Second Is The New First
“Better team, better product, better market. The trifecta,” said Jeremy Fisher, cofounder of the travel-centric site Wander, which hit gold with a viral marketing campaign earlier this year. He was referring to the secret as to why he struggled for a year with one product before hitting a triple with the next. Mr. Fisher, his cofounder Keenan Cummings, and a team of three developers just scored $1.2 million from SV Angel, Google Ventures and other top-shelf funds. Wander is also in the current class of TechStars NY.
Mr. Fisher, a former Morgan Stanley banker, had been pitching Dinevore, a restaurant discovery and sharing tool, for more than a year. About half his current investors passed on Dinevore, he said. ”It just seems to take, in many cases, about two years to really get to a good place,” he said, citing fellow New York startup Yipit, which endured a dressing-down from Founder Collective before going on to find success. ”The product itself owes a big debt to lots of lessons that we took away from Dinevore. Which still exists, by the way. People are still using it.”
Be Like the Virus
Remember when Hipster.com launched with a splash page and some incentives to tweet or whatever, and it went totally viral before no one even knew what it was? (We still don’t know!) Well, New York-based Wander has done them one better, soaring to new heights of social media insanity with a completely baseless viral marketing campaign. Already it’s been endorsed by @FAKEGRIMLOCK and Chris Messina and blogged about by Wired. What is it? “Love the typography on Wander…! Curious what this site will be about… did you reserve your username yet?” Mr. Messina wrote on Google+.
The “incentiveless” sign-up process (in the words of Wander’s co-founder and CEO Jeremy Fisher, formerly of Dinevore) consists of a splash page and a leaderboard.
Dinevore’s Jeremy Fisher won GA’s local hack day this weekend with a nifty service, Wander Mapper, to help foursquare noobs find their footing.
“It’s basically a re-envisioning of the Foursquare new user experience / game mechanics. We use your Foursquare check-ins to build an illustrated map featuring 8 distinct districts (corresponding to the top level Foursquare categories, retsuarants, nightlife etc.). Every district has four levels, each with it’s own art (in other words, a lot of art! 8*4 = 32 custom illustrations, plus all the other art). The point is to level up in each district.”
STRANGEST RECRUITMENT LETTER EVER. The strangest recruitment letter we’ve seen, we must say–an email from the list-happy General Assembly-based Dinevore, seeking … someone or someones “great” … for … the “evolution of Dinevore, if you will.” Biz dev folks, technical co-founders and designers all need apply! ”We’re not looking for rockstars or ninjas or jedis or any of that. Just great people with vision and killer ideas and the ability to execute on them. Drop us a line if you think we could use your skills. Make sure to include something to get us interested (a great BD idea, a link to your GitHub page, your online portfolio etc). NYC-based is ideal, but not essential.” Okay! Readers, if you’re applying, do send a tip with your impressions.
#BITCOIN-RUMORS. The mystery of the epic MyBitcoin whodunnit continues, although energy is flagging among the Bitcoin community. Word on the street is, MyBitcoin.com may have some connection to that most underground of ecommerce, the website where you can OMG buy drugs known as the Silk Road, which would give the owners another motive to build the easy-to-use wallet service in order to make it easy to get Bitcoin to spend on weed and mushies. Betabeat called our local Federal Bureau of Investigation today to file a complaint and find out if there was an investigation ongoing. “I’m sorry, I can’t help you on this,” a press representative said, declining to either confirm or deny whether the FBI was looking into the matter.
OMGNATE. We posted about Nate Westheimer selling the first app he ever coded, Ohours, to Hirelite. Ohours was going great! People loved it! And yet Mr. Westheimer was ready to move on to bigger and better Rubylicious things. Although he demurred when we asked what. But the rumormill is suggesting it’s something to do with social gaming. A source tells Betabeat the stealth project is “a partnership with OMGPOP’s Forman,” referring to the infamous Charles, a friend of Mr. Westheimer’s.
The new features are coming fast and furious at Foursquare. Today the location based badasses rolled out a way for users to curate lists of tips for explorers visiting New York during the summer, staying with a few friends in Greece, or just jet setting around the world looking for restaurants Read More
App for That
Dinevore, the site for making to-eat lists, just popped up in the Apple App Store as Pocketvore. The app was conceived by John Britton (Twilio) and Jarod Reyes (Message Party) as a Startup Weekend project, then redesigned and submitted by Mike Dizon; it lets Dinevore users see lists on their iPhones.