Booting Up: Have a ff-ing Happy Holidays

ff venture capital

The Federal Trade Commission broadened restrictions on the types of data companies can gather on Internet users under the age of 13, and closed a loophole that allowed third-parties to gather kids’ information without parental approval. [FTC]

So much for Facebook’s anticipated external ad network, at least for now. The social media giant is halting testing on a program that would use social data to place ads on third-party sites. [AllThingsD]

The New York Stock Exchange touted its role in the startup community, noting that 52 percent of 2012’s tech IPOs listed on the Big Board, and and even showing enough tact to refrain from mentioning that Facebook’s high-profile IPO debacle wasn’t one of them. [NYSE]

Elepath is set to launch Moonbase, a plug and play service that lets users create web animations—without learning how to code. [The Verge]

Alas, the terrible things that didn’t happen to Flavorpill digital media developer James Reston as he skated his longboard to work. [The Onion]

Here’s wishing you an ff-ing happy holidays. [David Teten/ff Venture Capital]

Perchance to Dream

Sleeper Sell! No Rest for City’s Techies as ‘Lucid Dreaming’ Gets Trendy

Mr. McGuigan (left) and Mr. Frazier from Bitbanger Labs

There are only two rules for the “idea dinners” held by New York early-stage investment firm ff Venture Capital. No side conversations and a strict 8 p.m. end time. Every month, the company invites financiers, founders and other “influencers” to its Midtown headquarters for a catered get-together. The meal is served in a glass-walled conference room, situated just past the rows of adjustable standing desks, where it’s not unusual to see startup employees cranking out code well past dessert.

The conversation often focuses on tech-oriented subjects, but this February, as the group fired questions at veteran investor Esther Dyson, the discussion turned to the subconscious. Read More

Venture Capitalism

How VCs Can Accelerate Portfolio Company Returns

Mr. Teten

This guest post was written by David Teten, Koen Bremer, Gyorgy Buslig, and Adham Hussein. David is a Partner with ff Venture Capital and Founder and Chairman of Harvard Business School Alumni Angels of Greater New York.  Koen, Gyorgy, and Adham are all Columbia Business School MBA 2012 students and former consultants with McKinsey and BCG.

Even the best VCs and entrepreneurs have a painfully high failure rate.  Lowering that failure rate would be highly impactful on venture capitalist returns, if we could figure out how to do it.  In addition, in light of increasing competition in the startup funding space, a methodology  for helping portfolio companies consistently is a strong competitive advantage. Read More

Venture Capitalism

Language Learning Startup Voxy Raises a $4 M. Round from ff Venture Capital, Contour, and Seavest


Voxy, the New York City-based language learning startup that launched at TechCrunch Disrupt in 2010, is in the process of raising a Series A-2 round of equity financing. In a Form D filed with the SEC today, the startup indicated that it had already closed $2.3 million towards its $4 million goal from previous investors including ff Venture Capital, Contour Venture Partners, and Seavest Capital Partners, which all participated in Voxy’s Series A.

Founder and CEO Paul Gollash told Betabeat that Voxy plans on announcing two more “exciting” institutional investors in the coming weeks. The round was actually oversubscribed, “But we’ll limit the demand and allocate what’s available as best we can,” said Mr. Gollash, noting that he didn’t want to raise more capital than was necessary. Admirable restraint in these frothy times. Read More

It's Who You Know

After Perks, Klout Tries Gamification To Get You to Care About Your Social Media ‘Influence’

Screen shot 2012-02-17 at 4.27.57 PM

In an email to members today, Klout, everyone’s favorite dubiously scientific social influence analyzer/punching bag announced it would be teaming up with Badgeville, a gamification platform that lets companies like eBay, Samsung, and Dell find and reward engaged customers with badges, tokens and online prizes.

By integrating Klout’s “influence ranking technology,” Badgeville will now, in theory, be able to help those brands figure out which loyal users have more influence and reward them accordingly. Judging by our latest Klout score, this only works for Betabeat if there’s a brand out there interesting in courting someone who influences 2,000 people on topics like “Blogging, Stanford University, Reddit.” That has to at least qualify us for a “Nerd” badge or something, right? What about “People who spend too much time in front of screens”? Read More

Venture Capitalism

ff Venture Capital Quietly Raised a $27 M. Fund Last November and Has Already Invested in 23 Startups

Screen shot 2012-02-17 at 11.10.59 AM

ff Venture Capital has been giving new meaning to word stealth mode. Tucked into an interview on TechCrunch yesterday was the news, reported for the first time, that the New York City-based seed investment firm had raised a $27 million fund last November. What’s more, it had already invested in 23 companies and expected to finish its goal of 30 to 40 companies perhaps by the end of the year.

According to ff Venture’s—the fund insists on the cummings-style “ff”—Form D filing, which sneakily offers a Roseland, New Jersey address, rather than its Midtown headquarters, the company filed an intent to raise on November, 29, 2010. Partner John Frankel says the firm was already deploying capital from the new “silver” fund even as it was raising the dough. Of the 23 investments, which includes startups like Klout, ThinkNear, Livefyre, Voxy, and Kohort, four have had up rounds. “So, it looks like performance is accelerating,” he told Erick Schonfeld in a video interview.

But ff has another feather in their cap, their previous $6.3 million fund, raised in 2008 “two months after Lehman collapsed,” as Mr. Frankel, a Goldman Sachs refugee, points out. According to him, Prequin ranked that fund, called “ff blue,” the top-performing VC fund through the end of 2010. Read More

Welcome to New Fit City

That’s It. We’re Calling It. The Healthy Start-Up Office Craze Is Official.


When GroupMe co-founder Steve Martocci threw out his desk chair for a Bosu ball to lose “the founder fifteen,” we had an inkling it was only the beginning. After all, at least some of those early Fitocracy adopters had to be coming from inside the tech scene. Then we found out Michael Galpert–Aviary’s own, personal self-quantifying fiend–was trying to foster (healthy!) competition in the workplace through a shared employee database measuring weight loss down to the pound.

But ff Venture Captial partner David Teten has really gone and done it. He emailed Betabeat to let us know that that ff’s new ergonomically-optimized 5,000 sq. ft. office space on 6th Avenue can basically tell GroupMe’s single Bosu ball can suck it, although not in so many words. Read More