Linkages

Booting Up: Netflix Creeps on Pirate Websites to See Which Shows It’s Going to Buy

Mr. Costolo (Photo: About.me)

Netflix trawls piracy websites to see which television and movies it should purchase. Did you know people in the Netherlands still watch Prison Break? Neat. [TorrentFreak]

Dick Costolo’s $25,000 investment in Twitter will rake him in $10 million.[Business Insider]

Evan Williams laid out his great plan for Medium but it’s probably just another thing that’s going to be stuck in our Instapaper queue if we’re being honest here. [TechCrunch]

Rdio, a.k.a. “hipster Spotify,” has struck a deal with Cumulus Media to sell ads. [New York Times]

If words are too hard, Rotten Tomatoes is implementing its rating algorithm on TV shows. [Variety]

Fresh Capital

You Jelly? Jack Dorsey, Al Gore, Bono Invest in Biz Stone’s Stealth Startup

They'll also STING YOUR FACE OFF. (Photo: Flickr, Garrett Rooney)

Biz Stone’s mysterious new startup, Jelly, has just closed a Series A.

An announcement on the company’s Tumblr didn’t disclose the total amount raise, but revealed that Spark Capital raised the round, with SV Angel piling on, as well.

Also participating are several individual investors who, we can only assume, were rounded up in the parking lot of last year’s TED conference: Jack Dorsey, Bono, Al Gore, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, Where Good Ideas Come From author Steven Johnson, Evan Williams and Jason Goldman, House (?!) director Greg Yaitanes, and Afghan entrepreneur Roya Mahboob. Read More

Silicon Alley U

Former Twitter CTO Greg Pass Tapped as Founding Entrepreneurial Officer for Cornell Tech Campus

Mr. Pass

CornellNYC Tech, the applied sciences campus slated for Roosevelt Island, isn’t wasting anytime establishing its ties to the tech industry. On Monday, Larry Page shlepped out to Chelsea (sans Google glasses, sadly) to announce that Google would gift the campus with 22,000 square feet of office space. And today the school named Greg Pass, Twitter’s first-ever CTO, founding entrepreneurial officer. It’s a much more heavyweight hire than your run-of-the-mill entrepreneur-in-residence.

Former Twitter board member Fred Wilson, for example, has lauded Mr. Pass’ considerable virtues as a technological leader, architect, and recruiter. A serial entrepreneur, Mr. Pass was also cofounder and CTO at Summize before it was acquired by Twitter and started serving as an advisory board member at Obvious Corp after stepping down from Twitter last year. Before playing a pivotal role in scaling Twitter, he spent years as a system architect and software engineer at AOL. Read More

Venture Capitalism

Branch Joins Obvious Corp, Picks Up $2 M. from Lerer Ventures and SV Angel, and Heads East to Betaworks

branch

When you’ve got Evan Williams, John Borthwick, and Max Levchin chatting it up on your “curated discussion platform,” it’s probably just a matter of time before the high-powered investors, incubators makers, and other loosely-defined collectives come a’ calling.

Today, Branch, the startup that initially launched in New York City as group blogging service Roundtable, announced that is now partnered with Obvious Corp and picked up investments from Lerer Ventures and SV Angel. Although Branch has been working out of Obvious headquarters since the beginning of this year, the startup will move to Betaworks this summer. Cofounder Josh Miller’s announcement is somewhat obliquely worded, but it sounds like Rick Webb, Lucas Nelson, Ryan Freitas, and David Tisch also joined the round.

The size of the round wasn’t disclosed. However, this Form D SEC filing for Roundtable Media (the startup’s original name) filed by Joshua Alexander Miller, seems to indicate that the size of the round was $1,999,997 and fully subscribed. The address on the Form D, for example, is the same address as Obvious Corp. According to the Form D, the funding was an equity round with seven investors and the date of first sale is listed as February 15th. We have reached out to Mr. Miller for confirmation. Read More

Planet Google

Betaworks CEO John Borthwick: ‘Google Has Taken the Blue Pill’

Hello, Neo. Do you know who this is?

Some of the top minds in the startup world have been sharing deep thoughts in plain sight on the Internet for anyone to see. Your host for this chance to peer across the dinner table of the tech elite? The conversation platform Branch. (For when 140 characters and an @ is not enough . . . is an imaginary tagline we’re toying with.)

The startup, originally launched as the group blogging service Roundtable in New York City picked up early traction from industry insiders and recently reemerged with a shiny new interface.

Conversations stem from a particular question, like this one from Twitter/Obvious Corp’s Evan Williams wondering about the downside of parallel entrepreneurship. That line of questioning yielded a particularly compelling series of responses from Betaworks CEO John Borthwick, PayPal CTO Max Levchin, MySpace CEO Mike Jones, and former Mozilla CEO John Lilly, with an invitation for Fred Wilson to join. Read More