Movin On Up

Spark Capital’s Mo Koyfman Promoted to General Partner

Mo' Koyfman, mo' investments.

Spark Capital just announced the promotion of principal Mo Koyfman, the golden-haired Wharton alum who joined the firm in the summer of 2008 after more than six years sourcing deals and incubating startups at IAC.

It won’t be much of a change, as far as the young investor’s duties go. “I’ve already been functioning in the capacity as a general partner so to speak,” he told Betabeat this afternoon, noting that he sits on six or seven boards now including Skillshare, Workmarket, Svpply, gdgt and Aviary. “It’s a bit of a rubber stamp and certainly an acknowledgment of the efforts I’ve made to date, which I appreciate tremendously.” Read More

clone wars

Skillshare Actually Worth Just $5,000 on the Open Market

clone wars


Do you want a Skillshare clone for Christmas? Have one built today! There are 20 bids over at the free programming classifieds site scriptlance.com, where an entrepreneur has requested a double of the popular democratized teaching platform. “I need a developer who can clone skillshare.com for me as it is with the functionality. Looking for a good price and skills who can communicate on day to day basis. I am open to use any php frameworks or CMS,” says the Nov. 28 post. Read More

So Refresh and So Clean

Education Revolutionary Skillshare Keeps Eye on the Prize With New Redesign

Mr. Ong's profile.

Skillshare recently opened up nationally after going city-by-city while it ironed out the kinks in its democratized teaching platform; now the startup is up to 10 employees, with two starting next week and three more hires to be announced soon, says CEO Mike Karnjanaprakorn. But he had a bigger announcement today: a fairly drastic redesign, meant to reorient Skillshare to its core competancy. Read More

Do It For Me

Brother, Can You Spare Some Time? Zaarly, TaskRabbit and the Rise of the Convenience Economy

Illustration by Oliver Munday

Chad Miller likes to think of running errands for strangers on TaskRabbit as a quasi-religious experience—or at least as close to spiritual as a gay former Southern Baptist from West Texas is likely to find in New York. Mr. Miller is a 38-year-old Columbia graduate who acts, writes and works full-time managing outreach for the university’s Arts Initiative. He signed up for TaskRabbit as his “tertiary job” in September, shortly after the Boston-based startup launched in New York.

“This is going to be incredibly gay as I’m saying it,” Mr. Miller laughed, “but it’s very hakuna matata, Disney-fied—you put it out there and you get a little back. The karma piece is really nice.”

Along with a bumper crop of like-minded companies, such as Zaarly, Fancy Hands and Agent Anything, that have entered the New York market in the past year or so, TaskRabbit offers an updated play on Craigslist for the iPhone-era: buyers post the dirty work they want to get done and nearby “Rabbits” bid on the jobs. Service requests range from the sophisticated—“Motivate me to write a book :)” read a recent TaskRabbit request from Midtown—to the menial. “$50 for a Massage,” a Zaarly user on the West Side posted in November. “General massage,” the ad elaborated, tersely, in the description. For the most part, however, Rabbits are asked to perform domestic drudgery: assembling Ikea furniture tops the list.

It’s easy to see why democratizing the personal assistant might do well in New York, a city largely unburdened by hang-ups about, say, paying $20 to avoid wasting time in a Laundromat, even when one’s budget barely permits it.

In the past three months, Mr. Miller has made a little over $2,000 on the kind of irksome chores overextended urbanites are eager to slough off on someone else, including driving strangers to JFK, waiting in line for hours to save someone’s seat for a Conan taping and lugging furniture to a fourth-floor walk-up. The money’s nice and all, but to hear Mr. Miller tell it, the appeal doesn’t sound far off from “Love thy neighbor.” Read More

Goooood Morning, Silicon Alley! Gary Sharma’s Picks for the Week of Halloween: The Multi-Million Dollar Edition

garysguide

This is a guest post from Gary Sharma (aka “The Guy with the Red Tie”), Founder of GarysGuide, Mentor at ER Accelerator and proud owner of a whole bunch of black suits, white shirts and, at last count, over 40 red ties. You can reach him at gary [at] garysguide.com.

Just Peachy
It starts off innocently enough with buzzwords like platform, brands, game mechanics, engaging clients, social graph … yada yada yada … being thrown about. And then suddenly this … “We’ve been thru a ton of together. I know her mood swings, I know when her blood sugar gets low.” Wait, whaaa…? Yup, thats Betabeat’s very own new reality show, of course. ;) It’s called “The Pitch” and as Betabeater Ben Popper recently tweeted, it’s got everything from college seniors and corporate bankers to toy makers and fashionistas trying their hand at the startup lifestyle. And yes, plenty of baseball metaphors. So go grab some popcorn, lean back and press the play button already.

Deals, deals & more deals
As always, we got a bunch of cool deals for y’all including classes at General Assembly, the Raise Cache tech fashion show, 500 Startups Warm Gun conference and more.

And now, lets take a peek behind the curtains to see who’s performing (and who’s showboating) in the Flatiron production of Silicon Alley this week… Read More

Startup News: Skillshare Creep! Forrst Recruiting! And Happy Birthday Wanderfly

forrst

SKILLSHARE EVERYWHERE. Skillshare had two big announcements yesterday: 1) the democratized education platform is available in “every major city” in the U.S. now, and 2) CEO Mike Karnjanaprakhorn has been named one of 12 TED fellows in 2012.

FORRST RANGERS. The developer community Forrst has started posting jobs. Bring it on, Stack Overflow.

SAVE AMIT. The campaign for Amit Gupta continues! Upcoming: bone marrow drive in Delhi and swabbing party in Somerville and much, much more.

DREAM TEAM. New Work City is joining forces with the hackers of NYC Resistor to cross-promote events. Synergy!

XX INNOVATION LUNCH. “I’m super psyched for my lunch this Friday,” Charlie O’Donnell wrote in his newsletter this week.  “Marissa Campise from Venrock and Sarah Tavel from Bessemer are co-hosting a lunch with me for up and coming women entrepreneurs to get a chance to meet venture investors.” Read More

the startup rundown

Startup News: Skillshare Shares New Courses and Tentative.ly Tentatively Launches

SHARE AND TELL. Skillshare is testing out “courses,” similar to the multi-part classes and certification programs at General Assembly. The first trial course is being run by CEO Mike Karnjanaprakhorn called “Launching Your Startup Idea.” “We’re looking to expand our class types so it’s not just one-off-classes,” he said.

IDK WE MIGHT GO. Does anyone else here hate Plancast? Betabeat does! We also hate Google Calendar! So much clicking! So it was of great interest to us to see that WeWork Labs-based startup Tentative.ly has soft launched to let you easily bookmark events across the web.

CAPTURE THE FOURSQUARE. From New Work City and New Zealand startup Snapr: “We are launching a new app – Capture the Flag “The Mobile Photosharing Game of World Domination” that’s built off our API and takes advantage of our soon to be announced location based gaming features. You can see a demo for the game and download the app here: http://capturethefl.ag/. In the game people join teams and then check in photos to win territory.” Read More

On The Calendar

Goooood Morning, Silicon Alley! Gary Sharma’s Picks for the Week of September 19: The Billionaires & Supermodels Edition

garysguide

This is a guest post from Gary Sharma (a.k.a. “The Guy with the Red Tie”), founder of GarysGuide, mentor at ER Accelerator and proud owner of a whole bunch of black suits, white shirts and, at last count, over forty red ties. You can reach him at gary [at] garysguide.org.

So, last week NY Mag wrote an article titled Bubble Boys which takes a look at some of the young upcoming hackers & coders (future Mark Zuckerbergs) in Silicon Valley. While the piece itself was pretty interesting, one thing gave me pause. No girl hackers or coders were profiled. Not to give author Christopher Beam a hard time as this probably was just an inadvertent omission, cuz surely there must be at least one profile-worthy hacker girl in the valley. Hopefully he’s working on fixing that flub. :)

Meanwhile, I thought this is as good a time as any to shine the spotlight on some amazing folks in the NY tech scene who are working tirelessly to help bring more women into the startup and tech world, cuz while the ratio is improving, it still isn’t where it needs to be quite yet. These include Sara Chipps and Vanessa Hurst of Girl Develop IT, Rachel Sklar and Emily Gannett of Change The Ratio, Adriana Gascoigne and Tommy Jenkins of Girls In Tech NYC, Nelly Yusupova of Webgrrls NYC, Tania Yuki and Jamie Lee of Women in Media, Shaherose Charania of Women 2.0 and Founder Labs, Janet Hanson of 85 Broads, Anna Akbari and Nicole Skibola of Womens Collaborative NYC, Stephanie Hanbury-Brown and Peggy Wallace of Golden Seeds, Angie Grabski of Step Up Womens Network NYC, Cindy Gallop of If We Ran The World and many many more. If I’ve missed any, lemme know. Read More

On The Calendar

Goooood Morning, Silicon Alley! Gary Sharma’s Picks for the Week of September 12 (The Look Ma, I’m on TV! Edition)

garysguide

This is a guest post from Gary Sharma (aka “The Guy with the Red Tie”), Founder of GarysGuide, Mentor at ER Accelerator and proud owner of a whole bunch of black suits, white shirts and, at last count, over forty red ties. You can reach him at gary [at] garysguide.org.

The tech powers-that-be reached out to me over the weekend with a desperate plea: “Gary, as u know two of our blowhards superstars were unceremoniously booted regretfully let go last week. Now we love these kids, but God knows what kind of crazy mischief they’ll get into if we don’t find them a new gig, pronto. Can you help?” So I put on my red tie, summoned my super powers and went searching for some answers.

The Boutique VC Firm
If you thought Andreeseen-Horowitz was the gold standard in Silicon Valley, wait till ya get a load of Arrington-Bartz. With Bartz’s take-no-prisoners approach and Arrington’s friendships cemented at Bin 38, dealflow should be a cinch. And I believe A12Z.com is available.

The Buddy Movie
Think an R-rated version of Jackie Chan + Chris Tucker but with way more colorful language and just a hint of romance. If that’s not a sleeper hit franchise in the making, I don’t know what is. You’re welcome, unimaginative overpaid Hollywood studio execs.

The Crime Fighting Super Duo
Worth it just to see all the prancing around the valley in tights and capes. Bartz’s trademark one-liner? “I’ll dropkick you to (bleeping) Mars.”

The Swap
It’s a no-brainer! Arrington takes over the reins at Yahoo while Bartz assumes blogging duties at TechCrunch. It’ll be like nothing ever changed. Bonus: Bartz and Arianna face off in a boardroom cat fight! But thats a story for another day.

And finally… the 2012 Presidential Candidate Team
If there was one takeaway from their infamous fireside chat at Techcrunch Disrupt NYC last year, it was that these kids would kill it in a presidential debate. F-bombs, anyone?

And now, onto this week’s tech-a-licious events… Read More