimates on Thursday, but that wasn’t enough for some investors — who clearly wanted to see the company outperform even the rosiest expectations. Meeting those lofty goals will be a challenge for Facebook in the future, especially as its growth rate slows.

Currency Cloud gets $3.1M to disrupt foreign exchange

London-based financial startup The Currency Cloud, which offers businesses a platform to dramatically cut their cross-border payment costs, has just sealed a $3.1m round of investment from Notion Capital — and the cash comes with serious ambitions attached.

New York Times to launch Chinese-language news site

The New York Times is launching a Chinese-language news site, Aimed at “educated, affluent, global citizens,” the site will publish about 30 articles a day in categories like world affairs, business and culture.

BancBox: don’t just take payments, do something with them

BancBox is formally launching its payment platform today, offering not just the ability to accept credit card and other payments, but also hold the funds in stored accounts and move it around between financial institutions, all in compliance with regulatory requirements.

SigFig offers to tune up your investment portfolio

SigFig, a product born from portfolio tracker Wikinvest, is finally launching formally Tuesday. The free service allows users to sync all their investments and monitor them in real-time from one dashboard with extensive analysis conducted in the background to help find where users can save money.

Personal Capital brings wealth management service to the iPad

Led by former Intuit CEO Bill Harris, Personal Capital has set its sights on giving people control over their money and investments. Now the company is expanding its online service with an iPad application that makes it easier for users to see and touch their money.

An iPhone case with a little something extra: insurance

Being the resident “extreme” iPhone case enthusiast, I was intrigued by the new cellhelmet Kickstarter project. This $44.99 case combines svelte design with protection against drops, but bundles it with an actual insurance policy that replaces your iPhone if damaged while in the case.

Quick tip: Organize and protect your new Apple gear

Many of us got some great tech gifts during the holidays. Knowing what exactly you have, and keeping critical info handy can make life easier when problems occur. Here are a few simple tips you can use now to save time and money in the future.

The Browser: Intelligent curation is serious business

Henry Lane Fox, the chief executive of The Browser, doesn’t like the term “curation.” But he’s staking his reputation on precisely that, by building a high-end, human-powered engine for linking to the best and most intelligent writing online.

Is Google becoming more mature — but less interesting?

Ever since co-founder Larry Page took over as CEO in January, Google has been getting more businesslike, shutting down projects like Google Health and now Google Labs. While this may be a sign of maturity, it could also make the company less experimental — and less interesting.

Are Crappy Startups Wall Street’s Fault?

The Kauffman Foundation claims in a new report that high-paying jobs in the financial sector have drained the prospective pool of startup founders until it’s pretty shallow. It may even be responsible for allowing “potentially weaker” startups to gain funding. Here’s a look at the arguments.

Groupon Raises $950 Million — Now Comes the Hard Part

As expected, Groupon announced today that it has completed a gigantic financing of $950-million from a group of high-profile funds, including Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins. Now all it has to do is prove that it can carve out a long-term business amid escalating competition.

Chegg Shows Textbook Rental Market Still Hot

E-books and tablet-based digital textbooks may be the cool new thing, but renting old-fashioned paper books still seems to be attracting plenty of interest: Chegg, the leader in the textbook-rental market, has just closed a new $75-million round of financing, according to multiple news reports.

Envivio Shakes Up Management, Raises $15M

Envivio has shuffled the management deck, replacing its CFO and COO while raising an additional $15 million in new financing. In addition to the new management team members, Envivio’s chairman of the board will take on a bigger role in the management structure as executive chairman.

"Startup University" Pays Off for VC

As in so many other cities that aren’t located in or near Silicon Valley, the startup scene in Toronto is a fairly small and close-knit community. Now, a VC-backed school/competition called Extreme University will look for startups to “audition,” American Idol-style.

Backupify Gets Funded — But Will You Use It?

Backupify has landed a round of financing for its cloud-based backup service from First Round Capital, Betaworks and some high-profile angel investors including Jason Calacanis. But the new company will have to clear the same hurdles as any other cloud-based service — and then some.

Cookie Seller BlueKai Raises Third Round

BlueKai, which aggregates and sells data on 200 million online shoppers to advertisers and publishers, today announced a $21 million third round of funding led by GGV Capital and including former investors Redpoint Ventures and Battery Ventures, bringing its total funding to $34.7 million.

Earnings: Economist Powers Ahead In Print

It was rare to see a printed-news publisher doing well financially before the recession, so its even more notable to see one making money no…

Vid-Biz: Cable on Net, Scoble, NBC

No Over-the-Top Threat from Time Warner; Comcast May Not Charge; more detail on cable operators’ online video plans. (VideoNuze) Robert Scoble Leaves…

How Wall Street Can Hurt Silicon Valley

After Monday, the belief that Silicon Valley is going to remain immune from the Wall Street fallout is gone. While some tech companies had been saying they weren’t worried that the credit crunch would hurt them, I don’t believe them.

Boot$trapping: 'Spend it' Like Dell & Newmark

Editor’s Note: Our latest “startup math” piece comes to you from Found|READ contributor Steve Nielsen. He is founder and CEO of PartnerUp…

Year-End Folly: Pin the Tail on the Stocks

I’ve taken seven of the more interesting stocks of 2007 — all stocks that inspired a good deal of passionate discussion and, for the most part, a good deal of capital gains — and ranked them according to how I think they’ll perform in 2008. Take a look.

Cisco, the un-kid

The Economist says Cisco is growing gracefully middle aged, and the current trends favor the company as it expands into newer markets…