Lala Land When you plunk down $18 million in hard-won settlement earnings on an 8,000 sq. ft. manse with “a jetliner view of L.A.” you don’t just around on the couch watching Bravo. Especially not if your names are Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.
The strapping venture capitalists recently hosted two parties at their new Hollywood Hills home. The first was feting Katie Finnegan and Erica Bell, cofounders of the fashion startup Hukkster, which recently scored a $1 million seed round from the duo. Guests included actor Jason Lewis (Samatha’s boyfriend to the rest of us). Read More
r/findmeaparkingspace ParkWhiz, the Chicago company that enables users to find and reserve guaranteed parking spaces before reaching their destination, today announced that it has closed a $2 million Series A round of funding led by Hyde Park Venture Partners. Reddit’s Alexis Ohanian also took place in the round along with Hyde Park Angels, Amicus Capital, and others. In a press release sent to Betabeat, the company said that since its launch in 2006, it has driven $10 million in parking revenue to parking operators and provided access to 3 million parking spaces nationwide.
Fab Goes To India Jason Goldberg, the founder and CEO of Fab, took to his personal blog yesterday to announce that his company had acquired new funding. Times Internet, the digital arm of The Times of India Group, India’s largest media company, has chosen to invest in the company. Mr. Goldberg notes in the post, “As part of this investment Fab will be working with Times Internet to explore and execute on our India market strategy in the coming years.” Since launching in June 2011, Fab has raised over $150 million from investors. Read More
Looks like startup non-incubator Betaworks is in a hiring frenzy. Days after announcing it had snapped up former Tumblr VP Andrew McLaughlin, the company is making news again with another Entrepreneur-in-Residence hire.
On his blog this afternoon, Andrew McLaughlin, vice president of Tumblr, revealed that he would be leaving the micro-blogging platform after just nine months to join Betaworks, an early Tumblr investor, as an entrepreneur-in-residence. Investment firms often tap employees at portfolio companies for that role. Recently, for example, Andreessen Horowitz poached Foursquare vice president Tristan Walker for an EIR position out in Silicon Valley, although Mr. Walker had clocked almost three years at Foursquare at that point.
In an interview with Betabeat, Mr. McLaughlin assured us that the move was “on friendly terms.” Read More
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. Read More
In the winter of 2004, soon after the husks of once-great dot-com startups had dried and shriveled, a 27-year-old college dropout named Kevin Rose deployed a barebones new site, simply named “Digg.”
It was one of the first social networks in existence. Back then, the term “social networking” hadn’t shouldered its way into our lexicon yet. Facebook was a nascent, walled platform for college gossip; Google was still idly toying with its search algorithm; Twitter wouldn’t launch for another two years.
News itself was a hierarchical affair, largely produced and disseminated by trusted broadcasters and editors. Journalism’s democratizing forces hadn’t congealed, yet; bloggers weren’t sitting front row at fashion shows or making a living off of Google Ads. The idea that a community of Internet geeks could manipulate the news cycle would’ve elicited howls of mocking laughter from the Conde kingmakers. Read More
The clock is ticking for the team at Betaworks, which has promised to overhaul its newly-acquired social news site Digg by Thursday. Today the team published a preview of V1, complete with photos of design wireframes and some hints as to what we can expect of the new release.
Rethink Digg stresses that V1 will adhere to minimalist themes. Many of the bloated features tacked on to the old version of Digg as an afterthought–features that drove many of its users permanently to Reddit–will be lumped off in favor of three core principles: “Top Stories, Popular and Upcoming.”
Deconstructing the myth of the “booth babe.” [Jezebel]
Speaking of myths, the Facebook phone is apparently a reality, which is a shame because nobody wants a stupid Facebook phone. [Bloomberg]
Roku continues getting cozy with pay TV, raises $45 million from News Corps. and BSkyB. [TechCrunch]
Kevin Rose on the new Betaworks incarnation of Digg: “It’s very simple, and there’s a lot of emphasis on real-time.” Version one of the new Digg is set to debut in one week. [GigaOm]
Google is livestreaming its announcement about rolling out a fiber network in Kansas City today. [Google]
Zynga shares tumbled 42 percent yesterday; not even gullible mothers taking care of virtual crops can fix that. [Bloomberg]
Looks like the ambitious and hardworking folks behind Rethink Digg have their work cut out for them. On Friday, the team–which is tasked with revamping the ailing social news site in the next eight days–released a survey to gather user feedback on the current and future status of Digg. The results? “92% of survey respondents said that they would not recommend the current Digg to a friend.” Ouch. Read More