Meet Moonbot, the tiny startup that won an Academy Award

At last Sunday night’s Academy Awards ceremony, a startup studio that makes animations, apps, and ebooks won the Best Animated Short Oscar for its film “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.”  The 14-minute movie was the first from Shreveport, La.-based Moonbot Studios, a multimedia company that is making a splash far from Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and Pixar.

Hackers land big checks as Spotify looks to open its app store by end of March

VentureBeat spent some time this weekend at the Spotify music apps hackathon, 48 hours of coding, ping pong and pizza in New York. It was an interesting chance to see what is possible on Spotify’s platform, and we picked up some useful gossip along the way. According to two sources we chatted with, Spotify is hoping to open up its App Store, which currently has only ten hand-picked partners, to all third party developers by the end of March.

Pulse grows from 1M to 11M users in 2011, works on monetization

Pulse, which makes a news reading app for Apple and Android tablets and smartphones, threw a party in the penthouse of the Kimberly Hotel last night to celebrate it big growth. “These guys offered to pay me for using our technology,” said Richard Ziade of Readability. “I should have accepted their offer.” He shook his head with a laugh, admiring the view and grabbing a slice of seared tuna off a passing tray.