What’s up this week with our big cousin TechCrunch, whose parent company AOL, editor Erick Schonfeld and media bachelor Jason Kincaid are all based in New York? Many things! Such as:
THE EMBARGO. Embargoes are a public relations innovation intended to give companies control over when their news gets announced in the press: we’ll tell you the news early so you can prepare for it, as long as you promise not to publish it before a certain time. The result, ideally for the startup, is that every outlet that agrees to the embargo will publish the news as early as possibly, resulting in a cascade of stories about your funding round. Sometimes it is fun to break these embargoes! And sometimes it happens by accident. They’re not blood oaths. Antti Vilpponen, co-founder and CEO of the frigid tech newsbreaker ArcticStartup, writes of another kind of embargo: the reverse embargo! Or, the exclusive. In this case, a larger outlet can demand that the news be given exclusively to them in exchange for a guarantee to write about it: the illusion of “the scoop,” a heavily overused term in tech journalism. “We’ve heard that Techcrunch now, in some cases, require new startups to give them the right to determine when the startup can go talk to other journalists (and naturally if you don’t want to abide – don’t expect coverage anytime soon). In other words, they set an embargo towards the startup itself,” Mr. Vilpponen writes.
We’ve heard murmur of TechCrunch’s draconian demands around embargos and exclusives, but we were under the impression that most of this bullying came from TechCrunch daddy Mike Arrington. He did, after all, kill the embargo. TechCrunch vet Robin Wauters took the role of TechCrunch ombudsman in this one. “I’ll say it right off the bat: that’s bullshit,” Mr. Waters wrote. “Regardless of what you think of TechCrunch, you should realize that we’re not at all that difficult to work with (most of the time). We didn’t get to where we are today by screwing over the very people we champion every day.” What do you think, readers?
THAT SILLY IPO LIST. Someone forwarded Alexia Tsotsias a screencap of the agenda for Goldman Sachs’s “Private Internet Company Conference,” at which 30 or so companies presented. Goldman is an IPO underwriter and investor in startups. Ms. Tsotsias performed a classic Sensational Headline walkback, with the splashy “A List Of Startups Goldman Sachs Thinks Will Most Likely IPO” shrinking back to “an extremely foresighted form of lead generation.” Betabeat thinks it’s a bit optimistic to assume all these companies will go public, especially since so many of them seem like prime acquisition candidates.
Reaction roundup from the Betabeat Skype chat room peanut gallery:
Airbnb: Okay! Airbnb might need to go public in order to conquer the world.
Beachmint: LOLWUT IS BEACHMINT
Beauchamp: Is this a company, or the last name of Katia Beauchamp, one of the cofounders of Birchbox?
Birchbox: “Birchbox and Rent the Runway are not ready for an IPO. I don’t care what Goldman says.” (BP)
Eventbrite: We knew that!
Gogobot: Mike Arrington endorsement /= IPO.
Hipmunk: Expedia went public after like, three years. Why not Hipmunk, which is so much cuter? “Hipmunk could be bought by Google for Google Travel.” (MM)
Instagram: No business model, but Apple-related. Win. 2016.
Klout: Sure. Lots of terrible companies go public.
Narrative Science: This is a journalism startup!
Ness computing: This company, a Google competitor, launched five months ago!
One Kings Lane: “One King’s Lane is interesting because it’s headed up by Mark Pincus’s wife. They could be a two-IPO family!” (MM)
Peixe Urbano: We looked this up. It is a Brazilian Groupon.
Polyvore: Extreme lead generation, indeed! Seems
Rent The Runway: Not ready, my child.
Rue la la: Deals! Poison. Also, isn’t it already owned by two public companies? Obviously an acquisition, perhaps after Gilt Groupe goes public.
Rovio: The new Zynga. 2012.
Shopkick: Acqui-hire bait.
Survey Monkey: Okay.
Uber: It’s going global, so it’s going to need the cash for better or for worse.
Warby Parker: “Warby Parker would be the best IPO EVER… But why take a company like that public when they can just do what they’ve already done and grow is slowly/well?” (FK)
WePay: Die, PayPal. Also, Y Combinator’s first IPO?
TECHCRUNCH MAFIA. “Former managing editor of TechCrunch Sarah Lacy is doing what many people expected her to do after she left TechCrunch last month—building a brand new version of it,” reports Business Insider, which says Mr. Arrington is going to help her.