After a brief interlude, wherein an organizer appealed to whichever publicity-seeking startup might have released the still-chattering bird high aloft in the rafters, TechCrunch marched onward. M.G. Siegler (formerly of TechCrunch, currently of CrunchFund) opened with what sounded like an invitation to coffee, rattling off the overlap between their respective organizations’ portfolios and concluding, “We should probably talk more.” Betaworks CEO John Borthwick didn’t bite: “We probably should, but we’re doing just fine.” He also added rather pointedly that, “as you know, we are not a fund,” though Betaworks, of course, has investments.
Mr. Borthwick proceeded to, at Mr. Siegler’s inquiry as to how they work with investors on the sunnier side of the country, essentially dismiss any notions of conflict: “This bicoastal thing, I think it’s fun and games” but added that “the market is bigger because of the complementary skills that both coasts offer the market and entrepreneurs and so it’s not, it’s fun to sort of pit one coast against the other, but companies are better for having East Coast and West Coast investors.” Some companies might be a better fit for one coast or the other or both, but regardless, more options are better.
Goooood Morning Silicon Alley!
Opening the TechCrunch Disrupt proceedings bright and early this morning: Andreessen Horowitz Partner Jeff Jordan. Accompanied by the sounds of birdsong (hey, this thing does take place on a converted pier), he held forth on IPOs, philanthropy, and New York’s ecommerce bloom.
The discussion opened with a discussion of the IPO market. The former OpenTable CEO presided over the company’s 2009 IPO when, at the time, according to moderator Eric Eldon, “Everyone [in Silicon Valley] was watching Mark Zuckerberg keeping his company private.”
Mr. Jordan contrasted today’s IPO fever with the atmosphere just a few years ago:
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 reach him at gary [at] garysguide.com.
Hope everyone had an amazing Internet Week! With over 500 companies and 40,000 attendees, it was truly a celebration of New York’s thriving Internet industry and community. And it was awesome to see all the innovation that’s happening around town.
This week is equally crazy with the Webby Awards tonight and then the TechCrunch Disrupt conference over the next 3 days. Hope to see everyone there! (and if you can’t make it to Disrupt, remember, there’s always the option of watching the live stream online!).
And coming up next week is the World Science Festival, which is an annual celebration and exploration of science running from May 30 to June 3. So go check it out!
And now let’s see what cool stuff be crunching up in the Alley this week…
The last time Betabeat checked in with Pebble the smartwatch, Y Combinator alum Eric Migicovsky had raised some $4.6 million on Kickstarter for an idea that struggled to find venture capital backing despite, you know, actually making revenue. (For those of you keeping track at home, Pebble has added $3 million on top of that for a total of $7.6 million–and counting!–with 17 days left to go.) Yesterday, Mr. Migicovsky got The New York Times treatment.
Now, all the fuss seems to have migrated over to the agenda for TechCrunch Disrupt. The conference just announced that for the first time in New York, the event will feature something called “Hardware Alley” alongside its standard “Start-up Alley” showcase on May 23rd. “We’re looking for promising hardware startups,” writes TechCrunch. “Got a disruptive Kickstarter project?” Gee, wonder who they’re talking about there.
TechCrunch has released the latest batch of speakers for Disrupt NY, and the locals are making a pretty good showing. The lineup includes some stars:
For months, Betabeat has had a colorful Everything Butt Art business card, acquired at some kind of startup gathering, wedged at the top of a pile of papers near our phone. Butt Art?, we ask ourselves every so often. Isn’t that more for Robert Mapplethorpe than small children?
Luckily, we had an excuse Read More
BillGuard is only half-New Yorker–CEOYaron Samidis based in “New York and Tel Aviv.” But the company, which combs your online statements for fraud and frivolous charges, garnered 10,000 sign-ups in a matter of days after launching in May at TechCrunch Disrupt. They discovered fraud on 20 percent of the new users’ bills, and a $6,000 erroneous charge on one wealthy individual’s card.
Mike Arrington has reportedly been fired from AOL, which currently owns TechCrunch, the blog he founded. That was the response to his demand, on TechCrunch, that AOL grant the site complete editorial independence or sell it back to him and the original stakeholders. Things are very much up in the air as to what will happen now that he’s been canned, but on his personal Twitter account, Mr. Arrington is going about business as usual.
“TechCrunch Disrupt update – There will be well over 2,500 people attending next week, shattering our previous attendance record of 2,100,” he wrote this afternoon. Like a proud father unable to handle the custody arrangement in a divorce, Mr. Arrington continues to use the paternal “our” in reference to TC Disrupt.
The Start-Up Rundown
GroupMe just celebrated its one year anniversary, and founders Steve Martocci and Jared Hecht certainly had something to smile about. A deal in the works for months was just completed, with global VOIP giant Skype acquiring GroupMe for an undisclosed price north of $50 million.
The two co-founders have scored positions at Microsoft but will run the company from New York. And while GroupMe will remain independent, it is likely to become core to Skype’s efforts in mobile, SMS and social. Skype’s over 560 million global users will certainly do a lot to boost GroupMe’s profile and user network if the two companies are deeply integrated.
This week in TechCrunch Disrupt and other topics of New York start-up interest:
DISRUPT HAPPENED. New York’s tech scene was very well-represented at all levels of the three-day tech conference known as TechCrunch Disrupt: New Yorkers made it into the hackathon finals, Battlefield finals and office hours with Paul Graham and lined the Startup Alley tradeshow: Battlefield finalists Sonar.me and BillGuard both had impressive demos and got a flood of user sign-ups. But there’s a new tech underdog on the map. BillGuard is only half-New York–CEO Yaron Samid is based in “New York and Tel Aviv.” Another finalist, Doat, is also Israeli. Good show, considering that by our count there were only five Israeli companies in the Battlefield competition.
ENTREPRENEURS AT LARGE. Aaron Price, organizer of the Hoboken Tech Meetup, has been named entrepreneur-at-large for DFJ Gotham. “I’d be happy to talk with you about your ideas or the VC process in general,” he said in an email to the group. Also, if you missed it: The city is looking for an EAL of its own.