Television Without Pity

In Which We Went to Bravo’s Casting Call for the Real Wantrepreneurs of Silicon Alley

The scene. (Photo by Michael Gold, via Instagram)

When we arrived at the Dream Hotel on 55th, there was already a substantial crowd of would-be attendees worrying that the one-hour open bar at #techdrinkup’s holiday party would end before we made it upstairs. Ahead of us, two young men were debating the relative merits of Sean Parker in the wake of Airtime’s abysmal numbers: “I’m a fan,” said Mr. Parker’s defender. “Everyone has success and failing.”

What no one mentioned within our earshot: Gotham Casting would be in the house, looking for personalities to feature in a possible New York spinoff of Start-ups: Silicon Valley, Bravo’s oft-maligned, Randi Zuckerberg-produced reality showRead More

Y Combinator

Alexis Ohanian, Rap Genius and Other Y Combinator Grads Hate on Silicon Valley at NYU Panel

"Leave me alone." (Photo: Twitter)

Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian hosted a talk at NYU last night featuring a slew of fellow Y Combinator grads. The Rap Genius guys were all there, as was Shoptiques founder Olga Vidisheva, and Tutorspree founders Aaron Harris and Josh Abrams. The conversation mostly revolved around all of their transitions from the business world to the tech scene, but the night got interesting when Mr. Ohanian urged the panel to hate on Silicon Valley.

“We were hating on the Bay Area,” he said. “And I think we should do that a little more.” Read More

Hustling

Laptop with a View: Startups Work from Home

Baby! (Photo:  Percolate)

Much of Silicon Alley is still without power, and so New York’s startup workers remain scattered across the city. But time and the tide of the internet wait for no man, and so many are currently working remotely–from their apartments, friends’ couches, coworking spaces, accommodating coffee shops, even bar stools.

One of the companies affected is curation engine Percolate, based in Soho. In a charming show of solidarity, each of the displaced employees has taken a picture of his temporary workspace, and they’ve all been posted on Percolate’s Tumblr.

(By the way, if that baby is seeking employment, Betabeat might be willing to look at an adorable résumé. It’s never too soon to start planning our next Poachables!)

Linkages

Booting Up: Turns Out Tech Companies Love Cities Edition

Good morning, sunshine! (Photo: flickr.com/globochem)

Bloggers: If you must accept a free plane ticket, be sure to get an old-fashioned, non-refundable paper return ticket, too. [The Next Web]

Wolfram Alpha now offers personal Facebook analytics, for the ultra-obsessed and the assiduous builders of their personal brands out there. [The Verge]

Okay, who told Richard Florida about Silicon Alley? Now we’ll never hear the end of it. [Wall Street Journal]

Good news: If you’re an ebook buyer, you’re eventually going to get a tiny refund. Bad news: It’ll be about 25 cents per book, and it’ll likely take years. [Paid Content]

The founder of The Pirate Bay has reportedly been arrested in Cambodia. [TorrentFreak]

Alley vs. Valley

The Nice Thing About the West Coast Is There’s Just So Much Space for Mansions

via Curbed.

In honor of the Zynga-enriched Pincuses, who recently closed on a $16 million Pacific Heights pile described as “very massive, very Old Money,” Curbed has an envy-inducing little roundup of swank mansions belonging to wealthy West Coast techies.

Suddenly, the Valley as tech nirvana makes more sense than ever. Not since the Gilded Age has it been possible for even the wealthiest robber barons to lay claim to this much space in Manhattan.

The new home of Mark and Allison Pincus is not merely spacious but just about as historic as you can get out in California, short of moving into a Spanish mission: Read More

Silicon Alley U

Columbia Gets in on the Action, as the City Coughs Up $15M. for a Third Tech Campus

Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Bollinger. (Photo: NYC Mayor's Office Instagram

This morning, the right honorable Mayor Bloomberg ventured north to the Columbia campus for what was teased on Twitter as a “big announcement.” It turns out that Columbia will not be left out while Cornell-Technion and NYU Polytechnic rake in all the glory, because the Lions are getting their very own tech project, the Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering.

Sound familiar? That’s probably because the project is what the university originally pitched, way back in October, for its very own applied sciences campus. For those keeping score at home, that brings the city’s total up to three tech campuses. Are you excited for science yet? Read More

Silicon Alley U

Christine Quinn Introduces a Cheaper Computer Science Option for NYC Students

The crisp Ms. Quinn.

It was merely mid-morning when Betabeat arrived at enterprise-focused accelerator Tipping Point Parters for a presser, and already everyone in attendance seemed to be wilting. The exception: City Council Speaker (and, let us not forget, mayoral candidate) Christine Quinn, who looked downright jovial. Perhaps she was just that excited about her coming announcement.

Or perhaps she was simply thrilled to be wearing what looked like seersucker, while the rest of us suffered in the heat.

We were gathered into a rather claustrophobic–but very well air-conditioned–startup space, complete with white lighting fixtures and random whiteboard. The occasion: The creation of two new programs meant to feed engineers and other much-needed tech talent into the city’s startup sector. Read More

Alley vs. Valley

Is New York’s Startup Scene a ‘One-Trick Pony’?

Not exactly a shutout, is it? (Graphic courtesy of CB Insights)

The latest CB Insights report on venture capital investment just dropped, and we’ve spent the morning digging into the data. Local entrepreneurs might want to sit down, because this is gonna sting a little.

Overall the quarter was a big one, with 812 deals adding up to $8.1 billion. The report points out that’s the biggest single quarter since the dot com days. (And what with Digg and Yahoo dominating the headlines, you’d be forgiven for getting a little confused on the year.) Seed stage investments made up 22 percent of those deals, which fits with our anecdotal sense that startups are springing up like mushrooms after a rainstorm.

In terms of deal volume, New York held onto the number-two spot for the second quarter in a row. A big part of that is digital: The report calls California and New York a “two-headed monster on the internet front,” and points out that “larger funding deals enable Florida and Washington to challenge Massachusetts for the #3 spot.” Read More

Space Invaders

Companies All Want to Rent Next to the Cool Kids in Silicon Alley

Look at her preen. (Photo: flickr.com/aka_kath)

Pop quiz: In which of America’s central business districts will you have the hardest time finding an office? Answer, according to a report from Bloomberg News, based on data from Cushman & Wakefield: The area between 30th St. and Union Square, a.k.a. Midtown south, a.k.a. Silicon Alley. Color us utterly unsurprised.

The article informs us:

The area known as midtown south has replaced Midtown as the most desirable location for companies to lease space, the brokerage said. Midtown south… has the lowest vacancy rate of all central business districts in the nation, at 6.1 percent, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

We also feel like it’s worth floating the possibility that proximity to the original Shake Shack might be a consideration.

Meanwhile, in Q2, rents for Midtown proper were down for the first time in two years. Yeah, no wonder: Have you tried finding a Starbucks without a twenty-minute-long line of tourists around here lately? Good luck.

This Happened

Silicon Alley VC Is No Lion King: ‘You Could Have All This,’ Points to Xbox

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Okay, we knew tech recruiting in New York City was bad, but we didn’t realize it had gotten embarrassing. Earlier today, “hybrid designer and technologist” Mike Bodge offered up a first-hand account of the wooing techniques of Silicon Alley venture capitalists on his tumblr.

Be warned, it involves a Segway, and what might soon become a catchphrase worthy of its own meme. In fact, it’s so deliciously sad, we wonder if we’re being punked. Let’s consider the evidence, shall we? Read More