Adventures in Venture Capital

Let GitHub Sort Unicorn Investors From the Real Deal

Peter Thiel (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

Venture capital returns follow the power law, according to Peter Thiel.  He’s right. Look at your favorite venture capitalist, then look at her exits. You may see many names you know, but start to break down for how much each one sold or how much they are valued. You’ll see just one or two big wins swamp the rest.

Peter Thiel himself made almost all of his startup returns from Facebook, not directly from his years at PayPal. Even the venerable Y Combinator sees almost all future profits deriving from just two companies: AirBnB and DropBox. Read More

startup rundown

Startup News: Quora Gets Bloggy and Foursquare Gets Down to Business

Screen shot 2013-01-30 at 11.27.52 AM

Do We Really Need More Blogs? For the last three years, Quora has been the site for headsdown homebodies to ask their fellow coding brethren about what it’s like to go outside. But the company has recently announced two new developments that show a shift of attention to writers. The question site now has plans to include blogs. Quora has also announced the release of a rich text editor for their mobile app which should help Quora users ask bolded crazy questions while they’re on the go. Read More

startup rundown

Startup News: NASA Images of Sandy Sold for Charity and Boxee Comes to a Walmart Near You


Ceci N’est Pas Une Sandy The affordable-art-dealing website 20 x 200 is now selling a print of a NASA satellite image of Hurricane Sandy. All proceeds from the sale will go to the Red Cross to help relief efforts. The striking image was taken at 9:02 a.m on Sunday, approximately 10 hours before NYC’s MTA shut transport service down throughout the tristate area. Hang it above your couch of a constant reminder of the grander universe and just how much you appreciate your wifi.

More Money, More Fancy Fancy, Pinterest’s cooler older brother, has raised just over $26 million in additional funding. New investors include Celtics owner Jim Pallotta, Twitter and Square cofounder Jack Dorsey and Edward Gilligan, the vice chairman of American Express. This also ruins rumors that Apple was planning to acquire the company. No word yet on what their favorite user, Kanye West, thinks of the new influx of cash. Read More


Amazon EC2-Related Issues Took Down Reddit, Imgur and Other Sites [Updated]

(Photo: Reddit)

Update 4:35 p.m.: Reddit appears to be slowly coming back up; Betabeat can access the front page but still gets a “Reddit is Down” alert when we click over to specific subreddits.

Update 4:15 p.m.: Sites using Amazon Web Service’s EC2 are experiencing major network issues. After an issue with Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud cropped up around 2 p.m. this afternoon, other services such as Amazon’s Relational Database Service and ElastiCache began reporting problems. Amazon claims it is working on a fix, but major sites such as Reddit, Foursquare and Imgur are still being affected by these issues.

Office drones and journalists hungering for a web-friendly scoop are out of luck right now: Reddit, the massive link-aggregator site responsible for the vast majority of content on sites like BuzzFeed, is down. @RedditStatus tweeted the following: “The site is down right now. It appears to be a network-related issue. We are investigating.” It was inaccessible when Betabeat tried to log on, serving us only that coyly smiling alien and the note “Reddit is down.”

Upon further investigation, it appears that Amazon’s cloud hosting service, EC2, is experiencing issues. A slew of startups began tweeting that they were experiencing network issues, including GitHub, Heroku, GameFAQsImgurTurntable, CourseraAirbnb, FlipboardBranch, Foursquare, NakedApartments and MongoLab. Minecraft is also down, so people on the Internet officially have no idea what to do with themselves.

Maybe we should all like, go outside or something? Read More


Booting Up: Germany Says Stop Using Internet Explorer Edition

Isn't everyone at Oktoberfest, anyway? (Photo:

The government of Germany is urging citizens to stop using Internet Explorer–at least until a security hole you could drive a Volkswagen through is fixed. But who goes back to IE once they’ve switched, even for a couple of days? [Reuters]

If you must patent troll, it’s important to get a few basic technological details correct. GitHub and Rackspace are different entities. [Wired]

It’s official–tech companies including Amazon, Yahoo, and Facebook are joining forces to form The Internet Association, their very own lobbying shop. [TNW]

Do not shell out $1,600 on eBay just to have the iPhone 5 a few days early. That would make you a chump. [CNET]

A visit to the Ace Hotel: “‘I’m just trying to figure out who those people are and do they have jobs,’ said Chip Morrow, a lawyer from Memphis, staying at the hotel while trying a prescription drug case. ‘I mean, I see laptops everywhere but I can’t figure out what everybody’s doing.'” [Marketplace]

startup rundown

Startup News: Everyone’s Launching Everything All the Time At TechCrunch Disrupt

TC Disrupt NYC 2012

The News In News It’s a big day for Qwiki. When last we heard from the company, Qwiki was turning info from Wikipedia and elsewhere into multimedia visual presentations. After a brief period in San Francisco, the company has returned to New York City and adapted its technology to the news business. Today comes the announcement of the “Qwiki Creator,” which turns web content–video and static pages–into a rich content presentation. Qwiki’s partner for the launch? ABC News. Not too shabby.

Shop Right New to digital shopping list Ziplist: a free Meal Planner, a queue designed to act as a “Netflix for things you want to make sometime soon,” the company says. Users can save recipes to specific days with an eye to when they’ll have more or less prep time, then they can add the necessary ingredients to their shopping list. The planner can also be synced with family members’ calendars. The planner, by the way, is the company’s first big featured released since its Conde Nast acquisition. Read More