The Real TechStars of New York
At any startup accelerator, Demo Days are a relentlessly upbeat affair–a parade of promotional pitch decks and stats about market size that somehow always reach up into the billions. But in New York City, Techstars’ biannual showcase takes the cake.
Founded in Boulder, the program launched in New York in 2011 (just as the startup scene cried out for tent poles to rally around) and easily fills auditoriums. Companies often announce “soft-circled” funding or even that the round has already closed. Mayor Bloomberg even called the number of investors who fly to New York to check out presentations, “proof positive that the TechStars is going to change this world and certainly change America and this city.”
Or as TechStars mentor Joel Spolsky put it before introducing one of the startups at Webster Hall: ”Time to get my company oversubscribed.”
Worst nightmare for workday Skype gossipers: It appears until very recently there was a vulnerability that made it possible for anyone who knows your email to hijack your account. UPDATED: Skype says it’s been resolved. [TNW]
Do you fret about the amount of info you’ve shared with Facebook? Think for a minute about your Google Search history taken as a whole, and you’ll have a panic attack. [Buzzfeed]
As we head into the holidays, an update from Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson reveals that the community is now 20 million users strong and did more than $700 million in sales in 2012. By the end of the year, total all-time marketplace sales will surpass 100 million products. The company is also doing a holiday popup shop in Soho this year–right next to Dior. Fancy! [Etsy]
Are startups funded in the early-stage investing boom starting to run out of money? [Business Insider]
Judging from this video about the Jawbone UP, wearable computing requires a whole lot of trial and error in the design process. [Fuse Project]
Seed Stage Slaughter
The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) and Dow Jones VentureSource just released their sixth annual Venture View survey today, polling 500 VCs and CEOs of venture-backed companies. If their instincts are right, all the happy go-go funding news, we’ve been hearing—including $17.8 million for TaskRabbit, $35 million for Outbrain, and $2 million for Zipmark just in the last 24 hours—doesn’t tell the full story of what to expect in 2012.
Outlook has shifted from optimism to realism, with CEOs more optimistic than investors themselves.
Seed Stage Slaughter
Andrew Albert, 49, convinced at least three investors to give him about $590,000 for a luxury shopping site, according to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., who announced an indictment on charges of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree and Criminal Tax Fraud in the Third Degree. “Andrew Albert falsely told investors that his shopping website would feature a virtual street akin to famous retail boulevards like Madison Avenue or Rodeo Drive,” Mr. Vance said in a statement. “In reality, the company he created served as nothing more than a bank account that the defendant used to pay for his personal expenses and lavish lifestyle.”
On1ave.com, the website Mr. Albert and his partner at the time, Prada PR vice pres Melissa Skoog, were allegedly building and which The New York Observer reported on in 2008, appears to be long-stale. A simple HTML page says “Welcome to a new & exciting way to shop, socialize and live. On1Ave, A Brand New World. Opening Summer 2009.”