Fresh Capital

Dwolla Raises $16.5M from Andreessen Horowitz and Others, Will Be Expanding to San Francisco

Dwolla founder Ben Milne. (Photo: Twitter)

Dwolla*, the Des Moines-based payment platform that has a strong presence in NYC, announced today that it has received a $16.5 million Series C investment led by venture capital behemoth Andreessen Horowitz, with contributions from NYC firms Thrive Capital* and Union Square Ventures. The fresh funding will allow Dwolla to double its staff of 40 to 80 and open a third office in San Francisco, according to The Next Web. Andreessen partner Scott Weiss will be joining Dwolla’s board. Read More

Guest Post

What Your Culture Really Says: The Toxic Lies Afoot in Silicon Valley

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This is a guest post by Shanley Kane. It was originally published on her blog Pretty Little State Machine and is republished here with her permission. Ms. Kane works in product management and enterprise software in San Francisco and is interested in culture studies, the developer community and television for fun. You can (and should!) follow her on Twitter here

Toxic lies about culture are afoot in Silicon Valley. They spread too fast as we take our bubble money and designer Powerpoints to drinkups, conferences and meetups all over the world, flying premium economy, ad nauseam. Well-intentioned darlings south of Market wax poetic on distributed teams, office perks, work/life balance, passion, “shipping”, “iteration,” “freedom.” A world of startup privilege hides blithely unexamined underneath an insipid, self-reinforcing banner of meritocracy and funding. An economic and class-based revolt of programmers against traditional power structures within organizations manifests itself as an (ostensively) radical re-imagining of work life. But really, you should meet the new boss. Hint: he’s the same as the old boss.

The monied, celebrated, nuevo-social, 1% poster children of startup life spread the mythology of their cushy jobs, 20% time, and self-empowerment as a thinly-veiled recruiting tactic in the war for talent against internet giants. The materialistic, viral nature of these campaigns have redefined how we think about culture, replacing meaningful critique with symbols of privilege. The word “culture” has become a signifier of superficial company assets rather than an ongoing practice of examination and self-reflection. Read More

Funding Fun

One Funding Announcement That Probably Won’t Restore Your Faith in Humanity: BuzzFeed Raises $20M

BuzzFeed raises $20M to build Snackadium.

BuzzFeed, the Internet’s biggest time suck, announced in a press release today that it has raised $20 million in a series D round led by NEA Ventures, bringing its total raised to $46.3. In addition to churning out more image-heavy listicles and starting spats with fellow popular Internet properties like Gawker and The Oatmeal, BuzzFeed intends to use the money to “build the next great media company.” Read More

Funding Fun

AxialMarket, an Online Network for Deal Professionals, Raises $6.5M

Peter Lehrman, AxialMarket's CEO (

Here’s a quickie for your Tuesday evening: AxialMarket, an online network that connects potential buyers and sellers of private businesses, has raised $6.5 million, according to a Form D filed with the SEC.

According to Crunchbase, AxialMarket is an amalgam of corporations and investment companies that join the platform “to source deals, communicate and promote their firm’s acquisition and investment identity, and uncover opportunities to collaborate with other members.”

The company has largely managed to skirt an overabundance of hype while quietly collecting over 7,000 qualified members on their platform. Perhaps it’s because their idea isn’t as sexy as “sweet delivery spectacles” or “broadcast TV on your laptop.” But with $6.5 mil of fresh dough in their pockets, seems like it’s working out just fine.

Funding Fun

Investors Get In Bed with

Diego Saez-Gil,'s cofounder and CEO

Everyone knows that opting for hostels instead of hotels can save you tons of money on travel costs, but for the more anxiety-prone among us, sometimes the fear of having to sleep three feet away from a stranger can outweigh a hostel’s benefits., a New York-based social booking site for hostels, beds and couches, wants to take the terrifying mystery out of hostel stay by allowing users to meet and interact with others who will be traveling and staying in the same hostels. Read More


Brooklyn-Based SocialGuide, a TV Guide for the Twitter Era, Is Raising a $500K. Debt Round

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SocialGuide, a startup that determines what TV shows and movies are popular by combing Twitter and Facebook, is in the process of raising a $500,000 debt round, according to the company’s latest SEC filing via The first sale of securities, which includes both “debt” and “option, warrant or other right to acquire another security,” was on January 17th. SocialGuide has already raised $400,000 from 10 investors towards the round, with $100,000 to go.

“We are in a position as a company where we’re looking to achieve profitability over the next two quarters,” CEO and founder Sean Casey told Betabeat by phone. “We decided to put together a note that will help us get there. It was just the right financing.”

The Brooklyn-based service, located at 68 Jay Street in Dumbo, bills itself as “the first real-time Social Programming Guide.” By ranking what’s popular on social networks, according to keywords counts, and then surfacing “the shows that your friends are talking about,” the company is able to recommend what’s worth watching. No more hearing about the “Downtown Abbey” Christmas special a week after everyone else tumbled their favorite Dowager Countess-isms. In September, SocialGuide, which previously went by the name Talkwit, introduced a similar service for movies, which is currently in beta.

But its real value may be in data it collects about the budding field of social TV. Read More

Venture Capitalism’s Secret Sauce for Raising $40 M.? Show Them Your Data and Don’t ‘Slut Around’

Mr. Goldberg. (

For any startup looking to raise venture funding–or even VCs trying to figure out what entrepreneurs want (where is Mel Gibson on that, anyways?)–Jason “Prince of Pivoting” Goldberg offers a transparent look at how he went about raising $40 million for led by the likes of Andreessen Horowitz.

In Mr. Goldberg’s case, he faced the added pressure of not having time to go through the usual dog-and-pony show during the run-up to’s first ever holiday season. (Yes, that’s right, that $40 million came just six months after the company swerved from a gay social network to a flash sales site for design.)

So the serial entrepreneur decided to do things a little differently. Read More