Exit This Way
Bitly, the New York-based link-shortening and data analytics service, announced two big changes at the executive level this week. Yesterday, chief scientist Hilary Mason, who is arguably Bitly’s most visible employee, announced she would be moving on from the company to become the first ever data scientist in residence at venture firm Accel Partners. Though she’s been an advisor to Accel’s Big Data Fund since 2011, Ms. Mason is leaving Bitly to join Accel full time, where she will help to advise portfolio companies and evaluate potential investment areas.
Today the bank accounts of the financial planning service LearnVest are a little more flush. The company announced this morning that it’s raised $16.5 million from current investor Accel Partners, as well as new participants American Express Ventures, Claritas, Carlyle Group founding member Ed Mathias and former T. Rowe Price CEO Todd Ruppert.
They’ve also signed up additional advisors, like Gilt Groupe chairman Susan Lyne and the former CFO of Weight Watchers.
“We were in a position where this came to us,” CEO Alexa von Tobel told Betabeat. “We were not fund-raising–we actually got the term sheet a week before my wedding.”
It seems no opportunity for romance is outside the purview of dating site HowAboutWe. Hence this recap of the pickins for participants at Davos, the Model U.N. for wealthy grown-ups. Apparently, “the dynamics at Davos are basically the same as the dynamics of any other group of human beings.” We’re as shocked as you are!
The primary source for the post was a nameless tech CEO, who swore the younger attendees, at least, kept it pretty chaste:
A source familiar the deal told Betabeat yesterday that Venmo, a New York City-based mobile app that lets you split bills with friends, is in the process of being acquired by Braintree, a Chicago-based online payments company and PayPal competitor. The New York Times broke the news this afternoon, reporting a $26.2 million acquisition price. On the company blog, Venmo said the deal closed in mid-June and that its payment-sharing service “will remain unaffected” and continue to operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary.
Venmo and Braintree share an investor, Palo Alto powerhouse Accel Partners, which also invested in Facebook.
The two startups do seem to be in the midst of a mutual appreciation society. Last week, Braintree’s community manager Kristi Lynch tweeted, “I know it sounds weird, but the @Venmo app makes me wish I owed more people money.” Two Venmo employees favorited the tweet.
Venmo was founded in Philadelphia in 2009 by two former college roommates, Andrew Kortina and Iqram Magdon-Ismai. The duo eventually moved the company to New York City, where Venmo become one of the early stars in the city’s growing tech orbit, embraced by early adopters for making it easier to split the cost of dinner, drinks, monthly cable bills–or any of the innumerable costs of urban life–over their phones. There were even cutesy, customizable receipts, eagerly tweeted out by the Alley in-crowd.
Friend the Public
IT’S FINALLY HEEEEEEEEEEEEEREEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! Here’s what we learned:
Mark Zuckerberg has 28.2 percent voting power, pre-IPO based on personal shares: 28.4 percent of class B shares. But that’s not all. “As a result of voting agreements with certain stockholders, together with the shares he holds, Mark Zuckerberg, our founder, Chairman, and CEO, will be able to exercise voting rights with respect to an aggregate of shares of common stock, representing a majority of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock following our initial public offering.” Altogether, that gives him majority control with 57 percent voting rights.
With the recent news that prolific investment firm Accel Partners finally hired David Eisenberg as their first New York ombudsman, Betabeat figured it was time to survey the scene at the company’s NYC HQ, located on the 16th floor of 111 8th Avenue, better known as “The Google Building.” Not much photographic evidence of the office exists online, but we’ve compiled a few images that will give you a peak into the luxurious digs of one of the world’s foremost venture capital firms. Aside from modern-looking glass conference rooms and a prime location near Chelsea Market, the view from the office balcony is worth the click alone–we don’t typically use the word “breathtaking,” but it truly is.
Alley vs. Valley
Accel Partners, which is invested in all the companies you’ve heard of from BitTorrent to Facebook, as well as all the ones you haven’t, from Chakpak to YuMe, announced a year ago it had picked up a New York office in the Google building at 111 Eighth Ave. But apparently the venture capital firm was holding back. ”The early plan was to use a rotating case of Accel investors from other offices— including Jim Breyer and Theresia Gouw Ranzetta. A sort of professional flophouse, if you will,” reports Dan Primack at Fortune.
Betabeat has already noted the prevailing winds of venture capital class warfare–with equity in hot start-ups, access to dealflow, and ability to raise capital separates “the haves from the have nots.” But as the IPO wave has started to crest, even fewer names have risen to the top. And if the Wall Street Journal‘s numbers are any indicator, it’s given some VCs cause for a little reverse schadenfreude.
moving on up to the east side
Surprise! The most lucrative neighborhood for getting venture capital deals done is not the tech corridor from DogPatch Labs to the top of Madison Square Park that seems to emanate from Fred Wilson’s office in Union Square. In fact, according to data from the research firm CB Insights, the epicenter is northeast of that, closer to Gilt Groupe’s Park Avenue offices, between 32nd and 33rd Streets. Their zipcode, 10016, happens to be the hottest in the city for securing venture capital.
Maybe it’s a lucky office? Gilt co-founders Alexandra Wilkis Wilson and Alexis Maybank, along with angel investor Doubleclick co-founder Kevin Ryan—and their $270 million in funding—work out of the space formerly home to Right Media, which was successfully sold to Yahoo in 2007.
While SoHo, Union Square and Chelsea are still start-up hubs, CB Insights data shows that a particular stretch from the mid-20s to the 40s on the East Side—covering Kips Bay, Turtle Bay, and Murray Hill—saw 40 VC deals worth a combined $351.8 million since 2009. If you stretch it out to the mid-50s on the East Side, that’s 76 deals amounting to more than $840 million. The numbers were enough to make the New York Post declare that the area they’d like to call Silicon Park (meh?) is giving Silicon Alley a run for its VC money. But is it really?
There were a few stories this morning about the news that Accel Partners, one of the top three venture capital firms in the nation, is opening an outpost in New York.
But by and large there wasn’t much comment from local VCs on the issue, until Lerer Ventures’ Jordan Cooper raised the issue on Twitter: Read More