shameless rumormongering

Rumors & Acquisitions: When Embargoes Break


ALL THE VERTICALS. BuzzFeed is staffing up. Yeah. We know. They have $15.5 million. We know. The site launched its already highly scoopy 2012 vertical alongside the already-popular “cute” and “LOL” verticals, with reporters covering the presidential campaign with the vigor of a dedicated cat blogger; we know. Now it’s time to conquer the internet by rapidly adding “verticals” (as they’re called!) and editor-in-chief Ben Smith is already thinking of where to boldly go next. We heard from a potential poach-ee that the next section will be… tech! We asked Mr. Smith today if this was true. “I don’t want to say,” he said, shaking his head, but acknowledged that the next vertical isn’t far off. Maybe it’s divorce Read More

Call the Experts

ZocDoc Adds Former Senators Bill Frist (R-TN) and Tom Daschle (D-SD), Healthcare Heavyweights, as Advisors

ZocDoc team Nick Ganju (CTO), Cyrus Massoumi (CEO), Netta Samroengraja (CFO) and Oliver Kharraz (COO).

Former U.S. Senators Bill Frist, a doctor and former Senate majority leader, and Tom Daschle, author of Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis and former Senate minority leader, have both joined ZocDoc’s advisory board, the doctor appointment booking startup announced today.

“We very much view both these senators joining our advisory board as sort of welcoming ZocDoc to the party in terms of the healthcare establishment,” ZocDoc CEO Cyrus Massoumi told Betabeat. “We have big plans for how we want to help improve the healthcare system… we’re excited that we’re going to have the ears and the thoughts of people that really have shaped the healthcare system to date and helped to make it better.” Read More

shameless rumormongering

Rumors & Acquisitions: Foursquare Vs. ZocDoc! Groundlink Vs. Uber! And Pinterest Vs. America


THIS TOWN AIN’T BIG ENOUGH! Guys, startup office space in New York is hard to find, and Betabeat is ON IT. Okay, so you remember how Foursquare and Tumblr both had their eyes on the tenth and eleventh floors of that sweet Soho elevator building at 568 Broadway where Thrillist, ZocDoc and Dennis Leary’s production company, Apostle are housed? Okay, so Foursquare was the favorite–but there may be a new contender.

Betabeat has learned that ZocDoc has been in the market for new space–60,000 square feet, ideally on one floor–for a move at the end of 2012. There’s not much out there that meets that criteria. Wouldn’t it be nice to take the tenth floor at 568 Broadway, directly above the teal-painted ninth floor? That way they wouldn’t have to say goodbye to that conference room with the mural of Sanjay Gupta high-fiving Dr. House! ZocDoc would probably really like it if Foursquare would only take one floor, which is more than three times the size of Foursquare’s current office, so that ZocDoc could take the other.

But both companies are growing like gangbusters–ZocDoc already expanded in March and then again in October, Foursquare is the hottest startup job in the city–and have to look out for expansion down the road. What’s a big startup in a small town to do?*

VERY PINTERESTING. Betabeat, when we first glimpsed the Silicon Alley darling Pinterest for ourselves: “It’s for girls!” Apparently, it’s also for middle America. Pinterest’s biggest market is Utah, we heard, and it’s gaining steam with users in other middle-America states, contrary to the usual outside-in adoption pattern most startups see.

Betabeat mentioned to a source that many peeps using Pinterest in New York, who responded. “Don’t people just use Svpply?” Do they? We don’t see too many peeps using Svpply either. One thing we do see peeps using is Tumblr–although we’ve documented that startup’s other problems on the business and developer relations fronts. Could Pinterest–which picked up New York angel Brian Cohen as an investor after taking the NYU Stern business plan competition by storm–be on the way to taking down two New York startups in one fell swoop? Read More

Internal Memo

ZocDoc CEO Misses the Days When Investors Used Real Checks

Mr. Massoumi

ZocDoc’s CEO Cyrus Massoumi has a soft spot for paper money. The ZocDoc offices sport a giant $100,000 vanity check from Forbes, which its founders debated taking into the bank when the actual money proved to be less than speedy in coming. But today’s $25 million investment from Goldman Sachs won’t come in the form of a check in any size. And it means the loss of a ZocDoc tradition, Betabeat learned after we got ahold of Mr. Massoumi’s memo to ZocDockers today: Read More

Fresh Capital

ZocDoc CEO, Upon Raising $25 M. from Goldman Sachs: ‘We’re Not Planning an IPO Soon–We Don’t Need To’

Nick Ganju (left, co-founder & CTO), Cyrus Massoumi (back center, co-founder & CEO), Oliver Kharraz, MD (right, co-founder & COO) and Netta Samroengraja (front center, CFO).

ZocDoc just announced a surprise extra $25 million on top of the $50 million the startup recently raised from Yuri Milner and DST, and the money came from high places–Goldman Sachs is investing directly in ZocDoc. That is to say, not through Goldman Sachs Investment Partners and not through Goldman’s Principal Investment Area, but with money off its own balance sheets, ZocDoc CEO Cyrus Massoumi told Betabeat.

One of ZocDoc’s first angel investors works at Goldman Sachs in a “unique position,” Mr. Massoumi said. Goldman also manages some of ZocDoc’s finances, and can be expected to handle or at least advise them on any acquisitions ZocDoc might make in the future. Plus ZocDoc’s executives have personal friends at the firm, Mr. Massoumi said. (He and co-founder Dr. Oliver Kharraz used to be closer to that world–the two previously worked at the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, and continued to wear suits and ties after starting ZocDoc until a friend told them they looked too much “like consultants” to be entrepreneurs, which prompted them to hit the Gap.)

“We’re just really excited,” he said. “There is not a large healthcare institution domestically, perhaps internationally, that does not have a relationship with Goldman Sachs.”

Talks with Goldman started a few weeks ago, in a “mutual conversation,” after the DST investment, Mr. Massoumi said. Read More

Experimental Treatments

ZocDoc, Still Starry-Eyed at Age Four, Hits Boston, Adds Waitlists

Dr. Kharraz

Betabeat dropped by ZocDoc‘s ninth floor Soho office this afternoon for some of the startup’s famous catered lunch–today, sandwiches and salads from TriBeCa eatery Peace and Love, which employees munched at the cafeteria-style tables, each topped with a bottle of Sriracha.

Betabeat grabbed a salad and followed COO Oliver Kharraz and communications director Allison Braley into the conference room, decorated with an oversized painting of CNN medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta giving Bravo TV’s Dr. Gregory House a triumphant high five. “I keep meaning to tweet that picture,” Ms. Braley said. “That’d be a good tweet,” we agreed.

On Friday last week, ZocDoc had a birthday party. CEO Cyrus Massoumi gave a rousing speech, we were told, as did former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, for whom healthcare reform is a chosen cause. Mr. Daschle talked about how ZocDoc’s simple solution–easy online booking, updated in real time, as a way to fill all the holes in doctors’ schedules–could play an important role in industry reform. Mr. Daschle, who now works for global law firm DLA Piper, is still close to the current administration and remains knee-deep in the government-led healthcare reform effort, so his endorsement was no small praise. Read More

shameless rumormongering

Rumors & Acquisitions: What Happens to Zach Klein’s Cabin Now?


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. Read More


In Which We Meet a ZocDoc Competitor and Find Out More About the Sausage Factory

ZocDoc, the medical appointment-booking website, says it syncs seamlessly with “all practice management systems that have 1 percent marketshare, and a lot that have less than 1 percent marketshare.” We reported this in a story about the service’s founding and growth last week, and a reader chimed in to express skepticism: “There are hundreds of practice management programs for doctors; ZocDoc says it syncs with all the versions that have more than a 1 percent market share.” Absolutely not true.

The author of that comment, James Davis, works in business development for, which provides “customizable online patient registration that allows the patient to complete and electronically sign all their paperwork before their scheduled visit to the doctor.” They also do insurance verification and patient self-scheduling. In other words, a ZocDoc competitor. Which is how Mr. Davis knows a little something about the difficulty of working with doctor software. (Mr. Davis was upfront about his conflicting interest.) Read More

Experimental Treatments

The Doctor Will See You Now: How ZocDoc Is Rocking It By Being Just Ambitious Enough

Co-founder Cyrus Massoumi with football helmets from cities where ZocDoc has launched.

THE FOUNDERS OF ZOCDOC.COM, Cyrus Massoumi and Dr. Oliver Kharraz, had just concluded the very first public demonstration of their medical appointment-booking app at the TechCrunch40 conference in September 2007 when they got a review that threatened to put the whole endeavor on life support.

“Honestly, it would just never occur to me to go to any site to pick a doctor,” said Guy Kawasaki, the Silicon Valley venture capitalist, early Apple employee and venerable start-up guru, smiling and chopping the air with a pen. “I mean, it’s just sort of too facetious.”

Emphasizing once more that he would never use such a service, he turned to a fellow judge on the panel, the entrepreneur and philanthropist Esther Dyson, and elaborated, “You’d go to a site and just, ohhh, you know, Lisa Macintosh went to Harvard, she looks cute, I’ll have her operate on my heart!

The audience responded with belly laughs. Read More

Brick and Mortar

Tech Sector Continues to Buoy Commercial Real Estate

ZocDoc's family is getting too big for the nest.

On a trip to the ZocDoc office in Soho last week, Betabeat noticed a plastic hard hat sitting on the edge of co-founder Cyrus Massoumi’s cubicle. It was leftover from the company’s recent expansion, he explained, which necessitated knocking out a wall so ZocDoc could just about double its square footage. After suffering through construction during the work week, employees came in on a weekend and bashed the wall in.

Then Mr. Massoumi walked us to another end of the floor, where a vast open, unfinished hall stood waiting for the next time ZocDoc calls up their landlord and asks for more space, “which could be tomorrow,” he joked. Read More