Le Petit Prince

Chris Hughes and Sean Eldridge Play Angel to Hudson Valley Business


Today, in dispatches from the Facebook Mafia: Chris Hughes’ hubs Sean Eldridge is the subject of a front-page story in the Poughkeepsie Journal. The focus is his work with Hudson Valley Ventures, the investment firm focused on the region where the pair own a home (their third) and Mr. Eldridge reportedly plans to run for Congress in 2014.

Since the firm was founded in 2011, the Journal reports, Mr. Eldridge has doled out money to five local businesses, most of them foodie projects like Poughkeepsie’s Hudson Chocolates and Ulster County’s Bread Alone. (“I love food,” Mr. Eldridge confessed to the Journal.) Read More


Booting Up: Sometimes a VC Needs to Dress Like Psy to Build His Brand

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David Einhorn, whose hedge fund Greenlight Capital has a large stake in Apple, took to the airwaves yesterday and touted a plan in which the iPhone maker would issue preferred shares as a means of returning cash to investors and boosting the share price: “Steve is not with us anymore, and that is negative in many ways, but it is positive because Apple doesn’t have to be committed to that way of thinking at this point in time.” [Bloomberg Television]

LinkedIn beat Wall Street expectations when it announced quarterly earnings yesterday, and anticipated future revenue growth tied to raising the rates it charges customers for professional services. [BusinessInsider]

Venture capitalists are going further and further to build their brands these days, but that doesn’t mean entrepreneurs should believe the hype. Ask First Round Capital’s Josh Kopelman, who dressed up as a certain YouTube sensation for his firm’s holiday video: “I know many super-angels who have gotten a lot of press. Some of them aren’t so super, and some of them are not very angelic.” [PandoDaily]

Chris Hughes had enough influence in Washington to score an interview with President Barack Obama for the relaunch of The New Republic. The Facebook cofounder could soon have even more pull: His husband, Sean Eldridge, is running for Congress in an upstate New York district. [Mashable]

For a couple million bucks, the NFL could have rented a few bus-sized diesel generators and accompanying equipment and avoided the Super Bowl blackout. [Wired]

shameless rumormongering

Rumor Roundup: Sexism at CES? It Ain’t Me, Babe

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#RealTalk Dave McClure, our favorite giver of zero fucks, went on a bit of a Twitter tear the other day. It started with the admission that he’d “just had really hard tough love talk w/ startup founder. fucking sucks, but better harsh truth than bullshit ‘you’ll make it work’ lies.” He didn’t stop there, adding that “what really sucks is none of other investors (incl big lead VC) have the balls 2 tell them its not going 2 fucking work & shut it down.”

He concluded: “the Silicon Valley story is indeed the 1% story of Instagram $1B win, but also 99% broken dreams, shattered hopes & try, try again. sigh.” Read More

Visiting Dignitaries

Facebook Cofounder Chris Hughes Lives Out Powerball Fantasies of Literature PhDs Everywhere

Mr. Hughes. (photo via flickr.com/dsearls)

New York has just published a lengthy profile of Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes, and it confirms what we’ve long suspected: This young man has the chutzpah of a well-capitalized comp lit major. After serving as PR interlocutor for Zuck and helping Barack Obama on his path to the presidency, Mr. Hughes is now plowing that Facebook fortune into the ailing New Republic.

But New York suggests that before he settled on his current property, the most literary of the Facebook mafiosos asked around about a different outlet. Buried in the profile is this tiny tidbit: Read More

Fresh Capital

After Traffic Boom, Chris Hughes-Backed Upworthy Raises $4 M. to Find Actually Important Viral Videos


After six months, news aggregator Upworthy has proven that viral videos work as a conduit for politically-relevant information just as well as, say, cats or Carly Rae Jepsen. The Chris Hughes-backed site, which describes itself as “social media with a mission,” picked up an impressive six million uniques in September according to Google Analytics, up from just over 4 million in August.

To help catapult that growth, the company has raised $4 million from the venture capital firm NEA, as well as a host of familiar angel investors, including Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian and BuzzFeed cofounder John Johnson. Mr. Hughes, who is also fighting the good fight as owner of the The New Republic, reupped, participating in this round as well, the company confirmed.  Read More

Summer Jamz

We Know What You Did This Summer

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Dennis Crowley

It’s hard to be heads down when it’s hot out. Exhortations to “just keep shipping” trigger fantasies of sailboats; Friday afternoon happy hours just aren’t as appealing as sangria on a terrace in Spain. Besides–is there any surer sign of a healthy startup sector than tech stars taking lavish vacations? Read More


Booting Up: The Internet Is One Giant Out-Of-Office Message Edition

Morning, sunshine! (Photo: tommypom.tumblr.com)

Apparently not content to let Google and Apple have all the fun doling out directions, Amazon has acquired UpNext, its very own mapping startup. [GigaOm]

The makers in Silicon Valley are getting a patent office. Just remember: Don’t feed the trolls. [Bloomberg]

Google decided to make the Nexus Q in America because it cares about fast, not cheap. [Reuters]

GM might come back to Facebook, but the social network’ll have to work for it. [Wall Street Journal]

Facebook has brand-new timeline icons for same-sex newlyweds. One of the first users? Cofounder Chris Hughes, of course. [CNET]

Microsoft lost $6.2 billion on its digital advertising bet, aQuantive. We’d say losing that much money deserves some sort of prize, but then J.P. Morgan would’ve already collected it. [DealBook]


Facebook Cofounder Chris Hughes Opts for Intimate Wedding, Blowout After-Party

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(Photo: Facebook)

Did all the Facebook cofounders promise to make honest women and men out of their partners, just as soon as the company went public? Because guess who graced the New York Times‘ Vows section today: Facebook cofounder and now New Republic publisher and editor-in-chief Chris Hughes and his partner Sean Eldridge.

The Times tells us that the pair were wedded yesterday, Read More

Exit This Way

Facebook Cofounder Chris Hughes Sold Jumo for $62K and Five MacBook Pros

Chris Hughes

Back in August, Fast Company reported that Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes had sold his startup Jumo, a social network to connect people to nonprofits, to GOOD, the magazine publisher and digital media platform, for undisclosed terms.

Betabeat reported the terms were for $0 and a graceful exit.

Our story said Mr. Hughes’s company was a flop, and that the sale was more of a face-saving effort than a true acquisition. “Rather than folding the grant-funded, well-meaning and inordinately high-profile startup and admitting what would surely be a very public failure, he arranged a deal with an old friend,” we wrote at the time. Ben Goldhirsh, who went to boarding school with Mr. Hughes, is the CEO and owner of GOOD.

Betabeat has now obtained documents pertaining to the sale, which confirm every bit of our theory, except one. At the time, Mr. Hughes insisted the sale price was not $0, and he was right: The sale had not yet been approved by the state attorney general, a requirement because of its nonprofit status.

The sale was approved and the approval was filed in the Supreme Court of New York on December 30, 2011.

Jumo, a nonprofit corporation which raised more than $3.5 million in grant money from the Ford Foundation, the Omidyar Network and the Knight Foundation., among others, was not sold for $0. It was sold for $62,221, based on an appraisal of Jumo’s value by Morrison, Brown, Argiz and Farra. Read More