Internet Famous

Why Twitter Shut Down the Fame Game

Mr. Ludwin (Twitter)

The Twitter game Fame launched just a few weeks ago, but it appears the game’s 15 minutes of fame are already up. In a tweet sent yesterday, the team announced that Twitter planned to shut down the game because it violates its Terms of Service agreement.

As we reported in March, the Fame game gave us all a chance to feel like Lady Gaga for a day. Sign up to play, and you’re immediately entered into a lottery with a new winner daily. When your name is drawn, all Fame players automatically follow you, and you get a chance to prove why they should continue to follow you once your turn is over. But no longer–apparently the game violated the “spirit” of Twitter’s Terms of Service. Read More

Brooklyn's Finest

Don’t Believe the Hype: New York VCs Think Brooklyn’s the Illest


A week after we wondered whether Dumbo has hit maximum capacity–cobblestone streets, now in limited supply!–venture capitalists have arrived to big ups the borough.

Will Porteous, general partner at Manhattan-based RRE Ventures, tells peHUB that Brooklyn may just be the best place to launch, pointing out that eight RRE portfolio companies call Brooklyn home. Err, make that “were.” and Hot Potato were acquired (or acqui-hired, depending on who you ask) by Facebook in 2010, but that still leaves HowAboutWe, MakerBot, Pontiflex, and more for serious street cred.

Brooklyn Bridge Ventures founder Charlie O’Donnell, formerly of First Round Capital, does Mr. Porteous one better, wondering if Facebook will even be able to make devs happy from its stodgy Midtown perch. Estimating that “50 percent of people who work at venture-backed startups live in Brooklyn,” Mr. O’Donnell thinks the exodus has already begun. Read More

Internet Famous

Fame Game Is Like the Holy Grail of Twitter Filled With Instant Social Juice

Mr. Ludwin. (Twitter)

Adam Ludwin, a two-time entrepreneur and now a principal at RRE Ventures, is a fame monster, in that he’s looking for Lady Gaga-level fame. But he wants to share it with you, too. The affable Mr. Ludwin, along with Big Human developers Rus Yusupov and Dominik Hofmann, created a Twitter-based fame game that we predict will soon have all your followers spamming your timeline for invites.

Fame, the game, is brilliant in its simplicity. The goal is to make everyone as Twitter famous as Lady Gaga, for a day. This is accomplished via a mass follower agreement: sign up to play, and you’re entered into a lottery that selects a new winner every day. On the day you win, everyone else playing will automatically follow you for 24 hours. Right now that’s a 976-follower boost and a chance to convince everyone to keep you. Long Island Radio deejay Astra, today’s winner, saw her follower count go from 5,000 to 5,172. Read More


Numberfire, Data Science for Fantasy Sports, Raises $650 K. Seed Round From RRE, David Tisch, Eliot Durbin

No actual footballs were harmed in making of this startup

This is our second funding scoop of the day. Who wants to make it a hat trick?

Numberfire is a New York startup company taking an algorithmic approach to crunching data, helping fantasy sports nuts find the best players at the lowest prices. Founder and CEO Nik Bonaddio got his first $100,000 in seed capital from Regis Philbin, after starring in an episode of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.

Nothing against Regis, but the company has now put together a slightly more tech savvy group of investors. Numberfire, a graduate of the recent ER Accelerator program, has raised a $650,000 seed round from investors that include RRE Ventures, Pennyblack’s Eliot Durbin and TechStars David Tisch. Read More

Visiting Dignitaries

Meet Gidsy: TechStars’s SideTour Gets Its First Another Competitor in the ‘Authentic Experiences’ Market

A familiar avatar on the Gidsy homepage!

Update: As our esteemed commenters pointed out, we forgot about Vayable! Our bad.

When Betabeat first heard about SideTour, the TechStars startup serving up “authentic experiences” led by “interesting” people (say, Zen tea sessions from a Buddhist monk), we have to admit, our response was: fun idea! Smart dudes! But how big is the market of people who would actually sign up? Apparently bigger than we imagined, which might be why investors and mentors seemed so smitten with the startup.

Now, TechNewsDaily is reporting that a startup called Gidsy out of Berlin’s white hot startup scene has opened in New York City to play in SideTour’s home turf. Gidsy, which bills itself as an “authentic marketplace for tours, activity, and local events” opened in New York yesterday after launching in Berlin last week. Read More

Venture Capitalism

Money Raised by New York-Based Venture Capital Funds Dropped 40 Percent Last Quarter

RRE Ventures' Roger Ehrenberg via Information Arbitrage

The National Venture Capital Association and Thomson Reuters issued their third quarter survey today for money raised by venture capital funds and the results seem to show a downward trend, perhaps slouching towards that startup winter we’ve been warned about.

According to the report, 52 U.S. VC funds raised $1.72 billion in Q3–the lowest dollar amount raised since Q3 2003. The report says, “This level marks a 53 percent decrease by dollar commitments and a 4 percent decline by number of funds compared to the third quarter of 2010, which saw 53 funds raise $3.5 billion during the period.”

Just 16 percent of that $1.72 billion was raised for funds based in New York. NVCA sent Betabeat a breakdown that showed $278.64 million raised by seven different local funds, with the largest amount going to RRE. That’s a big drop from the $2.866 billion raised by New York-based funds in Q1, 2011 and notable 40.3 percent drop from the $463.73 million raised by New York funds in Q2. Read More


Nodejitsu, Support for JavaScript of the Future, Raises $750K


Nodejitsu, a three-person start-up based out of General Assembly that’s basically bootstrapped themselves through a year of coding, just raised its first round of outside funding: $750,000, led by General Catalyst.

The Nodejitsu team is building a platform that takes advantage of the buzz around node.js, a relatively new technology that’s rapidly gaining popularity with developers. RRE Ventures and First Round Capital also participated, after Mr. Robbins was introduced to investors there through contacts at General Assembly. Read More