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.
Ride or Die
Ouch, we think we just got whiplash. A couple weeks ago, Mayor Bloomberg was photo-opping in the backseat with Jack Dorsey, founder of the mobile payments company Square.
But this afternoon, the New York Post got its hand on a letter from Square to the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) announcing that the company has suddenly pulled out of its pilot program in yellow cabs, which the agency recently stated was going swimmingly.
The pilot run in 13 cabs was testing Square’s service–featuring iPads in the vehicle’s partition and iPhones in the front–as a replacement for TPEP, the agency’s internal moniker for the TV screens and credit card swipers currently run by an exclusive contract with Verifone and CMT that expires this coming February.
Book Em Charlie
How does a pre-product startup raise $1.4 million from the likes of Jack Dorsey, Eric Schmidt and Khosla Ventures with just an idea? It helps if you’ve worked with the investors before. And if you’re trying to bring a fragmented offline industry online, a particular hobbyhorse of Mr. Dorsey’s, whose mobile payments company Square has done just that with mom and pop shops.
Peek CEO and founder Ruzwana Bashir first met Mr. Dorsey and Mr. Schmidt when she directed business development and marketing for Art.sy, another investment of theirs, she told Betabeat earlier this week.
Hip to Be Square
In a recent New York Times profile of Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, a rather interesting piece of information surfaced about Twitter and Square cofounder Jack Dorsey. The Times wrote that Mr. Dorsey’s role at Twitter was diminished “after employees complained that he was difficult to work with and repeatedly changed his mind about product directions.”
Understandably, the office gossip led to some confusion over his current role. To clear up any misunderstanding, Mr. Dorsey took to his Tumblr today to defend his work schedule, proclaiming that he’s had a backseat role at Twitter (he’s currently a chairman) since January:
Microsoft “accidentally” sent a DMCA takedown notice to Google, asking them to remove pages from TechCrunch, the BBC, Wikipedia and the U.S. Government. Psst… no one cares that much about Windows 8. [TorrentFreak]
Companies are using patents to stifle innovation and the Times is ON IT. [New York Times]
Is EBay staging a pivot? [TechCrunch]
Whoa, you can raise money for a company without Kickstarter? Mind blown. [TechCrunch]
Jack Dorsey apparently got pushed to a backseat role at Twitter because he’s “difficult” to work with. [SiliconBeat]
Speaking of Twitter, who knew CEO Dick Costolo used to be a standup comedian? [New York Times]
All-natural candy lover Jack Dorsey announced on his Twitter today that Square, the payment service seeking to disrupt credit card systems, has acquired 80/20, a design agency based in New York. “Square acquires 80/20, one of the best design agencies in the world, and with it, an office in SoHo,” he tweeted. “We believe in NYC.”
There are many industries worthy of large-scale disruption, including dry cleaning and the line at Shake Shack. But one crucial industry that Betabeat forgot to mention in our list of things we wish techies would disrupt? Candy. How could we forget?
According to All Things D, a coterie of celebrities–including bus-riding Square cofounder Jack Dorsey, model Gisele Bundchen and full-time Boston tour guide Matt Damon–have teamed up to sing the praises of a new candy company. Unreal Candy purports to be a natural, non-corn-syrup alternative to the gross chemical-laden stuff that somehow still tempts you every time you enter a bodega.
Everyone’s favorite credit card processing company has returned from its latest trip to the venture capital trough. Today Square announced a $200 million Series D, in a five-sentence blog post that could only be described as terse. Perhaps CEO Jack Dorsey is taking his emulation of Bruce Lee a little too far?
According to the announcement, investors include Citi Ventures, Rizvi Traverse Management, and Starbucks Coffee Company. Judging from CrunchBase, it looks like CrunchFund also got in on the action. The cash will go toward an international expansion planned for later this year.
It’s hard to be heads down when it’s hot out. Exhortations to “just keep shipping” trigger fantasies of sailboats; Friday afternoon happy hours just aren’t as appealing as sangria on a terrace in Spain. Besides–is there any surer sign of a healthy startup sector than tech stars taking lavish vacations?
Alley vs. Valley
In honor of the Zynga-enriched Pincuses, who recently closed on a $16 million Pacific Heights pile described as ”very massive, very Old Money,” Curbed has an envy-inducing little roundup of swank mansions belonging to wealthy West Coast techies.
Suddenly, the Valley as tech nirvana makes more sense than ever. Not since the Gilded Age has it been possible for even the wealthiest robber barons to lay claim to this much space in Manhattan.
The new home of Mark and Allison Pincus is not merely spacious but just about as historic as you can get out in California, short of moving into a Spanish mission: