• Startups

    Checking In On My Fantasy VC Portfolio From February 2014

    I’ve been doing some updates to the good ol’ blog, and noticed a fun post from 2.5 years ago highlighting my picks at the time. RelateIQ — I ended up investing in their Series C as a result of this post (their founder Steve Loughlin invested in Mattermark, and after 2 years at Salesforce he is now a partner at Accel Partners), and they were acquired by Salesforce 5 months later for $390 million. Instacart — They were my Y Combinator batch-mates, and I still use them for all my grocery shopping. This pick seems super obvious now, but at the time they had only raised their Series A when I…

  • Posts,  Startups

    Sulia Now Driving 6-Digit Traffic to Publishers, on Track to Hit 15-20 Million Uniques This Year

    Thanks to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, cat photos and rants from angry aunts appear in the same feeds as shared recipes and world news. Sulia is changing that by introducing subject-based “channels” where users can consume media about a single topic like technology, politics, or food. Moving away from a single crowded feed towards multiple focused feeds has the potential to be helpful to readers, publishers, and advertisers alike. Pronounced “soo-lee-uh,” the company aggregates news in a style similar to Prismatic, but Sulia has significantly more traffic. Sulia reported a user base of 10 million users when it announced a $1.5M Series A in September of 2012 and has since,…

  • Posts,  Startups

    SpotRight Raises $2.8M for Social Customer Intelligence

    According to a regulatory filing Boulder-based startup SpotRight has raised $2,870,889. The company previously raised $1M in funding in July 2012 from Grotech Ventures, Access Venture Partners and FFP Holdings, and also raised a $1.4M Series A from the same investors under its original name Giveo in January 2011. SpotRight was originally launched as part of TechStars Boulder in the Summer of 2010 and merged with Spot Influence in July 2012. According to the announcement of the merger: “As a combined company, SpotRight unveils an unparalleled platform that helps direct response marketers access social data on their customers and act on it to create real business value.”

  • Posts,  Startups

    Project Decor Raises $5M for Social Home Decorating

    In a regulatory filing Project Decor revealed they have raised $5M in venture capital, which includes investment from Launch Capital. The company was founded in September 2011, and previously raised $1.6M in March 2012. Project Decor is cofounded by Andy Appelbaum, Cliff Sirlin, and Aaron Wallace. CEO Appelbaum is a well-known New York angel investor and cofounder of online food delivery service Seamless Web, and previously founded several companies alongside Sirlin. Project Decor aims to help people decorate their homes, and is part of a hot space lead by Houzz and Tastemaker. AngelList currently lists 88 home decor startups on their site. For their part Project Decor seems to be…

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    The $3B+ Exit Tumblr Could Have Had

    It’s all over the news, Yahoo! is in talks to acquire Tumblr. The popular blogging platform, which was founded in New York in 2007, has just a few months of cash left and hasn’t successfully monetized their platform fast enough to cover costs. To date investors have put $125M into the company, most recently infusing it with $85M more in September 2011 at a valuation of over $800M. According to Forbes Tumblr is targeting $100M revenue in 2013 but, according to sources I spoke to who are familiar with the company, actual Q1 revenue growth was flat and Tumblr is on track to do only $15M in revenue this year.…

  • Posts,  Startups

    Past Performance is No Guarantee of Future Results

    Past performance does not guarantee future results for startups, venture capitalists, accelerator programs, the media, individual founders, or any other part of the startup ecosystem. On the mission to see into the future, there is a tendency to over value the information and lessons of the past. With 20/20 hindsight it seems obvious that things would turn out the way they have. Cell phones? Computers? “If I had been alive back in the 1950s I so would have called that,” you say. Television? Telephone? Automobiles? “Obviously I would have been first in line to get mine!” But would you have? Really? Massive changes in how we build things, operate our…

  • Startups

    New York Startup Index: 500+ Companies Ranked by Momentum

    This is the Startup Index series, an ongoing effort to measure the momentum of startup companies using external signals. It is calculated based on weighted factors such as web traffic, social media share of voice, inbound links, etc. I usually add some music, to make cruising a spreadsheet a little more fun. Enjoy! The Startup Index is inspired by the Seattle 2.0 Index, which Marcelo Calbucci produced each month to create a leaderboard for local startups and it is now the basis for the Geekwire 200 in Seattle. But why stop at Seattle? There are many so many startup communities around the world, and today I’ve applied our algorithm to…

  • Posts,  Startups

    Funding Rundown: SureDone, Bleachers, Perspecsys, Zoove, LearnSprout & Mutualink Raised New Funding Today

    One great source for stories about private companies in the U.S. are the SEC filings of REG D forms. These forms are filed by companies who have completed or are in the process of raising funding. They are not required for many companies, but you’d probably be surprised to learn how many interesting companies are raising money and not being covered by the tech news media. I pull together the most interesting ones through the day, some get their own story and others make it into the roundup. Do you have a startup that recently raised, or a tip about a company I should cover? Drop me a note at…

  • Posts,  Startups

    Dreamhost Spinout InkTank Storage Raises $13.4M for Ceph Support & Services

    In a regulatory filing today it was revealed that InkTank Storage, the creators of Ceph, have raised $13.4 million in venture funding to continue building their support and services business enabling customers to implement Ceph infrastrucutre. The company is backed by New Dream Network. Ceph is a massively scalable open source storage system which is operated on-premise by companies who want to essentially build the equivalent of Amazon S3 (but run in-house) and provides object, block, and file storage. Businesses deploy Ceph to their existing commodity on-premise hardware and scale out their storage as needed. While S3 is probably the easiest solution right off the shelf for startups and other…

  • Startups

    Seattle-based Clipboard Acquired by Salesforce, Will Shut Down June 30th

    In an email sent to users today Clipboard, a service similar to Pinterest for organizing links and bookmarks across the web, the company announced they have been acquired by Saleforce and will shut down the service on June 30th, 2013. The company has also posted a farewell announcement on their blog. The email also states they acquired 140,000 users. The company raised a seed round of funding in October 2011 from Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures, CrunchFund and other angels. Clipboard founder Gary Flake is a well known Yahoo! expat who lead their Yahoo! Research Labs following the Overture merger where he had been Chief Science Officer. Flake also spent time…