startup rundown

Startup News: Warby Parker Ate Way Too Much Salad and Sold a Lot of Monocles This Year

Katie Couric in Warby Parker (Photo: Facebook.com)

Rose-Colored Glasses Warby Parker just released its annual report for 2012, and it’s a pretty fun slideshow to click through. The glasses empire now has 113 full-time employes and 42 part-time employees. Of those bespectacled folks, 108 have company-sponsored gym memberships. In other Warby Parker health news, 2,507 pounds of salad were eaten in the office this year. Although there are not too many exact sales figures in the package (besides the fact that 296 monocles were sold this year) a diagram on the last page shows that sales from the first quarter of the year to the last one have nearly tripled. Warby Parker says it gave out 250,000 pairs of glasses this year, some of which went to victims of Hurricane Sandy. Read More

shameless rumormongering

Rumor Roundup: AOL Is Sunsetting QLabs, Ron Jeremy Has Friends In Tech Places

(Photo: QLabs)

Good news, Silicon Alley denizens. After much demand from fellow gossip-mongers, Betabeat has decided to resurrect your favorite recurring Friday feature. Welcome back to Rumor Roundup! Overheard a juicy tidbit about impending departures or imminent acquisitions? Dying to dish about startup blunders or frothy financing? Holler at your girls: tips@betabeat.com

THE SUN SOMETIMES SETS ON THE AOL EMPIRE Multiple sources have told Betabeat that AOL Ventures plans on shutting down QLabs–the press-shy experimental think tank in Soho located at 670 Broadway. “The time frame must be darn near immediate,” one source told Betabeat, alluding to some urgency around winding down existing projects. “It’s dead,” said a source with indirect knowledge of the decision. “Their funding ran out,” the second source added, speculating that the initiative had a set funding size, but “nothing yielded.” Read More

Venture Capitalism

Corporate VC Funding Plummets by 30 Percent—Except for Internet Investing

(cbinsights.com)

News flash: it is not 1999 anymore, and it appears that corporate venture capitalists have adjusted accordingly. CB Insights released its Q1 Corporate Venture Capital Report yesterday, revealing that CVCs participated in just 84 deals totaling $1.09 billion, a record low for the past five quarters.

But while overall CVC funding is down 20 percent, funding for the Internet sector is up 30 percent, with CVC deals in that sector increasing for the third straight quarter. Read More

Building a Better Ad Trap

Aol Ventures Jumps In on Appssavvy in $7.1 M. Round

Mr. Cunningham.

Appssavvy, the New York-based “adtivity” network, announced a $7.1 million series A this morning from its seed investors including Scott Kurnit, Howard Lindzon, The New York Times and True Ventures. Rather than serving up ads when a page loads, Appssavvy delivers ads when users perform an activity: click on a thing, update a status, buy a virtual shot of Jaeger, complete a level, “like” something.

“Activity-based advertising we believe will be the emerging digital advertising category that paid search and behavioral targeting were a few years ago, and which video is today,” Chris Cunningham, co-founder and CEO, told PEHub. Read More

shameless rumormongering

Rumors & Acquisitions: Aol and the Labs, Turntable and the Labels, and Which Aviary Co-Founder Needs Your A/S/L?

rumormonger

LAME. The evil music labels are considering a lawsuit against Turntable.fm, according to a high-level source on the West Coast, but haven’t decided how to proceed. Meanwhile, Turntable lookalike Rolling.fm is knee deep in lawyers trying to figure out how to keep the service up outside the U.S.

MIXED MESSAGES. A couple weeks ago, Betabeat noticed that Skillshare founder Mike Karnjanaprakorn was out in San Francisco for the launch of Skillshare in that city. Had he picked up some cash while he was out there, we wondered? Skillshare raised $550,000 in January, which was made public in May, so the company certainly could have sustained its five employees on that–especially with MK’s militant lean start-up mindset and the bit of cash it’s getting from the website. So when Mr. Karnj said he hadn’t raised a new round, we said ‘Oh okay.’ But then we kept hearing, over the transom, that Skillshare has raised a fresh round. And they’re trying to fill up their sweet Soho office with a backend developer, community team and founder apprentice. Any insights? Drop us a tip. Read More