Goooood Morning Silicon Alley!
This is a guest post from Gary Sharma (aka “The Guy with the Red Tie”), founder and CEO of GarysGuide and proud owner of a whole bunch of black suits, white shirts and, at last count, over 40 red ties. You can reach him at gary [at] garysguide.com.
R.I.P. and Godspeed, Neil Armstrong–a pioneering astronaut, American icon and international hero, who on July 20, 1969, became the first man to set foot on the moon, making history and instilling a deep sense of pride in every man, woman and child on earth. As Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted: “Neil Armstrong was the spiritual repository of spacefaring dreams & ambitions. In death, a little bit of us all dies with him.”
In more earthly concerns, it looks like a ton of Silicon Alley folks have submitted panels for consideration for SXSW 2013 this year. Here’s the comprehensive list we’ve compiled, based on your emails and feedback. Go show some love for these panels with your valuable votes. Remember, the deadline for voting is August 31.
And now let’s see whats going down in the Alley this week…
New York Angels, a loose affiliation of angel investors that hear pitches and conduct diligence together, just announced that vice chairman Brian Cohen will take over as chairman. He replaces David Rose, founder of the group that has invested more than $45 million in the last ten years.
Mr. Cohen is heavily involved in running the organization’s small staff and coordinating the Angels’ monthly meetings. As chairman, he will “focus on making the New York Angels the hallmark mentor organization to the exploding startup community in New York City,” according to a press release. He also plans to expand the group’s presence outside of New York.
A Little Ditty About Jack and Diane
Pinterest, the only hockey-stick startup with the distinction of being embraced by women and Mormons, gets the full New York Times treatment today with a profile by Jenna Wortham, well-timed to the
clusterfuck hullabaloo currently underway in Austin. While other startups clamor over themselves to preach to the choir and woo early-adopters, Pinterest user base began in Des Moines, Iowa, where cofounder Ben Silbermann grew up.
While the startup’s hearting-the-heartland approach has caused “some headscratching” at SXSW, its also infected investors with a wicked case of envy. “It defies the mold that you have to build something for New York and San Francisco and then spread it out from there,” Chris Dixon, who is slated to interview Mr. Silbermann on stage tomorrow, told the Times, adding, “Everyone’s envious. I’m envious. I wish I was an investor. I wish I’d created the site.”
One investor who may be immune? New York Angels founder Brian Cohen, who also has the distinction of being Pinterest’s very first investor.
Betabeat moseyed up to Murat Aktihanoglu, the accented managing director of Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, after the program’s demo day this morning in a basement auditorium at NYU’s Stern School of Business. He had the overwhelmed, flushed face of a proud parent. “Oh, it was amazing,” he said, eyes widening. ERA put its ten startups through 1,500 meetings, he had calculated, and all the companies have users and 80 percent have revenue. One of them had just signed up 35 cities and two Dubai landmarks: the biggest mall in the world, which serves 47 million visitors, and the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.
Apparently you don’t need to be a startup to attempt a pivot. Back in March, Betabeat told you about mounting exasperation among local entrepreneurs toward New York Angels, the dotcom legacy investing group (circa 1997) run by its venerable chairman David S. Rose. At the time, Mark Birch, an independent New York angel investor, told us, “The NY Angels process is broken, because their model has stayed the same, while the environment has changed.”
Now, it seems, Mr. Rose is trying to adapt to these modern times through AngelSoft, the New York company he founded in 2004 to make software for investors to help them manage deal flow and collaborate with investors.
As Bloomberg reports, AngelSoft is launching an online marketplace to hookup potential investors with the right to entrepreneurs and hoping “financial matchmaking” ensues. Along with the pivot, AngelSoft will change its name to Gust. See, thinking like a startup already.
Back in 2009 Altruik raised a $4.7 million Series A from a group that included New York venture funds DFJ Gotham, First Round Capital, Greenhill SAVP and Zelkova. Today it announced a new $2.8 million dollar raised with these sames names plus contributions from the newly formed Centurion Venture Partners and the New York Angels.
The re-up is a vote of confidence that the company is headed in the right direction, although the diminished size of the round speaks to the challenges Altruik faced.
It was a fun week on the internet, wasn’t it guys? We were so giggly over New Work City’s fake decks that we almost neglected our rumor trafficking! So we cast a wide net with this week’s shameless rumor soliciting, and came back with a wide range of live, squirming items from all over the start-up sea. Enjoy:
Adam Neary’s tell-all blog post about Profitably’s exhausting quest for funding made a big splash this week in the normally hypersensitive climate of the New York start-up scene. Founders and VCs have been muttering, speculating to Betabeat that the post was unwisely frank, especially in its discussion of the institutional New York Angels. Will our hero suffer a backlash?
Zach Greenberger, the New York developer behind the fastest-growing Facebook application in January, Profile Banner, was recently the victim of a Hong Kong-based Facebook app syndicate.