Good morning, All,
Yes, we are getting ready for our next Terrace event, and – fingers crossed – we may be doing it at the Empire State Building. Cool! October 18th is the date; more details coming soon and register now for the early bird rate: http://bit.ly/mY5QED
ER Accelerator had its Demo Day this past Friday for its first graduating class and kudos to Murat and his team – and the startups themselves, some of who have already received angel and VC investment. The packed room included representatives from Union Square Ventures, TechStars, Founder Collective, Greycroft, Bessemer Ventures, New York Angels, Penny Black and Bloomberg Ventures. ERA is one of the few New York City-grown accelerators and heads up: since this is the city that never sleeps, they’re already gearing up for the winter session. Deadline is November 19th. So get those applications in: http://eranyc.com/apply/
Press from Demo Day:
Meet the 10 awesome teams at ER Accelerator’s first Demo Day in NYC http://tnw.co/qErVTP
Knights of the Roundtable: ER Accelerator Demos Long, But Compelling http://bit.ly/nuJBH0
For those of you who spent last week in some alternate universe, Facebook announced that they’re making changes – once again – and launching social apps and ‘frictionless sharing’, or, as we like to call them: Google Slapdowns. In all fairness, Google started it by launching Google+, trying to muscle in on Facebook’s territory, so FB struck back by bringing more of the web into FB itself, including Hulu, Spotify – and most of the other music sites out there. News sites. GigaOm on the F8 Conference: What Do Facebook’s Changes Mean for Google and Twitter http://bit.ly/pHs3OS. Now the scary part: Facebook also announced the launch of Timeline, or as we like to call it: Skynet Goes Live. “Imagine if there was an easy way to rediscover the things you shared, and collect all your best moments in a single place,” as product manager Sam Lessin put it in a post on the Facebook blog. But it’s far more Orwellian than that. Facebook has been taken to task on privacy issues in the past and TNW, among others, did raise the issue (Facebook’s Eerie Goal: Why Timeline Changes Everything – http://tnw.co/oZ8Zrj) Want more? Logging out of Facebook is not enough: http://bit.ly/n0etfq Not giving us the warm and fuzzies: there literally seems to be no ‘opt out.’ Here’s how you can enable the FB Timeline now http://on.mash.to/p0UxPQ. Proceed with extreme prejudice: we don’t know if there’s a kill switch. As for the fact that Mark Zuckerberg was born in 1984 – maybe George Orwell was more prescient than we had suspected. The good news: with 800+ million subscribers, most Facebook members live outside of the US and in countries where there are privacy laws and it’ll be interesting to see where – and which – come down on all of this. And let’s not forget that the hacker group Anonymous declared war on Facebook a while back and vowed to bring it down on November 5th, so we may all be just fine.
Speaking of reinvention, don’t be surprised if the word ‘grouponomics’ enters the lexicon. Groupon will now only count as revenue its commission on sales, rather than the total value of an online coupon. Previously, when it sold a restaurant gift certificate for $10, for instance, it would book the full amount, even though a portion went to the business owner. This change reduces Groupon’s stated revenue for 2010 to $312.9 million, down from the $713.4 million previously reported, thus defining grouponomics as Gross being the New Net. We had our own form of grouponomics during web 1.0 and the premise was that the industry should pour untold millions into a startup – meaning, any company with a dot com suffix), whether it made money or had a business plan or not. And you wonder why that first internet bubble burst. Caution: do not try to incorporate the new grouponomics into your business plan or SEC filing. Your chief operating officer may feel the sudden need to resign and, oh, it’s just not a good idea. But Groupon CEO and founder Andrew Mason stated in a WSJ article (More Trouble For Groupon IPO: http://on.wsj.com/oIxZEs) that the departure is an opportunity to “reorganize in a way that reflects our evolving strategic priorities.” Startup Lesson Takeaway: if you can’t pivot, you’d damn well better know how to spin. Onward and forward.
InSITE Fall semester, deadline September 27th. Put in your application here: application.
* InSITE is a 10+ year-old fellowship program that provides early stage companies with consulting services to help them raise seed or Series A financing. This is a freeservice. We do this because it gives our members a chance to interact with NY’s startup community.
* InSITE’s fellows are chosen from among the best and brightest students from Columbia and NYU Business and Law schools, as well as several graduate-level science and engineering programs, after a highly competitive application and interview process.
* InSITE provides participating companies numerous additional benefits over and above our mentoring services including networking opportunities, speaker events, and our final pitch-event featuring top VCs and Angels from NYC.
* InSITE companies have raised over $ 215 million dollars in VC since 2000.
* Previous InSITE companies include: RecycleBank, HopStop, Frogtek, Silicon Alley Telecom, Hycrete, Vindigo, and TERRAcycle.
BetaBeat is looking for startups to star in a new web series – $10k cash prize/$100k investment. Betabeat is launching our first web series, Elevator Pitch. We will be profiling ten NYC startups and giving each one the chance to pitch Lerer Ventures in person. There will be a $10,000 cash prize and a $100,000 (or more) investment as possible outcomes for the winners. Unlike Mr. Arrington, we don’t influence the decision, that all comes from Lerer. If you are interested in participating, please send over a brief bio of you and your team, a short summary of what your company does and a brief explanation of why it would make sense for a VC to fund. Any other assets like video/pitch deck/website are welcome. To respond: firstname.lastname@example.org and good luck!
Heads up, England: the CEME Business Plan Competition. Deadline: September 30th. Launchpad@ceme is open to young businesses or entrepreneurs with an exciting idea located in the Thames Gateway. The competition will help young businesses get off the ground and win some brilliant prizes worth more than £25,000. For more information and to enter: http://www.launchpadceme.co.uk/
Hack for Good, deadline September 30, 2011; we’ll give you access to all available documentation). LetGive’s first annual “Hack-for-Good” (HFG) contest! LetGive has created an API that allows anyone to include a charitable giving component within their application. Applications built on our platform are transformed into powerful fundraising vehicles for Nonprofits and Charities. Prize: $1000 for the winning app. To register: http://www.letgive.com/hackforgood/
The Dare2Dream Challenge, hosted by Glee Star Iqbal Theba (Principal Figgins), deadline October 1st: The Challenge is a response to the high percentage of unemployment in the youth today – unemployment for youth hovers at 18%, double the national average. The challenge is an opportunity for students to share their dream job and win a trip to Hollywood, an ipad2 or even homework help.Students can enter and share their dream by video (2-5 minutes long) or by a Facebook post (up to 420 characters). For more information: http://bit.ly/q5IpCV
Students: Mark your calendars! HackNY Student Hackathon, October 1-2. It’s a 24-hour adventure: creative challenges, coding, new friends, food, caffeine, and inspiration. The Spring 2010 hackNY Student Hackathon drew more than 200 students from more than 30 universities. Will you join us this semester? Register at http://hackny.org/a/f2011/students
College students! Moverandchangers.com is all set to launch its third nationwide challenge to uncover the country’s next young entrepreneurs who want to make it big with their innovative ideas for a new business. The contest is open to 16-28 year old college students to develop and produce a compelling business proposal. Ideas must be original, feasible, scalable and practical. More information on the site, which features a video with Dennis Crowley, who, just for the record, wouldn’t qualify for the contest now, nor would he when he first started foursquare. Deadline is October. Information is here: http://bit.ly/EvBLZ
Global Amazon Web Services Start-up Challenge is on! Deadline: October 2nd. This year, AWS will select 15 regional semi-finalists: 5 each from the Americas, Asia Pacific (including Japan), and EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa), respectively, who will each receive $2,500 in AWS credits. From these, they will select a minimum of 6 finalists to be awarded a package of $10,000 in AWS credits and a trip to Palo Alto, California, to attend the final round of judging. Then, after a day of meetings with the judges, they will announce one grand prize winner at a public event for start-ups and investors. The winner will receive a package that includes $50,000 in cash and $50,000 in AWS credits. To enter: http://aws.amazon.com/startupchallenge/
Y Combinator now accepting applications for Winter 2012. Deadline: October 10th. The ideal company would have two or three founders. We’ll consider those with four or five. We’re reluctant to accept one-person companies, though we have funded a couple. For those of you interested in applying now or finding out more about the process: http://bit.ly/nUYxNY
6th Annual New England Venture Summit – Call for Top Innovators and an SOS discount! If you are a Startup seeking capital and/or partnerships, submit your plan for the opportunity to present at the premier venue connecting emerging growth companies with active Venture Capitalists, Angel Investors, Corporate VCs and Investment Firms. A select group of 50 Top Innovators from the technology, life sciences and Clean-tech sectors will be chosen to present their breakthrough investment opportunities to an exclusive audience of investors.The early deadline for presenting company applications is October 26th. E-mail email@example.com for more details and an application. To nominate a company please forward: company name, main contact at firm, contact details and why you think they should present to firstname.lastname@example.org. The event happens December 14th; 50% off if you register by November 9th: http://bit.ly/nCkYN6 For a further discount, the code is: sos.
Samsung’s $100k Challenge to Developers, deadline November 29th. Samsung is offering $225,000 in cash and prizes for the most innovative converged apps that enable an interactive home entertainment experience between Samsung TVs and other devices. The 2011 Samsung Free the TV Challenge invites software developers to create compelling converged apps that offer seamless user interaction between a Samsung Smart TV and at least one other screen, such as a phone, tablet or computer. Last year, we released the first-ever Samsung TV App SDK and launched the 2010 Free the TV Challenge to develop native apps on our line of Smart TVs and Blu-ray devices. This year we take another leap forward to free the TV with “converged apps” — multi-screen apps that offer immersive, interactive home entertainment experiences. For more information and to apply: http://www.freethetvchallenge.com/
The Appy Awards – enter once and you could win twice. Deadline March 21, 2012 but any entry you submit today may also be selected as our “Featured App of the Week“, scoring you some seriously instant gratification. And we doesn’t love that? For more information and to enter – any time – http://appyawards.net/
ER Accelerator Winter Session. Call for submission, deadline is November 19th. Get busy and get those applications in: http://eranyc.com/apply/
For your edification this week:
The mountain comes to Mohammed: How Facebook Ate the Web. As the RWW writer says, Facebook’s perceived value to businesses has nothing really to do with its being a social network. Thus, any competitor seeking to dethrone Facebook does not need to be a better social network. It just needs a better value proposition. Moral of the story: evolve or perish, and make sure to offer a value proposition – to your users first and your bottom line will follow, Google: http://rww.to/mQU6UO
Speaking of creative accounting: Accountingville: Zynga bookkeeping change provides a lift. Zynga has engaged in some creative accounting methods of its own on its S-1 filing in order to avoid claiming a second-quarter loss. To learn how to turn red ink into profits and report a net income of $1.8 million, instead of a loss of between $1 million and $2 million: http://nyp.st/rhc4Cl
Free Startup Docs: How Much Equity Should Advisors Get? Ah, there’s always the issue of who gets what. Hopefully this will help some of you out there: http://tcrn.ch/r0OoFN
Should you launch at a conference? Conferences are expensive, especially when you’re bootstrapping, but they can pay off. But which ones? Here are some tips from Joel Spolsky, who launched two major new products at conferences: Careers 2.0 and Trello, and both times, it was totally worth it. http://bit.ly/n6OMMf
The Long Grind Before You Become an Overnight Success. Vincius Vacanti is co-founder and CEO of Yipit, a service that finds you great local deals by learning your tastes. After two and half years of failing and learning, he figured out exactly what to do and shares the lessons he learned as a first-time entrepreneur in Silicon Alley. http://bit.ly/qxI3Wi
3 Ways to Find Top Talent for Your Startup. A job shortage is not the problem in technology. Au contraire. Here are some ideas for you, besides posting here in the newsletter. Or calling on me as a recruiter. Subtle, i know: http://on.mash.to/qaKl85
How New York’s Tech Scene Exploded In 4 Years After researching 280 startups that have raised at least $5 million of outside capital, Gridley created charts that explain how New York became a booming tech town in just four years. Here are some of the findings and full disclosure: the timeline does include major tech companies that started elsewhere and expanded to New York: http://read.bi/ruE6v9
Business Insider, over-aggregation, and the mad grab for traffic. The TechCrunch debacle has certainly raised the specter of journalistic integrity. This week, the focus was on BI, which just raised about $7m. Ah, but what Blodgett and his team did to get there. Then again, Henry (and Janet) did come from Wall Street: http://reut.rs/nMT80E
Hear That? It’s The Sound of Google’s Rivals Quietly Rubbing Their Hands Together … In case you missed it, Google chairman Eric Schmidt was called to testify before a Senate anti-trust subcommittee this past week over Fairsearch. Is their priority advertising or search and at what price to users? This is a big issue and whatever happened to ‘do no evil’? http://dthin.gs/qpVJwr
We try to leave you with a chuckle. This week, we’re offering something helpful, in case you’re a banana lover (like yours truly) who has never quite mastered the technique of peeling the damn thing. There’s an easy way to do it, and always a good idea to learn from the pros: http://youtu.be/nBJV56WUDng Hey, lots of good news from members this week, so read on and now, as always, help is on the way…