Facebook’s recent acquisition of Oculus revealed some cracks in Kickstarter’s armor. It highlighted a number of issues arising from the way backers view their contributions and how Kickstarter campaigns sell themselves to backers. Coverage of Oculus’ Kickstarter debacle spanned from misunderstanding the issue completely to focusing on the outrage.
But much of Read More
Apple and Google execs probably won’t be going on a long-weekend together anytime soon, but Eric Schmidt acknowledged that the two companies are in ”constant business discussions on a long list of issues.” No word if that involves any trust falls. [Apple Insider]
Paul Greenberg, the CEO of CollegeHumor, is leaving the comedy website. Cofounder Ricky Van Veen announced that two execs from fellow IAC company Electus will assume the position. [AllThingsD]
Here’s a how-to guide on the ways developers rip off Apple’s App Store. [Daily Dot]
Kickstarter-backed smartwatch project Pebble has announced 275,000 preorders and has shipped nearly 100,000 devices to backers. [TNW]
Netflix is in talks with the producers of Arrested Development for another season. [Vulture]
Yes I'm the Great Unboxer
Real Genius Andreessen Horowitz invested $15 million in Rap Genius to help its Ivy League cofounders to annotate the Internet. But how much will they have to pay to rein in the braggadocious Mahbod Moghadam?
In a recent issue of Wakefield, a newsletter covering “tech and startup insight not captured elsewhere,” Maboo was up to his old shenanigans, volunteering information about a “feud” with Mark Zuckerberg, who also happens to be backed by Andreessen Horowitz.
Apparently, Mr. Moghadam was at Ben Horowitz’s home, “chilling” with Zuck and Nas as is the new mode of Silicon Valley socializing. (Mr. Horowitz happens to be close friends with Steve Stoute, Nas’ former manager.) Despite Zuck’s heightened privacy concerns (it’s complicated?) Rap Genius cofounder couldn’t resist Instagramming his good fortune.
Between Nick Bilton’s business section cover story and the Wall Street Journal‘s Foxconn follow-up, it was hard to miss this weekend’s agitprop about the inevitable iWatch. According to Dan Lyons, that’s exactly how Apple intended it. That stock slide isn’t going to manipulate itself!
Mr. Lyons traced the start of Apple’s whisper (in a reporter’s ear) campaign back to TechCrunch blogger, investor, and Apple stock holder MG Siegler, who called the time it takes to pull an all-serving computer out of his own pocket “insane.” That was followed by an impromptu treatise on the iWatch’s ability to “fill a gaping hole in the Apple ecosystem” from Cupertino’s former interface designer.
When the marketing peg for your Kickstarter project is that your product is less annoying to use than its competitor products, you probably want to deliver on that promise. The Portland-based Elevation Dock surpassed its funding goal back in February, raising almost $1.5 million, almost 20 times more than its $75,000 asking goal. The project’s premise was that, unlike other iPhone docks on the market, the Elevation Dock allows your iPhone to be easily lifted from the dock, without all that annoying shaking and yanking characterized by other docks. But according to Droplr cofounder Josh Bryant, the Elevation Dock is just as annoying to use as its competitors.
Imagine that you invented this really cool wristband alarm clock, and you think it could be a real ‘disruptive’ technology. You spend months mocking up a presentation to give to investors at TechCrunch Disrupt, but on the morning of your demo, rich assholes incapable of summoning empathy shit all over your startup, simply because it’s a hardware idea.
That’s pretty much exactly what happened to Julia Hu, the cofounder of Lark, according to CNN. Napster bad boy Sean Parker literally laughed her off the stage:
Oh, the Pebble. We’re almost getting tired of writing about it. The little e-paper gadget hit the “most-funded Kickstarter project EVAH” mark about six million dollars ago. Today, it surpassed $10 million in pledges and sold out of all 85,000 of its offered watches.
Seems like a good time to announce its second software partnership, right?
That’s exactly what the team did. The Next Web reports that another well-funded Kickstarter project, Twine, announced today that it had partnered with Pebble to offer real-time alerts to the watch.
The Pebble e-paper watch still has 16 days of funding left to go, but today the team already announced its first partnership with run tracking software startup Run Keeper. Because between cycle tracking, running and golf range tracking, you can never have enough self-quantifying apps, right?
The last time Betabeat checked in with Pebble the smartwatch, Y Combinator alum Eric Migicovsky had raised some $4.6 million on Kickstarter for an idea that struggled to find venture capital backing despite, you know, actually making revenue. (For those of you keeping track at home, Pebble has added $3 million on top of that for a total of $7.6 million–and counting!–with 17 days left to go.) Yesterday, Mr. Migicovsky got The New York Times treatment.
Now, all the fuss seems to have migrated over to the agenda for TechCrunch Disrupt. The conference just announced that for the first time in New York, the event will feature something called “Hardware Alley” alongside its standard “Start-up Alley” showcase on May 23rd. “We’re looking for promising hardware startups,” writes TechCrunch. “Got a disruptive Kickstarter project?” Gee, wonder who they’re talking about there.
Yesterday, we called it. The fact that Pebble the e-paper watch had raised $3.5 million with more than a month to go meant that KickStarter had hit the tipping point, surpassing even Double Fine Adventure’s previous high-score of $3,336,371. Maybe we shoulda waited awhile. Between now and then, Pebble has raised another million and change. The new total is $4,625,453 from 32,120 backers with 30 days to go.
At this rate, Pebble is going to raise $34 million before the jig’s up and Kickstarter should just secede from the Union and start minting their own currency. Maybe cfundrs or crowdsies™ or something.