Hardware is the New Software

Grand St. Reimagines Retail for Personalized Tech: Hardware Has Changed, So Should the Way It’s Sold

Ms. Peyton (Photo: @msg via AmandaPeyton.com)

All that hardware-is-the-new-software talk you’ve been hearing will soon get an equally avant-garde means of distribution, courtesy of a new venture called Grand St. “We are re-thinking online electronics retail for this new era in hardware,” Grand St. cofounder Amanda Peyton, a Y Combinator alum, told Betabeat.

Between the financial model for hardware shifting–with pre-sales on Kickstarter and IndieGoGo or product development through Quirky–not to mention 3D printing and rise of the maker, “The experience of finding and buying new personal technology needs to adapt as well,” Ms. Peyton wrote on her blog yesterday, in an introduction to Grand St. Read More

Called It

Hashable Is No More: The Service Goes Dark July 25

Mr. Yavonditte. (Photo: ffvc.com)

Hashable–the New York-based, Union Square Ventures-backed startup that had once hoped to disrupt the perfectly pleasant convention of exchanging business cards–is no more.

According to an email that went out around 3 a.m. this morning, both Hashable.com and the company’s web apps will shut down on July 25th. Users have until then to download their Read More

the startup rundown

Startup News: a Bot, a Spy, a Small Step for Diaspora and a Tiny Launch

StepStruder MK7 (makerbot.com)

So the big news from the last week: TechStars is now 100 percent more Y Combinator, having raised a new fund from investors so it can give every graduate a $100,000 convertible note. But, did anything else happen?

3-D WHAAAT. “MakerBot Industries announced today the launch of yet another innovation to 3D printing, the MakerBot Stepstruder MK7. The most compact and reliable extruder to date, the MK7 produces the most detailed prints ever created on the MakerBot Thing-O-Matic.” Woot!

OPENING UP. Canv.as is, the second image-based startup from Christomoot Poole, is in public beta now (as is Google+). Alpha invites went out for Diaspora, that New York expatriated startup still occasionally poking at the fringes of our awareness. But Canvas still has a complex domain and the Twitter handle is @canv_as. Ick! Read More

shameless rumormongering

Rumors & Acquisitions: Aol and the Labs, Turntable and the Labels, and Which Aviary Co-Founder Needs Your A/S/L?


LAME. The evil music labels are considering a lawsuit against Turntable.fm, according to a high-level source on the West Coast, but haven’t decided how to proceed. Meanwhile, Turntable lookalike Rolling.fm is knee deep in lawyers trying to figure out how to keep the service up outside the U.S.

MIXED MESSAGES. A couple weeks ago, Betabeat noticed that Skillshare founder Mike Karnjanaprakorn was out in San Francisco for the launch of Skillshare in that city. Had he picked up some cash while he was out there, we wondered? Skillshare raised $550,000 in January, which was made public in May, so the company certainly could have sustained its five employees on that–especially with MK’s militant lean start-up mindset and the bit of cash it’s getting from the website. So when Mr. Karnj said he hadn’t raised a new round, we said ‘Oh okay.’ But then we kept hearing, over the transom, that Skillshare has raised a fresh round. And they’re trying to fill up their sweet Soho office with a backend developer, community team and founder apprentice. Any insights? Drop us a tip. Read More


Chief Marketing Officer Emily Hickey Leaves Hashable

Yavonditte and Hickey

Betabeat has a long a tumultuous relationship with Hashable. We wrote about the service before it was open to the public, when Fred Wilson and Charlie O’Donnell were still topping the leaderboard and Trevor Owens was an intern at Dogpatch Labs. We wrote about its potential to chart the social economy and fill a vacuum left by LinkedIn.

Of course, we also posted an opinionated takedown of the service, and engaged in a spirit online spat with Read More

shameless rumormongering

Rumors & Acquisitions: Mints and Migrations


We made it through Internet Week, guys!

THINKNEAR GOING FAR. The pre-launch TechStars grad ThinkNear has closed a round of funding, a source tells Betabeat, and is heading out to… Culiver City! We’ve heard of Culver City near L.A., but ThinkNear’s job listings page, which lists openings for four engineers, plainly says Culiver. Anyone know how much they raised, by the way?

LEARNVEST’S BIG ROUND. “We had not given that to TechCrunch by any means,” a slightly harried-sounding PR rep for LearnVest told Betabeat when we called to ask what the heck a content site needs $12 million more dollars for. “Wtf will they do with $19 million,'” a source Gchatted Betabeat. “For a newsletter that says ‘don’t take cabs every day! Use a 401k!'” Speculation is that LearnVest’s long-awaited money manager tool, something with more of the functionality of Mint.com, may be on the horizon. “They were trying to build some tools this time last year, and I think just needed a lot more tech resources,” another source said. Well, LearnVest? “In the next month or so LearnVest is going to be making some pretty big announcements,” the PR rep told us, and wouldn’t say more. Their jobs page is still mostly editorial and sales positions, though, with one opening for a web developer and one for a java coder.  Read More

shameless rumormongering

Rumors & Acquisitions: Money Come, Money Go, and Some Free Advice


Happy holiday weekend, rumor city.

CASH STARS. TechStars alum Shelby.tv just signed term sheets for its first round of funding, which the company had doubled to $1 million due to a surplus of investor interest. They’re looking for two engineers, we hear, and already have their eye on someone special.

HASH SLASH. Overexposed New York start-up Hashable quietly laid off two engineers about a month ago and replaced them with non-technical interns, Betabeat learned today. The company is making a full-court press on the publicity front though, springing for a Promoted Tweet during all three days of TechCrunch Disrupt. Read More

Press Release Email Factory

Dan Rather Reports to Air “Investigative Report” on Hashable

dan rather reports

Dan Rather, the CBS evening news anchor for 24 years whose contract was not renewed after he aired an investigative report about former president George W. Bush’s military service that was based on documents that turned out to have been forged and who once said journalists “need to ask more tough questions–and keep asking them,” did a story about New York start-up Hashable about the “new tech landscape,” which airs tomorrow. Read More

The Start-Up Rundown

Start-Up News: Tech Comedy Fiesta, Aviary API Contest, Hashable Hiring


Your week in New York start-ups starts here.

LOL. The New York Tech Comedy Ball, which promises a 50-50 girl-to-guy ratio and featured tiered pricing to that end, is TONIGHT. Open bar, comedy, “surprise celebrity guests,” sponsor giveaways and a VIP afterparty are in store. Step and repeat! Red carpet experience! 8 p.m., Greenhouse. Hint: Password can be found via Google. Read More