TechCrunch Disrupt

TechCrunch Disrupt

Rap Genius Will Now Save Journalism Thanks to ‘News Genius’

The future of news. (Photo: Instagram/Owen Thomas)

The bros from Rap Genius opened up the final day of TechCrunch Disrupt NY with a very special announcement. They’re launching soon a new vertical called News Genius, which follows the paradigm of Rap Genius. However, instead of analyzing 2 Chainz lyrics, the site will explain news-related clippings and documents. That sort of sounds like journalism!

“I want Barack Obama to explain the news, the constitution and Jay-Z’s ‘99 Problems,’” semi-joked cofounder Mahbog Moghadam, adding that “there has to be a legal explanation behind that.” The site, which was the idea of investor/”godfather” Ben Horowitz, has already softly launched judging by its Twitter account. Read More

TechCrunch Disrupt

Dennis Crowley Is Pretty Sure You Haters Don’t Even Use Foursquare

Mr. Crowley (screencap)

This week is the New York edition of TechCrunch Disrupt, which means it’s time for the annual friendly grilling of Silicon Alley personalities. Taking his turn in the hot seat this morning: Fuelband-brandishing Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley.

This year’s conference takes place in the least startup-y of neighborhoods: right next door to Penn Station, in the Hammerstein Ballroom. It’s covered in faux rococo detailing, and the carpet has seen better days, possibly during the Ford administration, and don’t even try sitting down on the stairs to make a phone call because you will be bounced.

So it was in incongruous surroundings that @dens tackled a no-fun question: Where did all the adulation go?  Read More

TechCrunch Disrupt


We tried to find a picture of Mr. Blodget with a puppy but could not.

Guys, Henry Blodget is mad entertaining. He is especially entertaining when he gets going on the subject of new media and its best/worst practices. The man charged into his mid-morning TechCrunch Disrupt panel on the matter with guns blazing, apparently ready to defend to the death “linkbait” and whatever else you might want to take issue with, by God.

Of course, he had reason to come ready to rumble. Joining Mr. Blodget on the stage were TechCrunch’s Alexia Tsotsis, BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti, and Techmeme founder Gabe Rivera. An illustrative moment: Ms. Tsotsis asked the panelists what they see as new media worst practices; Mr. Peretti offered up, for one thing, sites that arrange headlines and bylines to “look like it came from writers at that site who actually don’t write for that site.” “Any specific examples?” Ms. Tsotsis asked rather pointedly. Business Insider’s name slipped out into the conversation (though we didn’t quite catch who said it.) Also, note the lede on the TechCrunch coverage of the panel.

Mr. Blodget responded with a barrage that made us very thankful he was not, let’s say, our Little League coach.  Read More

TechCrunch Disrupt

Betaworks CEO John Borthwick Refuses to Stir the Pot, Until He Does (A Little)

Mr. Borthwick

After a brief interlude, wherein an organizer appealed to whichever publicity-seeking startup might have released the still-chattering bird high aloft in the rafters, TechCrunch marched onward. M.G. Siegler (formerly of TechCrunch, currently of CrunchFund) opened with what sounded like an invitation to coffee, rattling off the overlap between their respective organizations’ portfolios and concluding, “We should probably talk more.” Betaworks CEO John Borthwick didn’t bite: “We probably should, but we’re doing just fine.” He also added rather pointedly that, “as you know, we are not a fund,” though Betaworks, of course, has investments.

Mr. Borthwick proceeded to, at Mr. Siegler’s inquiry as to how they work with investors on the sunnier side of the country, essentially dismiss any notions of conflict: “This bicoastal thing, I think it’s fun and games” but added that “the market is bigger because of the complementary skills that both coasts offer the market and entrepreneurs and so it’s not, it’s fun to sort of pit one coast against the other, but companies are better for having East Coast and West Coast investors.” Some companies might be a better fit for one coast or the other or both, but regardless, more options are better.  Read More

TechCrunch Disrupt

Andreessen Horowitz’s Jeff Jordan On New York’s Ecommerce Companies: ‘There’s Something Special Happening.’

Mr. Jordan.

Opening the TechCrunch Disrupt proceedings bright and early this morning: Andreessen Horowitz Partner Jeff Jordan. Accompanied by the sounds of birdsong (hey, this thing does take place on a converted pier), he held forth on IPOs, philanthropy, and New York’s ecommerce bloom.

The discussion opened with a discussion of the IPO market. The former OpenTable CEO presided over the company’s 2009 IPO when, at the time, according to moderator Eric Eldon, “Everyone [in Silicon Valley] was watching Mark Zuckerberg keeping his company private.”

Mr. Jordan contrasted today’s IPO fever with the atmosphere just a few years ago: Read More

TechCrunch Disrupt

TechCrunk: Disrupt Goes Out With a Whimper


What does “disruptive” mean, anyway?

“It’s when you’re standing up, and then you fall over,” Vivek Sharma of MovableInk, who has been in and out of the TechCrunch Disrupt conference since the hackathon over the weekend, explained to Betabeat.

That seems to describe a lot of start-ups, Betabeat speculated.

“That’s true!” he said.

“It’s when you get written up in TechCrunch,” Groupme’s Pat Nakajima countered.

The group texting boy wonder was in a sour mood due to the party’s lack of luster and open bar. Beteabeat was standing by the entrance of the body-packed Casa La Femme, the West Village watering hole where TechCrunch Disrupt veterans Qwiki was hosting a conference afterparty. The air inside smelled like flavored tobacco, and everyone was from San Francisco. Read More

TechCrunch Disrupt

GetAround, An AirBnB for Cars, Wins TechCrunch Disrupt NY


The only startup to drive up to the stage, GetAround, is the winner of this week’s mega conference.

The two New York start-ups involved in the finals, Sonar and BillGuard, shared the second place runner up slot.

GetAround lets users put their car up for rent, then provides insurance and turns users iphone into the key.

Betabeat’s intrepid Adrianne Jeffries will be hitting the party scene tonight. Let her know where the action is. Read More

TechCrunch Disrupt

BillGuard: Day One, Over 10 K. Users; They Found Bad Charges for More Than 20% Including One $6 K. Fraud

BillGuard's Yaron Samid

BillGuard, a New York and Israel-based start-up that made the finals at TechCrunch Disrupt, is pretty far along for a start-up that just launched. They’ve got deals with three “top banks” who will distribute the service as a feature and they got more than 10,000 registered users on Monday. Already they’ve identified potentially erroneous charges on 20 percent of users’ bills, co-founder Yaron Samid said, and they found one fraudulent charge of $6,000 on a wealthy individual’s card.