The Tao of Steve

Steve Jobs Has Passed Away

The man and his muse

Legendary Apple founder Steve Jobs died tonight after a long battle with cancer. I wrote an article when he stepped down as CEO that I think gets at a little piece of what made him so incredible. It’s below, along with the video of Mr. Jobs giving a 2005 commencement speech at Stanford, offering some of his most poignant thoughts on life and death. Read More

Local Flavor

Sneakerhead VC Builds Sneakerhead App for Sneakerheads (Who Wanna Show Off Their Kicks)


At a certain point, naming your blog after your obsession just doesn’t cut it anymore. First Round Capital’s Phineas Barnes, who blogs under the URL Sneakerhead VC debuted a truly Made in NYC app today with help from peeps like Amanda Peyton, Foursquare’s Eric Friedman, and HackStar Rebecca Zhou.

The app is called Today’s Kicks and sounds sort of like an Instagram for sneakers. To populate it with pics, Mr. Barnes pulls every image from the Twitter hashtag #todayskicks, which he started back in 2007 (the domain name was already in use). In keeping with the All Things Social revolution, users can “love” images (liking is for suckers, ya heard?) and a “Retweet” button to spread the images far-and-wide. Indeed, Betabeat’s Twitter feed was blowing up with  shoe porn this morning. Read More

Venture Capitalism

The Troubling Case of the Extortionist VC: How Attempted Blackmail Got a Managing Partner 15 Months in Prison

A shocking announcement from the Albany Division of the FBI fell into Betabeat’s inbox this morning, giving us a bad case of deja-vu from our days of blogging about Wall Street trials. Giridhar C. Sekhar, the 41-year-old managing partner of the VC firm FA Technology Ventures was sentenced to 15 months in prison for “attempted extortion and the interstate transmission of extortionate threats.” Read More

The Real TechStars of New York

This Week In TechStars!: Mark Suster Gives Good Insult


Entrepreneur-turned-investor Mark Suster has already dispensed email advice for “us sarcastic bastards who have slitting tongues,” but on this week’s episode of TechStars he gives David Tisch a run for his money on the real talk/insult-o-meter, to some amusing ends. (Check out our top five list after the end.)

In Episode Four, Mr. Tisch is trying to prepare the teams for Demo Day and “access to a room full of money,” in some cases by throwing ping pong balls or fake cash to see if he can distract them. He also encourages them to “try your best to get a third of what you’re looking for soft circled,” so they can present with some momentum. The VC weather report might be frothy, but not all the teams are finding it easy. Read More


Before ToVieFor’s Corpse Is Cold, TechStars Alum Melanie Moore Launches New Fashion Startup


TechStars New York alum and co-founder of the high-flying-for-a-while-but-now-defunct ToVieFor Melanie Moore didn’t mourn for long. ToVieFor closed up shop just months after it graduated from the local TechStars incubator–Ms. Moore penned a long and thoughtful post-mortem with her reflections on the fashion industry. “No regrets,” she told Betabeat.

Apparently. “Hurricane Melanie” has already launched into her next project, another fashion startup with Girl Develop It co-founder Sara J. Chipps. “We got our first customer (and she bought the largest subscription option)!” Ms. Moore wrote in an email to Betabeat. “We have only sent the site out to about 20 people, so that’s a great conversion rate. Very exciting.”

Indeed. The new startup, Elizabeth & Clarke, is a subscription-based delivery service for “women’s basics” like “designer-quality white shirts, delivered to your door each season, for under $30.”

That’s the business? Every three months, you get a box of white shirts? Read More

Venture Capitalism

From the Annals of Venture Capital Cinema: ‘VC ER!’ [Video]

Screen shot 2011-10-05 at 11.24.51 AM

If you’ve ever seen First Round Capital’s Christmas video and holiday card, an extended homage to the Old Spice guy, or caught an episode of TechStars you know how much venture capitalists fancy themselves the next Andy Samberg. (For further proof, there’s also the Foundry’s Group “Dick in a Box” tribute spoof.) But’s Dan Primack dug up a real doozy from the dot com era, courtesy of Softbank Venture Capital. Read More

the startup rundown

Startup News: Fitocracy Mobilizes, Exfm Extends and Blueprint Health and Facebook Both Want You

Fitocracy goes mobile.

FITOCRACY MOBILE. “After what seems like an eternity, we’ve finally released the very first version of our mobile web app. That’s right, you can now log your workouts on the go if you have an iPhone or an Android phone!”

INCUBATE ME. Blueprint Health recently closed its fund and opened for applications.  “The program will be launching on Jan 9, 2012 with an application deadline of November 13.”

FACE ME. Facebook is hiring in New York. Via Inside Startups, the company is seeking a “Strategic Partner Development, Media” with “high levels of creativity and strategic thinking, extensive experience in the media industry, eight-or-more years experience, including 5 years of related partner or partner facing experience, a proven track record of initiating and successfully driving new business opportunities, exceptional communication and presentation skills.”

NEW MUSIC. Exfm is about to release its next major version, due out this afternoon. Look for a “push play music experiences available at, new extensions for Firefox and Safari, plus a completely revamped one for Chrome” as well as a new embeddable site player for music blogs.

NEW GILT CITY. “Gilt City is excited to announce that we have acquired Joe Bastianich and Jeff Zalaznick’s upscale private dining booking engine, Gilt City’s acquisition of will allow members access to over 90 of New York’s top private dining accommodations in restaurants such as Del Posto, Bluefin, Megu, Marc Forgione and Da Silvano.” Read More

Patently Absurd

Kickstarter Sues Patent Troll Who Claims To Have Invented Crowdfunding

You'll be funding my next project, like it or not

As first reported by PaidContent, Kickstarter is embroiled in a legal battle with musician and entrepreneur named Brian Camelio, who’s notable achievements include playing on a Journey record. In their claim, Kickstarter says Mr. Camelio has shown up multiple times to demand they pay to license his technology. He currently runs the site ArtistShare, where users can contribute to musicians and participate in the creative process. He obtained a patent for this process earlier this year. Read More

On The Calendar

Last Chance to Get Tickets for Ignite NYC, Plus Betabeat Discount Code

Seventeen-year-old Alex Godin won the crowd's hearts at Ignite NYC XII.

The fall edition of Ignite NYC, the techie-oriented infotainment fest that goes by the motto, “Enlighten us, but make it quick!” is coming up next week. Past Ignites have featured speakers from the New York tech scene like the co-founders of HowAboutWe, Skillshare creator Mike Karnjanaprakhorn, and foursquare founder Dennis Crowley (“Everything you ever wanted to know about Family Feud.”)

Ignite works like this: each presenter has 20 slides and five minutes to talk about whatever they want. It can be a personal story, a how-to or a rant. It’s like a condensed version of TED, and it’s all happening again at the Sheraton in Midtown on Monday, Oct. 10. Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, Pitchfork writer Matt LeMay and TechStars hackstar David Phillips, and topics span everything from art to data to astronomy to how to survive Los Angeles. “We have a room of 1,600 to fill, the largest evaaarrr!” says organizer Tikva Morowati. And Betabeat has a discount code! Read More