The Third Degree
Pedro Torres Picón is an angel investor of the new breed: Young, hip, and handy with an Instagram, it’s suddenly clear how he managed to make his way into a slew of impressive investments despite moving to New York two years ago without knowing a soul. Mr. Picón has an easy manner, a sweet smile and a certain trustworthiness about him; and, in this town, being personable is most of the battle.
It doesn’t hurt that he’s sharp.
Allen Shulman, the 47-year-old, snowy-haired architect who had been building homes for 25 years before he decided to do an Internet startup, promised us the sun was shining in Denver when we spoke this morning at 9 a.m. Mountain Time.
Betabeat doesn’t usually cover startups based outside of New York, but we’re making an exception: BrightNest has a New York investor, Quotidian Ventures, and its seed round, which closed in October, went unreported. Until now, sorry: $665,000 led by David Cohen through his fund Bullet Time Ventures, with New World Ventures, OCA Ventures, and 11 assorted angels participating, on top of a $335,000 convertible note raised from friends and friends of friends in January 2011. Mr. Shulman and his cofounder, CTO Justin Anthony, made sure to close their funding before they started the winter session at 500 Startups; the company is now raising its Series A.
When BrightNest’s marketing rep pitched us on the startup—”our goal is to make changing furnace filters and cleaning gutters sexy”—we thought it sounded like, well, a bit of a reach for a write-up, for reasons other than geography. A startup built around reminding you to clean your gutters? With all the Twitters and FarmVilles competing for browsing time, how could you ever convince users to spend time with something that most closely resembles a nagging spouse, bugging you to change the lightbulbs, and making you think about things you don’t want to think about, like the mold slowly spreading through your basement?
Apartment hunting in New York can be a soul-crushing time-suck. Just ask our friend who is crying about it right now. (Speaking of, anyone know of a nice studio/1-bedroom in Prospect Heights? He could really use your help!)
To the rescue comes Nestio, the very first start-up to present at TechStars’ Demo Day in April. The NYC real estate bookmarking site just secured itself the entire $750,000 it was aiming for, besting the $100,000 it had “soft-circled.” Angel investors for the seed funding round, led by NY-based Quotidian Ventures, include Gotham Gal Joanne Wilson, Barbarian Group’s Rick Webb, Betaworks’ Josh Auerbach, and TechStars New York’s David Tisch. The start-up aims to make it “easier to find a place to live” by organizing apartment listings so you can compare price/bedroom/location side-by-side either online or via its streamlined apps.