Goooood Morning Silicon Alley!
SoundCloud Busts Out Of Beta At this point, SoundCloud is basically the audio version of YouTube. A private-beta version of the site launched earlier this year called Next and the newest version integrates a bunch of those social features that the company hopes will help its users discover new music. “From today, ‘Next’ is now simply SoundCloud,” said Alexander Ljung, founder and CEO of SoundCloud in a press release sent to Betabeat. “It’s a platform for people to discover new, original music and audio, for creators to build audiences, and for everyone to share what they hear whether online or on mobile.”
The company claims that users now post over 10 hours of music and audio every minute while reaching over 180 million people. That’s a staggering 8% of the entire internet population, every month. On December 6th, mobile users will be able to enjoy reposts, updated mobile search, and UX updates on both iOS and Android SoundCloud apps.
This is a guest post from Gary Sharma (aka “The Guy with the Red Tie”), founder and CEO of GarysGuide and proud owner of a whole bunch of black suits, white shirts and, at last count, over 40 red ties. You can reach him at gary [at] garysguide.com.
Don’t miss the upcoming TEDxSiliconAlley event on December 4. The theme is “Rise of the Machines” and the keynote speaker is Ray Kurzweil (author of New York Times best-seller The Singularity Is Near). Other keynoters include Bre Pettis (founder, Makerbot), Jincey Lumpkin (attorney & Huffington Post sex columnist) and Ken Segall (creative director of Apple’s “Think Different” campaign).
DEMO will be hosting an event at First Round Capital on December 13 to meet and select potential startups to present next year at DEMO Mobile. Deadline to apply for a meeting is November 28.
Congrats to ZenMenu, Planet Expat and Cielo–the winners of the Who Would You Fund TechStartup Challenge 2012. And kudos to everyone who participated!
Teach Me How to Startup
It was lunch hour on the corner of Lexington Avenue and 47th and the intersection was teeming with people. A Prêt-A-Manger employee proffered brownie samples to passersby on a silver tray. A family of five, laden with backpacks and rolling suitcases, searched for a cab. A man in a suit peeled a banana. A panhandler begged for money. A knock-off purse salesman set up shop. And Kathleen Henkel, a 68-year-old retiree from Oakland, New Jersey, played another round of solitaire.
“This game is great,” said Ms. Henkel, a sprightly red-head wearing a patterned shirt and skirt outfit that she bought in West Africa and a beaded ankle bracelet. “It’s addicting.”
She was sitting in front of laptop computer in a white corner room penned in by two walls of floor-to-ceiling windows facing out to the street. Cameramen and videographers crowded around her, snapping pictures and rolling film. Curious pedestrians, passing by, paused to peer in. Models—Dan Metz, Brandon Collins, Jay Parks, and Georgie Badel— and minor celebrities—Kenley Collins, Chelsea Krost, and Lady Jenn Bocian—ostensibly there for the publicity—“What is this for again?” said Ms. Collins—preened in the background.
Ms. Henkel hardly noticed them. Her eyes, hidden behind red-wire glasses, were glued to the screen in front of her. She’d played solitaire before, but today was different. Today she is attempting to break the world record for the longest videogame marathon playing a card game. She’s not alone: 31-year-old mother of three, Laura Rich, from South Wales, is attempting to do the same on the other side of the pond.
It’s hard to find a more social media-savvy philanthropic organization than Charity Water, whose good deeds are often being tweeted by the same folks who finance startups and launch tech companies. Over at Bits today, Nick Bilton interviews founder and CEO Scott Harrison about the non-profit’s tech bona fides.
Mr. Harrison, a former club promoter who used to make a living “selling people $16 drinks and $300 bottles of vodka,” got the idea for Charity Water, which provides clean and safe drinking water to people in the developing world, after living in Liberia with a group of humanitarian and surgeons.
The tech connection came very early on in the non-profit’s history.
A billion rumors:
GRUMPY INCUMBENTS. Mobile payments sure make people catty. PayPal sent Betabeat several explicit and unsolicited statements about Google’s announcement of its NFC-chipped phone, including: “As the mobile payment leader (we expect $2 billion in payment volume to transact over mobile devices via PayPal in 2011), we’d be happy to comment. Put simply–before you try mobile (or any other payments) solution, you need to be great at payments. There is so much more than just technology involved to get payments right. Above all (and this is something that many tech pundits simply forget), any new solution must deliver something better than the existing way to do it. Not just different… better.”
Visa chose to blog its disapproval. “It is certainly news that Google is getting in the game by testing a new payment service… something that we’ve been doing around the world for the past couple of years. But I’d remind you that launching NFC payments in the U.S. this year was just one small aspect of our recent announcement regarding Visa’s plan to provide a global, comprehensive solution enabling consumers to transact wherever, whenever by using a card, a computer or a mobile device which kicks off later this year.”