Multiple sources have told Betabeat that IAC shuttered Hatch Labs–its incubator for building mobile tools, apps, and platforms–on December 31st. Hatch Labs closed both its fifth floor offices in the IAC building on 18th street and in Los Angeles.
“After exploring several strategic options for Hatch Labs, IAC stopped investing in the company, and their operations were subsequently discontinued,” IAC said in response to questions. “IAC is still funding and exploring options for a few of the assets that came out of Hatch Labs.”
Hatch Labs’ New York space is already occupied by other IAC entities. (The only exception is Blu Trumpet, which was spun out as an independent company in 2011, but remains in the Frank Gehry building.) When we stopped by the office last May, it had all the accoutrements of your standard startup accelerator, including a ping pong table and drawers full of free snacks.
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: email@example.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.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Betabeat arrived at the arty brick headquarters where AOL’s startup alter egos, QLabs and AOL Ventures, take up an entire floor at Broadway and Great Jones in Soho. We were greeted by QLabs founder and hacker Chris Danzig, QLabs hacker Eric Skiff, and hacker-biz developer Michael E. Gruen. Everyone’s title is “hacker,” we were told. “We’re extremely flat,” Mr. Danzig said.
The hackers were having trouble controlling the temperature on what was a very humid day. The QLabs space is like the underbelly of the Titanic, with myriad chambers divided by arches and doors. “We have the AC, the heat on, and the windows open,” Mr. Danzig apologized, as we settled into a small conference room around a table made of reclaimed wood.
QLabs is an experimental think tank for the rapid prototyping of ideas on the web, one or more of which will hopefully become the next big AOL property. There are only seven hackers on the QLabs team, with about three more in support staff—but the corporation rented the entire floor with the foresight that it may one day be filled with thriving companies spun out of QLabs projects.