Tech Talent Crunch

Seven Startups That Will Pay Devs, Designers, and ‘Hustlers’ $5,000 To Move to New York City

Come Work in NYC

You’d be hard pressed to find an aspiring banker or model or writer or actor who would need much convincing to move to New York City. Not so with tech folks. In the face of competition from the Valley and giants like Facebook and Twitter, suddenly in our midst, seven startups have banded together for a campaign called Come Work in New York that promises to ply talented developers, designers, and “business people” with $5,000 to help them move to the city if they’re hired. Read More

Deal Me In

Yipit’s Vinny Vacanti On the Problems Plaguing the Daily Deals Market

Mr. Vacanti

When we saw Groupon’s amended filing this morning pledging to stop squandering funds on marketing–since, you know, it didn’t actually get them new users anymore–we knew just who to hit up for some perspective: Vinicius Vacanti, co-founder and CEO of Yipit, the daily deals aggregation and recommendation engine, whose company has been supplying the data on the industry trends inside the market. Thankfully the star of the small screen had some time to gChat.

He talked to Betabeat about when the window to profitably acquire new users from online marketing closed, why fears of a daily deals bubble may themselves be inflated, and the key to giving the Internet coupon fad some legs. Read More

Love Thy Developers

Foursquare Global Hackathon Produces Location-Based Mashups With Spotify, Runkeeper, the U.S. Census and More


Foursquare hosted its second hackathon over the weekend at General Assembly, a surprisingly gender-balanced affair at General Assembly fueled by Pepsi products and beer from Sixpoint Craft Ales. Developers in Paris demonstrated more than 20 new foursquare apps; hackers in Japan demo’ed eight or nine. The New York hackathon produced about 25 apps, hacks and mashups.

Let’s just say there are a lot of new ways to play foursquare. Hackathon savant and newly-anointed Twilio evangelist Jon Gottfried and his team created Loo Review, a game for photographing and rating the city’s public toilets. Betabeat also liked CRawsome, a hack from Yipit’s Vinny Vacanti and Steve Pulec that texts venue managers when regulars and “social influencers” check in.

Perhaps 200 attendees were strewn across the floor, couches, and extra tables that had been set up in the main room, but only 50 were checked into General Assembly when Betabeat arrived in the afternoon for demos–probably because hackers had been checking in all day (about eight had stayed overnight to work on their projects). Just ten percent were present at the first foursquare hackathon in February, according to a show of hands. Read More

Group Buying Mania

New Data From Groupon Confirms It’s Peaked in Older Markets


Bad news for group buying from local daily deal aggregator  and number-cruncher Yipit. Following on some earlier analysis based on the start-up’s S-1 filing, the initial paperwork required for an IPO, Yipit finds that Groupon’s numbers are getting worse with time. In Boston, the company’s second-oldest market, subscribers are buying fewer Groupons and revenue per merchant is waning, Yipit’s Vinicius Vicanti writes. As Groupon spends more to acquire new customers, its subscriber base is buying fewer Groupons. “That’s not good,” is Mr. Vicanti’s kicker. Read More

shameless rumormongering

Rumors & Acquisitions: In and Out at Etsy


CATCH-A-DEV. “Catchafire just hired former lead engineer at Etsy, Jared Nuzzolillo, as well as two other engineers so the social enterprise could grow its tech team,” we’re told. But Mr. Nuzzolillo’s LinkedIn says differently: His page says he’s been at the non-profit/volunteer matchmaker for three months. That’d be almost five years in the Rob Kalin fold–after Etsy, he worked on the founder’s second start-up, Parachutes, still yet to launch. Jared! You didn’t finish the job! Etsy, for its part, just poached Michael Mannheimer from Willamette Week, where he wrote about music. UNRELATED: Tal Safran, freelancing TechStars hacker, announced he’s decided to work for Yipit.

INSIDE BASEBALL. Business Insider’s Alyson Shontell is sticking to her story that has raised $7.5 million from all its initial StickyBits investors, plus one additional investor, even though Turntable’s founders are denying that the round has closed. “Wait three days and see if [co-founder Seth Goldstein] still denies,” she told a commenter.

“I know at least one of the major labels has already lawyer’d up for this and would expect them to hammer them with multiple suits shortly,” another wrote, suggesting that labels were waiting until the start-up got funded to sue.

Speaking of Turntable, we’re hearing buzz about a forthcoming mobile app. The start-up has an iOS developer on staff, but it’s unclear when the app will drop–and whether it’ll pass legal muster with Apple (and even Android, considering what happened to Grooveshark). “I know they were looking and have been in the process of hiring people, including another back-end dev,” said one developer who, at the beginning of Turntable’s beta, told Betabeat he’d kill to build their iPhone app.

HACK HACK, BEEP BEEP. This one is from the way back machine, but Betabeat hears that Gilt Groupe’s plan to sell one Volkswagen Jetta a day for three days in mid-December got foiled by hackers. Twice! First by an intrepid iPhone user who set ahead his clock and beat the system, and the second time by a husband-and-wife team. The press release was out before Gilt realized what happened.

SWAGGER? Travel Ad Network raised $15 million, led by StarVest, and hasn’t been shy about bragging–but so far no one has picked up the story.

Deal With It

Groupon’s Business is Decaying in its Established Markets

groupon boston

The following is an in-depth analysis of Groupon’s business in one of its oldest markets, Boston, by the folks at daily deal aggregator Yipit.

The entire piece is worth reading, but for the TL;DR crowd, here is the breakdown. Groupon’s costs to acquire customers is skyrocketing, while its revenue per customer is plummeting. Along with shrinking margins and a lower number of Groupon’s sold per deal, Yipit sees serious warning signs in the company’s financials. Read More