The Dodo! It’s happening. Former Salon honcho Kerry Lauerman stands at the helm of the soon-to-debut animal-themed site, Popular Science writer Dan Nosowitz has hopped aboard as founding editor, and of course let’s not forget backer Ken Lerer and his daughter, Isabel.
The latest update: The startup has filed a Form D announcing it’s raised $1.2 million in capital. Presumably that money comes from Mr. Lerer, who announced back in the summer he’d be backing the site and offering office space. (We’ve reached out to confirm and will update if we hear anything back.)
Are there not enough animals on your Internet? Do you ever open up your browser and navigate to YouTube or Twitter or Facebook and think, “Man, this Internet I’m on here could really use some more pictures of cute puppies.” BuzzFeed chairman and Huffington Post cofounder Ken Lerer has you covered.
The Chat-rooming Classes Today, seemingly every tech reporter in the business tuned into Jason Calacanis‘s “This Week in Startups,” presumably in the hopes that Mr. Calacanis would tell all re: the allegations of abuse against Michael Arrington. But as familiar names chattered away in the chat room, Mr. Calacanis had little to say beyond comparing himself to Obi Wan. That would make Mr. Arrington Anakin Skywalker, of course; Mr. Calacanis said he taught him how to be powerful in media, and “I regret that.”
As for the allegations themselves, Mr. Calacanis was quick to say he wouldn’t be commenting on whether they were true, citing his lack of direct knowledge. (He did, however, openly discuss the time that Mr. Arrington called a PR honcho “the c-word,”
thereby outing someone who’d never mentioned the incident publicly!) [Correction: Mr. Calacanis first mentioned the incident and the PR exec (Brooke Hammerling) by name in the comments of his Facebook post, prompting Ms. Hammerling to confirm the story, also in a Facebook comment.] All in all, it sounds like he (kinda sorta) regrets getting involved. He apparently thought writing a Facebook note wouldn’t go very far. “I thought that that would be a place where it just lived there,” he said. (Paging Randi Zuckerberg!) “I got a little P.T. Barnum in me and I feel like me commenting on all this stuff actually detracts from it,” he added.
Teach Me How to Startup
If you’re looking to fact-check whether Lure Fishbar is indeed the “the Michael’s of downtown,” as one publicist recently told Betabeat, you could do worse than the Soho hangout’s Foursquare page. There, you’ll find tips from Reuters’s Felix Salmon, ex-Googler Caroline McCarthy and even defoundered Foursquare exec Naveen Selvadurai, who recommends Lure’s private side room for meetings—and the lobster Read More
Front Page Printed Pages of the Internet Just before taking stage at SXSW to talk his crowdfunded Internet 2012 tour, Alexis Ohanian emailed out a link to his new book, Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed.
Since you asked, Mr. Ohanian, we dig the cover, but “without their permission,” sounds a little iffy in the context of Reddit’s Creepshot scandal, no?
Real Genius Andreessen Horowitz invested $15 million in Rap Genius to help its Ivy League cofounders to annotate the Internet. But how much will they have to pay to rein in the braggadocious Mahbod Moghadam?
In a recent issue of Wakefield, a newsletter covering “tech and startup insight not captured elsewhere,” Maboo was up to his old shenanigans, volunteering information about a “feud” with Mark Zuckerberg, who also happens to be backed by Andreessen Horowitz.
Apparently, Mr. Moghadam was at Ben Horowitz’s home, “chilling” with Zuck and Nas as is the new mode of Silicon Valley socializing. (Mr. Horowitz happens to be close friends with Steve Stoute, Nas’ former manager.) Despite Zuck’s heightened privacy concerns (it’s complicated?) Rap Genius cofounder couldn’t resist Instagramming his good fortune.
Former New York Times food editor Amanda Hesser made a media splash a few years ago with the launch of a crowdsourced home-cooking site called Food52. Started with Merrill Stubs, who co-authored The Essential New York Times Cookbook with Ms. Hesser, Food52 has become a household name for certain Internet-savvy foodies. The site features recipes, a hotline for asking and answering food questions, as well as plenty of recipe contests. Now, Food52 has raised $2 million, according to a Form D filed with the SEC and published on FormDs.com.
NowThis News, the recently launched video news site created by ex-HuffPo founders Eric Hippeau and Ken Lerer, opted for an old-fashioned approach to deliver election results on a new-fangled platform. As the tweets poured by at an impossible-to-follow rate, NowThis News stuck out with a very web 1.0 approach: ASCII art.
The NowThis site (formerly called Planet Daily) currently pulls in newsy video clips from sites like Twitter, Facebook and–most typically–Buzzfeed, another Lerer Ventures portfolio company. The company’s Twitter handle, @NowThisNews, is run by its social editor, Drake Martinet, who’s also an adjunct professor at Stanford. Mr. Martinet said that 90 percent of the video content on the site is produced by the NowThis team.
The Third Degree
Earlier today, Lerer Ventures revealed that the early stage investment firm–a powerful, active force in growing New York’s startup ecosystem–has raised its biggest fund yet. While raw SEC filings first indicated that Lerer Ventures was raising $30 million, the deal closed at $36 million. That’s more than $64 million combined in less than two years.
Partners Ken Lerer, Ben Lerer, Eric Hippeau, and Jordan Cooper have backed some of the most high-profile companies from New York’s new class of tech startups, like Warby Parker, MakerBot, OnSwipe, and Birchbox. Lerer Ventures has also had a number of notable exits, like GroupMe (acquired by Skype), Mr. Cooper’s startup HyperPublic (acquired by Groupon), and Venmo (acquired by Braintree). In fact, the Huffington Post mafiosos–Ken Lerer and Mr. Hippeau are both veterans–have been so busy building “the largest infrastructure in New York for entrepreneurs” that they apparently haven’t had time to move Venmo into the “Exits” list on the firm’s website.
Betabeat spoke to Mr. Hippeau this afternoon after his firm’s new fund and why we’re in “the golden age for entrepreneurs in New York.”
Roughly a year-and-a-half after closing its second $25 million seed stage fund, Lerer Ventures is in the processing of raising money for a third. An SEC filing, first noted by TechCrunch, says the size of the round is $30 million.
Although the Form D indicates that the early-stage venture capital firm has yet to sell, expect the round to close quickly.
Last May, it only took Lerer Ventures “a matter of weeks” to raise that $25 million from individuals and family offices. And that was before the highly-regarded New York City firm–launched by Huffington Post cofounder (and Betaworks and Buzzfeed chairman) Ken Lerer and his son Ben Lerer, cofounder of Thrillist–boasted a handful of exits.