Lawyers Guns and Money

Google Investor Offers Cash Prize For ‘The iPhone of Guns’

#tech (Photo: Getty)

With legislators debating the pros and cons of high-tech handguns, Silicon Valley tech types are salivating over the potential to disrupt the multi-billion-dollar American gun market.

“We need the iPhone of guns,” Ron Conway, an early investor in Google and Facebook, told the Post. “The entrepreneur who does this right could be the Mark Zuckerberg of guns. Then the venture capitalists like me will dive in, give them capital, and we will build a multibillion-dollar gun company that makes safe, smart guns.” Read More


Booting Up: Bloomberg, Tech Investors to March (Virtually) for Immigration Reform


Mayor Michael Bloomberg is teaming up with a group of high-profile investors, including Fred Wilson, Ron Conway and Paul Graham, to “push for smart immigration reform to attract and keep the best, the brightest and the hardest-working to fuel innovation and American jobs.” [March for Innovation]

It wasn’t so long ago that the Nook was the key to Barnes & Noble’s future. Now the bookseller is planning to back off of its efforts to sell its own e-reader, and is working on strengthening partnerships with tablet suppliers. [NYT]

It’s not that Julian Assange isn’t giving interviews—it’s just that he’s leading a busy life inside the Ecuadorian government’s London embassy, and it’s a question of fitting reporters in. [Ars Technica]

Kara Swisher leans into the backlash against Facebook COO’s Sheryl Sandberg’s new book. [AllThingsD]

In case you can’t wait for the competing biopics currently in production, here’s what it’s like to go on a double-date with John McAfee. [PandoDaily]

The Data Deluge

Big Data Funding Gets Bigger: IA Ventures Raised $105 M, Double Its Previous Fund


IA Ventures, the New York City-based firm with a big data fetish, just announced that it raised $105 million towards a second fund. That’s more than double the $50 million seed fund IA Ventures founder Roger Ehrenberg raises in 2010.

With this new fund, Mr. Ehrenberg told TechCrunch, IA Ventures will be able lead seed rounds as well as series A and B rounds and follow a company through its growth. Previously, IA gravitated towards pre-revenue companies “between a Powerpoint and a prototype.” Those companies, says TechCrunch, require more “hands-on work,” and with Fund II, IA Ventures will be able to diversify its portfolio into both seed-stage and later-stage companies.

TechCrunch’s post on the new fund set off a chain of negative responses on Twitter, unrelated to IA Ventures, but rather to do with a theory Erick Schonfeld slipped into the piece about the difference between East Coast and West Coast investors below. Read More

Visiting Dignitaries

Sean Parker Thinks Angel Investors Not Named Ron Conway Should Stop Writing So Many Checks


Sean Parker had some choice words for early stage Silicon Alley investors on stage at the Techonomy conference today. And when we say choice, we mean Aaron Sorkin couldn’t have written his lines better.

As AllThingsD reports, Mr. Parker seemed to have number of misgivings against the froth he sees among Valley investors right now, which he says damages a startup’s ability to have major impact.

“A lot of those early stage investors, they’ll fund literally anything” said Mr. Parker said, who referred to the current model as “the assembly line approach to investing.” As in: an idea comes in, an investment comes out.  Meanwhile, he noted, in order to tap into that deal flow, VCs and other later stage investors are plunking down cash much earlier.

Mr. Parker was sharing the stage with his host and friend David Kirkpatrick, author of The Facebook Effect and recent Vanity Fair profile of Mr. Parker, as well as Jim Breyer, a Facebook board member and investor in Mr. Parker’s pre-launch startup Airtime. (Presumably, none of Mr. Parker’s criticism applied to Mr. Breyer’s investment strategy.) Read More

Visiting Dignitaries

Paul Graham Explains What Makes Some Cities Great Startup Hubs

Paul Graham, image via Inc

Paul Graham surprised us at Y Combinator’s first ever Manhattan meetup tonight. In town for the innagural YC in NYC, Mr. Graham recalled that when he set out to build his first startup, he was living in New York. It was the dot-com boom, and even though he hated the weather, and how sweaty it made his upper lip, he could see that New York would eventually surpass Boston. “New York investors had balls that folks from Boston didn’t.”

But the sudden prominence of New York has left Mr. Graham questioning his universe. “Will New York catch up to the Valley, will it surpass us?” he asked the hundreds of local hopefuls gathered at the Metropolitan Pavilion. He had long wondered why certain cities seemed to seemed to be poison for startups. “I realized I was asking the wrong question. Startups die naturally and certain cities are the antidote.” Read More


Happy Anniversary GroupMe! Ron Conway in the VIP, Aviary Saves Lives

@stevejang, @Megan and @chelsa

Betabeat pulled an all-nighter in midtown last night. First a quick roll at the Renzo Gracie’s academy, then back to the office for a dinner of street meat, change into our game face, and off to the Hudson Hotel at West 58th for GroupMe’s one year anniversary party.

The first person we recognized entering the cavernous basement space was GroupMe co-founder Steve Martocci. Happy anniversary, brah.

“Dude, you like Talking Heads?”

Who doesn’t?

“We got this Talking Heads cover band, just finished their first set. They’re amazing.” Never forget, GroupMe was inspired by Martocci’s troubles communicating with his friends and fellow fans who were following the Disco Biscuits around on tour.

The circle widened to reveal two of New York media’s eligible free agents chatting it up. “You want a drink,” offered bachelor # 18, TechCrunch’s Jason Kincaid, the smell of sweet California sun still lingering around the newly-minted New Yorker. “Yes please,” replied bachelorette number #25, Megan McCarthy, who left San Fran a few months before Mr. Kincaid to run MediaGazer. Read More