The Number—and Variety—of Business Incubators Is on the Rise
From Bloomberg Businessweek, By Verne Kopytoff on November 06, 2012
A search for an office with an energetic vibe led Livefyre, a company that provides software for posting comments on websites, to undergo a rite of passage for new Silicon Valley businesses. It joined an accelerator, a sort of business academy for startups.
For eight months, the team sat in a bullpen with fellow entrepreneurs at KickLabs, one of a long list of accelerators in and around San Francisco. Anyone who needed help could get it from a neighbor or the accelerator’s staff, which regularly doled out advice and arranged meetings with potential investors. “There was high energy,” says Jordan Kretchmer, Livefyre’s chief executive. “The staff did a lot of walking about and asking, ‘Is there anything you need today?’”
Accelerators and their close cousins, business incubators, have become important launch pads for young businesses. Through coaching and connections, they help companies get through the wobbly toddler stage until they can stand on their own. Such programs vary widely in their duration, focus, and mission. That leaves a lot for entrepreneurs to consider before committing to one. Is a few months of coaching ideal, or a few years? Are programs focused on a specific industry better than a generalist approach? What about the cost, if any?
Buddy Announces Leading BaaS Support for Windows Phone 8
SEATTLE, WA – October 30th, 2012 – The Buddy Platform (http://buddy.com) announced today its broad backend as a service (BaaS) support for Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 8 operating system. Leveraging features found only in Microsoft’s new mobile operating system, Buddy’s SDK enables developers to efficiently build signature Windows Phone 8 applications without writing any server side code.
Buddy has experienced tremendous growth with over 10,000 developers and publishers building applications and leveraging the rich data and analytics that the Platform provides. This momentum, combined with Buddy’s native SDK support for Windows 8, provides developers and publishers with one source for app backend technology for all Microsoft operating systems and platforms.
“We want developers to benefit from the cloud-enabled features in Windows Phone 8,” said Buddy CEO, David McLauchlan. “By using the Buddy Platform as their mobile backend, developers can implement features like Live Tile notifications with one set of API calls across both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.”
Annotate, Provocateurs! Impish Ivy Leaguers Behind Rap Genius Raise Millions for Internet Decoder Ring
From Nitasha Tiku, BETABEAT
Visitors who search for Harlem rapper Azealia Banks’s breakout hit “212,” on Rap Genius, an online platform that crowdsources explanations of hip-hop lyrics, will find nearly every verse annotated by the site’s users, who clocked more than 2 million monthly uniques August, according to comScore. Click on the line “Now she wanna lick my plum in the evening/ And fit that ton-tongue d-deep in,” and a pop-up immediately appears explaining that Ms. Banks is employing a metaphor for cunnilingus and that “She stutters the words tongue and deep to mimic the stuttering that occurs when one receives such a gift.” That exegesis received 11 upvotes, earning the contributor jamima-j, a female “slam poetry writer,” a healthy bump in “Rap IQ” points on the site.
Readers might find her analysis either amusing or unnecessary. But the reigning kings of Sand Hill Road, venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, view Rap Genius as “one of the most important things we’ve ever funded,” co-founder Ben Horowitz told Betabeat last week. The prominent VC firm, which clawed its way into the Silicon Valley firmament in just three years by aggressively plowing millions into fast-growth tech startups like Facebook, Pinterest, foursquare and Airbnb, often at towering valuations, were the sole investors behind the site’s $15 million Series A.
“When I first brought it up, [Marc Andreessen] kind of laughed at it,” admitted Mr. Horowitz, the rare VC who can quote the appropriate Rick Ross rhyme for every occasion.“He was like, ‘Really?Rap Genius?’”
The site’s potential finally clicked for Mr. Andreessen after he used it to try to understand the Kanye West and Jay-Z song “No Church in the Wild.” Click on the lyric “Is pious pious because god loves pious?” and the site walks you through Plato’s Euthyphro, Pope Pius and Immanuel Kant. “It’s a big philosophical question just, like, dropped in the middle of a Jay verse,” Mr. Horowitz said with admiration.
Despite the platform’s name, contributors have already used Rap Genius to annotate a number of texts outside the world of hip-hop, including the Supreme Court decisionPlessy v. Ferguson, the Mayflower Compact and the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. Last week, author and NYU professor Clay Shirky added iTunes terms of service for dissection. Users obliged by appending a cartoon of the Human Centipede.
Who is the next Steve Jobs (and is there one)?
From Doug Gross, CNN Tech
(CNN) — It’s a loaded question, one with no clear answer. But in the year since Apple’s co-founder and visionary CEO died, it’s been asked in tech circles over and over:
Who is the next Steve Jobs?
Seth Priebatsch, CEO, SCVNGR, LevelUp
Pros: Who? Priebatsch is the wild card on this list. But consider him the representative of a new generation of young, creative tech “makers” who could ascend to loftier heights in the years, or decades, to come. At 22, Priebatsch’s SCVNGR raised more than $20 million in funding. He founded his first Web company at 12 and has moved on to start LevelUp, a mobile-payments system that’s also raked in millions from investors. He got rock-star treatment for a speech he gave last year at South by Southwest Interactive. Plus, he’s already cultivated a Jobs-like signature fashion statement — his trademark orange sunglasses and shirts.
Cons: In the startup world, for every success story, there are countless washouts. Not every young turk even wants to be another Jobs, and not every killer app has the potential to make millions, or billions, of dollars — even when they’re well-liked and widely used.
Read entire story…
Socialize’s New Ad Platform Turns Passbook Passes Into Mobile Ads
From Sara Perez, TechCrunch
Let our Passbook obsession continue! Since the debut of Apple’s pseudo-mobile wallet in iOS 6 earlier this month, the extended developer community has rushed to deliver value-add solutions built on top of the platform. There have been Passbook loyalty card and coupon creation apps, tools to send Passbook mobile coupons via SMS, and now this – a solution that turns a Passbook pass into a 320×50 mobile ad unit that can be shown anywhere.
The Passbook Ad Platform comes fromSocialize, the startup offering developers a drop-in social platform for their mobile applications. Passbook ads, however, are currently a separate initiative from the company, though CEO Daniel Odio says the expectation is that the two products (ads and social) will be merged in time. That is, the company plans to use data from the social SDK to target ads on the platform at some point in the future.
“We’ve built the infrastructure and we’re launching Passbook ads today – nobody on it yet,” Odio says of the ad network. “We believe that Apple’s Passbook is a revolutionary new way to conceptualize mobile ads,” he adds.