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- 05/30/13--08:48: _How 3 Startup Execu...
- 05/30/13--10:30: _13 Companies That C...
- 05/30/13--18:20: _These Are The Secre...
- 06/01/13--18:43: _13 Badass Immigrant...
- 06/03/13--06:06: _These Are The Cold,...
- 06/03/13--07:49: _A Really Good Way T...
- 06/03/13--08:35: _How To Get The Sale...
- 06/03/13--18:09: _Startup Boutiika Is...
- 06/04/13--07:29: _Startup CEO: I Had ...
- 06/04/13--16:00: _London Startup YPla...
- 06/04/13--18:31: _The 9 Most Influent...
- 06/04/13--18:41: _14 Big Data Startup...
- 06/05/13--12:28: _Red-Hot Startup Dro...
- 06/06/13--08:00: _How A Former Ad Exe...
- 06/06/13--09:06: _Ex-Apple Engineer B...
- 06/06/13--14:24: _QUIZ: Can You Ident...
- 06/07/13--08:22: _This Startup Is Goi...
- 06/07/13--11:58: _FOUNDER: 'Herd Ment...
- 06/07/13--18:44: _20 Startups That Ma...
- 06/08/13--07:30: _HubSpot Has Created...
- Get a new washer and dryer
- Mount the TV
- Buy new socks
- 05/30/13--10:30: 13 Companies That Could Be New York's Next Billion-Dollar Exit
- 05/30/13--18:20: These Are The Secrets People Are Actually Sharing On The Whisper App
- 06/01/13--18:43: 13 Badass Immigrants In Technology
- "A startup is a just a means to an end." It's important to take into account what a particular startup will do for your career. For example, will a startup make meeting your goals easier or harder in the long run?
- "A startup is the new office job. Startup culture is the new corporate culture." Startups are typically thought of as being more free, open, and flexible as compared to a standard, corporate job. But after a little while, startups operate very similarly to a typical, corporate company.
- "Startups are part of the system, not a rebellious wrench in the cogs." The startup system is merely an alternative to the corporate ladder.
- "Startups have an ongoing interpersonal cost." They can take a toll on your personal life, relationships, and other facets of life.
- 06/03/13--08:35: How To Get The Sales Engine Running When Your Startup Is Dirt Poor
- Work Your Customer Base: If customers are satisifed with what they're getting from a company, they're already well equipped to talk about the company's strengths. Tapping into this positive sentiment can help. "Asking your customer who else they can recommend can uncover a bounty of qualified targets for your sales team to go hunt," Sachs said in the blog post.
- Establish Yourself As An Expert:Sachs says some of WorkMarket's best customers are ones that have been referred by users of its service—an online marketplace that lets enterprises find contractors. For startups that don't yet have users, he recommends joining local user groups and organizations. By establishing themselves as experts first, startups can gain trust that can later be turned into leads, he said.
- Get Active On Social Media: Woody Allen was wrong: Success in social media isn't mostly about showing up. To really get the benefits of Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, companies need to build a social media presence. This means interacting with people as opposed to just being there to sell them things. These sites can "enable you to find out who your customers are connected to and what their interests are," Sachs said.
- Publish An Email Newsletter: WorkMarket created a newsletter and talked about tax issues with contractors, which was a huge hit with its customers. This made customers trust the company and look to it as an authority on subjects that matter to them. With the newsletter, startups get access to open and clickthrough rates, which can be passed on to sales to help them target their messaging, Sachs said.
- Get On The Phone: Sure, people find telemarketers annoying. But companies can still benefit from getting on the phone to drum up sales. Work Market has found this "extremely successful" and gives bonuses to its inside sales people who set up appointments that turn into business, Sachs said.
- 06/04/13--07:29: Startup CEO: I Had To Step Down – Here's My Advice For Entrepreneurs
- "Ignore the cries for more traction, especially when it would hurt your business or deplete your cash to satisfy those demands. Buy yourself more time and make the investors wait."
- Build a sustainable business. Don't worry about providing too many, if any, perks. "A loyal team member is going to stand by you even when times are tough and the snack cabinet is bare."
- At least consider joining a startup accelerator (Wittlebee was part of Los Angeles-based technology studio Science). "Just do your research and find the one that is right for you. Most of all you want one that is founder friendly (Several are not), has juice (the ability to fuel or fund your business), and has demonstrated some measure of stability (most are a shit-show).
- Be transparent with your employees about the challenges the company is facing.
- Use pseudonyms on the Internet to vent when times get rough.
- Realize that sometimes it's not possible to fall back in love with your startup. "If that's the case, it's really your duty to get out of the way. Intense love and passion is what builds great companies, and without it you really don't have a chance."
- 06/04/13--18:31: The 9 Most Influential Hip Hop Artists In Tech
- 06/04/13--18:41: 14 Big Data Startups You're Going To Be Hearing A Lot More About
- 06/06/13--09:06: Ex-Apple Engineer Brad Sewell Has A New Startup
- 06/07/13--11:58: FOUNDER: 'Herd Mentality' Is Driving MBAs Into Startups
- 06/07/13--18:44: 20 Startups That Mary Meeker Thinks Could Change Everything We Do
Sometimes, wealth comes unexpectedly. Like for lottery winners.
In the startup world, there's usually time between buyout discussions and the money hitting your bank account. At the very least, you have a few days to mull over what you'll do with your new-found wealth.
How do people react when they realize they're about to be rich?
Here's what three startup executives did when they found out their companies were about to sell for big bucks.
OMGPOP founder Charles Forman wandered into traffic.
Last year OMGPOP founder Charles Forman had $1,700 in his bank account, and he was working on a new venture, PictureLife. He had left the gaming company he founded, and he wasn't expecting it to get acquired.
When his friend, OMGPOP CEO Dan Porter, invited him to New York for an "emergency trip," Forman half-assumed it was to celebrate his 32nd birthday. Instead, it was to celebrate Zynga buying OMGPOP for ~ $200 million. Forman was in such disbelief, he nearly got himself killed crossing the street.
"I walked across the street, and all I heard was ‘honk,’ ” he told The New York Times. “It was surreal...I had $1,700 in my bank account yesterday, and now I have a whole lot more.”
Forman is still figuring out what to do with his fortune, but when we spoke to him after the sale, he said he wanted to "redistribute the karma" and invest in early-stage startups.
Wiley Cerilli, founder of SinglePlatform, decided to buy socks.
Last summer, Wiley Cerilli sold his startup to Constant Contact for $100 million in cash, stock and employee incentives. A few weeks before the deal was finalized, Cerilli sat down with his wife and told her what was about to happen. The couple came up with a list of things to buy and do if the deal went through:
"We couldn't think of anything else we really need," he said. When asked how it felt to be rich Cerilli replied, "It doesn't seem real."
Tumblr's first employee, Marco Arment, was emotionally guarded at first, then decided he wouldn't really buy anything.
"I was very cautious in my emotional response just because it wasn't definite. I didn't hear about it any kind of official capacity. I learned in the press the same way everyone else learned,"Arment said in a recent podcast.
He and his wife discussed what they'd do with the money they might soon have. They decided, like Cerilli and his wife, that they probably wouldn't do much.
"Tiff and I were talking once the rumors started swirling about Tumblr on Friday night. Like 'Ok, what if this is real? What will we do if we get a chunk of money from this?' And we said, 'You know, I don't really think we're going to buy anything immediately and I don't think we're really going to make any substantial changes in our life,'" Arment said.
"I have a pretty boring lifestyle by most people's measurements. I don't go out and party, I'm not going to be buying a $1,000 bottle of champagne to pour onto rap stars. No matter how much money I have I'm probably always going to wear jeans and a T-shirt most days...I don't intend to join a country club."
When asked why he wouldn't splurge Arment replied, "The sensibilities of regular people have been baked into my personality that even if I have the ability to blow any amount of money on some particular thing, I don't want to do it. I don't want to know that I did that and I don't want my family to find out and think I'm a dick for it."
Tumblr was New York City's first $1 billion exit since DoubleClick sold to Google in 2007. But it won't be the last.
A number of other startups in New York have become huge businesses, expected to exit for at least $1 billion. Others probably won't get the billion-dollar acquisitions they're hoping for, but they'll still sell for boatloads of cash.
Then there are startups that aren't worth $1 billion yet, but we bet they will be soon. They're innovative and growing quickly, with high margins, and they're tackling big markets.
10gen develops an open source database, MongoDB, that's used by Fortune 500 companies.
What it is: 10gen is the developer of MongoDB, an open source database used by many Fortune 500 companies. 10gen also offers support and training for MongoDB clients.
Estimated Value: $550 million as of its financing last year.
Total funding: $73.4 million
Location: New York, N.Y.
More Info: About 10gen
CEO: Max Schireson
Investors: Union Square Ventures, Flybridge Capital Partners, Sequoia Capital, New Enterprise Associates
*Disclosure: Dwight Merriman and Kevin Ryan are co-chairmen of 10gen. They are also co-founders of Business Insider.
Everyday Health provides health solutions via a portfolio of websites and 20 mobile apps; it's been eying an IPO for a few years.
What it is: Everyday Health is a provider of online health solutions. It generates much of its revenue ($160-175 million as of March 2012) via subscriptions and advertising. Its CEO said generating $1 billion in revenue was in sight last year, and it has been eyeing an IPO for a few years.
Estimated Value: $650 Million
Total funding: $153 million
Location: New York, N.Y.
More Info: About Everyday Health
CEO: Benjamin Wolin
Investors: Foundation Capital, NeoCarta Ventures, Revolution, Rho Ventures, Scale Venture Partners, Village Ventures
Etsy is an e-commerce site for individuals selling homemade goods that doubled its valuation last year.
What it is: E-commerce site for homemade crafts and small businesses. It raised $40 million at a ~$700 million valuation in May 2012.
Estimated Value:$600-700 million as of its fundraise in 2012.
Total funding: $91.7 million
Location: Brooklyn, N.Y.
More Info:About Etsy
CEO: Chad Dickerson
Investors: Caterina Fake, Stewart Butterfield, Joshua Schachter, Albert Wenger, Union Square Ventures, Accel Partners, Hubert Burda Media, Index Ventures
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Whisper, the iPhone and Android app that lets people anonymously share their deepest and darkest secrets, is becoming a treasure trove of opinionated information regarding social issues, technology, violence, and more.
Since launching in May 2012, more than 2 million users have uploaded millions of secrets to the app.
The number of whispers uploaded each week is in the high seven figures, up more than 150% since launching on Android, Whisper co-founder Michael Heyward said via email.
We first thought Whisper mostly appealed to college students and teenagers, but it turns out that many of its users are also in the military, including thousands who are actively serving in Afghanistan.
So just what exactly is everyone whispering about? We looked at the trending topics on the app.
The Boston Marathon bombings
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Fifty-six percent of the top 25 tech companies were founded by first or second generation Americans, according to a new report from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
That includes companies like eBay, Google, and Apple.
We decided to take a look at some of the most influential immigrants in the U.S. who are launching innovative companies, creating jobs, and growing our economy.
Their stories are impressive: One was forced to fight as a child soldier in Mao's Red Army. Another taught himself to read as a child in a Turkish village with only one teacher. And a third slept in a Taco Bell parking lot in Silivon Valley rather than try to launch his business in Japan.
Taro Fukuyama wants to bring Google-like perks to every company in the U.S.
Born and raised in Tokyo, Taro Fukuyama got his first taste of America when he studied abroad during high school. In 2011, Fukuyama and his team decided to leave Japan and come to Silicon Valley to further grow their dating startup called Mieple. They spent the first three days sleeping in a minivan in a Taco Bell parking lot. But today, Fukuyama and his team are running a hot new startup called AnyPerk.
Eren Bali is trying to democratize online education.
Eren Bali was born in a small village in Turkey. Bali essentially had to teach himself, since his primary school only had one room and one teacher trying to teach 5 different grades at once. Bali went on to earn a degree in both computer science and mathematics at the Middle East Technical University in Turkey.
It was his personal education experience that led to online learning platform Udemy. Today, Bali is the CEO at Udemy, which has raised $16 million from investors including Insight Venture Partners, Lightbank, MHS Capital, 500 Startups, and others.
Mike Galarza wants to make accounting pain-free.
Originally from Mexico, Mike Galarza left in 2009 to pursue an internship in San Jose, Calif. Galarza later went on to work at a larger company, where he was in charge of accounting.
In 2010, Galarza attended a talk by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel at Stanford University, where he shared the story of founding PayPal. Galarza decided it was time to pursue entrepreneurship.
"[...] After that, I could not see the future the same way I was seeing it before," Galarza said via email. "That's when I decided to take the rocky path of entrepreneurship."
Last February, Galarza graduated from The Founder Institute in Silicon Valley and now runs an accounting service called Entryless.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Startups are often seen as the ideal situation for students post-graduation, whether that be creating their own or simply joining an up-and-coming one.
But Alex Payne, an advisor at personal banking startup Simple, wants young programmers to be aware of the realities of startup life.
These are the truths of startup life, according to Payne:
Startups obviously want to make money and reach profitability, but it's important not to get too caught up in the "how" right away.
Union Square Ventures principal Fred Wilson wrote on his personal blog that he's seen some entrepreneurs make the mistake of trying to figure out their business model before they lock down a concrete strategy.
Doing so, Wilson says, "can be the worst thing" for a business.
It's important to first understand where your product fits within any given market, Wilson says. The next step is to determine the best strategy for your business.
"Not finding product market fit is fatal," Wilson writes. "But going down the wrong path in terms of strategy and business model can be fixed."
Startups and smaller businesses often struggle with finding sales leads because they don't have tons of cash for marketing their products through trade shows, webinars, and other networking events.
The good news is, there's a simple solution.
Russell Sachs, VP of sales for WorkMarket, which is backed by Union Square, made a guest appearance on Wilson's blog to talk about things startups can do to drum up sales leads.
Here's what Sachs had to say:
E-fashionistas rejoice! A San Francisco startup is not only scouring the coolest clothing boutiques to let you virtually browse their entire inventories online, it just launched a same-day delivery service.
That's the holy grail of ecommerce and an even holier, grailier problem for clothing retailers because clothes shopping is such a hands-on experience. People don't want to wait to get their new duds.
Boutiika, which launched its shopping site in late 2011, sells clothes from 300 boutiques to date in a handful of cities like San Francisco, Seattle, Portland and Austin. The same-day delivery service launched this week in only one, San Francisco. It will roll out this summer in more places like New York, L.A. Chicago, founder and CEO Ruchika Kumar told us.
Boutiika is cool for a couple of other reasons, too. It isn't actually an online retailer. It's really a visual search engine. Think of it like Zillow, but for clothes instead of homes.
Boutiques put their entire inventory into the search engine and shoppers can browse across stores by any criteria. Type in gold dress, for instance, and you'll see all the gold dresses in all the shops in your city. You can ask a retailer to hold one for you so you can drive over and try it on.
While other fashion startups are fighting over "the 10% of shopping" done online, "we're working on the 90% of commerce still happening in stores. We are bringing people into the brick-and-mortar store instead of taking them away," Kumar told us.
Anyone in any city can browse the Boutiika website, but, like other fashion sites these days, it makes you fork over your email address or links to your Facebook account before you can even look around. And it seems to prefer your Facebook account because it ultimately wouldn't let us sign up with email.
That said, Boutiika is a great concept and we hope it flourishes.
Last month, Sean Percival stepped down from his CEO position at children's clothing subscription startup Wittlebee.
Percival successfully raised a $2.5 million seed round from Google Ventures, Matt Coffin, Crosslink Capital, and Rincon Venture Partners last April. But when it came time to raise a Series A round, he couldn't seem to get investors to hand over more money.
Percival gave up his chief executive role at his own startup for a few reasons, he writes on his blog.
The main reason: He ran out of money. One "critical mistake," he says, was rushing Wittlebee's Series A round in Q4 of 2012. Percival doesn't blame his "failure" entirely on that, but found it hard to regain his footing with the business.
Here's a summary of Percival's advice for entrepreneurs in between their seed round and Series A round:
In London, an app that helps people figure out where to go out has invaded 10% of the city's iPhones.
Soon, YPlan will be available in the States. General Catalyst, Wellington Partners, Octopus Investments, Path's Dave Morin, Shakil Khan, and early Facebook employee Kevin Colleran have given YPlan $12 million to expand internationally. YPlan will launch in New York later this year.
YPlan debuted in London in November 2012. The mobile event marketplace, which curates the hottest happenings via technology and editors, has been downloaded 200,000 times. On it, users are buying last-minute tickets to events, scouring nearby activities and to planning outings with friends. It was founded by two decade-long friends, Rytis Vitkauskas and Viktoras Jucikas; Jucikas was formerly an executive director of Goldman Sachs.
$12 million is a shocking amount of money for a location-based company with relatively few users. But YPlan is already generating some revenue from in-app purchases like ticket sales, and if it has a prayer of saturating New York City, it's going to need a war chest of cash. It's the last city that needs another authority on going out.
Investors agree: $12 million is a lot. But they say they're not looking at YPlan as an app or a local deals outlet. Instead, they see it as a transactional, mobile-first business, like Uber, Hotel Tonight or mobile cab service, Hailo. Still, Hotel Tonight had 1 million users and was in 28 cities when it raised a similarly-priced $13 million round.
"YPlan has the opportunity to become one of the world’s seminal mobile commerce companies,” General Catalyst partner Adam Valkin said in a release. “YPlan has delighted customers in London by showing a curated shortlist of events every single night that they can go to in just two taps. We are here to help the company make this phenomenon a global one."
Here's what it looks like:
SEE ALSO: 13 Hot London Startups You Need To Watch
We've noticed a growing interest in rap music among the tech elite in the last couple of years.
Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, MC Hammer, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, and SV Angel partner Ron Conway famously remixed MC Hammer's "Too Legit To Quit"song in support of the tech-friendly, then San Francisco interim Mayor Ed Lee back in 2011.
Then there's Rap Genius, a site that annotates rap lyrics, literature, and poetry. In 2012, prominent Silicon Valley firm Andreessen Horowitz invested in $15 million in the site.
A growing number of artists have created their own startups, invested in tech companies, and sometimes both. They're working on startup staples like search, imaging, and wireless charging, as well as more esoteric projects like 3D concert apps and electronic cigarettes.
We ranked them by their Klout score, whch measures influence in social media.
Nas has an e-commerce startup that offers celebrity-endorsed goods.
Nas co-founded lifestyle brand 12Society along with basketball star Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, Michael Strahan, Nick Cannon, and Tim Lincecum last year.
For $39 per month, you'll receive a box full of anything ranging from headphones to clothing to accessories. Every item is hand-picked by 12Society's team of celebrity founders.
"I truly believe we are at an incredible inflection point in the consumer retail experience: Just how Amazon and eBay opened the railways to a new universe of available products, and Groupon allowed for the discovery of local activities to become accessible and affordable, new resources are changing the entire game once again,"Nas wrote in a guest post on TechCrunch last September.
Klout score: 82
Dr. Dre is making sure you experience the best quality sound while listening to music.
Dr. Dre is the mastermind behind those sleek, color headphones you've undoubtedly seen before. In August 2011, Dr. Dre sold a majority stake in Beats Electronics to HTC.
Klout score: 87
Note, Dr. Dre apparently doesn't tweet.
T-Pain is bringing auto-tune to the masses.
T-Pain has been involved in a couple of apps over the years. Last month, the rapper attended and supported the launch event for Gig It, a new Facebook game that lets people created virtual, 3D concerts.
There's also the I Am T-Pain app by Smule that lets you create songs using auto-tune.
Fun fact: He has a pretty cool tattoo of Facebook's "Like" symbol.
Klout score: 87
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
For all the hype around "big data"—or tech that crunches through massive amounts of emails, tweets, video and other files to find useful information—some startups aren't yet making tons of noise.
That's probably not going to be the case for much longer.
Startups that got funding a couple of years ago are starting to get some serious momentum. Others are still in stealth mode, busily putting the finishing touches on potentially game changing tech.
Some are focused on analytics. Some are working on in-memory databases, which do all their work on data stored in memory instead of hard drives.
Others are casting their lot with NoSQL, a new kind of database that spreads processing and storage across multiple servers and storage systems.
And VCs are eagerly backing their efforts.
"What's interesting about big data is that it's going to be a formidable investment area for many years to come. It's not like in 18-24 months I'll say hey, the big data wave is over," Ping Li, general partner at VC firm Accel Partners, told us last February.
Headquarters: San Francisco
What They Do: Sells tools that let retail and finance customers built their own big data apps, including mobile and Software-as-service apps.
Star Talent: Co-founder Christophe Bisciglia previously co-founded Cloudera, a well known Hadoop startup. Aaron Kimball, also a co-founder, was the first engineer hired at Cloudera.
Who's Backing Them: Has raised more than $20 million from NEA, Canaan Partners, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, Cloudera CEO Michael Olson, and angel investors Ron Conway and David Lee.
Headquarters: Cambridge, Mass.
What They Do: Hadapt's Adaptive Analytical Platform combines SQL, the tech that traditional databases use, with Hadoop, a new tech that crunches that can analyzes massive amounts of data. The idea is to let customers use one system for their database and analytics work.
Star Talent: Daniel Abadi, chief scientist and co-founder, wrote a dissertation on column-store databases (a new type of database that performs better than traditional ones) while at MIT that led to the creation of Vertica, which HP acquired in 2011. Kamil Bajda–Pawlikowski, chief software architect, is also a co-founder.
Who's Backing Them: Has raised $17 million from Atlas Venture, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Norwest Venture Partners.
Headquarters: Cambridge, Mass.
What They Do: Building a business around Apache Accumulo, an powerful open source NoSQL database developed by the National Security Agency with sophisticated security tech built in. Accumulo was derived from BigTable, a data storage tech that Google invented.
Star Talent: Adam Fuchs, co-founder and CTO, also co-founded Apache Accumulo.
Who's Backing Them: Raised $2 million from Atlas Venture and Matrix Partners.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
In 2009, two software engineers in San Francisco decided to help one of their fathers solve a mystery.
Dog droppings kept appearing in his yard, although he owned no animal. Frustrated, the man tried to set up a surveillance camera to catch the neighbor's pet in the act. A software engineer by trade, it should have been easy for him to hack together a live video feed, but he ran into all kinds of streaming problems.
His son, Greg Duffy, looped in fellow engineer Aamir Virani. They purchased a camera, reverse engineered it, and created software that could record and display live video from multiple devices. The pair started slapping their logos on top of the re-configured cameras and selling them for hundreds of dollars. When the camera company caught on, it gave Duffy the option to either partner with it or be sued. Duffy chose the former.
The working prototype was enough to land Dropcam a seed round of financing led by Mitch Kapor and the first product launched at the end of 2009. "We were not what I'd call a 'Silicon Valley darling,'" Duffy says. "No one was doing hardware then."
Dropcam is an affordable surveillance option for everyone, and it stores video in the cloud so the footage is never lost and always accessible.
For a while, Dropcam was only a software company. Users could pay for the partnering company's cameras and also pay for Dropcam's easy set-up and streaming service on Androids, tablets, desktops and iPhones.
Now Dropcam has ended its partnership with the camera company and brought everything in-house. Its first original camera launched in 2012 for half the price, $149. Within a year, Dropcam's revenue shot up 5X. The HD-quality camera has movement alerts, two-way talking, DVR capability, night vision, and the ability to clip and share portions of videos publicly.
If Dropcam wasn't the darling of Silicon Valley before, it's becoming one now. A few weeks ago, Duffy received an email from Mary Meeker, a former Wall Street analyst who works for one of the most prominent VC firms in Silicon Valley, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
Although she isn't a Dropcam investor, she wanted to include it in her annual, highly-anticipated presentation about the state of the Internet. Her colleagues raved about it, particularly the new Talk Back feature, which lets users communicate with people on the other side of the screen without placing a call and waiting for them to pick up.
More video is uploaded to Dropcam per minute than YouTube. YouTube uploads more than 100 hours of video in that time frame, and Duffy says his company does "way more" than that.
While the pair set out to make a home-monitoring camera, they're finding countless use cases for their software and hardware. It's being used by cops in place of security cameras, because all of the video is stored in the cloud rather than locally. It can't be stolen or destroyed. Dropcam users have used footage to catch burglars, even when burglars steal their cameras. Parents use it as a baby monitor, or to drop in on pets while they're away from mobile devices. Most importantly, people are capturing moments – like a child's first steps or a neighbor's pesky dog – that were missed before Dropcam.
"When I am on the road, I still join my husband in singing bedtime lullabies using Dropcam," Randi Zuckerberg, sister of Mark Zuckerberg, says.
Dropcam makes money on each device it sells (the items are only sold online, on Amazon or Dropcam.com), as well as from subscriptions. For $9.99 per month or $99 per year, users can DVR and replay up to seven days of footage. For $29.95 per month or $295 per year, they can replay footage up to 30 days later.
The company is only 30-people strong, but Duffy says it will quadruple its staff by year-end. Unlike other startups, Duffy says he doesn't work his team to the bone. He provides daily breakfast and lunch for employees but not dinner, because he'd rather them go home and "recharge their batteries."
"We had two goals starting this company," Duffy says. "One, we saw a need and we wanted to make a product people would want to pay for. The other was to build a company we'd, as software engineers or anyone for that matter, enjoy working for."
In 2006 an advertising executive for Arnold Worldwide, Jamie Tedford, left his high-paying job to found a company. It was an inopportune time to become an entrepreneur.
"Three kids, a mortgage and a recession seemed like a good time to start a company," Tedford jokes.
Despite the questionable timing, Tedford's hard work paid off. After six years of scaling the now-profitable 135-person company, Tedford is accepting his first round of venture capital: $68 million from private equity firm, AEA Investors.
Brand Networks is similar to Buddy Media, a company that was acquired by Salesforce for ~ $680 million. It's one of Facebook's dozen preferred marketing partners. "We deliver disproportionate success for their advertisers," Tedford explains. It's both an agency and a software solution for big-name advertisers looking to ramp up their social media efforts.
How did the first-time entrepreneur survive six years of bootstrapping? Tedford tells Business Insider how he grew Brand Networks into a massive company all on his own.
Tedford saw an opportunity in his industry and jumped on it."I always thought I'd be an entrepreneur but I always had great interesting jobs," he says. "Then I saw the collision of Word of Mouth advertising and that social media was going to be an enabler for it," he says. Word of Mouth advertising couldn't be quantified or measured before Twitter and Facebook. As the social media platforms were taking off, Tedford decided to capitalize on them.
He was already well-connected in the advertising world. Tedford leveraged relationships from his Arnold days. He had been the agency's SVP of Marketing and Media Relationships and those connections secured initial clients (and revenue) for Brand Networks.
He didn't try to launch with everything. He started with a small idea and expanded as revenue grew. At first, Brand Networks merely managed social media accounts for clients. But Tedford didn't want to be just another ad agency. He wanted to add a software layer too, but he'd need a lot of money to do that and he was bootstrapping. "So we were strategically a hybrid of both," he says. "You only get to be bootstrapped as long as you're profitable."
He surrounded himself with smart people who strengthened his areas of weakness. Tedford says he's been able to create a successful company through trial and error, and through hiring great people. When he had scaling issues, he brought on a COO. "My COO took on a burden that could sink a lot of entrepreneurs," Tedford says. "He was able to take things like rent and payroll off my plate." In addition, Tedford hired a Chief Growth Officer "just in time." He helped expand Brand Networks to 5 offices globally. "You surround yourself by really smart people and there's pretty good quid pro quo," Tedford says.
He didn't seek out funding and he only raised this round because it was strategic. Although Brand Networks is self-sustaining, Tedford realized strategic partners could further his business. "The funding came to us because we were in this really interesting space, and we're swimming with sharks in terms of our competitive set," he says. "We're by no means ready to sell this company and our partners showed us what expertise they could bring that would accelerate growth, open doors to new relationships, and mentor us. Being a bootstrapped entrepreneur is about the loneliest job there is. One of most exciting things for me is to have a real Board of Directors, advice and councel."
Brad Sewell, a former Apple engineer who worked on the iPod and iPhone, seems to have a new furniture startup.
We first saw the news on Fortune reporter Dan Primack's Twitter feed.
Sewell has raised $500,000 for Campaign, but is looking to raise an additional $1 million more, according to a Form D filed yesterday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Data platform for venture capitalists Mattermark seems to think that Campaign is an online-only furniture sales company.
A Google search for "Brad Sewell and campaign and furniture" brings up some results from Angel List, a platform that matches early-stage startups with investors.
"Campaign is addressing a real pain point for customers shopping for furniture. I love Brad's vision for the business and believe the business has huge potential," one of the meta tags reads. That comment purportedly lives on angel.co/campaign as well as on angel.co/bradsewell/activity.
But when you click on those search results, that comment is nowhere to be found. That's likely because Angel List reveals limited data and information to you if you're not an investor.
Business Insider has reached out to Sewell and will update this story if we hear back.
Back in the dotcom era, mascots were a staple in startups. Everyone remembers the Pets.com handpuppet.
After the boom and bust, startups started shifting to more serious-looking logos.
But now we're seeing more startups having a bit of fun with their logos and mascots.
New companies use logos effectively when they quickly communicate what they offer to potential customers who may be unfamiliar with the service. But so many logos seem to say nothing about the companies they represent.
So, can you determine the name of the following startups just by looking at their logos and mascots?
Name this startup:
Snapchat, a mobile app for sending self-destructing photos and videos.
Name this startup:
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
As an African-American girl growing up, I soon came to realize that dealing with my hair would never be easy.
When I was much younger, my mom could hardly comb through my hair because it was so nappy. Braiding it seemed to be the only solution. But they weren't the thin, evenly-dispersed, beautiful braids celebrities like Beyonce and Brandy have worn in the past. Mine were thick and lumpy in weird places. All of my hair was essentially clumped into a couple of oversized braids at any given time.
Once 3rd grade hit, I got my first relaxer to straighten my curly hair. My nappy hair suddenly became long, shiny, and beautiful. But that was relatively short-lived, as my hair started breaking off and getting shorter and shorter every day. So it was back to the chunky braids for a little while. But before entering middle school and a new stage in my life, I got another relaxer in the hopes of fitting in.
"If your hair is relaxed, white people are relaxed," comedian Paul Mooney famously said in fellow comedian Chris Rock's "Good Hair" documentary. "If your hair is nappy, white people are not happy."
Next thing I knew, I was sitting in a beauty shop getting my first weave. I probably paid about $80 for the pack of hair and over $100 to actually get it put in.
It looked pretty good, in my opinion, but people would still make jokes about my hair being "unbeweavable." In hindsight, my weave was a bit unbelievable because as my hair would grow out, it became obvious that half of the hair on my head wasn't actually mine.
During my senior year in high school, I decided to get individual micro braid extensions.
The first time I ever got them done, it literally took 14 hours. Those were some of the worst hours of my life. I was sitting in a hot, tiny room next to the basement in some woman's house in South San Francisco, without food and water for essentially 14 hours. My hairdresser also had young children and newborn baby, so those hours were filled with kids screaming and babies crying.
The hair itself would cost me ~$300 and that particular hairdresser charged $400 for micro braids.
So 14 hours of braiding + $300 for the hair + $400 to pay the hairdresser = Hell.
Even though I eventually found someone else who could braid my hair faster, and didn't charge as much, that hairstyle was still costly to maintain.
So it was time to go natural. By that point, my hair was healthy again, having been protected underneath the braids for a few years.
For the last three years, I've worn my hair natural and it's felt liberating. Finally, I'm free from wasting away inside salons. But at the same time, I still hear comments of, "Girl, you need to touch up your sides!" and, "Damn! It looks like you've been electrocuted!"
Needless to say, those comments and criticisms recently got me thinking about putting extensions back in my hair. I cherish variety and unique styles, but I wondered if I would feel more accepted in society if I looked at least a little bit more like everyone else. I haven't yet reached a conclusion. But those comments have still led to questions of which style would look better, where I should go to get it done (since I recently moved from California to New York), and what kind of products I would need if I do decide to go through with it.
So when I heard about this new startup called Techturized, it immediately piqued my interest.
Techturized's first product, MadameYou, functions as an online community for African-American women to share their hair experiences, and give advice to each other regarding how to tackle hair issues.
At the same time, MadameYou provides personalized feedback and recommendations about optimal hairstyles and hair products for you, which you can buy directly from the site. It ultimately aims to take the guessing game out of black hair care, and change the way black women interact with and manage their hair.
African-American women spend nine times more on hair and beauty products than any other group, according to a 2012 Nielsen report on African-American consumers. In 2009, comedian Chris Rock revealed in his documentary "Good Hair" that black hair care is a $9 billion market.
"Still, African-Americans are underserved," Techturized co-founder Jess Watson tells Business Insider. "A lot of people are dissatisfied."
MadameYou will start rolling out invitations at the end of June. Already, Techturized has raised $25,215 through a successful IndieGogo campaign. It also went through the Flashpoint Startup Accelerator in Georgia, and received a $35,000 investment.
Check out the promotional video for MadameYou below.
Starting a company or joining a startup is the new hot option for business school graduates. According to Curalate founder and CEO Apu Gupta, who has Wharton MBA, that's reason for startups to beware.
"I'm not one of these people where I'm clear cut I hate MBAs or love MBAs. I think unfortunately there are a lot of MBAs that have herd mentality and they just gravitate to what's hot," Gupta says. "I really hate that because it feels to me like you're just sort of blowing in the wind."
Gupta says he got a lot out his MBA program, notably financial training, but little about how to build a startup.
"I think the notion that you can go to business school to learn to be an entrepreneur is a misnomer," he says. "I've always found it odd that people go to business school and study entrepreneurism. If you want to study entrepreneurism, you need to go be an entrepreneur."
There are going to be MBAs who don't fit that mold, who can be great entrepreneurs, but it takes an extra filter to find them.
"Whenever I get a résumé from a person that is an MBA it does raise my eyebrows and I look a lot more closely, and I'm a lot harder on the candidate," Gupta says.
Business schools aren't blind to these problems. That's why many are giving students resources to try things out for themselves, offering startup accelerators, competitions, and classes where the end result is a company.
When we profiled students at Harvard and Stanford's business schools, many came into school having already started or even sold a business already. Others are working on startups creating everything from retail analytics software to mobile advertising.
Nevertheless, MBAs have to prove that they aren't just following the herd.
Technology is rapidly changing everything we do.
Mary Meeker, a former Wall Street analyst who's now a prominent Silicon Valley investor, highlighted a number of innovative companies in her recent presentation about the future of the Internet.
We pulled out the game-changing startups she mentioned and added few others. The following startups are re-inventing the way we share photos, make payments, develop ideas, get around, learn, and more.
Re-Inventing Photos: Snapchat is an app that lets users send photo messages to friends, but the images can't be viewed more than once. More photos are shared on Snapchat per day than Instagram.
What it is: A real-time photo messaging app where you decide how long your friends can view sent pictures before they're forever deleted. If they take a quick screenshot, you're notified.
When it was founded: May 2011
Who founded it: Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy
How much it has raised: $14 million from Lightspeed Venture Partners, SV Angel, and Benchmark.
Why it's important: More than 150 million pictures are shared on Snapchat per day – that's more than Instagram. And about one-third the volume of Facebook.
Re-inventing Video: Dropcam is a home camera that lets you view the footage from multiple devices. More video is uploaded per minute on Dropcam than YouTube.
What it is: A home video monitoring camera and software that's easy to set up and that stores footage in the cloud. Users can drop in on their home cameras from mobile devices or the web, and save clips of the footage. It's used by parents to monitor babies, as a security camera, and more.
When it was founded: January 2009
Who founded it: Greg Duffy and Aamir Virani
How much it has raised: $17.8 million from Mitch Kapor, David Cowan, Ben Narasin, Salil Keshpande, Felicis Ventures, Accel Partners, Bradley Horowitz, Menlo Ventures, and Bay Partners.
Why it's important: Dropcam is making surveillance cameras affordable and available to everyone. It stores footage in the cloud, so the tapes are never lost or damaged. More video is uploaded per minute than YouTube. YouTube uploads 100 hours of video each minute.
Re-inventing Audio: SoundCloud lets people upload, collaborate on, or listen to sounds. It has 180 million monthly users and 11 hours of sound are uploaded per minute.
What it is: A platform that lets people upload, share, listen to, or collaborate on audio files. You'll find everything from strange noises to complete tracks on SoundCloud.
When it was founded: 2007
Who founded it: Alexander Ljung and Eric Wahlforss
How much it has raised: $63.3 million
Why it's important: SoundCloud doesn't have quite the upload volume of YouTube or Dropcam, but it still has an impressive 11 hours of sound being uploaded to it each minute. As many as 180 million people use it each month (or 8% of the Internet).
*This is a KPCB company
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
When it comes to company culture, Boston-based HubSpot could very well be the next Google.
At the very least, it's one of the most unique places to work in the tech industry today.
An MIT professor has even been studying the 550-employee company for months as the subject of her PhD dissertation, cofounder and CTO Dharmesh Shah told Business Insider.
This isn't about strange or over-the-top perks it gives employees, although it has a few of those. It's about an attitude in which workers are treated in part like cofounders and in part like students, Shah explained to Business Insider. Here's a lightly edited transcript:
BUSINESS INSIDER: What is the main thing about your company that's different?
DHARMESH SHAW: We have what we call an "uncomfortable level of transparency" where we share information as if every employee was a [top] manager.
Our wiki exposes things like cash balance, burn rate last month, valuations, impact on dilution, customers we're talking to. Anything that the company is in a position to legally share, our default is to share it.
Even [the performance of] individual groups. If we have a group that's particularly struggling, we share it.
BI: How does such openness impact employee life?
DS: We have very animated debates on our internal wiki, even criticizing management decisions. I've had my share of flames on the Wiki, "Darmesh, that's just stupid." An employee just hired two weeks ago can flame the CEO and not get fired.
BI: Why do this? What's the motivation?
DS: We want to increase the 'market value' of every employee. When someone moves on, we call it "graduating from HubSpot." We want them to look back at their time and say, 'that's the best I could have done" to increase my career path and what I would be making.
We give people exposure to experiences they may not have otherwise. They can sit in meetings in other groups to learn about them; we have continuing education things where we bring in outside speakers; we try to think through, "what would make someone more valuable after they leave HubSpot?"
BI: What relationship do you have with employees after they graduate?
DS: We have the HubSpot alumni group. Once a HubSpotter, always a HubSpotter. An ex-employee runs it. We'll give them the company update.
In most cases they own stock because everyone has stock options. We think of it as a shareholder/employee meeting and have a very candid Q&A.
BI: What does HubSpot get from that in return?
DS: If these people were awesome enough to be hired at HubSpot they don't become non-awesome once they've graduated. They are going to be future customers, future investors (if we go public), people that refer friends and family for jobs. We would talk to them anyway, but these are people that will work with HubSpot in the future.