Airbnb and Me
Teach Me How to Startup
Uh oh—we knew Airbnb was kinda sketchy, legally, but we also just learned that its landlords might face a bunch of racial discrimination from its renters.
Unlike with other online marketplaces, like eBay or Amazon, Airbnb’s design incorporates large profile pictures of its sellers. That design feature led Harvard Business School Professors Benjamin Edelman and Michael Luca to conduct a study called “Digital Discrimination: The Case of Airbnb.com,” wherein they evaluated how the race, gender, age and appearance of a landlord affected the prices of comparable listings in New York City.
the startup rundown
Have you noticed a couple of additions to your startup’s staff that, well, are just a little too dedicated to the Brooks Brothers casual wear? Look to today’s Wall Street Journal for an explanation: “elite business school graduates” are now officially flocking to technology.
Tech Talent Crunch
Steps to success Moteevate, formerly known as Fitango and self described as “the motivational social network,” went live last week. The site makes achieving your goals sound really easy by breaking them down into three steps: choosing from over 600 action plans (or making up your own), inviting your friends to “motivate and cheer you on,” and, finally, following the plan to accomplish your goal.
Keep running Fitocracy, the fitness social network that lets you track your workout progress and compete against your friends, has made some changes to their team. Cofounder and former CTO Richard Talens is now the Chief of Growth and Analytics, and senior engineer Daniel Roesler is stepping in as the new CTO. The company has also hired Jay Patel as a new backend developer.
New and improved The Tumblr app for iOS just got a makeover and is now faster and also looks better, with support for higher resolution photos as well as redesigned notification tabs which make navigation much easier. The improved app also includes offline support, which allows users to write blog posts, reblog, and leave comments while offline, which will be posted automatically the next time the iPhone connects to the Internet.
There’s an old marketing tactic called “eating your own dog food,” whereby a founder swallows his own product to prove to the world just now sweet it is. In recessionary times, it appears that strategy has trickled downstream to potential hires. As The Next Web reports, Jeanne Hwang, a Harvard b-school graduate with six years of work experience at Right Media, Yahoo, Accenture, and Kaixin, resorted to launching an online campaign to get hired at Pinterest, including, of course, a “Jeanne for Pinterest” board.
That social media hustle has already paid off in form of a job offer from Pintics, a Pinterest analytics site. Perhaps they were moved by the pin of Ms. Hwang sky-diving (to show she’s a risk taker!) or pin of her adorable puppy (someone understands the Pinterest user base!)?
Betabeat is a sucker for a good Madonna reference, but Material Wrld, a New York-based fashion startup that launched yesterday, caught our eye for another reason. When we first met cofounder Jie Zheng–we sat next to each other at 500 Startups Demo Day last September–she was still in the corporate world, working as international director of ecommerce at J.Crew. “Sure enough, startup fever got ahold of me,” Ms. Zheng told Betabeat. Ah, it’s so rare that you’re actually present for the moment the infection sets in!
Material Wrld is a peer-to-peer ecommerce site that Ms. Zheng calls “a prettier and friendlier eBay with social features.” Like eBay, the company offers a chance to turn the back of your closet into ca$$h money, only in this case its more front-of-closet and fancy.
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.