How BrightNest Learned to Stop Nagging and Crack More Jokes

Mr. Shulman, left; Mr. Anthony.

Allen Shulman, the 47-year-old, snowy-haired architect who had been building homes for 25 years before he decided to do an Internet startup, promised us the sun was shining in Denver when we spoke this morning at 9 a.m. Mountain Time.

Betabeat doesn’t usually cover startups based outside of New York, but we’re making an exception: BrightNest has a New York investor, Quotidian Ventures, and its seed round, which closed in October, went unreported. Until now, sorry: $665,000 led by David Cohen through his fund Bullet Time Ventures, with New World Ventures, OCA Ventures, and 11 assorted angels participating, on top of a $335,000 convertible note raised from friends and friends of friends in January 2011. Mr. Shulman and his cofounder, CTO Justin Anthony, made sure to close their funding before they started the winter session at 500 Startups; the company is now raising its Series A.

When BrightNest’s marketing rep pitched us on the startup—”our goal is to make changing furnace filters and cleaning gutters sexy”—we thought it sounded like, well, a bit of a reach for a write-up, for reasons other than geography. A startup built around reminding you to clean your gutters? With all the Twitters and FarmVilles competing for browsing time, how could you ever convince users to spend time with something that most closely resembles a nagging spouse, bugging you to change the lightbulbs, and making you think about things you don’t want to think about, like the mold slowly spreading through your basement? Read More

Fashion Plate

Y Combinator Alum Launches Kaleidoscope, a Street Style App That Takes You from Photo to Purchase


Earlier this week, Inporia co-founder Ryan Junee launched Kaleidoscope, a more monetizable take on those suddenly ubiquitous fashion apps, in the Android market. (Relax, fangirls, the Apple version if coming soon.)

Kaleidoscope, which also works as a website widget embeddable with a few lines of JavaScript, lets users browse a stream of both Anna-approved editorial images and street style photos. If you like what you see, click on any image and it breaks it down by item and offers direct links to sites like Nordstrom’s, Bergdorff, Net-a-Porter or Shop Bop, where users can buy the exact items featured in the photo or similar ones across a range of price points, both higher (what recession?) and lower.

It’s being described as “Pinterest meets ShopStyle,” and indeed, Kaleidoscope uses the ShopStyle API to source potential purchasing options. But there’s also an element of “human expertise,” Mr. Junee told Betabeat, with a team of fashion interns making sure the “shop that look” function links to the best selection of similar items. Mr. Junee said he’s also working on automating that function. Read More

Goooood Morning Silicon Alley!

The Best Tech Events This Week (Aarrr!!! Edition)


This is a guest post from Gary Sharma (aka “The Guy with the Red Tie”), founder & CEO of GarysGuide, Mentor at ER Accelerator and proud owner of a whole bunch of black suits, white shirts and, at last count, over 40 red ties. You can follow him at @garysguide and reach him via email at gary [at]

An absolutely crazy, crazzzzzzy week in tech coming up with a ton of really good events including hacker townhalls, demo days, Startup Weekends, TEDx-es, hack days, incubator openings, happy hours, roundtables and more. Lets take a look, shall we? … Read More

Demo Daze

500 Startups Demo Day at General Assembly: Oversubscribed Startups, Cobra Kai-Fives, and White People Problems


The advent of 500 Startups first-ever Demo Day in New York drew a standing room only crowd to General Assembly yesterday for a long night of seed stage pitches and free beer that went an hour past its 9pm bedtime. Betabeat knew we were in the right place when we overheard, “We want to create a better music experience, better than Pandora,” pass for small talk over by the cheese and crackers table. The sight of TechStar’s David Tisch in a backwards baseball cap and khaki shorts (“business shabby” strikes again!) high-fiving Dave McClure was another promising sign.

All of the startups pitching were graduates of Mr. McClure’s 500 Startups, a Mountain View-based accelerator program, and many flew in from the Valley in search of local froth and perhaps a glimpse of the tall buildings. Each co-founder walked out to their own theme music, with soon-to-be baby daddy Jay-Z making a surprisingly popular choice. Read More

Fresh Capital

New York-Born, Y Combinator-Bred Drchrono Raises $675K to Get Doctors on the iPad

DrChrono with Y Combinator founder Paul Graham. From left to right: Michael Nusimow, Mr. Graham, Katelyn Gleason and Daniel Kivatinos.

Drchrono started in New York almost three years ago with the goal of bringing the same principles of good design that rule companies like Square and Mint to electronic medical records. After a stint in the Rose Tech Ventures incubator, founders Daniel Kivatinos and Michael Nusimow skipped coasts to join Y Combinator. “The alumni of YC is a really powerful network,” Mr. Kivatinos told Betabeat in May, and right he was: The start-up just raised a $675,000 seed round from a dazzling line-up of investors including General Catalyst, Charles River Ventures, 500 Startups, Gmail creator and FriendFeed co-founder Paul Buchheit, Google’s Principal Engineer Matt Cutts, and the Start Fund (made up of investments from Yuri Milner and SV Angel). Read More

shameless rumormongering

Rumors & Acquisitions: And What Was With Today, Today


Ugh, this day. Maybe it was the Amazon Web Services outage? Or exhaustion from all that Internet Week panel campaigning? “Today suckckckckcks,” one Betabeat staffer said. But the rumor roundup must post. On to it:

500 DISSES: Remember how Dave McClure’s 500 Startups accelerator was going to have a demo day in New York? And it was supposed to be at General Assembly in mid-April? We heard a rumor that Mr. McClure had nxed it so we txted him. Turns out the 500-strong don’t need New York’s money. “To be honest, most of our start-ups already got funding,” Mr. McClure (or whoever does his texting) wrote back. “We decided to hold off coming to NYC until later this year.” Read More


New York Expat Speakergram Raising $500 K., Halfway There Thanks to New York Investors


Sam Rosen, former New Yorker, just presented his start-up Speakergram, a platform for organizing and booking speaking engagements, at the 500 Startups Demo Day in Mountain View. He started the hunt for funding a week ago and already has commitments from New York investors including Alexis Ohanian (Reddit), David Tisch (TechStars), Jason Finger (Seamless Web) and Mike Yavonditte (Hashable) totaling $500,000 $250,000–half of what he’s looking for. Read More