The Start-Up Rundown
The advent of 500 Startups first-ever Demo Day in New York drew a standing room only crowd to General Assembly yesterday for a long night of seed stage pitches and free beer that went an hour past its 9pm bedtime. Betabeat knew we were in the right place when we overheard, “We want to create a better music experience, better than Pandora,” pass for small talk over by the cheese and crackers table. The sight of TechStar’s David Tisch in a backwards baseball cap and khaki shorts (“business shabby” strikes again!) high-fiving Dave McClure was another promising sign.
All of the startups pitching were graduates of Mr. McClure’s 500 Startups, a Mountain View-based accelerator program, and many flew in from the Valley in search of local froth and perhaps a glimpse of the tall buildings. Each co-founder walked out to their own theme music, with soon-to-be baby daddy Jay-Z making a surprisingly popular choice.
The Start-Up Rundown
YEAH, YEAH. The metal label Century Media, which represents such artists as 3 Inches of Blood and Aborted, is ditching Spotify. “While everyone at the label group believes in the ever changing possibilities of new technology and new ways of bringing music to the fans, Century Media is also of the opinion that Spotify in its present shape and form isn’t the way forward,” a press release informs us. “The income streams to the artists are affected massively and therefore that accelerates the downward spiral, which eventually will lead to artists not being able to record music the way it should be recorded. Ultimately, in some cases, it will completely kill a lot of smaller bands that are already struggling to make ends meet.”
But the label waffled a little:
Always Be Hustlin'
AARON SWARTZ ARRESTED. “Shocking news: Moments ago former Demand Progress Executive Director Aaron Swartz was indicted by the US government,” Demand Progress’s David Segal said in an email blast yesterday. “As best as we can tell, he is being charged with allegedly downloading too many journal articles from the Web. The government contends that downloading so many journal articles constitutes felony computer hacking and should be punished with time in prison.” Mr. Swartz helped create RSS and whose company was once bought by Reddit. He faces up to 35 years in prison and $1 million in fines and pleaded not guilty. Eeepo. Why he wanted 4.8 million journal articles is beyond us. There is a petition for signing and you can donate here.
GROUPME ON THAT PHONE 7. Last week GroupMe released a preview–”meaning only a few features are available with more to come”–of its Windows Phone 7 app. “You may not hear a lot about the whole WP7 platform compared to others BUT fascinatingly it has become the second most common request to have from GroupMe users,” a PR rep writes. We were just talking to someone about how WP7 is kind of indie-cool now.
If Betabeat just closed a $350,000 round of funding from folks like Dave McClure, Eric Ries and Esther Dyson, we’re pretty sure we’d spend the next day hungover trying to form our piles of cash into a Scrooge McDuck-like money pool.
Not so Tout founder Tawheed “TK” Kader, whose app attempts to solve the problem of repetitive email. “Its that magical moment right? Its what you’d been waiting for right? The press starts writing about you, the congratulations come flying in. You’ve made it. Right? Wrong.”
Betabeat first met Tout’s Tawheed Kader–TK, as he’s known–at South By Southwest, where he was pitching an app that takes some of the pain out of repetitive emails. He already had paid subscribers and we heard glowing reviews from people who were using it. But apparently we weren’t the most important contact Mr. Kader made at the festival. He met Dave McClure over dinner and vodka. “The funny thing is, I ended up pitching Tout to just about everyone on that table except for Dave,” Mr. Kader says.
“The only real exchange the two of us had was when Dave stared at my vodka martini with 16 olives (because that’s just how I roll), and asked ‘Hey TK…. howʼs that drink treating you?’ Needless to say, Dave and I connected soon after, and before I knew it, not only was he investing in Tout, but he also convinced me to move out to California for the summer to join the 500 Startups Accelerator program.”
Considering moving the rumor roundup from Monday to Tuesday, as Monday is just so close to Friday… Feel free to give your opinions!
VISITING DIGNITARIES. Actor Kal Penn, liaison to the young people on behalf of the White House, is doing an “entrepreneur round table” tonight at General Assembly! Hope some residents were thoughtful enough to pick up some White Castle.
Ugh, this day. Maybe it was the Amazon Web Services outage? Or exhaustion from all that Internet Week panel campaigning? “Today suckckckckcks,” one Betabeat staffer said. But the rumor roundup must post. On to it:
500 DISSES: Remember how Dave McClure’s 500 Startups accelerator was going to have a demo day in New York? And it was supposed to be at General Assembly in mid-April? We heard a rumor that Mr. McClure had nxed it so we txted him. Turns out the 500-strong don’t need New York’s money. “To be honest, most of our start-ups already got funding,” Mr. McClure (or whoever does his texting) wrote back. “We decided to hold off coming to NYC until later this year.”
Tout is a freemium web-based app (also available as a bookmarklet and Chrome extension) that lets you scrape email addresses from websites, make email templates on the fly, and track whether your emails get opened.