There’s a little more money in Long Island City today. Songza, which offers up playlists to suit your every mood, just announced a $4.7 million round of funding from a small mob of investors, including Lerer Ventures, Amazon.com, Scooter Braun, William Morris Endeavor, Deep Fork Capital, Metamorphic Ventures, Troy Carter, Gary Vaynerchuk, and others.
The Real Nerd Prom If you want to relive your high school dance days while getting the chance to mingle and drink with some of the biggest names in tech, you might want to consider buying tickets to the Webutante Ball, which go on sale today. One of the highlights of the upcoming Internet Week New York, the Webutante Ball will be held at the Marquee Nightclub in Manhattan on May 23 and features drinks and dancing, along with the crowning of the annual Webutante King and Queen, which rewards two people for their achievements in tech. Who’s cool now, JOCKS?
High Forms of Flattery
Time Warner Still Sucks On Friday, Mayor Bloomberg made a big move toward ing promise to expand broadband in New York. He launched ConnectNYC, a contest for small businesses that will award free fiber cable wiring (overall value of up to $12 million) to 240 local businesses across the five boroughs over the next two years. But will it make slow cashiers go faster?
All Your Dwollas Belong To Us Dwolla, the way to pay people via smartphone, just rolled out a cool feature called MassPay. It allows you to pay up to 2,000 people at once, which is great for business owners or degenerate gamblers who have a lot of friends. Payments under 10 dollars are free, while anything higher than that requires a small fee of 25 cents per transaction. Parking Panda, VHX and Major League Gaming have all pledged to start using the service immediately.
Time has just released a list of its 50 favorite websites. The metrics? All the selections are something the editors find “useful, entertaining, innovative or just plain addictive.” The result is a list that happens to be something of New York tech who’s who. Among the honorees:
Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian stood at the front of a large room at the Hunters Point Plaza Penthouse in Long Island City, and looked out over the rows of tables set up for various startups based in the borough that, let’s be honest, doesn’t always have the best rep in the city.
“The New York tech community is just starting. There’s so much awesome stuff happening in all of New York City,” he said. “The only issue I’ve got is there’s a lot of it going on right around here.” He pointed to a map of Manhattan.
Mix Tape Market
Imagine the Internet is a vast hotel. (It probably looks a lot like the impossible hotel in The Shining, with hallways to nowhere and windows where they shouldn’t be.) You’re a guest in this Internet Hotel for the evening; you’ve just arrived from New York on the red-eye and you’re exhausted. You need something to pep you up – perhaps some music. But you’re too tired, disoriented and indecisive to pick, so you head for the concierge. “Excuse me, you look like you know your way around. Can you please just tell me what I should listen to right now?”
Songza, the Long Island City-based streaming music startup featured at Facebook’s f8 developer conference in September, has been building a massive database of playlists across genres and for a range of occasions. The site has more than 100,000 searchable playlists, from “Aggressive Dubstep” to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” submitted by msuic experts and users. But if you’re not sure if you want to hear something funky or something fresh, Songza’s new Music Concierge feature can do that for you.
As a child, Betabeat used to lovingly curate the A and B sides of a 60 minutes cassette tape for each of our gift-giving relatives on Christmas. Since then, the mix tape has evolved into an element of the socially networked cloud, where we drag and drop mixes for friends on Spotify with a single click.
But there are plenty of occasions when Betabeat is pressed for time and hoping to find the suite of songs that will add just the right feeling to the gathering. So we were intrigued by Songza, a Long Island City startup which opens to the public tonight with a mobile app, web site, and the promise of better playlist discovery and development.