Think of the Children
eBay announced on its blog today that it has acquired Svpply, the NYC-based social shopping site that curates personalized collections of clothing and products. Located on Broome Street in Soho, Svpply raised $550,000 in seed funding back in 2010 from investors like Founders Collective, Spark Capital, SV Angel, Dennis Crowley and Jason Hirschhorn. Since then, Svpply has been bootstrapping itself to 620,000 product views per week and 140,000 registered members (as of May).
Last May, founder Ben Pieratt offered a candid perspective on first-time entrepreneurship, admitting his vulnerability. “I have zero experience or expertise in building a company,” he wrote in a 2011 blog post. “So I’m learning on the fly.”
The last time we checked in on Vimeo cofounder Zach Klein, the self-described “proselytizer of country living” was adding listings to his upstate New York real estate blog and tending to his Cabin Porn tumblr. The New York native–who also cofounded Svpply and BustedTees, is a partner in Founder Collective, and has invested in Kickstarter–still has East Coast ties in the form of a dreamy cabin called Beaver Brook that he built using a salvaged barn frame.
But yesterday, Mr. Klein finally revealed what he’s been up to since moving to San Francisco last fall: an online community and app for kids called DIY. It’s a zeitgeisty idea that taps into both the Maker movement and the fact that children find themselves immersed in technology at a younger age. (Yes, a rugrat who grew up playing with iPads will soon make you feel obsolete.)
It’s possible that beloved New York startup scene original gangster Vimeo could go the way of Seamless or Reddit, startups that spun out from their corporate owners.
IAC is seeking new investors to buy up a 25 percent stake in Vimeo, the video-sharing platform best known for being prettier than YouTube, as PandoDaily’s new ace of the East Erin Griffith reported last night. While Ms. Griffith misspelled co-founder Jake Lodwick’s name and at one point identified IAC as IAB, we’re taking this story seriously. Is IAC, the owner of a wide range of successful (Match.com/OKCupid) to dubious (The Daily Beast) to very dubious (Ask.com, still identified as AskJeeves in SEC filings), really trying to sell half its hippest property just as Vimeo launches a major redesign?
As Betabeat informed you back in September, cherubic serial entrepreneur Zach Klein, who also doubles as an investor through Founder Collective, recently traded his New York digs for the Valley, dashing the dreams of a “Zach Klein, upstate woodsman” profile that New York media outlets have been salivating over ever since Mr. Klein tumbled pictures of the outdoorsy estate he dubbed “Beaver Brook” a year-and-a-half ago.
But the California air doesn’t seem to have dampened the consummate multi-tasker’s upstate dreaming. This morning, the Buffalo native tweeted, “I added a few more properties to my Upstate NY real estate blog, mostly affordable farmhouses and cabins,” along with a link to his Upsate Homes tumblr.
NO FUNDING FOR PRESENTS. Last week, a source told Betabeat that outdoor advertising disruptor ADstruc was running low on its Series A funding and would have to raise another round soon.
Not true, says ADstruc’s John Laramie. “We raised $1.1m on September 27th 2010, which means we would have had to burn $90,000 a month for a team that was just four people as of a month ago to be officially out of money,” he said in an email. “ADstruc isn’t even close to spending that much money on a monthly basis. We couldn’t be more pleased with how and where we have invested our money and the great results we continue to see.” However, Mr. Laramie had promised Betabeat a present. We never got said present. Also, when we asked if this meant ADstruc was not raising a round, Mr. Laramie stopped responding. The company is now up to six people and hiring for three positions.
New York-based peer-to-peer education start-up Skillshare, whose co-founder and CEO Mike Karnjanaprakorn recently typed up an article on how to launch a start-up for just $5,000, raised just enough money for its product team and a little wiggle room back in January. But this week the start-up announced two major feature releases and a $3.1 million funding raise from Union Square Ventures and Spark Capital. “We’re at the point where we’re not asking, ‘will this work,'” Mr. Karnjanaprakorn said. “But, ‘how can we grow this.'”
When the Skillshare team realized they had a winning formula–a platform where anyone with a skill to share can propose to teach a class which then becomes available when a minimum number of students sign up–and when they noticed competitors starting to move in, they decided it was time to staff up and start grabbing land. Zach Klein, a longtime adviser and current officemate, “basically led our round” the first time, Mr. Karnjanaprakorn said, but the CEO stuck with investors he knew: Union Square Ventures’s Albert Wenger and Spark Capital’s Mo Koyfman, which is how Skillshare was able to close its round fairly quickly.
On his Tumblr today, former Vimeo co-founder Zach Klein took a break from his summer project building what looks like an off-the-grid cabin in the woods to announce a scholarship opportunity Peter Thiel would be proud of. To promote the value of peer-to-peer education, as opposed to that no good very bad institutionalized kind of book learning, Mr. Klein is offering $1,000 (total, not per person, sorry). Until the funds run out–or August 19th, whichever comes first–anyone who signs up for a class at Skillshare, where Mr. Klein notes he led the seed investment round through Founder’s Collective, can be reimbursed up to $20 worth of the ticket price. All you have to do is email your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I’m a domain addict. I own hundreds of domain names,” Zach Klein told The Observer, and promised to send a list. “For the past year I’ve been making a focused effort to try to divest myself of them.”
Mr. Klein was in the middle of teaching agraduate-level class on entrepreneurial design at Read More
Zach Klein was a founder at Vimeo, Svpply and is a co-owner of College Humor and Busted Tees—which made him a star at IAC’s Connected Ventures.
In September 2009, he signed on as head of product at Boxee, the set-top box bringing Internet to the televisions of impassioned early adopters.
At the Read More