Alley vs. Valley

Is New York’s Startup Scene a ‘One-Trick Pony’?

Not exactly a shutout, is it? (Graphic courtesy of CB Insights)

The latest CB Insights report on venture capital investment just dropped, and we’ve spent the morning digging into the data. Local entrepreneurs might want to sit down, because this is gonna sting a little.

Overall the quarter was a big one, with 812 deals adding up to $8.1 billion. The report points out that’s the biggest single quarter since the dot com days. (And what with Digg and Yahoo dominating the headlines, you’d be forgiven for getting a little confused on the year.) Seed stage investments made up 22 percent of those deals, which fits with our anecdotal sense that startups are springing up like mushrooms after a rainstorm.

In terms of deal volume, New York held onto the number-two spot for the second quarter in a row. A big part of that is digital: The report calls California and New York a “two-headed monster on the internet front,” and points out that “larger funding deals enable Florida and Washington to challenge Massachusetts for the #3 spot.” Read More


Booting Up: London Calling, IPOs Not Answering Edition

Elon Musk (Photo: Mark Lennihan/AP)

Elon Musk got his crazy futurism on at PandoMonthly. He’s the best, isn’t he? [PandoDaily]

London ain’t got nothin’ on New York’s IPOs. [Wall Street Journal]

Meanwhile, the U.S. is going after a 24-year-old British kid who set up a portal to find pirated content, but never hosted any of it himself. FYI, America, ya look desperate. [New York Times]

Facebook is monitoring your chats for “criminal activity.” Maybe keep your cybering to off the record Gchats? [Mashable]

You can now go on a road trip through California’s national parks without ever having to leave your house. [Google]

Teach Me How to Startup

Harvard Gets Schooled: As Techies Flock to Stanford, MIT, Even Penn, Crimson Goes Green With Envy

Widener Library. (Photo:

On a clear November day, the hard-working students of Harvard College took a collective study break and poured onto the walkway in front of Lamont Library. Undergrads, an inordinate number of them sporting hoodies, pressed their bodies against a set of temporary barricades, their smartphones and cameras held aloft, eyes intent on a grinning visitor making his way from one of the Yard’s gates to a mic stand that had been set up smack in the middle of the walkway.

The excitement wasn’t for Jason Segel, who would be selected as the Hasty Pudding’s Man of the Year in February, nor for Andy Samberg, who’d be tapped to give the Class Day Speech later that year, but a former classmate—a “concentrator” in computer science and psychology—who eight years ago had been just like them, a hard-working kid with amazing grades and questionable social skills, well on his way to a comfortable future.

As Mark Zuckerberg paused to answer questions, the giddiness was almost enough to make everyone forget that, like Bill Gates before him, the Facebook founder had dropped out of Harvard well before receiving his sheepskin. Read More

All Your Tweets Are Belong to Us

New York Judge Overrules Twitter: Tweets Broadcast to the Public ‘Belong to the Public’

(Photo: Scott Beale, Laughing Squid)

Things are not looking very good for Malcolm Harris, the Occupy Wall Street protestor who was arrested for disorderly conduct for taking place in the 2011 protest march across the Brooklyn Bridge. Back in April, a Judge ruled that your tweets are not your own, striking down a motion from Mr. Harris’s lawyer to block the courts from subpoenaing his tweets.

Twitter stood up for Mr. Harris in May, protesting the subpoena on several grounds, including the fact that the company’s terms of service explicitly state that all users own their content. Twitter’s Legal counsel, Ben Lee, told Betabeat, “As we said in our brief, ‘Twitter’s Terms of Service make absolutely clear that its users *own* their content.’ Our filing with the court reaffirms our steadfast commitment to defending those rights for our users.”

Unfortunately for Twitter, the company’s motion was overturned today by Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Matthew A. Sciarrino Jr., who demanded that Twitter furnish Mr. Harris’s tweets. “While noting that laws regarding social media are evolving, [the judge] held that public speech, regardless of the forum, does not enjoy the protections of private speech,” reports the New York Times. Read More

It's Zuck's World We're Just Living In It

Dearth of Engineers in New York? Not for Facebook

Serkan Piantino, FB NY's VP of engineering (Photo: Vimeo)

While most companies need a city-sponsored map to show just how many jobs they currently have open, Facebook’s new engineering office is not struggling for any lack of hirable talent. According to Wired, the company is looking to add a significant number of engineers to its Madison Avenue location and is planning on poaching experienced systems engineers from New York’s financial institutions. Read More


San Francisco Apparently Has Some Reservations About Their Tech Boom

Gentrification begins. (

New York City has devoted a lot of time, effort, and money to fostering the local tech scene. Not one but two tech campuses; all those meetups and happy hours. But once we reach critical mass, it’s all gravy, right? Right? Nope. As a smart man once said: Mo’ money, mo’ problems.

As companies like Twitter start developing San Francisco’s downtown, the New York Times reports that their tech boom comes at a cost. One local business owner told the Times her landlord was raising her rent from $8,000 to $12,000 and asked, “Of course, Twitter is good for the city, but how about me?”

Meanwhile, the director of the San Francisco Tenants Union reports the trend has “driven up rents extremely” in the last year, while economist Kenneth Rosen predicted the boom would hurt “poor and middle class” while helping the “upper middle class.”

The end result:  Read More

Tech in the City

Google to Provide CornellNYC Tech with Free Office Space for 5+ Years

Mr. Page and co.

Mayor Bloomberg announced today at Google’s New York headquarters in Chelsea that the company has agreed to provide CornellNYC Tech with 22,000 square feet of free office space while the Roosevelt Island campus is built. The mayor joined Google CEO Larry Page, Cornell President David Skorton and Technion’s director Craig Gotsman at a press conference this morning to make the announcement. The value of the space is over $10 million, said Mr. Page. Read More

Call Me Maybe

Hey, New Yorkers: Please Tell Your Butts to Stop Dialing 911


It happens to everyone, particularly since most cell phones have touchscreens now: it’s not a drunk dial, or a sext–it’s a butt dial, and apparently New York City is plagued by them.

The New York Daily News reports that the city receives four million 911 calls a year that are accidental, and probably dialed by someone’s butt:

Most of the calls — commonly referred to as butt calls — came from cell phone users who mistakenly dial 911 when making contact with phones in their back pockets, purses or elsewhere….The 911 system handled 3,910,373 butt calls in 2010, the report noted — even more than the 3,495,716 calls in which police cars were dispatched to actual emergencies.

Might we suggest locking your screen?

The Tao of Steve

Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview Comes to Sunshine Cinema


Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview is exactly as promised: an hour-long interview with Mr. Jobs from 1995 that was, until recently, thought to be lost to the world.

The interview was filmed as part of Robert X. Cringely’s TV series, “Triumph of the Nerds” about the birth of the PC. At the time, Mr. Jobs had been ousted out of Apple for a decade and was working on NeXT (which would go on to develop the heart of the iMac’s initial operating system). He spoke candidly about being pushed out of the company, early days with the Woz, and his vision for a digital future. Read More

Teach Tech Teach

Codecademy Lands $2.5 M., Plans Headquarters In New York

Codecademy, which just launched this summer, is an addictive website that teaches users how to code for free. The startup announced today that it had raised $2.5 million from a slew of top notch investors including Union Square Ventures, SV Angel, CrunchFund, Yuri Milner, Founder Collective and O’Reilly Ventures. The company told the New York Times that it hopes to establish its headquarters here in New York. Read More