the startup rundown
Yet another fledging New York startup has been snapped up by a bigger tech company. TechCrunch reports that Brooklyn-based travel recommendation engine Wanderfly has just been acquired by TripAdvisor, a company which (let’s face it) could probably use a heavy-duty dose of startup cool.
Wanderfly’s comparatively tiny team still works out of the Yard in Williamsburg.
According to an announcement from their brand new corporate parent:
Cowork With Me?
3..2..1..BLASTOFF. It’s official: NYC is now one of the spots for NASA’s Space Apps Challenge, a two-day development event happening in cities on six continents and aboard the International Space Station. StartupBus NYC and the NY Tech Council are both helping with the coordination of the event, which focuses on how technology can address problems with minimal resources in creative and innovative ways. Register here.
SPLISH SPLASH. Don’t you hate it when all your friends get into a band you’ve already been sick of for weeks? You tried to spread the good sonic vibrations early on but to no avail—the world simply wasn’t quite ready for that new fangled rock ‘n’ roll music. But that’s not a problem anymore. Splash.FM, a new social music platform, will make sure you get the credit for discovering a band before they were cool. Splash.FM has been in private beta since Jan. 16 and is preparing to go live publicaly on April 17th. Like on Spotify, users can follow friends, search for and stream songs and make recommendations for friends—called “splashing.” Beyond that users will be be able to see what songs are trending among their friends and assign “splash scores” to rate other’s music discovery skills. It’s an official hipster socreboard! Splash.FM plans to eventually allow artists and labels into their analytics to see how when, how often and where their songs are being played. Take that, Spotify!
The Start-Up Rundown
Others have tried and failed to make a coworking space grow in Williamsburg. (The Makery is dead! Long live, Bnter’s new office!) But “real estate professionals” and born-and-raised Brooklynites Morris Levy and Richard Beyda may have the home-court advantage. The duo opened The Yard, a 14,000 square foot coworking space, in November and are already at 65 percent capacity.
A number of tech companies, including Hype Machine, Wanderfly, Mobile Roadie and Uber are already working out of the space, as well as a few startups still in splash page mode, like Gander TV and Spotflux. Somewhere between 60 to 70 percent of The Yard‘s residents are techies, although that wasn’t exactly the owners’ intention. “We knew there was a need in Williamsburg/Greenpoint for something like this, but we didn’t realize the tech scene was happening here and that that was the direction it was going to go,” Mr. Levy told Betabeat by phone.
Now that the startup syngery is under way, however, The Yard has been “planning strategic alliances” with angel investors whose portfolio companies might be interested in working there. For example, Mr. Levy said he’s currently in talks with Brooklyn Bridge Ventures founder and First Round Capital alum Charlie O’Donnell, who launched a Kings County-centric seed fund last month.
The Start-Up Rundown
DAVID HABER JOINS SPARK CAPITAL. “David has a interesting background, which included graduating from Harvard with a BioChem degree. Not a typical degree for a VC firm but we appreciated a different perspective and background than others at Spark,” the firm says on its blog. Mr. Haber previously was a founding associate at Locus Analytics, which he started before he graduated. His new title is VC n00b.
IT’S BEEN A WHILE SINCE WE HAD A HACKATHON! Er, not really. But Game Hack Day is this weekend at General Assembly, sponsored by NYhacker, the “hacker union.” “We’ve got a bunch of Arduinos, AR Drone-copters, great API demos (including open source game frameworks) and more,” says co-organizer John Britton. It’s expected to be as big as Music Hack Day, which produced no fewer than 72 demos.
Related, General Assembly co-founder and serious strategy gamer Brad Hargreaves is hosting a class Thursday on The Business of Gaming–check it out before you hack and you could have a start-up. Or, you can skip the entrepreneurship and get a job at OMGPOP, currently hiring for a game designer with “mad vision.” Okay!
This week in New York tech news and associated items:
DISRUPT APPROACHETH. The TechCrunch mega-conference starts with a hackathon at Pier 94 on May 21, which anyone who has walked through Times Square in the last three days knows is the Rapture. Actual “conference” conference starts Monday and ends with an afterparty Wednesday. Here’s the agenda. Lots of NYC celebs–Arianna, Moot, Kevin Ryan, Fred Wilson, Kickstarter, Tumblr, Foursquare, etc., plus Californians Ron Conway, Paul Graham, Ashton, Sequoia Capital–doing fireside chats and things.