startup rundown

Startup News: The Library of Congress Has a Twitter Problem

Congress Fail Whale (Photo: blogspot.com)

API Rate Limit Exceeded Back in April of 2010, the Library of Congress promised to add every tweet up to that date to its famous archives. But like anyone following too many people at once, it’s just caused one big mess. The library now has an archive of approximately 170 billion tweets totaling to a compressed 133.2 terabytes. Now the librarians of Congress are planning to work with Gnip, the company currently organizing all of the data, to develop a plan for archiving all of the tweets.

Apparently there have already been more than 400 access requests to the Twitter archives from researches doing work on citizen journalism and political communications. Someone needs to teach the librarians how to make lists as soon as humanly possible. Read More

2013

‘Think Before Including Emoji in Every Text:’ NYC Techies’ New Year’s Resolutions

(Photo: DeviantArt)

2012 was quite a year for the New York tech community. Several NYC startups scored monster exits, while others raised millions to up their chances of scoring a ping pong table for the office. Whether or not that hotly debated bubble bursts, we imagine 2013 will be another exciting year for NYC’s tech set. Here are some New Year’s resolutions from some of the NYC tech community’s boldest names. Read More

Frankenstorm

NYC Startups Batten Down the Hatches for Sandy

Scary sky

With mass transit closed and dangerous storm surges set to wallop the city, New York startups aren’t messing around when it comes to hurricane prep. Most, like Usablenet, Kickstarter, HowAboutWe and SideTour, are urging employees to work from home due to the closure of the MTA system.

“We have a simple rule of thumb that if the subways are shut down, the office is closed and people can work from home,” Onswipe CEO Jason Baptiste told Betabeat over email. “A few of us are actually crashing here over the weekend – myself and a few engineers. We built the place to be like a home, so it’s a great place to be stuck for a few days :).”

“For those that are staying here, we have ample food, beverage, and entertainment. More iPads than flashlights,” he added.

Hey, we’re sure there’s a flashlight app. Read More

startup rundown

Startup News: Bloomberg Wiring up NYC and Canadians Make Sweet Love to Songza

Mr. Bloomberg. (Twitter)

Time Warner Still Sucks On Friday, Mayor Bloomberg made a big move toward ing promise to expand broadband in New York. He launched ConnectNYC, a contest for small businesses that will award free fiber cable wiring (overall value of up to $12 million) to 240 local businesses across the five boroughs over the next two years. But will it make slow cashiers go faster?

All Your Dwollas Belong To Us Dwolla, the way to pay people via smartphone, just rolled out a cool feature called MassPay. It allows you to pay up to 2,000 people at once, which is great for business owners or degenerate gamblers who have a lot of friends. Payments under 10 dollars are free, while anything higher than that requires a small fee of 25 cents per transaction. Parking Panda, VHX and Major League Gaming have all pledged to start using the service immediately. Read More

Hack Hack Hack Hack It Apart

Onswipe Announces Its First Hackathon, Encouraging Devs to ‘Hack Their Way to HTML5 Glory’

(Photo: Eventbrite)

Hey you, what are you doing next weekend? Would you like to flex your HTML 5 and Javascript skills with the potential to win some sweet prizes? If the answer is yes, Onswipe has a hackathon for you! If the answer is no, what’s your problem anyway?

On October 19th, Onswipe is holding its first ever 48-hour hackathon at the company’s Union Square-based HQ. The startup assures us, in bolded font, that there will be beer. The theme of the hackathon is HTML5–unsurprising given Onswipe’s own underlying code infrastructure. Read More

startup rundown

Startup News: Lerer Ventures Looks for a Hustler, Branch Steals From Twitter, BaubleBar Gets Brick and Mortar

(Photo: twitter.com)

Non Hustlers Need Not Apply Lerer Ventures is looking to hire a new analyst. The job requires one or two years of experience at a venture backed startup or major tech company. You have to also be “a sweet and cool person,” so no mean losers need apply. According to the listing, they’re looking for “A hustler and/or hacker who works smart.” We’re sending this to Cassidy right away.

Playing Hooky Not Cool On Friday, AT&T and NYC Digital will kickoff a hackathon designed to help Mayor Bloomberg’s Truancy Task Force. Designers and coders will be given the challenge to create a mobile app to keep kids in school. The first prize is pretty sweet and includes $2,500 in Gift Cards for the team to split, a $5,000 donation from AT&T to the team’s choice of non-profit organizations, and one year of the “Small” service from Github for each team member. No word on whether college dropouts are allowed to compete. Read More

shameless rumormongering

Rumor Roundup: AOL Is Sunsetting QLabs, Ron Jeremy Has Friends In Tech Places

(Photo: QLabs)

Good news, Silicon Alley denizens. After much demand from fellow gossip-mongers, Betabeat has decided to resurrect your favorite recurring Friday feature. Welcome back to Rumor Roundup! Overheard a juicy tidbit about impending departures or imminent acquisitions? Dying to dish about startup blunders or frothy financing? Holler at your girls: tips@betabeat.com

THE SUN SOMETIMES SETS ON THE AOL EMPIRE Multiple sources have told Betabeat that AOL Ventures plans on shutting down QLabs–the press-shy experimental think tank in Soho located at 670 Broadway. “The time frame must be darn near immediate,” one source told Betabeat, alluding to some urgency around winding down existing projects. “It’s dead,” said a source with indirect knowledge of the decision. “Their funding ran out,” the second source added, speculating that the initiative had a set funding size, but “nothing yielded.” Read More

True Crime

Spate of Attempted Robberies Hits NYC Startup Offices Onswipe and Shelby.TV

Onswipe's office. (Photo: Michelle Young, Untapped Cities)

A few weeks ago, Betabeat caught wind of a handful of attempted robberies that had taken place at startup offices around the Flatiron area. On a visit to his office, Onswipe CEO Jason Baptiste told us that a few men who looked to be in their early 20s had come to Onswipe claiming to be soliciting money for a sports team. Instead, they attempted to steal some of the company’s iPads. Read More

Going Mobile

With Two New Execs and Lofty Expansion Plans, Onswipe’s on Its Way Up

Mr. Baptiste (jasonlbaptiste.com)

The first sound we heard upon ringing the doorbell at the Onswipe offices just off of Union Square was the pitter-pattering of puppy footsteps. “Is that a dog?” we asked aloud to the well-dressed man who was also waiting to be let into the office. Sure enough, an Onswipe employee opened the door and a scruffy white dog excitedly greeted us.

Once we were in the loft-like offices, out came TechStars alum Jason Baptiste, Onswipe’s colorful founder, who after introducing himself made the dog (named Johnny) sit and shake. Johnny refused to do a spin though. “He’ll do anything if you have food,” acknowledged Mr. Baptiste, wearing a dapper grey suit and pink tie.

We were at Onswipe to discuss the company’s recent growth, which has been on an impressively upward swing since February. Onswipe’s staff has quadrupled to 25 in the last year, with plans to grow to 48 employees by year’s end. The company also recently added two new executive level positions: former VP of AOL Video Richard Bloom as its first COO, and former VP of sales at Jumptap Jared Hand as its first CRO. Read More