The Third Degree
The Real Startup Dogs of Silicon Alley
In the past couple weeks, two startups from Science (the Betaworks of Los Angeles!) have tried to break into the New York City market, so it seemed like high time we gave Mike Jones, the CEO of Science and former CEO of MySpace, a call.
The Betaworks comparison refers to the fact that Science, which raised $10 million last November, uses its capital to “take deeper equity relationships” in startups than a typical VC firm, Mr. Jones said over the phone, noting similarities to Obvious Corp. and Idealab as well.
Science both launches its own companies and is intimately involved with the operations of the businesses it invests in. Like Betaworks, Science also eschews the i-word—i.e. “incubator”—opting for the more Hollywood-appropriate “studio.”
Accumulate enough animal-loving friends and you’re likely to find yourself on the receiving end of emails like: Anyone want to stay in a sunny 2-bedroom apartment next weekend FOR FREE . . . and watch Buster while we’re out of town? We promise he doesn’t bite! Or, even the occasional: Okay, so maybe he does bite, but we’ll leave a six pack in the fridge.
The idea behind Dog Vacay, a new service opening shop in New York today, is to offer pet-owners a third option besides pricey kennels and begging/bribing friends.
A dispatch from the sad saga of Myspace, the Tumblr-Facebook precursor once thought to be worth $327 million, comes to us from the Pew Center, which today issued a comparative report on “social networking services.” Myspace had a still-impressive 35 million visitors last month, according to comScore (although that number is dropping) and Pew has one statistic that contrasted starkly with the other social networks. A supermajority of Myspace’s users have been on the site for more than two years: 76 percent. For the other sites, that number is around 33 to 36 percent.
This is a reflection of Myspace’s inability to recruit new users, sure. Just three percent of its users joined in the last six months. But isn’t it a basic rule of sales that new customer acquisition is much more expensive than existing customer retention? Myspace’s users are highly familiar with the brand and the interface. Considering all the money flowing to start-ups whose main challenge is the struggle to recruit users, it’s hard to believe its corporate overloads (this bloodbath is all your fault anyway, News Corp.) are having so much trouble finding a buyer.