A big part of the tech boom in New York has been the arrival of several accelerators and incubators which are minting new classes of top tier startups. Today, in a presentation at Google Ventures in Manhattan, DreamIt Ventures announced its newest class of 15 companies for its New York Accelerator.
stories by Ben Popper
"Viddy well, little brother. Viddy well." - Clockwork Orange - 1971
There were two pretty incredible tech events in New York this Tuesday. I only managed to score an invite to one of them, the Lerer Ventures CEO summit at Citi Field. The other was Union Square Ventures more exclusive Hacking Society get together, which luckily was live streamed. It’s worth taking a look at these two gatherings to get a sense of where the Silicon Alley scene is at right now and how the most powerful players in the East Coast tech world are thinking about the future.
I’m confused by this headline, which first appeared on Bloomberg, made its way to Techmeme, and was re-reported by folks like GigaOm:
We’ve heard a couple of stories in recent weeks about startups that choose celebrity investors over seasoned VCs because they wanted someone with a big online audience who could help attract new users and press to their product.
One of the big changes in the startup world over the last half-decade was the rise of Amazon Web Services. It allowed a small team with limited capital to quickly and easily build a web company that could operate at a fairly large scale by letting them rely on servers in the cloud.
Critics made a lot of hay over Andreessen Horowitz’s decision not to re-invest in Instagram. As our own Dylan Tweney pointed out, this made a $78 million win seem like a big mistake.
Facebook is king of the social networks, but when it comes to its business model, it looks a lot like a traditional media company. 15 percent of its revenue comes from games like Zynga, but the rest is advertising, purchased in large part by the same blue chip brands who shop at Conde Nast or the New York Times.
Microsoft announced today that it will be selling hundreds of patents to Facebook, a sign that it wants to protect its investment from litigation as the social network heads towards an IPO next month. But this wasn’t a sudden change of heart.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
ZocDoc office - photo by Ben Popper
IBM recently won the contract to create a more sustainable and energy efficient Los Angeles Unified School District. But before ripping out old roofs or replacing leaky windows, David Bartlett’s, the computing gaint’s sustainability guru, took a look at the data.
We’ve been reporting on a lot of very cool tech and gaming projects that have found huge success on the New York-based crowdfunding platform Kickstarter this year. The site, which never had a million dollar project before 2012, keeps breaking its own records, with the Pebble smartwatch, which has now raised more than $5 million, leading the pack.
“You know what’s the best investment you can make in your child’s education?” asks Tucoola founder Eli Porat. “It’s not college. It’s preschool. Studies show kids who get the best education at that age go on to earn the most money and have the biggest houses.”
Everybody likes getting presents. The idea behind Ticlr is pretty simple. You’ve got a professional network, and it would be great if all those folks in your Rolodex felt kindly towards you.
The tough times continue for Finnish phone giant Nokia, which has struggled to keep up with Apple and Android in the smartphone era. Today the company announced its results for the first quarter of 2012. Net sales fell sharply year over year from $13.6 billion to $9.7 billion. The company took a $1.7 billion loss on those sales, and Colin Giles, the head of sales, stepped down after 20 years at the company.
In today’s global economy, even small American businesses are often turning to China and India to manufacture their products. But finding a reliable supplier across the world isn’t easy.
From zero to one million users in nine months flat
VCs always have a war story about the one that got away. Time to add the Pebble smartwatch to the list. The creators of the Pebble had some initial success raising $375,000 in angel funding. But when it come to raise a series A, Pebble was roundly rejected by venture capital firms that didn’t want to risk betting on a hardware firm. So the Pebble team put their project on Kickstarter, where they have now raised $4.2 million and counting without giving away any equity in their company.
Editor's Pick The two hundred people packed into a small screening room in Midtown Manhattan on a recent Tuesday night made quite a throng. Engineers, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs sipped Sam Adams and nibbled bits from a fruit plate. They were there to learn about CrowdControl, a New York startup that is melding human workers with artificial intelligence to create the next paradigm for global labor: crowd computing.
Apparently Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom is under the impression that when companies go public, it means they are a legitimate business (see Enron, Groupon, etc). Pirate news site TorrentFreak reports that before it was shut down by U.S. authorities, Megaupload was preparing for a billion dollar IPO, and had contacted major accounting firms to have its business audited.
Let us make you an offer you can't refuse
We’ve been tracking the progress of Dibsie, an New York based e-commerce company that learns your tastes from your social network and displays items in the form of a dynamic shopping catalog. Today the site is coming out of beta and launching to the public.
New York-based education startup Schoology has raised a $6 million second round of funding led by FirstMark Capital. The company is seeking to take out incumbents like Blackboard with educational software that is designed to be more like a social network, and which integrates easily with whatever services the school is already running.
Twitter was abuzz last night with word of a rare performance by the rap legend Tupac, who hasn’t been seen onstage since he died in 1996. But thanks to advancements in holographic technology, the hip-hop legend appeared alongside Dr. Dre and Snoop Dog in a vivid, lifelike cameo.
Editor's Pick Penny the pooch watches the Chartbeat team get ripped in real time
"Why won't you return my call?"
Guest Post This spring alone, over 100 companies will graduate from startup boot camps, accelerators, incubators, or other similarly named programs. As my own company Dibsie prepares for demo day with Entrepreneur Roundtable Accelerator (ERA) in NYC, I want to share some thoughts with the founders thinking about applying. Do your diligence, and make sure you’re an educated buyer. Here’s what you need to know…
Editor's Pick One of the most valuable resources for a social network looking to attract new users is a robust market of apps that extend the platform’s functionality and increase engagement. So when the redesign for Google+ broke a number of apps and extensions built for the search giant’s social network, developers cried foul, asking why Google hadn’t given them fair warning.
You’ve heard it before so we’ll say it again, big data is the new black. New Jersey based Connotate helps companies like AP, Reuters and Dow Jones to scour and analyze unstructured data from thousands of web sites in real-time. Today the company announced a $7 million second round of funding led by Castille Ventures, Prism VentureWorks, and .406 Ventures.