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Jack Smith IV

Jack is a reporter covering tech business in NYC, Silicon Alley founders and funding, trends in tech innovation and venture capital investment.
Freshly Minted

Why’d Apple Buy Beats and Booklamp? Probably to Build a Massive Subscription Platform

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Welcome to Freshly Minted, where we examine an overlooked deal or funding announcement in tech from the past week and tell you what you need to know and why it matters.

The deal: Apple acquired book analysis startup Booklamp for an alleged $10 to $15 million, likely to begin work building a book subscription platform, or something much bigger.

Apple is always stark and shady when it comes to their acquisitions. They’ve bought a number of under-the-radar startups, and when asked why, they offer up the same response:

“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” Read More

Bitcoin Mania

Bitcoin Startups Are Raking in Record Amounts of VC Cash

Child movie star Brock Pierce has gone on to lead a syndicate of 57 angel investors who invest in crypocurrency startups. (Photo via Brock Pierce)

At first, bitcoin was just the purview of cryptography nerds and libertarian redditors. Since then, digital currencies have been used to fund everything from World Cup betting rings to congressional elections. Now that bitcoin is out in front of legislators and safer than ever to use, investors are starting to pour record amounts into bitcoin startups.

From April through June of this year, bitcoin startups pulled in a record $76.8 million in investments, which is almost as much as the entirety of 2013, CB Insights reports. Read More

The Equity of the Crowds

Indiegogo CEO Says New Crowdfunding Laws ‘Will Totally Change the World’

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Quick, who is the first name you think of when someone says crowdfunding? We bet it’s Kickstarter. That name has become synonymous with using the crowd to fund projects that would otherwise never see the light of day. But the truth is, crowdfunding really owes its roots to Indiegogo.

They may not have the same notoriety, but Indiegogo CEO and cofounder Slava Rubin is having a great year. They’ve rebranded the site, raised a $40 million Series B, and as of this morning, launched their new mobile app. Read More

Eye Candy

Swappable Lens Startup ‘Frameri’ Is Coming For Warby Parker’s Throne

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Warby Parker is one of the hottest ecommerce companies of the past five years, and has been awarded all of the startup buzzwords (disruptive, innovative) for their great user experience and direct to consumer business model. But you can’t be an insurgent company without someone else coming up fast for your number one spot.

Frameri, an online eyewear site that makes glasses with interchangeable lenses, officially launched this morning. They’ve set their sites on the trail blazed by Warby, but claim that their product is actually something new in eyewear, as opposed to being the same old product in a new shape, style, or designer label. Read More

Bitcoin Nation

Capitol Hill Is Hosting Its First Bitcoin Demo Day Today

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Rep. Jared Polis, the “Gamer Congressman,” has been a big advocate for Bitcoin on Capitol Hill. He’s taken BTC for campaign donation, lampooned his colleagues for speaking out against Bitcoin, and invited fellow congressmen to give Bitcoin a shot. Now, he’s helping bring Washington, D.C. its first Bitcoin Startup Demo Day.

Today, a few major Bitcoin startups like Coinbase, BitPay and BitGO will set up shop in the Rayburn House Office Building to convince Washington regulators to embrace Bitcoin. They’ll be joined by major companies who have successfully integrated Bitcoin into their business models, like Expedia, who started taking payments in Bitcoin earlier this summer and have been more than happy with the results. Read More

Mad Data Science

OkCupid Brags About Manipulating Online Daters in Secret Tests

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After all of the furor over Facebook’s invasive experiments on users’ news feeds, other startups running the same plays had to be thinking: “What do we do now?” In the case of OkCupid, their version of ass-covering is to come out loud and proud about the games they’ve been playing with their users’ hearts.

OkCupid posted a snarky, image-loaded essay on their blog today called “We Experiment On Human Beings!” where they make a list of hijinxes they’ve pulled on their users without them knowing, all in the name of science. In the post, OkCupid cofounder Christian Rudder points to how offended people were that Facebook published a research report based on manipulating users’ news feeds. Read More