In Hindsight

The Best of Betabeat: A 2012 Retrospective

BETA BEAT Celebrates The Pitch Series

As 2011 came to a close, we looked back at our most popular posts. But this year, we’re a little older (a mature year and nine months!), a lot wiser, and thought we’d try something a little different. Thank you for reading!

LONGREADS

Ultra-Orthodox Jews Take a Hard Line on the Internet at Rally of 40,000 Men (And Me) In which our intrepid reporter sneaks into Citi Field in drag. 

Faith, Hope, and Singularity: Entering the Matrix with New York’s Futurist Set It’s the end of the world as we know it, and they feel fine. Read More

the startup rundown

Startup News: Black Techies Meetup is Tonight

Mr. Wanamaker.

DIVERSITY. Black Techies Meetup is tonight. “This meetup exists because I was damn tired of being the only black person at other tech meetups,” says Tumblr dev Kyle Wanamaker. “We aim to be a network of developers in NYC interested in becoming better, learning from each other and networking. Developers of all skill levels are welcome, from experienced hardcore, neckbeard hackers, to n00bs. If you want to be awesome, or more awesome, I hope you can find yourself at home here.” 7 p.m., at Tumblr’s HQ. Read More

Buy Together Die Together

The Full Story Behind BuyWithMe’s Big Layoffs: Debts Come Due For Daily Deal Industry

One kind of pink slip can lead to another

Betabeat has been covering the layoffs at BuyWithMe since Wednesday, when more than half the staff, at least 100 people,  were laid off without warning or severance. There has been almost no word from the company or its management. As a result, we’ve had to rely mostly on anonymous sources who know bits and pieces. But over the last 24 hours, we’ve been able to put together some big pieces of the puzzle.

The statement released yesterday by CEO James Crowley, that the company was reorganizing to best serve its clients and customers, was disingenuous at best.  Numerous sources Betabeat spoke with confirmed that BuyWithMe is looking to be acquired by a larger player in the daily deal space, and has been for some time now. The layoffs were intended to make it a more attractive purchase.

How did BuyWithMe end up in such dire straights? Betabeat has heard from a source that not only did the company purchase six smaller startups in the last six months, burning through some of its capital, but it also took out a $10 million debt round from its backers that was never disclosed to the press. That goes a long way towards explaining how the company got to where it is today. Read More

Pivot Strat

Founder Loses $100 K. On His First Startup, Rebounds With an App Called Bubble

Mr. Hnetinka. (source: twttr)

Betabeat first met Lee Hnetinka, the enterprising former Hamptons broker who taught himself web design while making websites for rentals, at South By Southwest. He was promoting his first startup, Leetto, a location-based network that had something to do with local advertising and deals. “We kinda wanted to do something based around location. We wanted to do a lot. That was part of the problem–we had no real focus,” he said. “When I wanted to explain it I couldn’t really do it in one sentence.” Read More

Tech Bubble Watch

Jesus Christ, People, How Many Times Does Peter Thiel Have to Tell You It’s Not a Tech Bubble?

Way back in December 2007, a straight-faced Peter Thiel told AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher in no uncertain terms, “There is absolutely no bubble in technology.” For context, this was way back when Facebook’s valuation, currently teetering at $100 billion, was a paltry $15 billion, you know, the kind of chump change Zuck would find in his couch cushions. Since then, Mr. Thiel has repeated his no tech bubble mantra over and over, stopping only to point an accusatory finger at the bubble around higher education. But that hasn’t stopped reporters from going back to the contrarian well. Read More

Content Farming

Two Big Tech IPOs, Two Big Profit Fibs Revealed

hot air balloons

The last month has signaled the rebirth of the market for web IPOs. Facebook’s private offering set the tone, although the social networking company probably won’t go public for another year.

But investors eagerly snapped up shares of “content farm” king Demand Media Wednesday. Then on Thursday LinkedIn, the smaller, more professional Read More