startup rundown

Startup News: Etsy Goes Big for Christmas and Bloomberg Giving Away Big Prize to Makers

Mr. Dickerson (Photo:

Lots Of Tiny Wicker Puppets Sold Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson took to the company’s blog to address his craft-obsessed minons and report big new numbers. Etsy recently hit 20 million members across over 200 countries. In the first week of November, they passed the $700 million sales mark and their direct checkout system has now processed over $100 million in transactions. By the end of the year, Etsy projects that it will have sold over 100 million items in the company’s history.

The company is also going all out for the holiday season and expects to have its best month yet. It’s running a multi-million-dollar online advertising campaign and opening a Etsy Holiday Shop in SoHo from November 29th through December 8th. SoHo though? Isn’t Greenpoint or Williamsburg more on target with the Etsy brand?

Chu Bets Against Zynga Betable has already announced partnerships with big game companies and is right on the path to become the Spotify of online gambling and pass its closest rival, Zynga. Ya-Bing Chu, a former VP and GM of Zynga’s mobile division, has now joined Betable as the company’s new Chief Product Officer. At Zynga, he was responsible for operating Words with Friends and Scramble with Friends. Mr. Chu explains the move in an essay on Betable’s blog, where he says, “I realized that Betable was the only frictionless way to enter the real money market, which is revolutionary.” Read More

Millenial Makers

App Ideas from High-Schoolers: a Pitch Presentation with NYC Generation Tech

Adam Israfil, 14, presents an app to help readers find books suited to their taste.

“It’s pretty safe to say we’re all geeks here,” said Xavier Suarez, a particularly self-aware 16-year-old from Brooklyn, gesturing to a classroom full of fresh-faced fellow high school students. Betabeat had trekked down to Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus for the first pitch presentation of NYC Generation Tech—a new initiative by the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship to provide mentorship for disadvantaged high school students interested in technology.

The program, which is still in pilot phase, consists of a two-week summer bootcamp followed by a series of weeknight meetings in the fall, hosted at the local offices of top tech companies like Facebook, NASDAQ and Warby Parker. The 30 accepted students work in teams to develop a mobile app prototype using MIT App Inventor, targeted at other New York City students. Read More

Fashion Tech

Pop-Up Pretty! NYC Partners with Local Retailer for Fashion Tech STORY Store

Our setting. (Photo: Yelp)

Pop-ups are ever popping up about the city like so many mushrooms after a rainstorm, so it was only a matter of time before we saw one just for fashion startups. The New York City Economic Development Corporation has just announced that it’ll be collaborating with retailer Story  on a competition dubbed Project Pop-Up NYC. It’s targeted to both up-and-coming retailers and (more importantly for our purposes) innovative fashion tech startups.

Up to three winners will get their very own pop-up within STORY’s Chelsea outpost during the month of September, which of course coincides nicely with Fashion Week. They’ll also win PR support, mentoring and “exposure at key industry events.” That last bit sounds a bit fuzzy, but the right mentor is a pearl beyond price. As many as eight other companies will also get display space. Read More

Made in NYC

Mayor Bloomberg Unveils New Map to Chart the Locations and Job Openings of NYC Tech Companies

The Made in NY Digital Map

It was sticky and rainy outside, but scores of people showed up to see Mayor Bloomberg shake his tech pom-poms today at Internet Week HQ. The Mayor trudged to 82 Mercer to announce a new initiative alongside chief digital officer Rachel Sterne, NYCEDC president Seth Pinsky and–surprisingly–Josh Miller, the cofounder of Branch.

So what exactly did Mr. Mayor have up his sleeve? Turns out it was a new interactive map that displays the locations of tech companies around New York City. A sidebar also displays which of these companies are currently hiring. Read More

Silicon Alley U

New Yorker Reveals More Details About NYC’s Botched Tech Campus Deal With Stanford

Stanford's proposal for Roosevelt Island

In this week’s issue of The New Yorker, the illustrious Ken Auletta, who recently profiled Sheryl Sandberg’s attempts to “upend Silicon Valley’s male-dominated culture,” looks at the Bay Area from a different perspective. This time, he analyzes how Stanford became “the farm system for Silicon Valley,” and whether the “gold-rush mentality” among both Stanford’s students and faculty is good for the university.

Tucked inside the story are also a number of details about why Stanford, which was widely considered a frontrunner to open a its first-ever second campus on Roosevelt Island, abruptly dropped its bid at the last minute. Read More

Love in the Time of Algorithms

Forever Alone in New York City? The EDC Is Here to Help!


New York City’s Economic Development Corporation is a lot of things to a lot of people: investor, incubator, job creator,  developer, and now, apparently, a matchmaker of sorts. Either that or an over-encouraging mom who’s just sure you’re gonna meet the right one, sweetie!

Today on the NYC EDC’s Tumblr, a blog typically devoted to Hizzoner’s policy musings, updates on the tech campus competition, or showing off the Mayor’s new Instagram account, went in a different direction with a post called “Ratio of Single Men to Single Women in NYC,” which, conventional wisdom holds, does not fall in a hetero lady’s favor.  Read More

Metro Tech

New York City Gets Its First Ever Entrepreneur In Residence, Steven Rosenbaum

The man in the middle

Ahhh, the EIR. It’s one of those amazingly vague and flexible positions that only exist in the tech industry. Part liaison, part networking hub, part founder, part investor (typically). As Mayor Bloomberg continues his quest to cuddle up to Silicon Alley, the New York City Economic Development Corporation has announced its first ever entrepreneur in residence, or in the EDC’s case “entrepreneur at large” Steven Rosenbaum, the founder and CEO of and creator of the recent 9/11 memorial app. Read More

Silicon Alley U

Forget Silicon Alley, Politicians Want Tech Campus in the Middle of the East River to Become ‘Silicon Island’


Thus far the anticipation index over Michael Bloomberg’s big plan to bring an engineering campus to New York has centered around which university will win the bid. (The mayor’s rather sweet on Stanford, but Cornell is doing a full court press.) While those two duke it out, jockeying for position has swung back over to where, exactly, this campus will be located. NYC EDC has offered up three city-owned plots of land: the Navy Hospital Campus at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Governors Island, or the Goldwater Hospital Campus on Roosevelt Island. And the latter has come out swinging.

At a press conference earlier this week, Councilwoman Jessica Lappin (D-Manhattan) told reporters, “We want Roosevelt Island to be Silicon Island.” But as Capital writer Dan Rosenblum points out, the pitch wasn’t held on the would-be developer mecca, but rather a Manhattan plaza at the end of the Roosevelt Island Aerial Tramway, “the gondola that for many years was the only public transportation available to the island from Manhattan without going through Queens.” (You can now get there via the F train.) A spokeswoman for Ms. Lappin told Capital said they wanted to host the press conference “on the quieter island, but said that they also wanted to make sure reporters would come.” Read More