The Data Deluge
Cha-ching! GigaOm reports that TechStars New York just got its first acquisition: 2011 graduate ThinkNear, a hyperlocal mobile ad startup, was acquired by GPS purveyor Telenav for $22.5 million. The startup will be incorporated into a newly launched mobile ad platform called Scout Advertising. It’s the largest TechStars acquisition thus far.
Not too shabby.
IA Ventures, the New York City-based firm with a big data fetish, just announced that it raised $105 million towards a second fund. That’s more than double the $50 million seed fund IA Ventures founder Roger Ehrenberg raises in 2010.
With this new fund, Mr. Ehrenberg told TechCrunch, IA Ventures will be able lead seed rounds as well as series A and B rounds and follow a company through its growth. Previously, IA gravitated towards pre-revenue companies “between a Powerpoint and a prototype.” Those companies, says TechCrunch, require more “hands-on work,” and with Fund II, IA Ventures will be able to diversify its portfolio into both seed-stage and later-stage companies.
TechCrunch’s post on the new fund set off a chain of negative responses on Twitter, unrelated to IA Ventures, but rather to do with a theory Erick Schonfeld slipped into the piece about the difference between East Coast and West Coast investors below.
What’s cooler than real-time? New York-based Visual Revenue is building technology that purports to predict web traffic in advance. We first wrote about the startup just over a year ago when it officially launched. At the time, founder and CEO Dennis Mortensen wrote a blog post about how the company was aiming to replace the “front page editor” position that has become a staple of new media newsrooms. At the time, the New York Daily News and eight other publishers were testing Visual Revenue’s claims that it can predict how well a story will do on the front page 15 minutes in advance.
Visual Revenue offers media companies a unique Front Page Decision Support System for online Editors. The solution can predict the performance of a piece of content about 15 minutes into the future and provides editors with real-time recommendations on what content to place in which position on a Front Page and for how long.
Sounds like something BuzzFeed would be interested in. Wait, it sounds like something every web publisher would be interested in. But are we petty web readers really that predictable?
IA Ventures and Softbank Capital think so. The firms led Visual Revenue’s $1.7 million round, which will be used to hire front end and back end engineers, a lead designer, customer engagement manager and business development manager and build Visual Revenue into the “Bloomberg terminal of the newsroom,” as the company puts it.
The Data Deluge
The most interesting part of today’s news that mobile advertising startup Place IQ had raised $4.2 million was that the Boulder, Colorado based company is packing its bags and heading to New York. Roger Ehrenberg, whose IA Ventures has been backing Place IQ since the seed stage, says it’s the natural evolution of Read More
Tech Bubble Watch
Roger Ehrenberg started with a career on Wall Street, but he’s become one of the most respected and sought-after investors in the New York tech scene. He is the founder of IA Ventures, which recently raised a $50 million fund and invests “on the belief that managing and extracting value from massive, occasionally unstructured, often real-time data sets is a competitive advantage.”
Ben Siscovick, a member of the investment team at IA, gave a talk at General Assembly this week to a packed house on the topic of big data. He was nice enough to throw the video up on his Tumblr, so for everyone who was stuck in the office and missed out, let Betabeat drop a little knowledge on ya.
Justin Singer, a VC at IA Ventures in New York, has stepped into the ongoing debate between whether we’re all extras in Dotcom Bubble: The Redux or merely in the middle of “a blubble,” which Michael Arrington loosely defines as that irrepressible whining sound perpetuated by early stage VCs and angels and regurgitated by the press. (We guess that makes Mr. Arrington part of the press since a month later he took most of it back.) Now, in a post on his Tumblr, Trying and trying again, Mr. Singer predicts a tech bubble will happen in the next 15 years. It would be easy to lump it into our bubble watch, if Mr. Singer’s prediction wasn’t accompanied by a rather alarming graph . . . and blame an leading indicator that’s unlikely to change: human instinct.
GRP Partners’ Mark Suster announced yesterday that he and Roger Ehrenberg, at IA Ventures in New York, are co-leading a $6 million investment in DataSift, a London-based data platform for third-party developers, brands, and publishers to capture real-time data. Although based out in L.A., TechStars just named Mr. Suster as a mentor for its new New York class. Mr. Suster has certainly made no bones of tweeting his pom-poms at local start-ups. Mr. Ehrenberg, on the other hand, has had his heart set on data mining. “As a former hedge fund guy, Roger immediately saw the value in helping companies better sift through the masses of data; often to gain better insights into financial information,” writes Mr. Suster on Both Sides of the Table.
News of the funding came just as Twitter announced that it hit the one-million-mark for registered apps, which the company says is “fueling a spike in ecosystem growth” in areas like analytics. Indeed, Mr. Suster described his investment in DataSift as “doubling down on the Twitter ecosystem.”
Here is the strange thing about Meetup.com. It’s terrific for organizing people to get together in the real world. But even though there are 28 adult soccer clubs on Meetup near the Betabeat office, each one sits in a separate silo and doesn’t connect to its peers. Trying to merge groups together is a nightmare on Meetup.
Kohort, the new startup from Mark Davis, just raised $3 million from folks like IA Ventures, RRE, FF Capital, David Tisch and David Cohen. It’s going to be offering a suite of tools to help groups do things like organize events, collect dues and enlist new members.
But the secret sauce, says one investor, is the way in which Kohort will help groups to interact with one another. “Meetup is essentially providing a platform for anyone to create a group, but its not tapping the network effect that comes from tying those organizations together.”
The Third Degree
Mark Davis, entrepreneur turned venture capitalist turned entrepreneur, has been teasing the tech scene for months now with a service called Kohort.
Turns out Kohort is taking aim squarely at one of New York’s oldest start-ups, Meetup, with a new set of community management tools.
Roger Ehrenberg is the managing partner at IA Ventures. Prior to the tech world, Ehrenberg was an investment banker and at Citibank and Deutsche Bank.
Q: You always remember the ones that got away. Tell us about the startup you regret passing on the most.
A: During my angel investing days, probably Foursquare.