So Refresh and So Clean

After Using a Minimal Site for Six Months, SideTour Launches Version 2.0

sidetour refresh

“As Lean junkies, we’ve been running SideTour for the last 6 months on the MVP we built over two weeks in Techstars last summer,” SideTour cofounder Mark Webster wrote in an email. SideTour, a marketplace for people who want to host activities—amateur tour guides, and the like—launched six months ago on a basic site hacked together with Eventbrite and WordPress. Since then, it’s raised $1.5 million, built the team up to nine, and took 100 feedback meetings with users, which all adds up to a redesigned, fuller-featured version which launched to all users today. Read More

Visiting Dignitaries

Meet Gidsy: TechStars’s SideTour Gets Its First Another Competitor in the ‘Authentic Experiences’ Market

A familiar avatar on the Gidsy homepage!

Update: As our esteemed commenters pointed out, we forgot about Vayable! Our bad.

When Betabeat first heard about SideTour, the TechStars startup serving up “authentic experiences” led by “interesting” people (say, Zen tea sessions from a Buddhist monk), we have to admit, our response was: fun idea! Smart dudes! But how big is the market of people who would actually sign up? Apparently bigger than we imagined, which might be why investors and mentors seemed so smitten with the startup.

Now, TechNewsDaily is reporting that a startup called Gidsy out of Berlin’s white hot startup scene has opened in New York City to play in SideTour’s home turf. Gidsy, which bills itself as an “authentic marketplace for tours, activity, and local events” opened in New York yesterday after launching in Berlin last week. Read More

Welcome to New Fit City

I Hack the Body Electric


NEW YORK  CITY’S START-UP SCENESTERS were nowhere near the isle of Manhattan when the 4 Hour Body fad hit its tipping point among the local tech set. In fact, according to Rick Webb, co-founder of the Tribeca-based digital agency the Barbarian Group, the digerati diet craze currently upending start-up snack supplies and clogging Twitter feeds with the hashtag #4HB reached comic proportions during the city’s annual pilgrimage to Austin, Texas, back in March.

Mr. Webb traced the outbreak back to the carbo-loading marathon that is South by Southwest. Or “beer and taco week,” as Mr. Webb described it. He and several other techies had recently become disciples of The 4 Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman, a life-hacking manual written by Tim Ferriss that distills a decade of experiments into chapters about slow carbs, self-tracking and, yes, how to make a woman orgasm in 15 minutes. Read More

shameless rumormongering

Rumors & Acquisitions: Chessmasters Play Together, Groups Buy Together, and a Fun Fact


LOOKBACK. And the most popular rumor item last week was… TechStars intelligence! Readers have been pinging the rumormonger trying to find out the names of the founders since we teased that 12 companies were on the shortlist. Sorry kids–we made a deal with the devil, a.k.a. Dave Tisch, who promised to give us the full scoop as soon as papers are all signed. You can always crash by Pivotal Labs, where some of the companies have already started working.

KNIGHT TO DISTRICT 14. At last, Peter Thiel has convinced CollegeOnly/YouAre.TV founder Josh Weinstein to move to Silicon Valley. “Peter Thiel loves Josh,” lean start-upper Trevor Owens told us. “They’re both chess grandmasters.” Mr. Thiel was a U.S. Chess Master; Mr. Weinstein was a “nationally-ranked” tournament chess player. Betabeat, sad to see one of the weirdest web products in New York go, pinged Mr. Weinstein to verify the news. “Was going to follow up with you individually so it didn’t make it to Betabeat… yes, I’m moving out to CA,” the founder said. “Leaving next week.” At first, we wondered if Mr. Thiel just wanted to have someone to play chess with. But YouAre.TV just recruited a new CTO, so we guess there are still plans to build a company. Godspeed, Game of Boxes. Read More