CB Insights released a new report about venture capital financing for the first quarter of 2013, and after a bleak 2012, things are looking up for New York startups. The state beat out Massachusetts for the second time in the last two years on “overall number of deals and funding” (not exclusive to tech companies), placing just behind California.
Adventures in Venture Capital
All the world loves a prodigy, but nowhere more so than Silicon Valley. Investors love to talk about all the exciting ideas flowing forth from the 20-somethings, and it sometimes seems startups are half business, half playroom.
It’s all very exciting if you’re a college kid looking for an alternative to the 9 to 5 grind. But if you’re a technology veteran in his fifth or sixth decade, it looks a lot different. In fact, as Reuters reports, it looks a whole lot like age discrimination run rampant.
In the Arms of an Angel
When we first joined VYou back in its beta phase, it seemed like just another platform for innocuous oversharing, albeit a higher maintenance one: instead of oversharing from bed in your PJs, you had to look rather presentable to record a video of yourself.
But now, as celebrities flock to the video question and answer platform as a new way to connect with fans, VYou is focusing on building out another aspect of its site: video-based knowledge sharing. In the upcoming weeks, VYou will be assembling groups of experts in various areas. Users can ask them questions and get responses directly from the experts.
Adventures in Venture Capital
Let’s face it: There’s a reason clubs will pay reality stars just to come hang out. People are more intrigued by a famous face. Silicon Valley might think itself above crass fame-whoring, but that doesn’t mean tech folk are immune to the siren song of social proof. Witness, for example, the rise of the so-called “party round.”
Today TechCrunch takes on the topic of these early-stage “family-style” rounds, where angel investors and VC firms pony up a bit of cash (often as a kind of option for later investments), but no one quite leads the pack. The process is compared to–what else?–high school:
We’ve got to hand it to 500 Startups founder Dave McClure: dude sure knows how to make a point. GeekWire reported yesterday that at the GROW business conference in Vancouver, Mr. McClure went on an obscenity-laced tirade against VCs, calling them “insufferable, arrogant, fucking assholes.” Whoa, what’s the punishment for investor-on-investor crime?
Here’s an interesting take on why Twitter is suddenly giving the finger to API devs: “I suspect the reason that Twitter is cutting off apps from using its ‘friend finder’ feature is because most people do not create content in Twitter and therefore have no incentive to use Twitter outside of the value of its graph.” [Dustin Curtis]
Fred Wilson thinks venture capital funds have grown too big and has some ideas on how to fix them. [Technology Review]
There are fewer and fewer women in Google’s inner circle, so the GOOG engineers dealt with it the only way they know how: by building a predictive algorithm to help them recruit and retain more female employees. [New York Times]
Turns out the freemium model is not exactly free for businesses. [Wall Street Journal]
Here’s why the FTC let Facebook buy Instagram. (Hint: ’cuz Facebook Camera sucks.) [TechCrunch]
the startup rundown
News flash: it is not 1999 anymore, and it appears that corporate venture capitalists have adjusted accordingly. CB Insights released its Q1 Corporate Venture Capital Report yesterday, revealing that CVCs participated in just 84 deals totaling $1.09 billion, a record low for the past five quarters.
But while overall CVC funding is down 20 percent, funding for the Internet sector is up 30 percent, with CVC deals in that sector increasing for the third straight quarter.
Sex and the Valley
Steps to success Moteevate, formerly known as Fitango and self described as “the motivational social network,” went live last week. The site makes achieving your goals sound really easy by breaking them down into three steps: choosing from over 600 action plans (or making up your own), inviting your friends to “motivate and cheer you on,” and, finally, following the plan to accomplish your goal.
Keep running Fitocracy, the fitness social network that lets you track your workout progress and compete against your friends, has made some changes to their team. Cofounder and former CTO Richard Talens is now the Chief of Growth and Analytics, and senior engineer Daniel Roesler is stepping in as the new CTO. The company has also hired Jay Patel as a new backend developer.
New and improved The Tumblr app for iOS just got a makeover and is now faster and also looks better, with support for higher resolution photos as well as redesigned notification tabs which make navigation much easier. The improved app also includes offline support, which allows users to write blog posts, reblog, and leave comments while offline, which will be posted automatically the next time the iPhone connects to the Internet.
Adventures in Venture Capital
Ellen Pao has broken her silence to issue a short statement regarding her position at Kleiner Perkins, the firm she is suing for gender discrimination–on Quora, of all places. (Quora: a publicist’s nightmare?)
On a question asking if she had left the firm following her lawsuit, Ms. Pao wrote the following simple yet powerful statement: “No, and I don’t plan to quit.” The answer received over 250 upvotes, primarily from bloggers and techies, as well as 13 comments. Of note is one comment from 500 Startups cofounder and prominent VC Dave McClure, who responded with a strong gesture of support. “Hang in there ellen :),” he wrote, and 24 people upvoted it.
An interesting question showed up in our Quora digest email this afternoon. “What is the worst part of being a VC?” one user wondered. No, “sexism” wasn’t one of the answers, but apparently there are quite a few grievances for the partners on Sand Hill Road. The main complaint? Turns out there sure are a lot of assholes in the VC business.
An anonymous poster who claims to be “a VC general partner for nearly 10 years at a large brand name fund” posted the following missive: