Twitter now valued at $1 billion

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Microblogging juggernaut Twitter is poised to raise about $100 million in new funding, bringing the firm's total valuation to around $1 billion despite the absence of a discernible revenue model. Citing sources briefed on Twitter's plans, The New York Times reports the new investors include Insight Venture Partners, T. Rowe Price and current backers Spark Capital and Institutional Venture Partners. The Times notes that for context, Twitter's $1 billion valuation is almost double the market capitalization of the Domino's Pizza chain, which boasts 10,500 employees and $1.4 billion in sales--Twitter has about 60 employees, and while the startup is experimenting with running advertisements on its website, co-founder Biz Stone said this week that it has no plans to launch widespread ad efforts until 2010.

Twitter has not yet commented on the new investment, but analysts note the company does not appear to need the capital--it previously raised $55 million, and said about $25 million remains in the bank. Most speculation suggests Twitter will earmark the new investment to expand its technology infrastructure in advance of future growth, or acquire one or more of the myriad startups developing desktop and mobile software applications based on the Twitter service.

Twitter presently boasts about 54 million users worldwide. Earlier this month, its chief rival Facebook said its worldwide users topped the 300 million mark--in addition, the social networking giant reported it is now cash-flow positive. Facebook vice president Chamath Palihapitiya marked the occasion by telling VentureBeat that Twitter was now "in the rearview mirror."

For more on the Twitter funding:
- read this New York Times article

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