ECommerce Rules Everything Around Me
Here’s a novel idea for flexing your consumerist impulses on Cyber Monday: organize your shopping by a company’s cap table. For Cyber Monday, First Round Capital, which specializes in ecommerce, has set a site that shows off exclusive deals from portfolio companies like Birchbox, Chloe & Isabel, Refinery 29, Hotel Tonight, UrbanSitter, TaskRabbit, DogVacay, One Kings Lane, and more.
Honestly, we’re surprised New York techies haven’t already set up a buy local site that encourages only shopping at startups for Christmas.
We’re barreling toward the holidays, and the city’s ecommerce companies are putting on the Ritz accordingly. Yesterday, Etsy announced a Soho store for the holidays; today, Birchbox announced the launch of digital popup Birchbox Home. Discovery commerce: Why should you face have all the fun?
Birchbox Home kicks off with a $58 special edition box, packed with kitchen paraphernalia and fancy food samples. Think cocktail napkins and truffle sea salt. Participating brands include Jonathan Adler, Dean and DeLuca and Paperless Post (another Silicon Alley notable). The home box heralds the arrival of a home store, stocked with stuff from C. Wonder and Stonewall Kitchen.
We don’t tend to associate Walmart with either buzzy startup business models or high-end snacks. And yet GigaOm reports the ultimate superstore has launched Goodies, its very own subscription service, devoted to gourmet food samples. Think chocolate souffle and–seriously–kale chips.
U Francey Huh
After acquiring its French competitor JolieBox last month, Birchbox announced a new partnership today with Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle site, Goop. The limited edition box, which will be sent out to subscribers this October, will be curated by the team at Goop. Since the box comes with sample-size products, Birchbox will also be offering a special edition online store where users can buy the full size item.
Birchbox now has a beachhead in the city of lights. The locally based subscription service–which, last time we checked, claims something like 100,000 members–has acquired a Paris-based lookalike by the name of JolieBox. Anchors away–the ladies of Birchbox are bound abroad.
After two years of building a community of makeup nuts around cosmetic content, startup Beautylish is ready to monetize. Today the company launches an ecommerce offering, so fans of their YouTube tutorials need no longer rustle up their new favorite eyeshadow colors via their own Google searches.
Founder Nils Johnson may be best known for his work as an angel investor, putting early cash into companies like Warby Parker and Everlane, but Beautylish is his very own bouncing baby. 24 months in, the site receives more than a million monthly uniques and has almost as many Twitter followers as beauty beast Sephora. Makeup artists active on the site include Billy B., who works with Lady Gaga.
Funding to date stands at just over $2 million, from investors like Ron Conway, Max Levchin, Steve Chen, and Jeremy Stoppelman.
Programs for Programmers
App engineers are just like the original sheet music creators…or something. [Wall Street Journal]
San Francisco-based flirting app Skout shut down its forum for 13-17 year olds following a spate of child rapes linked to the app. Question: How did anyone think a location-based flirting app for 13 year olds was a good idea in the first place? [The New York Times]
Patent trolls had an app removed from the iTunes store. Seems like a pretty typical move–except that the app was a speech-to-text tool used by a mute little girl to communicate with her parents. Good going, assholes. [Hacker News]
But here’s an app you won’t miss: RIP Ping. [AllThingsD]
Meet your 2012 Thiel Fellows. These kids are probably too smart for their own good. [VentureBeat]
Hey Birchbox subscribers, don’t feel bad if you get some men’s products in your package this month. It’s just a teaser for Birchbox Man and is in no way shape or form a cruel reminder that you’re single. [TechCrunch]
And who cares if you’re single anyway? Etsy is making a major effort to hire more female engineers. Perhaps Hacker School is more your style? [AllThingsD]
XX in Tech
One of the most salient pieces of advice offered at yesterday’s lady CEO panel at Internet Week is to find a mentor you trust who can help guide you through the turbulent ecosystem of Startupland. NYC Tech Mobilizer, a lightweight summer program for developers, wants to help you find that mentor. The program, which is in its second year, links up prospective mentees with talented mentors from some of New York’s hottest startups, including Foursquare, Gilt Groupe, Birchbox and Meetup.
NYC Tech Mobilizer is the brainchild of Fondu CTO Mike Lewis, who moved to New York a little over two years ago with a masters in computer engineering, ready to dive into the startup sector.
The rain was really starting to come down hard, but the female CEOs at Internet Week appeared undaunted by the passing storm. Birchbox’s Hayley Barna, Learnvest’s Alexa von Tobel, Nest.io’s Caren Maio, Mashable’s Sharon Feder and Artspace’s Catherine Levene joined CNNMoney reporter Laurie Segall for a discussion about gender in tech.
The panel was entitled “Why Being a Good CEO Has Nothing to Do with Being a Woman,” but it was clear from the first question that the women on this panel were more concerned with talking about their businesses than how being a woman has hindered their growth in the tech sector. And who can blame them? After all, the panel was specifically about how gender had nothing to do with their success–though almost all of the questions revolved around their experience as women in a male-dominated world.
Hometown heroines Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna are two of the better-known female founders in New York’s apparently estrogen-powered tech scene, and yeah, their company Birchbox is pretty girly. So it was fun to see the contrast in the dual announcement this week: the launch of Birchbox Man, which was basically like Instagram launching for Android, followed shortly by the announcement of a major partnership with the ladylicious Gossip Girl, the startup’s first major media partnership.