Khoi Vinh Wants to Transform iPad Users Into Artists By Making the Collage Social

mixel

Back in July when Betabeat talked to design guru Khoi Vinh, the former design director for the NYTimes.com, Mr. Vinh criticized publishing companies whose approach to the brave new world of the tablet was limited to replicating a magazine experience within an app. Building an app, he said, only makes sense when there’s real utility: “I would build social features and sharing that really resonate with people.”

Well, Mr. Vinh’s stealth project made its debut in the App Store today and it appears he’s done just that. Mixel is a free collage-making app aimed at democratizing the creation of art the same way smartphones with cameras and apps like Instagram and Picctu have turned us into a nation of photographers.

This summer, Mr. Vinh and his co-founder Scott Ostler of Dump.fm, picked up $600,000 in funding for their startup, called Lascaux, from betaworks and Polaris Ventures. Since March, they’ve been working out of Dogpatch Labs in Union Square. We stopped by Dogpatch last week to talk to Mr. Vinh about why he felt compelled to venture into Startupland, how Mixel is avoiding IP issues, and how he plans on mainstreaming art-making into a new category of activity. Read More

Accelerators

Polaris Ventures Made No Return on Dogpatch Labs New York’s First Exit

matt meeker

The sunny Polaris Ventures-sponsored Dogpatch Labs space is a mystery! Start-ups hand-picked by Polaris Ventures and entrepreneur-in-residence Matt Meeker get to jam on their product for six months and often longer rent-free, giving up no equity stake, agreeing to no “first-look” caveats, no strings attached, in a super space just south of Union Square. And despite some rumorous rumblings to the contrary, start-ups seem to have no trouble moving up after they leave. Today the five-person analytics start-up Spinback was acquired by Buddy Media for an undisclosed sum which was “very compelling”–compelling enough that the company scrapped the term sheets it had signed with east and west coast VCs for an (also undisclosed–but “very normal”) Series A. And after giving the company free rent along with the free coffee, free lunches and visits from tech luminaries that come with the space, Polaris Ventures made zero monetary return on their success. Read More

Acquisitions

Spinback Poised to Close Series A When Buddy Media Snapped Them Up

Andrew Ferenci, 24-year old founder of Spinback.

Buddy Media, the Facebook managing platform for businesses, announced this morning it had acquired the five-person New York start-up Spinback, which makes a social media plug-in and analytics dashboard that customers can enable by embedding a few lines of code on their web sites. “I’ve never seen a product that does what it does. It does what four or five technologies do in one,” said Buddy Media CEO Mike Lazerow when Betabeat reached him by phone this morning at Disney World, where he was attending the Mashable Connect conference with Spinback CEO¬†Andrew Ferenci. Read More