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Shopping Sites According to Their VCs? First Round Capital Showcases Exclusive Deals From Its Portfolio

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Here’s a novel idea for flexing your consumerist impulses on Cyber Monday: organize your shopping by a company’s cap table. For Cyber Monday, First Round Capital, which specializes in ecommerce, has set a site that shows off exclusive deals from portfolio companies like Birchbox, Chloe & Isabel, Refinery 29, Hotel Tonight, UrbanSitter, TaskRabbit, DogVacay, One Kings Lane, and more.

Honestly, we’re surprised New York techies haven’t already set up a buy local site that encourages only shopping at startups for Christmas. Read More

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NBD: NYU MBAs Code Up a Simple Top 10 Site Based on Social Media Sentiment

Mr. Grant. (Twitter)

Adrian Grant and Vivek George, self-identified “NYU biz guys,” may not have gotten into Y Combinator. But they did teach themselves to code. While working on their first project, they struggled with finding the best software-as-a-service tool for the job–which led them to abandon the idea and start working on a simple, crowdsourced product reviews site. “We went looking for reviews and all the results were uber spammy. That’s when we got the idea for a transparent product review site,” Mr. Grant wrote in an email. Read More

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There’s a Bomb on This Message! How Lets You Cover Your Tracks


Ever emailed someone a password? Ever had to send a family member your credit card number? How about, did you ever send some information by email that you wish, maybe, you could take back (lookin’ at you, Scarlett)?

People are sending more and more sensitive data to each other over the Internet with less and less thought as to what it means, and Brooklynite Dan Petruzzi and his North Carolina-based partner Jerry Thompson are trying to help. “In this technological age, we are more and more accustomed to sharing information with each other digitally, whether it be over email, text message, or chat,” the pair told Betabeat by email. ” What we often don’t think about is that this leaves a data trail, especially considering how many of us don’t delete our incoming or sent messages. Should you lose your phone or computer, or have it stolen or hacked, this data can easily be retrieved and unfortunately used against you.” Read More

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Meet RentJolt, the Relaxed-Pace Apartment Finder

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Khristopher J. Brooks is a guest blogger for Betabeat.

There’s something calming and relaxing about having ample time to find a new apartment in New York City, something tranquil, something peaceful, something that New Yorkers Avi Dorfman and Samuel Sheinin are manipulating a bit. Read More

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Not Bad for a Hack


WhoWorks.At, the Chrome extension that shows you who you know at a company based on the domain you’re browsing and your social graph, started off as a little baby hack, created by New York City expat John Britton for Startup Weekend. The app went on to further development by the hackstars of speed-development shop @48HOURapps. Now, the app is a featured application in the Chrome Web Store, has 2,940 users, 95 reviews and a five star average. It is still free.

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Tweeting, Tweeting, Gone! Nate Westheimer Sold His First Coding Side Project, Ohours, Thanks to Twitter

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It’s a very New York story! Less than a year ago, man-about-New-York-tech Nate Westheimer, a Non-cOding Product Executive, or NOPE, retreated into a “sweat lodge” with a Ruby on Rails book and an idea he’d been sitting on for more than two years.

“It was something I really, really needed,” Mr. Westheimer told Betabeat via Google Chat. He’d been using “a hacky combination of tools” to approximate a web-based calendar to coordinate open office hours. “When I started teaching myself to code I told Vin Vacanti a few ideas I had, and he said if I build Ohours he’d be the first user on it. Knowing at least one other person would use the product really inspired me to build it.”

Mr. Westheimer launched the site back in December and local techies started testing it out. As promised, Mr. Vacanti was a prolific user, although Forrst founder Kyle Bragger was technically the first to sign up. founder Reece Pacheco gave it a try; Union Square Ventures’s Gary Chou wrote a rave review. TechStars’s Dave Tisch is a fan. And so on.

But in May Mr. Westheimer was ready to move on to other schemes. “I wonder if there someone out there who LOVES @Ohours, has what it takes to run a startup, and hacks Rails at least as well as I do…,” he tweeted. Read More

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When All Else Fails, Make a Sweet Foursquare Hack: Freespeech Superpivots From Group Texting to Instant Deals

Mr. Fertel, founder of

Freespeech was serving half a million texts a day. But in a crowded market of group texting apps, some of which have received millions of dollars in funding and hired fancy PR teams, the three-engineer start-up wasn’t getting enough traction. About three weeks ago, former financial services coder-turned start-up entrepreneur Jason Fertel decided to throw in the towel. “It was hard to be seen amongst the 20 other applications that did the same thing,” he said. “On top of that, with Apple and Google and whoever else about to jump in that ring, it just didn’t make sense to continue with it.”

Bummer, Mr. Fertel and his team were shooting around some ideas at the keg at WeWork Labs in Soho when WeWork manager Matt Shampine started complaining about he kept checking in to a certain establishment where Fourquare was offering a free margarita, unaware that Scoutmob was offering a more hefty discount of half-off everything.

“It would be awesome if when I check in I get a text with those Scoutmob deals,” Mr. Fertel thought. He started building it right away, and a few days later took its first steps on the world wide web, serving up deals instantly to users who check in on Foursquare and Facebook Places. Read More

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Crotch Pic-Tweeting Congressmen Will Appreciate This: SecretSocial Launches


“Social is not another word for public,” says Westchester and Montreal-based SecretSocial, which just launched an app similar to Dogpatch Labs-based The Fridge, allowing for private conversations between individuals or groups that aren’t saved. SecretSocial’s uses Twitter, email and SMS to invite people to the private conversations. Your information is only retained for the length of the conversation, SecretSocial promises, and is never sold to advertisers. We’re sure they’ll figure out some other way to monetize! In the meantime, suspected crotch photo tweeter Rep. Anthony Weiner may want to check this out.

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Hype Machine Releases Long-Awaited iPhone and iPad App

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As Betabeat rumored last week, Brooklyn-based music blog aggregator and cloud music start-up Hype Machine has finally released an iPhone and iPad app that has been in the works since the fall of 2009. The app, called Hype Radio, creates streaming music channels based on tracks posted by music blogs in Hype Machine’s directory. Channels include Latest, Popular, and My Friends, which streams what songs people in your social graph are listening to. Presumably, the hang-up was due to digital music rights issues.