Noble Causes

Diaspora, Down a Co-Founder and a CEO, Still In It to Win It


The only startup perhaps to rival BankSimple in pre-launch delays, Diaspora has suffered more setbacks than most. Its struggles started with overexposure and inflated expectations due to a massively successful Kickstarter campaign which was funded 20 times over; most recently, the company was tragically set back by the death of co-founder Ilya Zhitomirsky at 22, a possible suicide. CEO Yosem Companys also recently stepped down for “personal reasons,” which were later revealed to be a spat with the cofounders and the board. Read More

Hack Hack Hack Hack It Apart

The Winners from HackNY’s Biggest Hackathon Ever and the Debut of the Hacker League


There were a few factors that made hackNY’s fourth intercollegiate hackathon the one to beat.

First, the much-loved local fellowship program got ambassadors from the likes of Pivotal Labs, Foursquare, Code Academy, Twilio and Google (“But I’m not here officially,” said the rep who shall not be named) to hold office hours during the hackathon. They were on hand to help bleary-eyed hackers running on empty RedBull with the finer points of MongoDB and JavaScript. Then we heard 10gen, Kevin Ryan’s most promising investment, was sponsoring buses to pick up coders all the way from schools like RISD, Carnegie Mellon, and UPenn. But the real clincher was that the hackathon was organized using the Hacker League, which was itself a hack cobbled together last week by three students from Rutgers who skipped class to get it ready in time.

In the first hour alone, we learned about a stealth New York startup with some big name clients and an upcoming party. Add in some humorous contestants (“It’s its like Chatroulette, but without the dicks!” was one memorable tagline) and some familiar judges (David Tisch, Chris Dixon, Charlie O’Donnell, Khoi Vinh) and it made Betabeat wish we’d stayed up all night too. Well, not really, but close enough.

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Summer Jamz

HackNY Conscripts Three Times as Many Students As Last Year to the Startup Life

via Business Insider

Betabeat has the first word on HackNY’s new batch of fellows for 2011. The campaign to “keep kids off the Street” will triple in size to 35 students, from the hundreds that applied, thanks to funding from New York’s start-up community, groups like Internet Society and the Kauffman Foundation, and investors like Andreessen Horowitz, DFJ Gotham, and First Round Capital.

Hundreds of New York start-ups also submitted their offer: a technological problem to solve (and mentor for each fellow). HackNY co-founders Evan Korth and Chris Wiggins whittled that list down to 33. Read More


HackNY’s One-Year Anniversary


Two professors and a data scientist met in January last year over milkshakes, but it was with a sense of urgency. “We felt like we needed to do something as soon as possible, if not sooner,” said Chris Wiggins, an applied mathematics professor at Columbia. “There was starting to be an increase Read More