• poker_fab

    How once high-flying Fab’s sale for parts is both worse and not as bad as it seem

    Oh how the mighty have fallen. Just 17 months ago, investors were strapping Fab with a $1 billion valuation and talking about it as the next Amazon. Today, we get news that the company is in talks to sell to PCH International for a whiplash-inducing $15 million, according to TechCrunch – roughly the banking fee on the company’s most recent funding round. Ouch. So what went wrong and is this fall in value as bad as it seems? The…
  • aereo_antenna_array2

    Aereo admits defeat, files for bankruptcy

    Aereo seems to have finally accepted its demise. The company announced today that it has filed for bankruptcy to “maximize the value of its business and assets without the extensive cost and distraction of defending drawn out litigation in several courts.” The absurd tale is over. It’s taken a while for Aereo to admit defeat. The company fought to survive after the Supreme Court ruled in June that its service was violating the Copyright Act of 1976 because it acted…
  • ryan-leslie

    With the help of Ben Horowitz, rapper Ryan Leslie wants to reinvent the record label for the new music economy

    I arrived a few minutes early to Open Kitchen, a cafeteria-style hangout in New York’s Financial District, to meet Ryan Leslie. Leslie is a Grammy-nominated R&B/hip-hop producer and performer who’s collaborated with Beyonce, Britney Spears, and Kanye West, to name a few. In fact, West once said that, along with himself, Leslie was among the only celebrities qualified to serve as a creative director for a tech company. (Kanye likening somebody else to Kanye is the highest praise the noted egomaniac could…
  • bitcoin-foundation

    With Bitcoin Foundation to focus solely on core development, crypto-bulls look to wipe the slate clean in 2015

    A major shift is underway for the Bitcoin Foundation, which yesterday announced that it will cease all education, outreach, and public policy efforts in favor of focusing exclusively on core development of the Bitcoin protocol – its original purpose. In a blog post euphemistically titled “Everybody Pivots,” a reference to the popular HBO show “Silicon Valley,” the organization outlines its new mandate, writing: In the beginning, the foundation did it all — public policy, education and outreach, core development…
  • Trust Fall

    ZenPayroll CEO: Fundraising is a lot like recruiting. We care about shared values and vision

    For ZenPayroll founder Joshua Reeves, fundraising is a lot like hiring. It’s an opportunity to build a team of people with shared values, complementary skills, and a parallel vision for how a product and industry should evolve. And fortunately for Reeves, his cloud-based payroll startup is among the hottest tickets in Silicon Valley today, meaning he has his choice of “recruits” to work with. Nine months after closing its $20 million Series A financing, ZenPayroll today revealed…
  • disckrete-sex-tape-security-app

    Is Snapcash a tool for the porn industry in disguise?

    Earlier this week, the disappearing-messages app Snapchat took a huge leap into an industry few people would have expected from what’s still considered by many to be a “sexting app”: Payments. With Snapcash, the company has partnered with Jack Dorsey’s payment company Square to allow users to send each other money as easily as adding a debit card and texting a dollar amount. It’s an inspired idea that capitalizes on Snapchat’s overwhelming popularity with young people and its super-simple user interface. This…
  • bezos

    Bezos has turned the Washington Post into a public relations tool for Amazon’s tablets

    Kindle Fire tablet owners now have exclusive access to a new application from the Washington Post, and they’ll be able to use it for six months without having to pay for a subscription, just by virtue of using a product made by the company that allowed Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to buy the Post in 2013. The arrangement could increase the Post’s distribution, make Kindle Fire tablet owners better informed, and show that both companies can innovate despite all their…
  • apple-uh-oh

    Can Apple win the streaming music wars or is it already too late?

    In the early 2000s, when Napster and other digital piracy sites began to eat away at the profits of an exceedingly bloated music industry, Steve Jobs knew immediately what Apple had to do. In a Rolling Stone article celebrating iTunes 10th anniversary, Steve Knopper perfectly captures Jobs’ bold plan : “Steve Jobs, Apple’s founder and chief executive, saw Napster, MP3s and the Internet a different way. By late 2002, he believed music fans clearly wanted to download songs they liked…
  • Football Fan

    Score! with Friends is about to become the favorite app of sports fans everywhere

    The proliferation of mobile, and by that I mean smartphones and wireless broadband, has changed how we communicate. No longer are our calls tethered to a home or office phone, no longer are our emails and chats relegated to our PC. Thus, perhaps the biggest impact of mobile has been the rise of immediacy, the ability to communicate whatever you want, whenever you want, to whomever you want. The rise of mobile messaging clients like Snapchat, WeChat, and Facebook Messenger…
  • secret

    Startups Anonymous: Founders confess their deepest secrets

    [This is a weekly series that brings you raw, first-hand experiences from founders and investors in the trenches. Their story submissions are anonymous, allowing them to share openly without fear of retribution. Every Wednesday, we’ll run one new story chosen by Dana Severson, who operates StartupsAnonymous, a place for startups to share, ask questions, and  answer them in story-length posts, all anonymously. You can share your own story here.] If you were to ask, you’d…
  • twitter-tv

    Baltimore policeman refuses to disclose how the department gathers cell phone records

    Baltimore prosecutors chose on Monday to withdraw evidence from an ongoing trial instead of revealing how the city’s police department monitored a defendant’s cell phone records. This means that a .45-caliber handgun and a cell phone will no longer be used as evidence in the trial, which is expected to continue despite this large set-back, according to the Baltimore Sun. The case involves two young men accused of robbing a pizza deliveryman at gunpoint. One is said to have confessed to the…
  • Casper Canada Box

    Mattress startup Casper heads to Canada, promises an blissful night’s sleep to our neighbors up north

    A good night’s sleep is one of the most universal of all needs. Given this, it’s little surprise that Casper, the popular New York-based mattress startup, has seen demand from around the world. But as an upstart with limited funding and rabid domestic demand to satisfy, crossing borders (and oceans) has largely been out of the question at this early stage. Today that changes. Casper has launched in Canada, and remarkably, will offer the same two-day delivery and same price…
  • Bellhops

    On-demand mover Bellhops snags $6.5M in Series A fuel to keep the good times rolling

    We live in an on-demand world. Technology is putting ever more functionality and real-world services into the palms of our hands, thanks to the proliferation of always connected, location aware, mobile devices. Another major trend shaking up the way we access services is the peer-to-peer (or sharing) economy, in which consumers offer their time, labor, and goods directly to one another, often with the only intermediary being a digital booking platform. Sitting right at the intersection of these two trends is
  • vintage tow truck

    Forget AAA. Honk is a nationwide on-demand towing platform fueled by technology

    There’s nothing enjoyable about needing a tow truck. From the frustration of waiting forever for it to arrive to the unshakable knowledge that you’re about to be gouged for a simple service, it’s a situation most drivers would gladly avoid. And like most industries, the experience of ordering a tow truck hasn’t changed in decades. Honk is a Santa Monica startup working to modernize roadside assistance via an on-demand mobile platform that puts tow trucks at the touch of…
  • isis-gaza

    Fear-mongers invoke the Islamic State to block NSA reform

    Senate Republicans have successfully used the specter of the so-called Islamic State to block the USA Freedom Act, which would have curtailed government surveillance and allowed companies to be more honest with consumers about data requests, nixing any hope of reform this session. The USA Freedom Act was a last-ditch effort to push surveillance reform through before Republicans, who are widely expected to side with intelligence agencies instead of with American citizens and private businesses, take control of Congress with the…
  • food-snowball

    Chefler is shut down, but its cofounder keeps the faith with a new food startup, Stackd

    As a New Yorker I’m probably biased, but I never really “got” food startups. To me, they seemed like little more than venture-funded restaurants with the gall to try and master technology alongside cuisine. But when Seamless/Grubhub already offer powerful delivery engines that allow restaurants to focus on cooking food not writing code, why cross the streams? Of course, $200 million in investor money in just three months says I’m wrong. In the first quarter of 2014, funding for “meal, grocery, and…

The Week in Review