Real TechStars of New York
Ride or Die
Well, this must be reassuring to the startups nervously prepping their pitches: Business Insider reports that Eugene Chung, who replaced David Tisch as managing director of TechStars NY, is gone. The former NEA VC had only been around since January.
Nothing like a good game of fruit-basket turnover two weeks before demo day!
The Real TechStars of New York
Last year, the New York City Economic Development Council gave a local business school student a $17,500 grant to fund what was basically the best idea ever: Miniature vending machines, sized to fit snugly in the backseat of a taxi, ready to dispense items that New Yorkers on the go really need.
The Real TechStars of New York
In December, after reports about an impending downturn in the accelerator boom, some local investors expressed concerns about the future of TechStars New York. Would the next Demo Day be the same parade of oversubscribed startups when much-hyped graduates were still stuck in beta? Were the lessons learned in TechStars enough to prepare companies for life outside the bubble?
David Tisch’s departure as managing director added to that uncertainty. But TechStars CEO and founder David Cohen dismissed those worries, pointing to “heavy inbound interest” in the role. Today, he announced his new hire from the 35 candidates interviewed: Eugene Chung, a former venture capitalist with New Enterprise Associates.
The Real TechStars of New York
At any startup accelerator, Demo Days are a relentlessly upbeat affair–a parade of promotional pitch decks and stats about market size that somehow always reach up into the billions. But in New York City, Techstars’ biannual showcase takes the cake.
Founded in Boulder, the program launched in New York in 2011 (just as the startup scene cried out for tent poles to rally around) and easily fills auditoriums. Companies often announce “soft-circled” funding or even that the round has already closed. Mayor Bloomberg even called the number of investors who fly to New York to check out presentations, “proof positive that the TechStars is going to change this world and certainly change America and this city.”
Or as TechStars mentor Joel Spolsky put it before introducing one of the startups at Webster Hall: “Time to get my company oversubscribed.”
TechStars NYC has been quiet since August, when managing director David Tisch announced that he would be stepping back from his day-to-day role at the accelerator program. Almost exactly a year ago, we profiled Mr. Tisch’s rise to prominence in New York’s startup scene largely through his role in building a satellite program for TechStars, which entered the local market just when it could benefit from a little infrastructure.
(Early observers will recall that the first class of TechStars New York was filmed for a reality show, but managed to escape the humorless vitriol directed at Randi Zuckerberg–probably because the TechStars version was for Bloomberg instead of Bravo, and involved about 100 percent fewer toga parties.) Over the past few years, Mr. Tisch has become a prolific angel investor through Box Group, and his name frequently shows up in seed funding rounds for New York companies–TechStars and otherwise. Thus finding a replacement who is as well-versed in the scene might be tricky.
Teach Me How to Startup
A lot of startups are letting their employees work from home for the next few days because of hurricane Sandy. That’s all swell news, but those members of New York’s tech scene who were supposed to go out and party or sit through conferences are screwed. Tech events are getting cancelled left and right, though some scene luminaries don’t seem to mind.
AllThingsD’s “D: Dive Into Mobile” conference has been postponed until a later date that will be announced as soon as possible. The event had originally been set for tomorrow and Tuesday in New York City. If you booked a room at the Ritz Carlton (looking at you, VC’s), the hotel is apparently giving full refunds and waiving cancellation fees. Speakers like Pandora CEO Joe Kennedy and Hillary Clinton’s Chief of Staff, Cheryl Mills, will just have to wait until another day to make their speeches.
New York University’s premier tech club, Tech@NYU, is in the midst of its annual Startup Week. This year’s series of panels featuring familiar faces from Silicon Alley are all organized under the theme “Hacking as a mentality.”
Hence last night’s event starring Charlie O’Donnell, partner of Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, and David Tisch, the former Read More
Among the Natives David Karp put on his salesman hat this week and preached the Tumblr gospel in front of execs at an Advertising Week event. Karp pushed his company’s new approach to “native” non-intrusive marketing. He went as far as to call Tumblr the “brave new world.” The site now nets 27 million visitors a month and is expected to release some sort of earnings report this week, six months after ads started running on the site.
Pass The Popcorn MoviePass, a subscription service for unlimited movie-going, launched today, but is still invite-only. The app lets you check into a movie theatre, which then unlocks your MoviePass card. You pay at the credit card ticket kiosk using your MoviePass card, like you would with an ordinary card. The service is starting out at $29.99, which makes it a steal for New Yorkers because that’s a little under the price of two movies with popcorn in Manhattan.
Healthy Hills? Everyday Health, the SoHo-based and more successful version of WebMd, has acquired EQAL, the creators of Lonelygirl15 and the owners of LaurenConrad.com. Everyday Health’s ad revenue grew 40 percent in the first quarter, compared to WebMD’s decline of 20 percent. This coincides with Everyday Health’s announcement that they’re moving beyond YouTube and launching a version of it’s web show “Recipe Rehab” for ABC stations around the country.
Diller Brings Back Dog Ben Silverman’s multimedia entertainment studio Electus, part of Barry Diller’s IAC, just sold ten episodes of a new show starring Dog the Bounty Hunter and his wife Beth to CMT. “Dog and Beth are not only great television characters,” said Electus CEO Chris Grant, “They are the best bounty hunters in the world, and this show is a natural evolution of their life story.”
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