In a stunning gesture of support for EXCLUSIVE airplane journalism, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is leading a $5 million round in Business Insider, the web property helmed by Henry Blodget. The news comes following a detailed New Yorker profile of Mr. Blodget, who launched Business Insider after being banned from the securities industry for civil securities fraud.
File this one under ‘second acts in American lives’: This week, Business Insider honcho Henry Blodget gets the New Yorker treatment (subscription only, you cheap bastards), with a profile by none other than the bold-faced Ken Auletta. Sure, he’s still banned for life from the securities business (for now!), but being written up by Mr. Auletta ain’t too bad as a life consolation prize.
Your Name Here A Silicon Valley source had the pleasure of dining near Path cofounder Dave Morin and his wife, Brit.co founder Brit Morin recently. Mr. Morin spoke about the future of Path while Ms. Morin, a DIY enthusiast, used crayons provide by the restaurant to doodle on the paper table cloth, said the source. There were rainbows, flowers and balloons, but our favorite was a drawing of the Brit.co logo, with “Morin” written underneath and an arrow pointed towards Ms. Morin (just in case the restaurant staff didn’t recognize her). That’s one way to disrupt advertising, we suppose. Our tipster was kind enough to snap a pic on their way out.
Happy Internet, Mr. President Twice this week in conversation with tech types, Betabeat was asked when Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian was running for office already. The 29-year-old credited with helping to defeat SOPA/PIPA already toured the country (in a bus once leased for John McCain’s “Straight Talk Express”) running for president of the Internet. But with Sheryl Sandberg hot on his heels, isn’t it time to start campaigning for the real thing?
Late last night, Twitter tongues wagged as to whether Groupon’s goofy CEO Andrew Mason would actually show up for his scheduled appearance at Business Insider’s Ignition conference in New York, especially after his name disappeared from the agenda.
“He has been off most relevant agendas for quite some time. The exception, of course, is the SEC watch list,” Interview Circuit founder Jon Sterling quipped, referencing the beleaguered company’s repeated run-ins with the commission (most recently over revenue details from its new business lines and questions about the daily deal site’s financial revision this spring.)
Silicon Alley Smackdown One of the many tech events on rain delay because of Hurricane Sandy was the Big Apple Smackdown ping pong tournament, whose guest list included an impressive number of familiar names from the New York tech scene. (Betabeat is one of the media sponsors, so we may be a little biased.) Among the techno-athletes scheduled to play was Gilt Groupe CEO–and soon-to-be Gilt Groupe chairman–Kevin Ryan. Apparently, we missed quite a show.
The tournament was scheduled for Sunday, “and I played on Friday and on Sunday just to get ready for it!” Mr. Ryan told Betabeat. Really? “Oh yeah, because I won a tournament about a month ago.” That was an invitation-only affair for ping pong ringers at the Hamptons manse of ABC Carpet & Home’s Ken Pilot. “You had to put $100 into the pot and the winner got two-thirds of the pot, so I was pretty excited about that,” Mr. Ryan enthused.
It’s a gloomy, rainy Friday in New York, but we’re about to serve you a piping hot bowl of gossip. Bon appetit!
Map-maker, Map-maker, Build Me a Map! If Tim Cook‘s mea culpa wasn’t enough to demonstrate how hard Apple is scrambling to fix its iOS 6 mapocalypse, then how about its last ditch recruiting techniques to find Ruby developers? Mojo Talantikite, a cluster engineer at Engine Yard in New York City, said he (and a number of his technically talented friends) have been hit up by Apple recruiters recently.
“I don’t think it’s too out of the ordinary for a company to scramble to soak up talent once they figure out their product is deficient,” he told Betabeat by email. “But considering that the beta of Apple Maps was terrible three months ago, you’d think they would have started the aggressive recruitment phase then,” he said, adding, “It’s pretty easy to realize they are in put out the fire mode.”
Marissa Mayer is reportedly getting straight to work Googlifying Yahoo. She officially made the food in the Valley HQ free again, much to the delight of the company’s starving engineers. [AllThingsD]
Speaking of Ms. Mayer, Dave McClure thinks she should focus on transforming Yahoo into a female-oriented company. Unfortunately, he called his blog post on the idea, “Pink is the new Purple.” [500 Hats]
Craigslist is stifling innovation by suing PadMapper. [New York Times]
Companies actually listen to your online reviews. Rejoice, asshole Yelpers! [Wall Street Journal]
Presented without comment: “Mr. Blodget now presides over Business Insider from a makeshift standing desk in the middle of a 50-person newsroom in New York, where he barks questions (“Is it cool?” “Can we clip that video?”) at his reporters.” [WSJ]
the startup rundown
HOP SCOTCH. New York City based Next Jump, a company that strives to better match consumers with businesses, has raised over $500,000 to bring technology into more than 750 classrooms. The campaign, which started late last year, funds projects submitted through DonorsChoose by shoppers on OO.com, Next Jump’s discounts and deals website. The initiative has already impacted the lives of 85,000 NYC students, most of them in needy public schools.
TARGET MARKET. PeerIndex, the social influence marketing platform, has raised nearly $3 million in Series A funding led by Antrak Capital. NYC resident and former Thomson Reuters CEO Tom Glocer also invested in the round. PeerIndex, whose CTO is New York tech evangelist Sanford Dickert, seeks to identify “influential individuals” on social media and “facilitates sampling interactions between brands and these influencers.” Sounds effective—but kind of creepy.
Ah, the strange joys of a Business Insider office slideshow. The genre has become something of a guilty indulgence around the Betabeat Skype room. Sort of like the Pringles™ of slideshows. Once you pop, you can’t stop. After consuming the pageview equivalent of a bunch of regurgitated potatoes mashed together into a chip-shaped object, you feel a little queasy. But in the moment, it’s near impossible to resist.
An entire slide devoted to the buzzer outside the CrowdTwist office? YES OBVIOUSLY I MUST MAKE CLICKS AT THAT. Art-y close-up of a lonesome slab of reclaimed wood at Refinery 29? OH PHEW STILL 35 MORE WHERE THAT CAME FROM. Due to our inability to compete, Betabeat has gotten out of the office game altogether.
Tech Talent Crunch
Business Insider got an oddball tip this afternoon, in the form of a cover letter for an engineering job in New York City. A firm called Open Source Staffing posted a job listing for a contract-t0-hire API engineer and, according to BI’s source, OSS got the this little gem in return.