Booting Up: Tony Hsieh’s Disneyland Edition


Zappos’ Tony Hsieh is using his empire to help revitalize downtown Las Vegas. “I first thought I would buy a piece of land and build our own Disneyland.” [New York Times]

Sources say the SEC’s probe into Facebook’s IPO has found no evidence that the company withheld information from investors. Good news for those seeking relief for the stock dive in civil court: Whether retail investors were led astray by misleading info from brokers still remains to be seen. [Bloomberg]

BuzzFeed is opening a Los Angeles bureau; prepare for a lot more celebrity photo lists. [BuzzFeed]

Internet service providers like Verizon and Time Warner have launched the Copyright Alert System, a new warning feature that will send notes to customers they’ve found are pirating content. Users who ignore these messages could even have their connections throttled, because ISPs will pretend to care about piracy if it gives them an excuse not to pay for bandwidth. [CNN]

Shopping for glitzy gowns just got a lot easier. On Friday, Rent the Runway introduced a new feature that replaces models with everyday women, “allowing visitors to search for women of a certain age, height, weight and even bust size, to see how that dress looks on someone similar.”  [New York Times]

XX in Tech

It Is 2012 and Pregnant Women are Still Discriminated Against by VCs

Ugh homegirl, we have anxiety FOR you. (

Upon navigating to the front page of the New York Times website this weekend, we were happily surprised to discover that a piece about women in technology occupied the feature spot. “Nurturing a Baby and a Startup Business” chronicles the difficulties of juggling motherhood and a booming business, through the lens of a handful of New York’s lady-driven startups: The Knot, Rent the Runway and Gilt Groupe, to name a few. Read More


When Is a Tech Startup Not a Tech Startup?

rent the runway

We frequently face this question here at Betabeat: What makes a tech startup a tech startup? All young businesses are startups, and a vast number of new businesses use technology or the Internet. So as a tech blog, how do we decide who to cover? Is Warby Parker a tech startup? Is Bonobos? Is Rent the Runway? All are lightweight on the tech side but have investment dollars from venture capitalists that specialize in tech.

The Start-Up Rundown

Start-Up News: Foursquare, Twitter, GroupMe 3.0; Ventures, Jobs, Reprisings


CHECKING UP. GroupMe 3.0 is out, and–what is this thing? We hardly recognize it anymore! GroupMe has taken group messaging to the next level with direct messaging, web chat and questions (ask a question, spark a conversation–in beta).

Foursquare rolls out brand pages. And brands can check in wherever they want! Silicon Alley-turned-Valley email start-up Tout now has Gmail integration. Voyurl announced an “all-new private beta.”

WE WANT YOU. Lerer Ventures hiring for an office assistantTwitter needs some business dev in its new office somewhere around Central Park. Advertising intelligence agency Rapleaf is hiring for a Lead Developer and some Amazing Engineers. Rent the Runway is hiring for a senior software engineer. AngelSoft is hiring for several positions.

BLASTING OFF. “Twitgram, a new, Web-based service now coming out of beta that … allows users to take a ‘half-step’ off of Twitter to send private messages, regardless of whether they follow each other, and without a 140 character (or any) limit.  In addition, Twitgram stores correspondence in threads, allowing users to track  correspondence. Twitgram’s additional functionalities include attachments, photos and group/team messaging, simply by having a Twitter handle, without the need to join yet another social network or download any software. Twitgram is the latest startup of New Yorkers David Rostan and John Holdun, formerly a top developer at”  Read More


Rent The Runway: We’re All About Analytics

jenny f rent the runway

“We don’t ever want to make decisions only based on our buyers’ whims,” Rent The Runway co-founder Jennifer Fleiss told Racked. Rent The Runway is a web-based service for renting dresses and accessories for a few days at a time, addressing the “closet full of clothes but nothing to wear” dilemma. The start-up is two years old, and given that dresses on the site run from $50 to a few hundred and the fact that the site’s traffice looks like a snake climbing some stairs, we’re guessing they’ve been generating not-insubstantial revenues. Read More