The Principal of New York
Before Mayor Bloomberg signed up for Codecademy, before General Assembly signed its first lease in the Flatiron—even before Peter Thiel started paying kids to skip school—Skillshare founder and CEO Mike Karnjanaprakorn was trying convince New York investors to finance his peer-to-peer learning startup. He billed the company as the Etsy of education, since it set up a market for anyone to teach—and learn—practical skills through an affordable hands-on class, starting at $25 a night. (The hybrid online classes that Skillshare launched this August, with Livestream office hours, start at just $20 a night.)
Teach Me How to Startup
On a windy evening back in April, Betabeat took a Skillshare class with Designer Pages founder Avi Flombaum called, “Be One of the Cool Kids: An Introduction to Ruby on Rails.” We emerged a modicum cooler, with a much better understanding of Ruby, but nowhere near ready to touch an SDK.
“Does that make sense?” Mr. Flombaum asked repeatedly, thoughtfully checking in on whether his pupils understood why “hash is like a vending machine.” Once he got into the weeds, the best we could do without a programming background was nod politely and pretend.
That helps explain the need for his newest venture, the Flatiron School, which attempts to the close the gap between a dilettante and a skilled app developer.
eBay announced on its blog today that it has acquired Svpply, the NYC-based social shopping site that curates personalized collections of clothing and products. Located on Broome Street in Soho, Svpply raised $550,000 in seed funding back in 2010 from investors like Founders Collective, Spark Capital, SV Angel, Dennis Crowley and Jason Hirschhorn. Since then, Svpply has been bootstrapping itself to 620,000 product views per week and 140,000 registered members (as of May).
Last May, founder Ben Pieratt offered a candid perspective on first-time entrepreneurship, admitting his vulnerability. ”I have zero experience or expertise in building a company,” he wrote in a 2011 blog post. “So I’m learning on the fly.”
Job Search CareerSonar, a new job search site designed to help users discover the most promising career opportunities by integrating their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, just announced their private beta launch. You can try out the site now with an early access invite.
Pets PetFlow, a New York-based scheduled pet food delivery service, just announced that it fulfilled more than $2.5 million in pet food and supply orders during the month of July. The company projects it’ll generate more than $30 million in sales by the year’s end.
Filters Are your Instagram photos not looking grainy enough lately? If so, you may want to check out StrutType, a new photo app designed to replicate the process of using a strut folding camera. Apparently, the app applies a series of filters, canvases, textures, light leaks and other aging techniques to “render an authentically antiquated image.”
Teach Me How to Startup
Last week, Skillshare, the disruptive teaching platform backed by Union Square Ventures and Spark Capital, announced a big expansion: incorporating an online element into its classes. Rather than relying on its popular in-person workshops, which Betabeat has personally employed to brush up on our coding and financial modeling skills, the startup opened its doors around the globe with “Hybrid” classes that combine those in-person workshops with “project-based online learning.”
Skillshare cofounder Michael Karnjanaprakorn came up with the idea for this hybrid approach when he was teaching his own class, “Launch Your Startup Idea for Less than $5000.″ Instead of just lecturing at students, he began asking them to present their ideas at the end of class and the results dramatically improved, leading to the creation of actual startups like RentHackr and Hashpix.
More than 150 people braved last night’s land hurricane–technically called a derecho–to attend Coalition for Queens’ second Queens Tech Meetup at Hunters Point Plaza in Long Island City.
Unfortunately, the crowd of young professionals was only able to enjoy rooftop views of the Manhattan skyline for a short while before the clouds came rolling in. Thankfully, the demos inside provided plenty of amusement, including a tug-of-war match and a feline photo shoot for mycatandi.com.
Goooood Morning Silicon Alley!
This is a guest post from Gary Sharma (aka “The Guy with the Red Tie”), founder and CEO of GarysGuide and proud owner of a whole bunch of black suits, white shirts and, at last count, over 40 red ties. You can follow him at @garysguide and reach him at gary [at] garysguide.com.
Want to hang out with former President Bill Clinton? Well of course you do! He will be in town this week to talk about his Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) at the Sustainable Operations Summit.
Funders & Founders are organizing an event called “Love, Sex, and Tech,” an 800-person dating startup show on Apr 19 in San Francisco. Now, whenever one encounters the words love, sex and tech in the same sentence in an event title the obvious next step is to go check them out, right?
Internet Week NY, that annual week-long geek fest celebrating NYC’s thriving internet industry & community, is coming up soon (May 14-21). So hurry up and go grab your Insider / HQ Pass and get ready to party!
Okay, and now let’s see what glorious tech events are happening in the Alley this week…
Goooood Morning Silicon Alley!
This is a guest post from Gary Sharma (aka “The Guy with the Red Tie”), founder and CEO of GarysGuide and proud owner of a whole bunch of black suits, white shirts and, at last count, over 40 red ties. You can follow him at @garysguide and reach him at gary [at] garysguide.com. Read More
Branch is billed as a curated discussion platform, but we’ve also found it to be an excellent tool for eavesdropping.
Today, Josh Miller–the founder of Branch who thinks San Francisco is ‘too nice‘–started a conversation on the platform entitled, “Houses, Schools, and Town Squares – Building Next Generation Social Products.” Several tech heavyweights chimed in to discuss a metaphor coined by ex-Facebooker and current Path CEO Dave Morin that compares Facebook to a town square–prompting Eric Fisher, who wrote Facebook’s Social Design Guidelines to help you build great social experiences, to protest that the social network is actually “centered on individuals and their friends which is a very self-serving, egocentric model.”
the startup rundown
WICKA WICKA. Turntable.fm is in the big leagues now as the young music based social platform signs deals with Sony BMG, Universal, EMI and Warner, TechCrunch reports. Turntable has over one million users now and a new mobile app since September.
HIPSTARTER. San Francisco based Indiegogo, a crowdfunding platform with offices in Soho that competes with Kickstarter, announced the perfection of their “gogofactor,” a proprietary algorithm that ranks projects based on popularity and viability. This makes Indiegogo the only crowdfunding platform with this type of merit-based ranking functionality. Your move, Kickstarter.