On the Town
Let's Go Shopping
Last night at Gracie Mansion (or out in the yard, to be more specific), Mayor Bloomberg looked about as relaxed as this reporter has ever seen him. The occasion was We are Made in NY, billed as “a celebration of New York City’s tech community.” He laughed, he cracked wise, at one point he propped an elbow on the stage’s railing and leaned like a Guys and Dolls extra.
Guess a mere 92 days left on the clock will chill a guy out–not to mention this audience of techies was about as friendly a crowd as he’ll find these days.
Back in February, we reported that former Foodspotter and onetime New York Times wunderkind Soraya Darabi had returned to the cofounder game with $1.35 million in funding for something called Zady.
Now she and her cofounder Maxine Kaye have revealed what they’ve been working on all this time: an ecommerce site focused on “conscious consumerism,” due Read More
Exit This Way
Looks like Foodspotting cofounder and roaming angel investor Soraya Darabi is back! She’s been working on something stealth, but it seems that bane of the startup world (paperwork!) has now tipped her hand. A Form D for a company called Zady, which has raised a $1,350,000 round of financing, has appeared with Ms. Darabi’s name on it.
Another sexy startup has made it across the finish line, following in the fleet footsteps of Instagram. AllThingsD reports that the reservations platform OpenTable has shelled out $10 million to purchase Foodspotting. It ain’t a billion dollars, but it’s not too shabby given that the photo-based recommendations startup had raised $3.75 million in its three years of life.
Randi, Can You Hear Me? Yesterday evening, Betabeat attended a Bravo casting call masquerading as a networking event. An email passed around the technoscenti sought locals “who have a full time career and full time lifestyle” to possibly maybe star in an New York spin off of Randi Zuckerberg‘s much-maligned show.
But we hear Ms. Zuckerberg may have some competition. A source mentioned that MTV is also working on a startup reality show rumored to be produced by peripatetic Foodspotter Soraya Darabi and “a Reddit cofounder.” Ms. Darabi told Betabeat she was “not involved” in the project and Reddit cofounders Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman did not immediately responded to our inquiry, so it’s hard to say if that was just wishful thinking. However, an independent New York City-based casting director–not the lovely gentleman from last night!–confirmed that “There’s a bunch of networks” currently testing reality programming about startups, including MTV and possibly CNBC.
Less than a year after Foodspotting cofounder Soraya Darabi stepped down from her day-to-day role, the company has lost another prominent representative of the brand. Last month, Amy Cao, head of community and social media at the food guide, opted out of the startup for the freelance life.
Ms. Cao, the consumate foodie behind sites like Amy Blogs Chow and Stupidly Simple Snacks, was very much a public face for the startup–so much so that the tipster who told us she left mistook Ms. Cao for one of the startup’s cofounders. Ms. Cao did not respond to a request for comment from Betabeat. But according to her LinkedIn profile, she is now freelance social media and community director for startups like Levo League and Consmr, which demo’d at last night’s New York Tech Meetup.
Soraya Darabi, public face and retroactively-named co-founder for the Bay Area start-up Foodspotting, has effectively left her daily role at the company.
Ms. Darabi, who has more than 429,000 followers on Twitter and a strong personal brand as a tech-savvy marketer, was brought on to get publicity for Foodspotting. And she did it well, evangelizing the service by word of mouth, on Twitter and through myriad interviews with outlets from Betabeat to Mashable (“How Soraya Darabi Put Foodspotting on the Map”) to New York magazine.
But Ms. Darabi had little input on product, sources close to Foodspotting told us, and she seemed less enthusiastic about Foodspotting as time went on and the service had trouble gaining traction in the face of threats from competitors as intimidating as Foursquare.
The Third Degree
That is, groups of hip New Yorkers who frequently talk @ each other via Twitter.
Not to be confused with real gang members who start beef on Twitter and then shoot each other.
Stay safe everyone! – via Papermag
Soraya Darabi is the New York anchor for location-based food blogging start-up Foodspotting and veteran of The New York Times and Drop.io. Betabeat caught up with her recently to ask about Foodspotting, tech and the start-up life.