After taking a $900 million write down on Surface RT, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer admitted they probably made too many of the tablets. In a town hall meeting, he reportedly expressed his disappointment in its sales. [Verge]
Facebook’s strong quarterly earnings were all a mirage because the social networking site is worth $24 billion less than when it first went public. [TechCrunch]
What does Google do when a promotion is doing too much promoting? End it! The company said “due to overwhelming demand” it has stopped offering a three month free trial of Netflix with every Chromecast sold. [Los Angeles Times]
For Q2 earnings, Amazon registered a $7 million loss but increased its revenue 22 percent since last year to $15.7 billion. [Forbes]
New York-based app Timehop raised a $3 million round led by Spark Capital. [TechCrunch]
The National Rifle Association unpublished its Facebook page in the aftermath of the tragic shootings in Newtown, Conn. [TechCrunch]
SoundCloud Busts Out Of Beta At this point, SoundCloud is basically the audio version of YouTube. A private-beta version of the site launched earlier this year called Next and the newest version integrates a bunch of those social features that the company hopes will help its users discover new music. “From today, ‘Next’ is now simply SoundCloud,” said Alexander Ljung, founder and CEO of SoundCloud in a press release sent to Betabeat. “It’s a platform for people to discover new, original music and audio, for creators to build audiences, and for everyone to share what they hear whether online or on mobile.”
The company claims that users now post over 10 hours of music and audio every minute while reaching over 180 million people. That’s a staggering 8% of the entire internet population, every month. On December 6th, mobile users will be able to enjoy reposts, updated mobile search, and UX updates on both iOS and Android SoundCloud apps.
Abe Stanway is a simple man. He doesn’t ask for much, just one good taco in this godforsaken metropolis. But there’s another thing the Etsy developer really wants–something that the vindictive, nostalgia-hungry startup Timehop has denied him for almost a year. It’s the @Abe Twitter handle, which is currently occupied by Timehop’s dinosaur mascot.
Mr. Stanway first noted that the handle was taken when Timehop announced its funding back in January. “My heart skipped several beats as I realized my personal brand was being hijacked by a dinosaur,” he lamented to Betabeat over email, his frustration palpable. “I watched my career prospects dwindle by the hour, alongside my professional relationships which shortly crumbled and burst into flames.”
The Real TechStars of New York
On a mild, sun-dappled Sunday, Betabeat applied our sunscreen and ventured to the Long Meadow in Prospect Park for an event aptly named “The Internet Picnic.” A few weeks ago, a friend of ours named Nicole He had won the Listserve lottery and was tasked with sending an email out to 20,000 random Internet strangers. Ms. He works in community at the crowdsourcing platform Kickstarter. “What should I write??” she frantically gChatted us, before eventually deciding to invite all 21,288 subscribers to a picnic yesterday in Brooklyn.
“I have a mole under my eye and I’ll be wearing red,” she wrote, and then posted the same invitation to her Tumblr, where it received almost 300 notes.
Look At Me Now
Timehop has always passed the explain-your-startup-in-a-sentence test with aplomb. It’s a daily email that shows you what you were doing a year ago today through Foursquare checkins, Facebook posts, and tweets. But simplicity isn’t its only charm. The service, which started out as a Foursquare hack by TechStars alums Jonathan Wegener and Benny Wong, switches out of social media’s only gear (realtime–i.e. what’s next, what’s new, what’s now) to look back fondly at the past.
Call us raging solopists, but it’s one of the few newsletters (old news letters might be more apt) that gets opened on arrival. The self-aware copy–upbeat, not cheesy–certainly helps, especially when they accidentally email you multiple times on the worst day of the year.
We feel a little guilty. We’ve been fickle and easily distracted. Last year, the first two TechStars NYC classes were all we could talk about. But when their programs ended, we kind of forgot about them and directed our attention to the newest TechStars NYC class. Shame on us!
But back in the day, those first 23 companies were all the rage. Like shiny new toys, they were exciting and fascinating. There was even a reality television show about them. So even though their three-month, highly-competitive startup accelerator program has ended, these companies are still around. They didn’t just vanish into thin air. (Well, some of them did).
But all of this begs the question, where are these companies now? How have they fared in the big, bad world? Did they flop? Or surpass expectations?
We didn’t know, so we decided to find out. And it turns out that we weren’t the only ones who were curious about what these companies have been up to.
TechStars New York has had three classes for a total of 37 startups since it launched in the beginning of 2011. The guys at social media sentiment analysis startup Buellr have arranged a ranking of the top ten of graduates from all but the current class.
The Real TechStars of New York
Timehop, the app that shows you where you were a year ago today, just blasted out as many as four copies of its daily email to users. Problem? It’s Valentine’s Day, arguably the best holiday for making yourself feel bad (except for maybe Earth Day). While some users were reminded of being showered with candy and kisses, others spent V-Day last year watching Watson on Jeopardy or being sober. “Timehop REALLY Wants You to Remember Your Last V-Day. (Hope It Was a Good One!)” How About We’s dating life blogger Michelle L. Dozois wrote.
Social media’s dominion over the Internet tends to skew conversation toward the real-time. Facebook may have dropped the What are you doing right now? but the emphasis remains. Investors, however, are eager to back something that bucks that trend. Timehop, an app that culls your Facebook, Foursquare, and Twitter history to answer the question What were you doing a year ago today?, just announced that it picked up $1.1 million in funding. The round was led by OATV and joined by Spark Capital. Also participating? TechStars, where co-founders Jonathan Wegener and Benny Wong worked on a Craigslist competitor called Friendslist, which flopped.
Fittingly for the app, which was born as 4 Square & 7 Years Ago during a Foursquare Hackathon at General Assembly last February, the round featured some bold-faced names as angel investors, including Dennis Crowley, Naveen Selvadurai, and Alex Rainert from Foursquare, GroupMe co-founders Steve Martocci and Jared Hecht, as well as Rick Webb and Kevin Slavin.