Fretful newshounds and anxious bloggers can stop sitting shiva. Digg, or rather Betaworks’ reboot of old Digg, wants to resurrect yet another ailing online mainstay. On its blog this afternoon, the startup announced it would be building a reader to replace the “much-loved, if under-appreciated” Google Reader.
In the post, Andrew McLaughlin, the former vice president of Tumblr who joined Betaworks as an entrepreneur-in-residence last summer, said Reader’s “early social features were forward-thinking and hugely useful.” However, as with the revamped Digg, the new iteration won’t look exactly like its predecessor:
Sign of the Times
Sometimes Silicon Alley can make your head spin: out of the blue, in a terse blog post, Bitly just announced that CEO Peter Stern has resigned in order to “pursue other interests.”
Bye bye beta
New York City is pretty well saturated with incubators and accelerators and the like, such that when West coast stalwart 500 Startups decided to move into Silicon Alley, it opted to launch a coworking space, rather than further clutter an Read More
Conversation platform Branch announced in a post on its blog today that it is now out of invite-only beta and open to the public. With no more wait list, users can sign up immediately to start a conversation or group on Branch.
Do you have a Google Doc or an iPhone note where you keep a running list of books, movies and other things you’ve been meaning to check out? Well, today partners Betaworks and Fictive Kin announced a new service meant to help out. Done Not Done, at its simplest level, is a new and Read More
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).
Movers and Shakers
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.
Movers and Shakers
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.
Paul Murphy, COO of Aviary, is leaving his post at the photo editing startup to join the Betaworks folks at their sweet Meatpacking office.
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.”
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.