Talent Crunch

Emerging Talent Pool for New York Start-Ups: Freshly-Failed Entrepreneurs


On his blog Sneakerhead VC, First Round Capital’s Phineas Barnes bemoans the plight of a friend who, after being forced to shutter his start-up, reverted back to his corporate ways. With a heavy heart, Mr. Barnes reports that the former founder will be, “joining a big company as some kind of VP of something.” He beseeches his readers not to let this kind of tragedy happen again:

“Having to give up on your company sucks for a month or two and it hurts forever, but it is not failure – if these teams are absorbed back into the world of cubicles and are allowed to return to the jobs they walked away from in the first place, that will be failure, and failure at the community level. When you meet the founder of  a failed business, reach out your hand, pick them up and do everything you can to keep them involved in our community… because our community depends on it.”

Mr. Barnes’s plea reminded us of a reoccurring theme we’d heard while reporting on New York’s geek gap. In “Raiders of the Last Nerd,” this week’s feature on tech recruiting, Kinda Sorta Media’s Rex Sorgatz offered Betabeat an ominous-sounding take on the struggle to hire local talent, “If you want a CTO, you have to go to, like, Tel Aviv.” But we didn’t have the space in the paper to really delve into why.

In his experience, Mr. Sorgatz said it wasn’t so much that New York was short on rockstar coders. Rather, it’s a side effect of the entrepreneurial bug gone viral. “People now run four-person companies where they may have otherwise led a five-person tech team in a twenty-person company.” (Is this a good time to say we told ya so? No? Okay, just checking.) Read More

The Start-Up Rundown

Start-Up News: Early Reddit Employee Faces Up to 35 Years in Jail for Downloading 4.8 Million Journal Articles

Mr. Swartz. (Photo: Facebook)

AARON SWARTZ ARRESTED. “Shocking news: Moments ago former Demand Progress Executive Director Aaron Swartz was indicted by the US government,” Demand Progress’s David Segal said in an email blast yesterday. “As best as we can tell, he is being charged with allegedly downloading too many journal articles from the Web. The government contends that downloading so many journal articles constitutes felony computer hacking and should be punished with time in prison.” Mr. Swartz helped create RSS and whose company was once bought by Reddit. He faces up to 35 years in prison and $1 million in fines and pleaded not guilty. Eeepo. Why he wanted 4.8 million journal articles is beyond us. There is a petition for signing and you can donate here.

GROUPME ON THAT PHONE 7. Last week GroupMe released a preview–“meaning only a few features are available with more to come”–of its Windows Phone 7 app. “You may not hear a lot about the whole WP7 platform compared to others BUT fascinatingly it has become the second most common request to have from GroupMe users,” a PR rep writes. We were just talking to someone about how WP7 is kind of indie-cool now. Read More

Class Is in Session

Self-Promotion Lessons for Non-Self Promoters

Gov. Sarah Palin

The only person who doesn’t prickle at the sound of a self-promoter is a self-promoter, although we can’t vouch for their internal pangs of self-loathing. To get over the conundrum of the loudest voices in tech not necessarily being the wisest, First Round Capital’s Charlie O’Donnell is contemplating offering classes in what we’d like to call The Art of Non-self-promoter-y Self promotion (Want to upboat your brilliance without boasting?! Here’s how!). Read More

Angelic Cabals

Charlie O’Donnell Explains How First Round Capital Made the Grade For Most Active VCs in 2011


Thomson Reuters Venture Capital Journal just released its list of top VCs and deals thus far this year, with First Round Capital and Draper Fisher Jurvetson joining the ranks of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital. First Round, from its New York outpost on Park Avenue, and Draper, from DFJ Gotham’s suite on West 31st St., both have a strong presence in New York City.

In total, peHUB says DFJ ‘s network is responsible for 28 deals from January to June, tying with Sequoia for the No. 3 slot. First Round’s network is responsible for 27 deals through June. Among First Round’s investments this year are homegrown start-ups like AdKeeper, GroupMe, and 33Across.  DFJ Gotham plunked down cash for Made In NYC ventures like Seamless Receipts, Yipit, Altruik, and Solvate.

Betabeat asked First Round principal Charlie O’Donnell how much of its $130 million fund, raised in 2010, was geared towards New York companies. “As a seed/angel stage investor, we’re always on the most active lists and a lot of it is NYC, but a lot of it is our great SF office, too,” he responded, via email. Read More

shameless rumormongering

Rumors & Acquisitions: Money Come, Money Go, and Some Free Advice


Happy holiday weekend, rumor city.

CASH STARS. TechStars alum Shelby.tv just signed term sheets for its first round of funding, which the company had doubled to $1 million due to a surplus of investor interest. They’re looking for two engineers, we hear, and already have their eye on someone special.

HASH SLASH. Overexposed New York start-up Hashable quietly laid off two engineers about a month ago and replaced them with non-technical interns, Betabeat learned today. The company is making a full-court press on the publicity front though, springing for a Promoted Tweet during all three days of TechCrunch Disrupt. Read More

shameless rumormongering

Rumors & Acquisitions: Games Edition

criss angel

Do any of these rumors beat Betabeat’s random act of art last night? You be the judge:

MAGIC AND MAGICIANS: What is designer/angel/connector Matt Shampine doing in this photo tweeted today by Vegas showman Criss Angel with the caption, “In secret project meeting will reveal details about 1 of the projects this Sunday….” No idea what it could be, as Mr. Angel’s website is already maximum sick!

Read More