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

Metro Tech

Last Night at New York Tech Meetup: How Can We Get Our Hands on Your LittleBits?

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In the end, all anyone wanted to talk about was the legos. After 10 startups had demonstrated their projects at last night’s New York Tech Meetup, and after a bit of grumbling that the price of admission no longer included a free drink at the after party, meeting-goers and presenters alike turned their attention to the product that had lit up the evening. Literally.

“I call them legos on steroids,” said Adrian Sanders, who’d demonstrated his iPhone storytelling app, Backspac.es earlier in the evening. Read More

startup rundown

Startup News: David Karp Goes Native, Netflix for Real Life, Digg Is Reborn (Again)

Hipstblr (Photo: wikipedia.org)

Among the Natives David Karp put on his salesman hat this week and preached the Tumblr gospel in front of execs at an Advertising Week event. Karp pushed his company’s new approach to “native” non-intrusive marketing. He went as far as to call Tumblr the “brave new world.” The site now nets 27 million visitors a month and is expected to release some sort of earnings report this week, six months after ads started running on the site.

Pass The Popcorn MoviePass, a subscription service for unlimited movie-going, launched today, but is still invite-only. The app lets you check into a movie theatre, which then unlocks your MoviePass card. You pay at the credit card ticket kiosk using your MoviePass card, like you would with an ordinary card. The service is starting out at $29.99, which makes it a steal for New Yorkers because that’s a little under the price of two movies with popcorn in Manhattan. 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