shameless rumormongering

Rumor Roundup: Bedhopping at Sundance, Kissing and Telling in the Carribbean

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Sundancing in the Dark South by Southwest is basically right around the corner, but it seems several techies needed a break before March offers the excuse for a tax-deductible trip to Austin. Investor Scooter Braun is be there (for obvious reasons), as is VHX cofounder Casey Pugh, ABC News’s Maya Baratz, onetime Myspace prez Jason Hirschhorn, and Thrillist cofounder Ben Lerer. Judging from Mr. Lerer’s Instagram, Gary Vaynerchuk is also along for the ride.

Startups are taking advantage of the festival’s halo of hipness. The creatives at Kickstarter have devoted a page to Sundance entrants funded on the platform, and cofounder Yancey Strickler says he’ll be in attendance. Uber will be there–and handing out hot chocolate. “All you have to do is tap the Uber app and we will come wherever you are to deliver sweet salvation from the epic cold,” the company promises. Not to mention helping sooth the pain of Uber’s high fares. Read More

Acqui-hires

eBay Acquires NYC-Based Social Shopping Site Svpply

Mr. Pieratt (Photo: Brooklyn Beta)

eBay announced on its blog today that it has acquired Svpply, the NYC-based social shopping site that curates personalized collections of clothing and products. Located on Broome Street in Soho, Svpply raised $550,000 in seed funding back in 2010 from investors like Founders Collective, Spark Capital, SV Angel, Dennis Crowley and Jason Hirschhorn. Since then, Svpply has been bootstrapping itself to 620,000 product views per week and 140,000 registered members (as of May).

Last May, founder Ben Pieratt offered a candid perspective on first-time entrepreneurship, admitting his vulnerability. “I have zero experience or expertise in building a company,” he wrote in a 2011 blog post. “So I’m learning on the fly.” Read More

Visiting Dignitaries

Trigger Media Expands InsideHook, a Thrillist for the ‘Established Man’ with Help from Actor Ed Burns

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In fiction, the experts tell you to write what you know. In founding a company, you’re told to fix the problems you find in your own life. So it makes sense, then that Andy Russell–a leading investor behind email newsletters like Daily Candy, Thrillist, Tasting Table, and PureWow–has decided the world needed InsideHook, another free lifestyle newsletter, but this one targeted to his own demographic: “The discerning, urban, established man who lives a fast-paced and rewarding life,” as the company describes it.

In a visit to Betabeat’s offices last month, Mr. Russell, who helped launch roughly one email property a year for the past eight years as a partner at the powerhouse investment firm Pilot Group, said he recognized the need to cater to the 35-to-55 set by looking at his own life. On date night, he and his wife would end up at the same sushi place around the corner. “My wife looks at me and goes ‘Again? Where’s the guy who climbed Kilimanjaro on our honeymoon?’ Or I used to own a restaurant in the West Village called Moomba. ‘Where’s the guy who started the hottest nightclub/restaurant in New York?'”  Read More