the startup rundown

Startup News: a Bot, a Spy, a Small Step for Diaspora and a Tiny Launch

StepStruder MK7 (

So the big news from the last week: TechStars is now 100 percent more Y Combinator, having raised a new fund from investors so it can give every graduate a $100,000 convertible note. But, did anything else happen?

3-D WHAAAT. “MakerBot Industries announced today the launch of yet another innovation to 3D printing, the MakerBot Stepstruder MK7. The most compact and reliable extruder to date, the MK7 produces the most detailed prints ever created on the MakerBot Thing-O-Matic.” Woot!

OPENING UP. is, the second image-based startup from Christomoot Poole, is in public beta now (as is Google+). Alpha invites went out for Diaspora, that New York expatriated startup still occasionally poking at the fringes of our awareness. But Canvas still has a complex domain and the Twitter handle is @canv_as. Ick! Read More


Diaspora Teases Comeback; Taunts Google+


Diaspora, the distributed social network created by four students at NYU who would take on Facebook, has been quiet for at least six months after a deluge of media exposure following its wildly successful Kickstarter campaign. The company moved out to San Francisco, where the engineers have been laboring under the wing of Pivotal Labs. Lately, though, the team has been pushing updates to Twitter as well as Github. “Did u sign up for waitlist? If so, your beta invite will be there soon, if it isn’t already,” @joindiaspora tweeted today. The company has teased an Android client and an open API, coming soon, and it’s sending out beta invites now after almost a year of calling itself alpha. Read More

Antisocial Media

Google Just Stole Diaspora’s Thunder


There was a great New York tech moment back in 2010, when one of Facebook’s many privacy backlashes allowed a group of hackers from NYU to raise more than $200,000 on Kickstarter to build an open, distributed social network.

At the time Diaspora’s plan to build a platform where users could control their own data, and take it with them if they wanted to leave, was unique and appealing in contrast to Facebook.

Now Google+, which has massive resources and a built in user base of hundreds of millions is offering the same thing via Google+ checkout.

And as John Henshaw points out over at the Raven Blog, Google+’s main features, Circles, looks very similar to Diaspora’s central feature, Aspects. Both are aimed at making it easier to manage private and public sharing of social data. Read More

New Lingo

What is Digital Veganism? Cody Brown Explains His Catchphrase


“Magnificent coinage from @CodyBrown: ‘digitalvegetarianism,‘” Jeff Jarvis tweeted recently. If you Googled, you might have thought he was referring to the L.A.-based lifestyle blog and SEO experiment, but actually Mr. Jarvis just got it wrong. The “coinage” is digital veganism, a phrase start-up founder and recent NYU grad Cody Brown has been slinging around since even before his roommate quit Facebook and Twitter in a public huff.

We had heard Mr. Brown refer to the open source, decentralized anti-Facebook Diaspora as “digital veganism” before. But what does it mean? We asked him to explain. Read More

Antisocial Media

Diaspora Is Back, and More Ambitious


Here’s another way to get to half a billion friends–launch the anti-Facebook.

On the day the four NYU students behind Diaspora moved into their office in San Francisco, they were recognized on the street by a subway commuter who recognized them by sight: “Go get ‘em, guys! Kill Facebook!” In San Francisco, internet famous is famous. Read More