ECommerce Rules Everything Around Me

Ex-Bessemer Analyst Targets Pinteresters With a More Shoppable Proposition

Screen shot 2012-10-12 at 10.38.27 AM

There must be some pins in the water over at Bessemer Venture Partners. Back in May, Sarah Tavel, the former Bessemer VP who led the firm’s prescient early investment in Pinterest, left to head up “business” at the social network for “regular people” connoisseurs of pretty, special things.

Now, founder and CEO Michael Segal, a former Bessemer analyst, also finds himself going after the exact same target market that Pinterest helped define. Yesterday, he launched Curio Road, a New York-based “curated discovery site” (i.e. online shop of rotating collections of jewelry, accesories, home decor, and gifts) heavily influenced by his ecommerce training at Bessemer, he told Betabeat.

“We are saying to the Pinterest user–hey, here is an end-to-end shopping experience where you can channel your love for unique, creative stuff,” Mr. Segal explained. Read More

Fresh Capital

Online Higher Education Gets a Raise as 2tor Secures $26 M. in Series D Funding Round

It's about time gosh darn it!

Online learning platform 2tor today announced the close of a $26 million Series D funding round led by an affiliate of the Hillman Company. This brings the Chelsea Piers-based company’s total venture funding to $96 million. All previous investors—Bessemer Venture Partners, Highland Capital, Redpoint Ventures, Novak Biddle Venture Partners and City Light Capital—who helped 2tor raise $32.5 million just over a year ago decided to come back. Joining them were new investors SVB Capital and WestRiver Capital. Read More

Investment Advice

Betterment Introduces Retirement Accounts, Lowers Fees

Mr. Stein.

Betterment, the online investment manager for individuals that TechCrunch named “New York’s Best Startup” in 2010, just announced it’ll be delivering more for less. The startup introduced individual retirement accounts, or IRAs, in addition to its investing accounts, and changed to a lower fee structure at the same time. Betterment—a portmanteau of “better” and “investment”—charges users a percentage of assets under management; it has 10,000 paying users and 20,000 subscribers, founder and CEO Jon Stein told Betabeat.

With 13 employees in its Soho office, that’s a pretty efficient company. Mr. Stein, a Certified Financial Analyst whose background is in investing and retail banking, wants Betterment’s customers to manage their money efficiently as well. “Think of it as Apple meets Vanguard,” he told Betabeat by phone last week. “A slick, intuitive interface on a smart investing backend.” Read More