Odd Man Out
There is a conventional wisdom among web startups building social services for consumers. Build the product first, focus on perfecting it for your users, get as big as possible, then figure out how to monetize. It’s the story behind Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Foursquare.
But what if you went about things from the opposite direction. Snap Interactive has their holiday party last night at their offices in the west 30s. There flagship product is Are You Interested, a dating app that began life as one of the first apps on the new Facebook platform back in 2007.
“I won’t lie to you, user experience, design, those have not been our focus. We optimized for revenue and growth. Now we have those thing on cruise control, we can start to work backwards on building a great product.” said Cliff Lerner, Snap’s CEO.
Networked Insights, a startup that helps marketers make media buys by analyzing cues from social networks like Facebook and Twitter, has raised a $20 million round led by Goldman Sachs Asset Management. That’s the same Goldman division that shopped around private shares of Facebook before media attention and government scrutiny forced them to take it back.
ZocDoc’s CEO Cyrus Massoumi has a soft spot for paper money. The ZocDoc offices sport a giant $100,000 vanity check from Forbes, which its founders debated taking into the bank when the actual money proved to be less than speedy in coming. But today’s $25 million investment from Goldman Sachs won’t come in the form of a check in any size. And it means the loss of a ZocDoc tradition, Betabeat learned after we got ahold of Mr. Massoumi’s memo to ZocDockers today:
ZocDoc just announced a surprise extra $25 million on top of the $50 million the startup recently raised from Yuri Milner and DST, and the money came from high places–Goldman Sachs is investing directly in ZocDoc. That is to say, not through Goldman Sachs Investment Partners and not through Goldman’s Principal Investment Area, but with money off its own balance sheets, ZocDoc CEO Cyrus Massoumi told Betabeat.
One of ZocDoc’s first angel investors works at Goldman Sachs in a “unique position,” Mr. Massoumi said. Goldman also manages some of ZocDoc’s finances, and can be expected to handle or at least advise them on any acquisitions ZocDoc might make in the future. Plus ZocDoc’s executives have personal friends at the firm, Mr. Massoumi said. (He and co-founder Dr. Oliver Kharraz used to be closer to that world–the two previously worked at the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, and continued to wear suits and ties after starting ZocDoc until a friend told them they looked too much “like consultants” to be entrepreneurs, which prompted them to hit the Gap.)
“We’re just really excited,” he said. “There is not a large healthcare institution domestically, perhaps internationally, that does not have a relationship with Goldman Sachs.”
Talks with Goldman started a few weeks ago, in a “mutual conversation,” after the DST investment, Mr. Massoumi said.
From the department of hackneyed plot twists comes today’s New York Times story about Goldman fall guy Fabrice Tourre.
Turns out the Grey Lady had long term access to Fab’s emails. Was it through some crack investigative reporting?
Nope, turns out an artist found his laptop in the trash and, after seeing Fab’s name in the paper, started handing the correspondence over to The NYT.
This led Felix Salmon to ask the question: does this constitute hacking by The New York Times?
Tech Bubble Watch
Next New Networks is a New York-based network of online video producers that has had a hand in YouTube hits including Obama Girl, Autotune the News and the Bed Intruder Song, which was the most-viewed YouTube video of the year.
YouTube is rumored to be in talks to buy NNN, but Read More
Some of the nation’s biggest banks and venture investors have partnered with New York City Investment Fund to create the FinTech Innovation Lab.
The program is a annual twelve-week incubator to find and foster promising startups working on financial technologies.
Participating banks include all the big boys — Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley Read More