SOPA Opera

Megaupload Founder Kim Dotcom Already Has Prison Groupies

Dear Mr. Dotcom . . .

They might have a write a sequel to “Women Who Love Men Who Kill.” Women Who Love Men Who Allegedly Facilitate Piracy?

At a hearing today at the High Court in New Zealand, Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom told the court that “during his time in prison he had received ‘funny visits,’ phone calls and contacts from people he had never heard of including a succession of women wanting to be his friend,” as TorrentFreak reports.

Hmm, wonder if any of those women were wearing a Clarice Starling-like pantsuit and a wire. Read More

shameless rumormongering

Rumors & Acquisitions: Rushed Edition


BETAWORKS. Has a new filing with the SEC indicating $7.8 million of a $15 million offering in options and warrants raised. Does this have to do with Betaworks’s evolution from a fund/incubator into “a true company, not a fund,” as per John Borthwick’s recent letter to investors? The filing indicates a reinvestment of money paid out to investors in dividends, John Borthwick said, so the filing doesn’t represent a new round; and the amount being reinvested is actually closer to $10 million.

STEALTH TOWN. What is Sources say a local VC is leading their round. The web offers no clues, their Twitter page doesn’t work, and we haven’t received an email from their stealthy splash page. Things that are 53: a bank and savings and loan holding company, the We Are the 53 percent meme, and the Year of the Consulship of Silanus and Antonius. Read More


Vimeo to Host Flashy New Documentary Series


Kelly Faircloth is a guest blogger for Betabeat.

Now playing at Vimeo: the future! GigaOm reports the video sharing site is partnering with GE and video publisher Cinelan to play host to “Focus Forward,” a series of 30 three-minute documentaries. Each of them will celebrate some mind-bending, ground-breaking innovation. Read More


Moot’s New Startup Canvas Celebrates Its First Birthday and One Millionth Post


Canvas members received a celebratory email in their inbox this morning. The image-driven social website celebrated its first birthday this week, as well as its one millionth post. As a sign the startup is all growns up, Canvas also announced that you no longer have to use Facebook to sign up.  Email notifications “when someone replies or remixes one of your posts” are also now enabled, which should encourage users to visit the site.

When Christopher Poole, the fair-haired boy prince of meme land,  first founded Canvas, it sounded like purposeful departure from his first startup, 4chan. Instead of the malwebolence of the /b/ boards, users were asked to “Keep it safe for work | Don’t be mean | Stay on topic.” That may have helped the startup pick up $3.63 million in funding, but it yielded mixed results, at first. (Nazi necrophilia, anyone?)

But that appears to have changed. Read More

App for That

Embark NYC Wants To Get You There On Time

Mr. Hauberg.

Kelly Faircloth is a guest blogger for Betabeat.

The travails of the New York City subway rider often seem endless, and while that late night map is undeniably snazzy, it’s going to take something a little more technically sophisticated to sort out the average rider’s woes.

Enter the MTA’s App Quest competition. Each of the 42 apps submitted make use of MTA data to create a better (or at least a less painful) mass transit experience. The judging criteria: quality, implementation, and potential impact. Even the runners up were promising: Free NYC Subway Location helps find the nearest station, and Notify Me NYC automatically alerts users if their usual train goes awry. Voters went for, which melds real-time information from both subways and local businesses. But it was trip planner Embark NYC that took home the $5,000 grand prize. Read More

Landlords Are Pretty Psyched for This Tech Boom


Kelly Faircloth is a guest blogger for Betabeat.

Realtors tell NY1 that the boom of startups, the wave of IPOs, and the plans for a new tech campus are already coming together to begin affecting rent prices. And it’s not exactly going to make them cheaper. Says one Doug Perlson, CEO of RealDirect: “What we are seeing is that the business of business is now technology and more and more companies are hiring tech workers. These people need a place to live.” Read More

Secondary Markets

The Future of SecondMarket In a World Without Private Facebook Shares


In SecondMarket’s 2011 year-end report, Facebook beat out Twitter, Foursquare, Gilt Groupe, Hulu, Spotify, and more as the trading platform’s number one most-watched company. Facebook has 14,973 “watchers,” almost double the next-closest, Twitter at 7,854. More tellingly, according to public statements from CEO Barry Silbert, 30 percent of SecondMarket’s revenue came from trading private shares of Facebook stock, which will soon become a province of the public markets.

But to hear Mr. Silbert tell it, he’s coping with the loss just fine. After all, it’s not like they didn’t know this was coming. As Crain’s reports, on Wednesday, Mr. Silbert told the audience at an Xconomy forum on New York’s venture capital scene, “We’re completely prepared to fill the hole,” adding, “We’re hiring, and we have a lot of capital.” Read More