Facebook Wannabes Not Happy With $65 Million

Ryan Tate · 04/01/10 04:44PM

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss speciously claimed to have helped invent Facebook, winning tens of millions of dollars from the social network. Now they ludicrously want more, and the real inventor of Facebook probably has himself to blame.

When ConnectU's Founders Won, They Still Lost

Owen Thomas · 02/15/09 04:00PM

Lawyers for ConnectU are bragging about winning a $65 million settlement for their clients from Facebook. But what did Divya Narendra and Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss really get from Mark Zuckerberg? Almost nothing.

Facebook Settlement Revealed by Incompetent Lawyers

Owen Thomas · 02/10/09 05:22PM

How much did it cost to put a lingering dispute over the creation of Facebook to rest? $65 million, according to the lawyers who hammered out the — oops — confidential settlement with rival ConnectU.

Guy who sued Facebook joins Facebook

Nicholas Carlson · 09/23/08 07:00PM

Harvard alum Divya Narendra is on Facebook, one of his classmates noticed today. The social network started at that Ivy League school, so his joining it wouldn't be notable — except Narendra started ConnectU, the social network from which Narendra and his cofounders say fellow Harvard man Mark Zuckerberg stole the idea for Facebook. The other two founders are Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who rowed in the Beijing Olympics and are also very tall. Narendra didn't take advantage of Facebook's excellent privacy features and has his profile exposed to the entire New York network. Narendra has been less vocal than the Winklevosses about ConnectU's continuing fight with Facebook, but according to his Facebook wall, which we've pasted below, Narendra's friends still can't believe he joined the site. Also below: Guess which company Narendra did not include in the "Education and Work" section of his profile:

ConnectU's uniques spike 50 percent

Jackson West · 09/22/08 06:00PM

At the party last Friday hosted by our publisher, Gawker Media, ConnectU twintrepreneurs Cameron Winklevoss (left) and Tyler Winklevoss (right) made an appearance. They were in town for their short film production's screening the following day. Intrepid Valleywagger Nicholas Carlson managed to keep them talking for half an hour — but all I got from Carlson about the exchange was, "They're very handsome." Write a better headline in the comments and we'll use it for the post's title. Friday actionhero11 won a few chips for "This Hard Drive sponsored by Seagate."(Photo by Nick McGlynn)

ConnectU twins' film production has NYC premiere tomorrow

Jackson West · 09/19/08 03:40PM

ConnectU cofounders Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss lost control of ConnectU, their also-ran social network, in the settlement of a lawsuit with Facebook CEO mark Zuckerberg. And they finished last in their Olympic rowing final. But they just got some good news! A short film the pair executive-produced (read: paid for) has won a slot at the New York City Shorts Festival. First Bass, a treacly story directed by fellow Harvard grad Phil Hodges, features a young bassist who ditches rehearsal to run off to a Chicago Cubs game. It looks like a typical "calling-card film," the kind of flicks Hollywood wannabes produce to get a foot in the door to the entertainment industry. The five- to six-figure budgets are usually funded by wealthy family and friends. The best part is this little tidbit from Tyler's bio:

Google pulling for Facebook's rower foes?

Owen Thomas · 08/18/08 02:20PM

On Sunday, Google featured rowers in a custom Olympics logo on its homepage. Were the mullahs of Mountain View pulling for Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the Olympics hopefuls in rowing who charged Harvard classmate Mark Zuckerberg with nicking the idea for Facebook from ConnectU, their college social network? The Winklevosses lost in the pair rowing finals, after handing their company to Zuckerberg in a court-ordered settlement. Then again, Google is known for backing losers in social networking.

ConnectU twins sink in rowing finals, rise in our hearts

Nicholas Carlson · 08/18/08 11:00AM

ConnectU cofounders and identical twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss finished sixth out of six in Saturday's Olympic rowing finals. As you can tell from NBC's clip above, it wasn't close. It was an anticlimactic end to a rousing — for some, arousing — Olympic run for the beefy Harvard-grad dreamboats. The pair only made the finals after a stirring upset last week. Australians Drew Ginn and Duncan Free finished first. Sure, they have a gold medal, but did they create a college social network good enough for Mark Zuckerberg to copy? (Photo by Getty Images)

Know your Olympic finalists, ConnectU founders Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss

Nicholas Carlson · 08/14/08 11:20AM

ConnectU may be the college social network that isn't Facebook, but then Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is also the social network founder who isn't an Olympic finalist. Row2K interviewed the pair who are, ConnectU founders and dreamboats Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. From the interviews, giddy fangirls and boys will be excited to learn that Cameron is the one who likes to play guitar, read books and watch movies. He's also very excited to seeing Beijing because he's never been to China before. Tyler doesn't say as much, but we do learn from the interview, excerpted above, that he was very tall in his youth. In an early 1960s rock band, we think he'd be the one who wore sunglasses on stage. The pair — who, along with third cofounder Divya Narendra, handed over all ConnectU shares to Facebook this week after months of legal wrangling — compete for gold this Saturday.

In rousing upset, ConnectU founders advance to Olympic finals

Nicholas Carlson · 08/13/08 11:40AM

Click to viewCameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the twin cofounders of a college social network which is not Facebook, finished second in today's Olympic rowing semifinals, just behind the Aussies, and will compete in the finals on Saturday. It was quite the upset. Previewing today's race, wrote that "the Aussie pair is a lock," that "Serbia, Germany, Italy are the like contenders for the final two qualifying spots," and that the ConnectU cofounders "have their work cut out for them if they want to win a spot in the A final." While they were winning in Beijing, they lost a battle in court.The pair alleged that Harvard classmate Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea in creating Facebook, ended up settling, and then appealed over the terms of the settlement; a judge denied their request. But if their long-fought legal battle with Facebook proved anything, it's that the JFK Jr.-lite Winklevoss brothers never quit, even when everyone — including judges — thinks they should. Take that, Serbia! (Photo by Getty Images)

As ConnectU founders prepare for Olympic semis, Facebook takes over their company

Nicholas Carlson · 08/12/08 10:00AM

ConnectU cofounders and Olympic rowers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss beat out Croatia to win their second heat yesterday, advancing to Wednesday's semifinals. Meanwhile, back on the home front, U.S. District Judge James Ware said Monday that ConnectU has until Tuesday to transfer all its stock to Facebook and comply with a settlement to the ConnectU founders' suit alleging that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea.The news is hardly bad news for the Winklevoss brothers and ConnectU's third cofounder, Divya Narendra. Court papers say the three will get "millions" of dollars in cash as well as stock in a startup too popular with mainstream America's millennial generation to fail. (The Winklevosses were fighting the settlement after they discovered that the Facebook common stock they would receive was worth less than they supposed.) Plus, there's still that shot at gold.

Winklevoss brothers finish last in first try at Beijing

Nicholas Carlson · 08/11/08 10:00AM

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss — the founding twins of social network ConnectU who are Facebook's legal foes and also Olympic rowers — fared poorly in their first Olympic outing Saturday, finishing fifth out of five in a 2000 meter preliminary heat. The Winklevoss brothers — who delighted fans on the home front when they practiced shirtless late last week — finished in 7:13.64, well behind the Polish team which finished up in 7:01.90. Also waiting on the other side of the finish line were the French, Italian and Canadian teams, one of which presumably won, but who cares, our boys did not. The Winklevoss brothers were supposed to get a second chance on Sunday, but that second heat rained out and will be rescheduled. Nevermind that, we think its time for the Winklevosses to go to Plan B: sue the French, Italian, Canadian and Polish teams for stealing their idea of finishing faster. Update: The brothers won their second heat and advanced to Wednesday's semifinals.

ConnectU twins try to disprove dumb-jock image, and fail

Owen Thomas · 07/28/08 03:00PM

The not-so-subtle thesis of a Boston Globe profile of Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the twins who claim Mark Zuckerberg stole the idea from Facebook from them: They're not just dumb jocks. The Twinklevosses, as they're known in Silicon Valley, lost in their legal effort, but are hoping to win at the Beijing Olympics, where they are competing in rowing. They and fellow cofounder Divya Narendra settled with Facebook, agreeing to sell ConnectU for shares in the company — but are now trying to overturn that agreement, saying Facebook isn't worth as much as they thought. That argues strongly against the piece's attempt to bust stereotypes.One would think they would have gotten a proper valuation on the shares before agreeing to take them as payment. That in itself suggests that the twins, who majored in economics at Harvard, weren't paying attention in class. And if they have some other evidence of brains, it wasn't on display for the Globe. Their coash, Ted Nash, tries to argue that they're just strong, silent types: "Inside, everything's working all the time with them. What you see isn't what you get." What you see, according to the Globe:

Court documents show Facebook's worth $3.75 billion, unless you're Microsoft

Nicholas Carlson · 07/07/08 10:40AM

Court documents in the ConnectU case reveal that when it comes to the price of Facebook common shares, Facebook's board values the company at $3.75 billion — far lower than the $15 billion valuation set by Microsoft's $240 million purchase of 1.6 percent of the company. As an investor, Microsoft owns preferred stock — worth more in part because, in case of an acquisition or an IPO, it's the stuff that gets sold first. That means Facebook board really thinks the company isn't worth $3.75 billion or $15 billion, but somewhere in between. Actual shareholders — including Facebook employees, we've heard — are more than willing to move their shares at a $4 billion valuation. The revealing court documents, in which ConnectU lawyers complain about Facebook's valuation, are embedded below. Before you feel too sympathetic, ask yourself: Isn't this the kind of thing lawyers are paid to know?

Transcripts confirm: ConnectU founders better rowers than accountants

Nicholas Carlson · 07/03/08 10:20AM

Released court transcripts from the last skirmish in the ConnectU-Facebook legal battle — in which Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was charged with nicking the code for his site from a rival social network — reveal why ConnectU founders Divya Narendra, Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler WInklevoss returned to the fight this summer after settling with Facebook in February. It seems they thought their original lawyers didn't make as much from the deal as the ConnectU founders thought they would. In the February settlement, ConnectU sold itself for Facebook shares which the founders figured would have a value similar to those bought by Microsoft, which paid $240 million for 1.6 percent of Facebook, valuing the company at a notional $15 billion. The transcripts show that while Microsoft bought preferred stock in the company, ConnectU's founders were awarded common shares. That kind isn't worth nearly as much. In fact, given the problems Facebook shareholders have had selling their private shares, the settlement might not be enough to pay ConnectU's legal bills. The founders' first team of lawyers have asked the Judge not to award ConnectU its settlement funds until its legal bills are paid first.

CNET legal objection might reveal Mark Zuckerberg's private IM transcripts

Jackson West · 07/01/08 04:40PM

The legal case opened by ConnectU founders Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss and Divya Narendra against Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is closed, but the courtroom drama continues. CNET has filed an objection to San Jose District Court Judge James Ware's decision to close the courtroom and put all the evidence under seal. What's in those documents that might be so interesting? Facebook's internal valuations, for starters. But most intriguing are the purported instant message conversations that the plaintiffs were led to believe provided proof that Zuckerberg is a little thief. (Photo by AP)

Facebook convinces judge it isn't worth $15 billion

Nicholas Carlson · 06/27/08 10:20AM

When Facbook and the ConnectU founders who say Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg stole their code settled in February, ConnectU founders Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss and Divya Narendra figured they were getting stock in a company worth $15 billion. Not so, according to Facebook laywers and the federal judge who ruled in their favor. From the Judge's ruling:

ConnectU's case against Facebook to remain closed

Nicholas Carlson · 06/26/08 10:00AM

Harvard classmates and ConnectU founders Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss and Divya Narendra signed a settlement with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in February, and despite what the ConnectU founders say is relevant new evidence, a federal judge ruled yesterday that the settlement will stick. "The court finds that the agreement is enforceable and orders its enforcement," the order said. We prefer how the last judge ruling on the case put it, describing the ConnectU founders suddenly renewed interest in revisiting the settlement with new lawyers as little more than "buyer's remorse."