JackThreads Gets an iPads App Purveyor of men’s clothes and accessories JackThreads is attempting to seal up its lucrative mobile market. The company, described as ‘urbo-hipster’ by TechCrunch, is currently generating about 40 percent of revenue via its iPhone app. CEO Ben Lerer revealed how he was excited to “Roll out this beast to our guys.” Not sure if “beast” correctly describes a collection of blazers and jackets, but we wish them luck.
2012 was quite a year for the New York tech community. Several NYC startups scored monster exits, while others raised millions to up their chances of scoring a ping pong table for the office. Whether or not that hotly debated bubble bursts, we imagine 2013 will be another exciting year for NYC’s tech set. Here are some New Year’s resolutions from some of the NYC tech community’s boldest names.
With mass transit closed and dangerous storm surges set to wallop the city, New York startups aren’t messing around when it comes to hurricane prep. Most, like Usablenet, Kickstarter, HowAboutWe and SideTour, are urging employees to work from home due to the closure of the MTA system.
“We have a simple rule of thumb that if the subways are shut down, the office is closed and people can work from home,” Onswipe CEO Jason Baptiste told Betabeat over email. “A few of us are actually crashing here over the weekend – myself and a few engineers. We built the place to be like a home, so it’s a great place to be stuck for a few days .”
“For those that are staying here, we have ample food, beverage, and entertainment. More iPads than flashlights,” he added.
Hey, we’re sure there’s a flashlight app.
Brain Boost This morning, Braintree, a Chicago-based online payments company announced, a $35 million series B round of funding. The round was led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA). By investing in Braintree, new investors join Accel Partners and others and the company’s total funding is now set at $70 million.
Braintree acquired the beloved bill splitting app, Venmo, back in August and has kept it independent so far. Braintree allows businesses to accept payments from costumers, but Venmo allows consumers to make payments to anyone. It’s a natural fit for both parties.
Braintree’s client list includes fast-growing startups like Uber, Fab.com, Airbnb, who use it, “through periods of rapid growth without disruption to their ability to accept payments,” the company said in an email to Betabeat. They also name-checked competitors like Stripe and PayPal, noting that one “big difference is that merchants receive their funds typically in two days with Braintree, vs. seven days with Stripe.”
Earlier today, Betabeat ventured downtown for a tech-world double whammy: Not just Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but also Google chairman Eric Schmidt were scheduled to speak. The pair were stopping by the joint headquarters of Boxee and Sidetour for a quick check-up on the state of New York tech.
After a barrage of stats illustrating New York’s rise to tech superstardom–for example, between 2007 and 2010, the number of employees at New York City digital media companies has grown 74 percent–Mayor Bloomberg segued into the news, such as it was.
On the heels of a nighttime cab ride testing Square technology with CEO Jack Dorsey, he’d just come from a morning meeting where he’d convened leaders–from Valley heavy hitters like Twitter CEO Dick Costolo to Alley stalwarts like Union Square Ventures ringleader Fred Wilson–for a roundtable dubbed “Keeping the Edge,” focused on the areas of infrastructure, education, and innovation.
Look At Me Now
We feel a little guilty. We’ve been fickle and easily distracted. Last year, the first two TechStars NYC classes were all we could talk about. But when their programs ended, we kind of forgot about them and directed our attention to the newest TechStars NYC class. Shame on us!
But back in the day, those first 23 companies were all the rage. Like shiny new toys, they were exciting and fascinating. There was even a reality television show about them. So even though their three-month, highly-competitive startup accelerator program has ended, these companies are still around. They didn’t just vanish into thin air. (Well, some of them did).
But all of this begs the question, where are these companies now? How have they fared in the big, bad world? Did they flop? Or surpass expectations?
We didn’t know, so we decided to find out. And it turns out that we weren’t the only ones who were curious about what these companies have been up to.
the startup rundown
PERFECT TEN. Last Wednesday Time Inc. brought together editors from many of their news properties to bestow upon us the “10 NYC Startups to Watch.” Only in the startup picking game since lat year’s Internet Week, Time Inc. has already picked winners like GroupMe, which was purchased by Skype for a supposed $85 milion.
The startups that made the cut for 2012 are Adaptly, a social advertising platform; Art.sy, the Pandora of art; Codeacademy, an interactive self-paced tool to learn to code; Enterproid, a mobile platform to segregate work from personal information on a single mobile device; Fab—you already know what Fab does; Fancy Hands, a provider of virtual personal assistants; Loosecubes, a matchmaker for workers and workspaces SideTour; a community marketplace for booking and hosting adventures, Stamped; a five-star-only mobile rating app and Truth Art Beauty; an online platform where users can custom-create skincare blends.
FOUNDER POWER. This Friday Women 2.0 is hosting their New York Founder Friday at 16 East 34th Street. Featured founders Cheryl Yeoh of CityPockets and Eloise Bune of GraciousEloise will begin speaking at 7 p.m. but the event will kick off at 6 p.m. with an introduction by Matt Wolfrom of Makovsky and Company, the event’s sponsor. Founder Friday is free, and open to people of all genders, unlike the LOL-inducing “Jews against the Internet” rally, which is $10 and closed to women. Unfortunately, Founder Friday is already at capacity. Add your name to the wait list and cross your fingers.
RALLY IN THE ALLEY. The Association for a Better New York Foundation and Mayor Bloomberg honored the city’s technology leaders in Union Square last Thursday including Foursquare cofounder Dennis Crowley, Greycroft’s Alan Patricof, ideeli CEO Paul Hurley and NYTM cofounder Dawn Barber. The Lew Rudin Founder’s Award went to New York City deputy mayor for economic development Robert Steel.
So Refresh and So Clean
“As Lean junkies, we’ve been running SideTour for the last 6 months on the MVP we built over two weeks in Techstars last summer,” SideTour cofounder Mark Webster wrote in an email. SideTour, a marketplace for people who want to host activities—amateur tour guides, and the like—launched six months ago on a basic site hacked together with Eventbrite and WordPress. Since then, it’s raised $1.5 million, built the team up to nine, and took 100 feedback meetings with users, which all adds up to a redesigned, fuller-featured version which launched to all users today.
the startup rundown
GENERAL ASSEMBLY. Besides that $2,800 Ruby class, General Assembly is ramping up its curriculae big time with classes on everything from how to use Twitter to starting up in China. The campus is also hunting for teachers. “Want to teach at General Assembly? Get in touch by completing the form here.”
HIRING. As activity marketplace SideTour prepares to leave the TechStars offices for greener pastures this Friday, the startup has officially started hiring for a lead engineer and “host development manager.” Business Insider is looking for a biz dev intern.
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.