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The Start-Up Rundown

The Start-Up Rundown

Start-Up News: BuyWithMe Hires Xoogler as Xecutive; Plus Lot18, Skillshare and a Tumblr Killer

poutine pizza

DAILY EXECUTIVE DEAL. “On the heels of its fifth acquisition in the past five months, BuyWithMe today announced that it has hired Charlie Gray as Chief People Officer. Gray will work with the BuyWithMe team to help manage the company’s fast-paced and aggressive growth plans, and to hire, train and retain the best talent in both existing markets and new areas of expansion.” Buy with me, Charlie Gray. That has a nice ring to it.

CASH AND MONEY. “Lot18, the site that provides insider access to the best in wine and artisanal selections, announced an investment from ecommerce pioneers Marc Lore and Vinit Bharara, founders of Quidsi (best known for Diapers.com and Soap.com) – recently acquired by Amazon for $545 million. With more than 400k users and over $1 million in monthly sales, funds help Lot18 continue its momentous growth. Please find full details in the press release below.”

OH HAI. Jux.com, which lets users create full-frame pages, sort of like a Tumblr-meets-About.me-meets-PowerPoint, “like blogging in HD,” just officially launched. Read More

The Start-Up Rundown

Start-Up News: Vayable Launch, Airbnb Rebirth, and a Place Where There Are No Strangers

(Vayable.com)

VIABLE? Vayable.com, the world’s first experience sharing platform, launched last week in New York City.  “The company began operations less than four months ago, growing a passionate community in their hometown of San Francisco and has quickly gained popularity in key national and international markets.” New York was a natural next stop, said founder and CEO Jamie Wong, who came up with the idea while working at The Daily Show.

“Vayable.com is a new service that lets anyone discover and book great things directly from others in the community, providing a dynamic and compelling alternative to dusty guidebooks and double-decker bus tours.  Individuals are making money offering diverse experiences such as a private concert in a concert pianist’s downtown Manhattan loft, a fashion model sketching session with an instructor at Parsons, and a tour of Wall Street hosted by a Bloomberg TV reporter.” Read More

The Start-Up Rundown

Start-Up News: Baller Edition

Basketball_Hoops

YEAH, YEAH. The metal label Century Media, which represents such artists as 3 Inches of Blood and Aborted, is ditching Spotify. “While everyone at the label group believes in the ever changing possibilities of new technology and new ways of bringing music to the fans, Century Media is also of the opinion that Spotify in its present shape and form isn’t the way forward,” a press release informs us. “The income streams to the artists are affected massively and therefore that accelerates the downward spiral, which eventually will lead to artists not being able to record music the way it should be recorded. Ultimately, in some cases, it will completely kill a lot of smaller bands that are already struggling to make ends meet.”

But the label waffled a little: Read More

The Start-Up Rundown

Start-Up News: Foursquare, Twitter, GroupMe 3.0; Ventures, Jobs, Reprisings

roadmap

CHECKING UP. GroupMe 3.0 is out, and–what is this thing? We hardly recognize it anymore! GroupMe has taken group messaging to the next level with direct messaging, web chat and questions (ask a question, spark a conversation–in beta).

Foursquare rolls out brand pages. And brands can check in wherever they want! Silicon Alley-turned-Valley email start-up Tout now has Gmail integration. Voyurl announced an “all-new private beta.”

WE WANT YOU. Lerer Ventures hiring for an office assistantTwitter needs some business dev in its new office somewhere around Central Park. Advertising intelligence agency Rapleaf is hiring for a Lead Developer and some Amazing Engineers. Rent the Runway is hiring for a senior software engineer. AngelSoft is hiring for several positions.

BLASTING OFF. “Twitgram, a new, Web-based service now coming out of beta that … allows users to take a ‘half-step’ off of Twitter to send private messages, regardless of whether they follow each other, and without a 140 character (or any) limit.  In addition, Twitgram stores correspondence in threads, allowing users to track  correspondence. Twitgram’s additional functionalities include attachments, photos and group/team messaging, simply by having a Twitter handle, without the need to join yet another social network or download any software. Twitgram is the latest startup of New Yorkers David Rostan and John Holdun, formerly a top developer at About.com.”  Read More

The Start-Up Rundown

Start-Up News: It Wasn’t Too Hot to Push Features

venmo-tshirt-asha

The biggest start-up news of the last week was probably Google+ sucking up The Fridge, but New York start-ups are pushing features and hiring and having parties and moving to New York City:

WE’RE GOING TO NEW YORK CITY! Philly-and-New York-based mobile payments start-up Venmo will be setting up full-time shop in New York next week on the heels of announcing some new iPhone app features including the most commonly-requested passcode lock, which lets you lock the Venmo app with a four-digit PIN “in case your cat gets a hold of your iPhone.” You can also now scan a credit card by snapping a picture and check a box to check in on Foursquare when you split a bill.

INCREDIBLE JOURNEYS. New York start-up KeyWifi is trying to get people and businesses to share their wifi hot spots, bringing it up against security issues and legal challenges and other logistical hurdles. Betabeat spoke to founder Adam Black some months ago and we were not encouraged that the idea would ever get off the ground. But there’s been some movement: today the start-up announced three new hires. “KeyWifi is also feverishly growing, updating our technology and growing our customer base.  To make this happen, our high-spirited, company founder, Adam Black, expanded the arsenal of KeyWifi talent with Product Director, Tom Hughes, Senior Technology Officer, Justin Fields and Community Development Manager, Jenn Lackey.” Read More

The Start-Up Rundown

Start-Up News: Early Reddit Employee Faces Up to 35 Years in Jail for Downloading 4.8 Million Journal Articles

Mr. Swartz. (Photo: Facebook)

AARON SWARTZ ARRESTED. “Shocking news: Moments ago former Demand Progress Executive Director Aaron Swartz was indicted by the US government,” Demand Progress’s David Segal said in an email blast yesterday. “As best as we can tell, he is being charged with allegedly downloading too many journal articles from the Web. The government contends that downloading so many journal articles constitutes felony computer hacking and should be punished with time in prison.” Mr. Swartz helped create RSS and whose company was once bought by Reddit. He faces up to 35 years in prison and $1 million in fines and pleaded not guilty. Eeepo. Why he wanted 4.8 million journal articles is beyond us. There is a petition for signing and you can donate here.

GROUPME ON THAT PHONE 7. Last week GroupMe released a preview–“meaning only a few features are available with more to come”–of its Windows Phone 7 app. “You may not hear a lot about the whole WP7 platform compared to others BUT fascinatingly it has become the second most common request to have from GroupMe users,” a PR rep writes. We were just talking to someone about how WP7 is kind of indie-cool now. Read More

The Start-Up Rundown

Start-Up News: Spotify, Tumblr, Bitcoin, Summer Assemblies

wet hot american summer

What’s new in New York start-ups this week? Well, it’s really hot, and there seem to be a lot of rooftop parties. Launches and new features–not as many. We guess the start-up scene gets just as sleepy as the rest of New York City in the summertime:

SPOTIFY SAYS HI. Spotify is launching in the U.S. soon (squee!) and they’ve got a mini-office in New York, also known as the city where music start-ups go to die. (Kiddinggg! We’re sure it’s going to be fine, exfm and Turntable.) Want to meet some of the Spotify team? Clear your Tuesday for “Behind The Music @ Spotify lecture 6:30pm 76 9th Ave, Floor 11, Manhattan: Come hear Andreas Mattsson, Spotify’s head of Software Development, and Emil Fredriksson, Spotify’s head of Operations, talk about the architecture and infrastructure of Spotify. And here’s the kicker: everyone who comes gets an invite to Spotify!” Read More

The Start-Up Rundown

Start-Up News: Hands-On Hacking Hits Hard, a Hop and a Skip, SeamlessWeb Is a Tease, and the OG VCs Announce Hiring

craft party

This week in New York start-ups:

TO DO LIST: Maker Faire at Etsy, tonight at 6:30. Get together and talk about doing. Behind on your mainstream? The Social Network is screening at Pier 63Hack and Tell at Meetup, tomorrow. There will be electronic fireflies! More hacking to be had at Red Bull Creation, this weekend at McCarren Park. And last but not least in the hands-on hacking category, submissions are now being accepted for World Maker Faire.

General Assembly is hosting a Selling to Middle America class, in which the co-founders of Jump Ramp Games will talk about how to get people to use Foursquare and Turntable.fm in Missouri, etc. Seems relevant, but they could have given it a less-condescending name. Selling to Customers Who Make Up the Vast Majority of the Consumer Web Market and Are Essential for Many Start-Ups to Succeed, perhaps? Read More

The Start-Up Rundown

Start-Up News: Summer Parties! Plus Oyster.com, GroupMe & Fanbridge

oysters

Summery/summary news from New York’s start-up scene.

OYSTER REVIVAL. Oyster.com, the start-up that flamed out after its model of sending reviewers to photograph and secret shop hotels one-by-one proved hellishly expensive and unscalable AND THEN recently bounced back with new funding and partnership with the Travel Channel, has launched the “first-ever photo-powered hotel search engine.” Oyster Shots “is a seamless way to explore Oyster.com’s quickly growing database of exclusive, high-resolution, undoctored photos of vacation destinations around the world.”

INAUGURAL EAST VILLAGE TECH MEETUP: Betabeat runs into founders and techies in the East Village on the regular and it’s arguably the neighborhood with the richest Foursquare data, so we’re surprised that this never existed before. So no surprised that 71 techies have RSVP’ed. Little worried about the capacity at d.b.a., where the meetup is happening Thursday at 6 p.m., though. Read More

The Start-Up Rundown

Start-Up News: Noob to Spark Capital

Mr. Haber.

DAVID HABER JOINS SPARK CAPITAL. “David has a interesting background, which included graduating from Harvard with a BioChem degree. Not a typical degree for a VC firm but we appreciated a different perspective and background than others at Spark,” the firm says on its blog. Mr. Haber previously was a founding associate at Locus Analytics, which he started before he graduated. His new title is VC n00b.

IT’S BEEN A WHILE SINCE WE HAD A HACKATHON! Er, not really. But Game Hack Day is this weekend at General Assembly, sponsored by NYhacker, the “hacker union.” “We’ve got a bunch of Arduinos, AR Drone-copters, great API demos (including open source game frameworks) and more,” says co-organizer John Britton. It’s expected to be as big as Music Hack Day, which produced no fewer than 72 demos.

Related, General Assembly co-founder and serious strategy gamer Brad Hargreaves is hosting a class Thursday on The Business of Gaming–check it out before you hack and you could have a start-up. Or, you can skip the entrepreneurship and get a job at OMGPOP, currently hiring for a game designer with “mad vision.” Okay! Read More