Cody Brown and Kate Ray graduated from NYU in 2010, taught themselves to code and built Kommons–a platform for crowdsourcing questions through Twitter and attempting to peer pressure an answer from public personalities. It didn’t, as they say, get traction. So they built another thing, “Nerd Collider,” a platform for hosting text-centric discussions between experts on the web, sort of like the New York Times’s Opinionator blog. Their latest product, Scroll, is a simple single-page HTML editor that allows publishers to lay out a fancy-looking page that mimics the flexibility designers have for formatting on the printed page. Bonus: the web page is automatically-formatted to look as good on the web as it does on the iPad.
About six weeks ago, a pair of New York Times developers met with founders at question-and-answer site/discussion forum 2.0 start-up Quora in order to “brainstorm how the organizations might work together.” Just as the Times has tried to maintain journalistic loftiness in the age of slideshows and other internet tabloidism, Quora launched as a counterpoint to content farms like Yahoo Answers–so it makes sense that the Times is attracted to the platform. The paper is dipping its toes in this week by hosting a discussion there with three Business Day reporters who will be answering questions related to their recent books.
We made it through Internet Week, guys!
THINKNEAR GOING FAR. The pre-launch TechStars grad ThinkNear has closed a round of funding, a source tells Betabeat, and is heading out to… Culiver City! We’ve heard of Culver City near L.A., but ThinkNear’s job listings page, which lists openings for four engineers, plainly says Culiver. Anyone know how much they raised, by the way?
LEARNVEST’S BIG ROUND. “We had not given that to TechCrunch by any means,” a slightly harried-sounding PR rep for LearnVest told Betabeat when we called to ask what the heck a content site needs $12 million more dollars for. “Wtf will they do with $19 million,’” a source Gchatted Betabeat. “For a newsletter that says ‘don’t take cabs every day! Use a 401k!’” Speculation is that LearnVest’s long-awaited money manager tool, something with more of the functionality of Mint.com, may be on the horizon. “They were trying to build some tools this time last year, and I think just needed a lot more tech resources,” another source said. Well, LearnVest? “In the next month or so LearnVest is going to be making some pretty big announcements,” the PR rep told us, and wouldn’t say more. Their jobs page is still mostly editorial and sales positions, though, with one opening for a web developer and one for a java coder.
NYU media grads turned start-up kids Cody Brown and Kate Ray just launched a thing called Nerd Collider, a white-label site for discussing specific things with specific people. Similar to Quora, Nerd Collider nests responses with some comments hidden by default; it also has a voting system and requires Twitter authentication like the Q&A site.