So the tech world likes incubators. Indeed, even as new players enter the field, there are signs that the incubator model is bursting at the seams. Y Combinator downsized to less than 50 companies in its most recent class, from 84 last summer. When 500 Startups decided to establish a base in New York, it opted for a coworking space instead of an incubator. TechStars keeps growing, but its most recently announced additions have been abroad or in more narrowly-defined niches. Read More
Teach Me How to Startup
Rap Genius Cofounder Is Soliciting Diss Tracks About Warren Buffett, Tells 82-Year-Old Investor to Suck His @$%*
Mark Zuckerberg is hardly the first billionaire turned off by the antics of Rap Genius cofounder Mahbod Moghadam. As Betabeat learned while reporting a feature on the startup’s $15 million investment round from Andreessen Horowitz, Mr. Moghadam’s career in tech began only after he yapped his way out of an internship with Warren Buffet.
In the midst of the recession, Mr. Moghadam was given a year off–with reduced pay–from the law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf. Only Berkshire Hathaway found his personal blog, Beneficent Allah, where he wrote a satirical billable memo referencing the “Ballstate Insurance Company.” Allstate was a client of Dewey’s, the offer was rescinded and long story short, Mr. Moghadam now gets to dine with Nas. Read More
Now that we’ve got all this data lying around in great snowdrift-like heaps on our servers, what are we supposed to do with it? Enter the data scientist, which suddenly every startup simply must have. And where there are jobs, universities are sure to follow: NYU announced today the launch of an Initiative in Data Science and Statistics, which involves both the creation of both a Center for Data Science and graduate-degree programs in the field. Read More
A fair bit of Mike Bloomberg’s third and final term has been devoted to improving New York City’s educational offerings in the practical hard sciences. Besides the creation of Cornell Tech, he also helped broker city support for beefed-up programs at NYU and Columbia.
But there’s one science-focused school that has clearly has the mayor’s heart, and it’s in Baltimore, of all places: His alma mater, Johns Hopkins, where he got his engineering degree. He’s showered the university with cash for years, and the New York Times reports that his latest gift (a cool $350 million, the largest individual gift in the school’s history) brings the total to $1.1 billion. Read More
Earlier this week, classes commenced for the inaugural batch of Cornell Tech masters students, of which there are eight. To get a sense of how the first week is going, we checked in late yesterday afternoon with vice president Cathy Dove, who sounded like a satisfied high school principal ready to prop her pumps on her desk: “I have to say, by far, this is the most rewarding and exciting milestone that we’ve hit,” she said. Read More
Mark MacLeod, a partner at the Montreal-based seed fund Real Ventures, recently posted a list of venture capitalists to avoid that quickly got passed around Twitter. Don’t take money, he advised, from archetypes like “the banker,” “the name-dropper,” “the dude on 20 boards,” etc.
Those kinds of self-interested parties have been circling around the tech scene for years. But perhaps the downward turn in startup financing is bringing back the sharp elbows that didn’t serve as well in a “party round” atmosphere. Read More
Elizabeth Spiers has worn a number of hats over the past few years–launched Dealbreaker.com and AboveTheLaw.com, founding editor of Gawker, even editing the pink newspaper where Betabeat’s column appears. And now that she’s back in the startup world, early-stage companies are lining up for consulting advice.
But what about the startups that can’t afford rent, let alone advice from consultants? Ever the entrepreneur, Ms. Spiers has come up with a novel idea that she calls “Working Lunch.” Read More
First Round Capital Couldn’t Choose Between ‘Call Me Maybe’ and ‘Gangnam Style’ for Its Holiday Video
We thought for sure First Round would go with “Gangnam Style,” Silicon Valley favorite. But apparently, the spray-and-pray strategy favored by investors also applies to parodying viral hits. Hence the cost of doing business with First Round also means aping Bieber protégés. Gotta say, that production quality doesn’t look very “run super lean eat the ramen,” as the founder getting his head bopped on by someone else’s crotch croons.
Earlier today, Betabeat dropped by WeWork, a coworking space filled with techies diligently laboring away, to watch as Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer debuted a new report titled, “Start-up City: Growing New York City’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem for All.” As you can probably tell from the name, it’s an attempt at cracking how the city can broaden access to the city’s booming tech economy and make sure everybody’s boats are still bobbing away on the rising tide.
“I think it’s important that government officials don’t get stuck in the century we’re in, but rather think about the century of the future,” Mr. Stringer told Betabeat. Read More
“I would say that it takes a very specific type of person to want to go on a three day bus trip on a cramped, smelly bus to try to launch a startup,” Jonathan Gottfried, a developer evangelist from Twilio told Betabeat last week. Mr. Gottfried was talking about the StartupBus, the pipe dream of an idea that started with a bus trip from San Francisco to SXSW in 2010, migrated to the New York City in 2011, and is now in Europe as well.
The bus trips–going to tech conferences like SXSW and now Le Web–consist of a competition where teams are formed, products built, and winners picked, all while hurtling along the highway. Read More