The “pre-launch” page for new startup called Harry’s features a handsome image of a razor emblazoned with an “H” logo and the slogan, “RESPECTING THE FACE AND WALLET. SINCE LIKE…RIGHT NOW.” Sign up to learn more and you’ll be directed to what looks like a package deal on shaving supplies, including the historically-themed “Truman Handle” and the “Winston Shave Set” How mid-century! But why not just label it the Don Draper special?
According to a source, Harry’s is actually tied up with the marketing experts at Warby Parker. Jen Rubio, head of social media at the eyeglass retailer, shared the site on her Facebook page with the message, “Remember in 2010 when I said Warby Parker was going to be big? This is kinda like that.”
Thrive Capital, the New York-based venture capital firm helmed by 26-year-old Josh Kushner*, announced today that it has successfully raised a $150 million fund for early and later stage startups. The news comes almost a year to the day after Thrive announced a $40 million raise from investors like Princeton University. The fresh $150 million comes from a slew of some of the same investors, including Princeton, Wellcome Trust and Hall Capital Partners.
Things sure do happen fast when you’re wicked popular. On Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg just announced that his social network has agreed to acquire the photo-sharing darling Instagram, adding that “their talented team will be joining Facebook.” In a press release, Facebook says the deal was for a jaw-decimating $1 billion “in a combination of cash and shares of Facebook.”
The news follows a whirlwind week for the clubby favorite. After launching on Android last Tuesday, the startup picked up an additional million users (it already had 30 million iPhone users) in 12 hours. That kicked off rumors via AllThingsD on Friday that Sequoia was close to investing $50 million for a Series B round that valued the startup at $500 million, which TechCrunch just confirmed.
Hyperpublic, the two-year-old startup helmed by Lerer Ventures partner Jordan Cooper, has been acquired by Groupon for an undisclosed price.
On Friday, Mr. Cooper teased the news with a few ellipses on Twitter before linking to the announcement. “Today is an INSANE day! We are so proud to announce that Hyperpublic has been acquired by the rocket ship that is Groupon,” Hyperpublic wrote. “This is a huge win for our team, our investors, and everyone who contributed to our company over the past two years.” Then there was a party at The Standard, natch.
BETAWORKS. Has a new filing with the SEC indicating $7.8 million of a $15 million offering in options and warrants raised. Does this have to do with Betaworks’s evolution from a fund/incubator into “a true company, not a fund,” as per John Borthwick’s recent letter to investors? The filing indicates a reinvestment of money paid out to investors in dividends, John Borthwick said, so the filing doesn’t represent a new round; and the amount being reinvested is actually closer to $10 million.
STEALTH TOWN. What is fiftythree.com? Sources say a local VC is leading their round. The web offers no clues, their Twitter page doesn’t work, and we haven’t received an email from their stealthy splash page. Things that are 53: a bank and savings and loan holding company, the We Are the 53 percent meme, and the Year of the Consulship of Silanus and Antonius.
Hey, Get Into My Cloud, You
Our personal favorite among this recent crop of TechStars NY startups was Dispatch, mostly because we can relate to the pain point they are trying to solve. The company gives users a single login and interface for managing their files across all their different cloud hosting services. So I can, for example, bring together all the different music I have on Dropbox, Amazon Cloud Player and Google Music.
The National Venture Capital Association and Thomson Reuters issued their third quarter survey today for money raised by venture capital funds and the results seem to show a downward trend, perhaps slouching towards that startup winter we’ve been warned about.
According to the report, 52 U.S. VC funds raised $1.72 billion in Q3–the lowest dollar amount raised since Q3 2003. The report says, “This level marks a 53 percent decrease by dollar commitments and a 4 percent decline by number of funds compared to the third quarter of 2010, which saw 53 funds raise $3.5 billion during the period.”
Just 16 percent of that $1.72 billion was raised for funds based in New York. NVCA sent Betabeat a breakdown that showed $278.64 million raised by seven different local funds, with the largest amount going to RRE. That’s a big drop from the $2.866 billion raised by New York-based funds in Q1, 2011 and notable 40.3 percent drop from the $463.73 million raised by New York funds in Q2.
We had no idea. Really. These dudes tell us nothing. Nobody wants this to be an Arrington-SV Angel style relationship more than us, but they’re not buying it.
As we reported earlier today, Thrive Capital just had a big, 17X exit with GroupMe that is a feather in the cap of the young fund.
Now Fortune is reporting that Thrive Capital has raised a new, $40 million fund, a step up from their first $10 million fund. Aside from GroupMe, Thrive also had an exit when Hot Potato sold to Facebook. OnSwipe, a Thrive company, recently raised $5 million.
Small VCs, like start-ups, would be wise to close their financing now, before macro-economic uncertainties get any worse.
The seed stage investors in GroupMe featured a lot of the same twenty-something investors Betabeat wrote about in our Littlest Angels feature back in February. David Tisch, Ben Lerer and Josh Kushner all saw their first big exits when Skype bought GroupMe, and according to one source, it was a doozy.
The seed stage round for GroupMe was $850,000 dollars, and according to sources, made at a pre-money valuation of around $4 million. That would mean a post-money figure of 4.85 million, which, given the reported exit price of $85 million, would be a multiple of roughly 17X.
When the news broke yesterday evening that Skype acquired hometown start-up GroupMe, New York’s digerati took the party to Twitter. Indeed the acquisition and its hefty price tag, which Betabeat’s sources pegged between $50 million and $100 million, caused such a stir among a certain swath of tech circles that “GroupMe” even made into a New York City Twitter trending topic last night–albeit below penetrating questions plaguing tweeters such as, “Chris Brown OR Justin Bieber.”
The deal was the first major exit for Lerer Ventures, Thrive Capital and BoxGroup’s David Tisch, so much of the tweeting action consisted of ebullient pats on the back. But a few notes of skepticism arose from the din. In case you were too busy watching Libyan rebels end a 40-year dictatorship, here’s what you missed.