Slow News Day

When Facebook Went Down, News Traffic Only Dropped a Measly 3%

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 1.54.29 PM

Anyone who’s felt terrorized by social media’s effect on society eventually ends up asking the question, “What would our lives be like without Facebook?” On Friday, we finally got a taste of that sweet reality when Facebook went down for 19 minutes around noon.

Chartbeat, a company that provides news organizations with live metrics for obsessive reporters to gaze at obsessively all day, decided that this was an ideal opportunity to figure out what Facebook’s effect is on news traffic. The result? Even as 70 percent of Facebook referrals vanished, overall traffic to news sites only took a three percent hit. Read More

startup rundown

Startup News: New Site to Sell Your Old Clothes; New App to Sell Your Old iPhone Photos

$10 on

Secondhand News The online consignment shop went live this week. Billed as a “curated, online eco-mmunity” for buying, selling and trading vintage clothing, users can apply to create a “closet” and upload pictures of used clothing to sell—which must be approved by the “ReFashion police.” For more info, we direct you to the site’s 10-point sustainable fashion manifesto.

Pricey pics Short on cash? Now you can sell your iPhone photos for $10 a pop. Simply download Foap’s free app, upload photos from your iPhone albums and send them to Foap’s “experts” for approval.  The only catch: Foap pockets 50 percent of your profit on each image, and users are warned that images with heavy filters from Instagram and the like won’t be approved. But still!

Communal connectivity Open Garden, a free app for Android, Mac and PC that enables one gadget to share bandwidth connectivity with nearby devices, announced a new Wi-Fi Direct feature for Android 4.1 “Jelly Bean” at Google I/O last week. Read More

the startup rundown

Startup News: Startups Are the New Grungy Nineties Garage Bands

Walt Mossberg with Steve Jobs in 2007. (Source: Wikipedia)

DIA DE TECNOLOGIA. New York Tech Day was full of NYC based startups—from the established to the unfunded—all stages in the NYC tech lifestyle were represented. The companies that follow really stuck out to NY Tech Day Judges. Best use of Location – BiteHunter, Best Design – Chartbeat, Best Educational Startups – Three Ring, Best Social Startup – GiftSimple, Best Booth Design – Cannonball, NY Tech Day Staff Choice – Snakblox, Best use of Data – Hoppit, Best Mobile App – Uber, Best Business Model – Temboo, Best Enterprise Startup – SendGrid, Best Unfunded Startup –

KICK BUTT. Everything Butt Art, the adorable drawing app for iPad, just launched a Kickstarter campaign. As of this writing, the founders have raised just over $1,000 and still have a ways to go towards that $20,000 goal. Read More

Fresh Capital

Chartbeat Gets a New Look, Adds Features, ‘Hiring Like Crazy’ With $9.5 M. Series B

Chartbeat's "engaged time" view.

Chartbeat just announced a hefty new round of funding led by Josh Stein, managing director at Draper Fisher Jurveston, and Saul Klein, a partner at Index Ventures, for $9.5 million in all. Some of the funding has already been put to use, as Chartbeat is rolling out a “complete new look,” CEO Tony Haile told Betabeat, with a new dashboard, two major new features, and a mobile app.  Read More

The Data Deluge

Letter from Betaworks CEO: ‘Data is the New Plastic’

Mr. Borthwick. (

Our apologies to evangelists of gamification and QR codes, but 2012 is all about data—at least according to New York startup non-incubator Betaworks. “We know the importance of understanding big data,” Betaworks CEO John Borthwick wrote in a confidential letter leaked to PandoDaily on Saturday. “Data is the new plastic. The network is both the frame and the metaphor we are building towards and on. This network-centric model is core to betaworks, and a key competitive advantage.” Read More

Fresh Capital

Chartbeat Raises $1 M Inside Round To Maintain Growth As It Eyes Bigger Funding

Betaworks startup Chartbeat has raised a $1 million inside round from its previous investors to maintain its torrid growth as it looks to raise a much bigger round later this year.

“It’s go big or go home time. We didn’t want to slow down, but we also didn’t want to take money from the wrong people. So we got an inside note to keep things pumping while we go out and find backers for a much bigger round later this year,” Chartbeat CEO Tony Haile told Betabeat.  Read More


Poaching Etiquette: As Talent Tightens, New York Startups Try to Stay Civil

(Illustration: Oliver Munday)

You can feel the love in Silicon Alley. The city’s tech scene is a brotherhood of mutual admiration and support. “Proudly Made in NYC” proclaims Meetup’s website; “Hatched in NYC” notes Aviary’s. Founders wear each other’s company T-shirts and tweet each others’ releases. They made “We Are NY Tech” buttons for South by Southwest and wore them proudly. Once in Austin, Betabeat asked the Bay Area superangel Dave McClure about the city’s tech prospects. “New York needs to stop smelling its own farts,” he said.

Yes, on the record.

Still, it turns out there is a limit to camaraderie. When it comes to hiring, especially in a competitive market, the shivs start flashing. Of the 184 startups that have “Made in NYC” emblazoned on their websites, no fewer than 130 are staffing up. That means if you want to build a startup, you’re going to have to poach some devs.

Slideshow: New York’s 20 Most Poachable Techies >>

Engineers don’t hop around in New York as much as they do in Silicon Valley, where noncompete contracts are unenforceable, but the city’s congenial entrepreneurs are raiding one another’s employees with increasing frequency. Before GroupMe was acquired by Skype for about $80 million, the well-endowed group-texting startup plucked developers from Gilt Groupe, Pivotal Labs and College Humor. The CTO of the fast-growing Betaworks startup Chartbeat, Kushal Dave, jumped to Foursquare in July 2010; the Union Square Ventures-funded Shapeways snagged Signpost’s former tech director a few months ago.

But startups don’t just compete over technical talent, which is in famously short supply. Thrillist nabbed Gawker’s Richard Blakeley to manage content strategy in March, and Crowdtap snatched marketing whiz kid Ben Kessler from SeatGeek in September. “We’ve hired about 500 people in the last 12 months,” said Kevin Ryan, the founder and CEO of Gilt Groupe, who still personally interviews every candidate. “They all have to come from somewhere.”

And while some take the Machiavellian view—“Is there any etiquette to that? I thought all’s fair in love and war,” said Lean Startup Machine founder Trevor Owens—most startups do observe certain gentlemanly guidelines. The unspoken rules of poaching are fairly clear cut. Don’t poach from early-stage companies you share an investor with. Get your investors involved if there is a possibility of taboo intraportfolio hiring. And by all means, keep your friends out of it whenever possible if you ever want to show your face at Tom & Jerry’s. “Never poach from close friends or people you know pretty well,”  said Jason Baptiste, the swaggering, crew-cut-sporting CEO of OnSwipe. “That’s a cardinal sin.” Read More


HuffPo’s Saul Hansell Makes Tracks for Betaworks


Betaworks just got an entrepreneur-in-residence with some old and new media cred: Saul Hansell, former Timesman and the founding editor of the Grey Lady’s Bits blog just announced he’s coming aboard. Mr. Hansell headed up AOL’s freelance network, (now “in the process of reformatting” and not giving out any new assignments, hm) before AOL bought the Huffington Post. “Seed is in fact thriving and will continue stronger than ever as part of AOL’s group, which is devoted to providing the best tools to online publishers and marketers,” Mr. Hansell wrote at the time.  Read More

Power Up

Chartbeat Labs Keeps the Innovation on Refresh

A universe of users

For Chartbeat addicts like us, the introduction of the new Labs page is a real problem. There is now a smorgasbord of tantalizing visuals to watch, from maps to solar systems, that represent the incoming traffic to Betabeat.

Chartbeat CEO Tony Haile says Labs is a place to highlight the work his team does during their “free” time. Like Google, Mr. Haile insists that his shop spend one out of every seven weeks working on their own side projects. “The only rule is they can’t work on stuff in the development queue.” Read More

The Realtime Rodeo

NewsBeat Helps Publishers Surf the Future Waves

Tony Haile - Internet Explorer - outside betaworks

When a huge surge of traffic suddenly starts washing over a website, publishers have to act fast to capture the most value from these visitors. Yesterday, for example, Betabeat popped our cherry on a pickup by John Gruber’s Daring Fireball blog, which turned on a fire hose of new readers who had never previously been to our site.

I knew there was a high percentage of first time visitors because I was using Newsbeat, a more powerful version of the real time analytic engine Chartbeat, which breaks down the percentage of new versus returning visitors. I was able to throw some additional links into the story taking these reader back to some of our best coverage on the mobile space. Read More