- WEB STARTUPS
- WEB JOBS
- ALL TOPICS
Here’s the latest NYC venture capital news:
TechAviv Angels Launch
TechAviv founder Yaron Samid has announced the launch of a new angel investing group named TechAviv Angels. Several popular NYC startup founders are part of the group including Ron Yekutiel from Kaltura and Yaron Galai from Outbrain. It looks like about 15 entrepreneurs make up the TechAviv Angels group. In addition, a number of early stage VC firms are participating as well.
From the announcement, “We seek to identify, fund and mentor our next generation of big winners. Every two months in Tel Aviv 5 startups get 5 minutes to pitch in front of our members. We’re an informal Angel club with members investing individually.”
It’s free to present and the first demo night will be held on November 24. I am unsure of is if the demo event will be held in NYC or in Israel. I will update this post once I find out the answer. More details on Ouriel Ohayon’s blog.
RRE Offers Office Hours
NYC VC firm RRE Ventures has announced that they will now offer office hours beginning on November 9. Each entrepreneur can signup for a 15-minute slot and discuss any topic with the venture capital team at RRE. RRE has invested in a number of NYC-based startups including Adaptive Blue, Drop.io and GoMobo.
Former Techcrunch editor Ouriel Ohayon is reporting via The Globes that social search Delver has been acquired by Sears. Yes, the powertools and "sponsored conversations" company Sears. The acquisition price for the Israeli-based startup was not disclosed. Ouriel notes that the price is probably not that high as the company was running out of cash.
Delver raised $4 million in a Series A round. About a month ago the company announced that they would either sell or close the company as they were unable to raise another round of funding the tune of $6-8 million.
The Globes notes, "Delver co-founder and CEO Liad Agmon will move to the US and become a VP at Sears. Delver’s employees will continue to work in Israel and the company will operate as a Sears’ development center."
Mor Sela, Co-Founder & CEO of NY-based ProCompare provided a demo of their web application last night at the TechAviv meetup in NYC. Mor described the service as offering, "business technology recommendations powered by a global community of IT professionals".
Basically what they do is provide a resource for product reviews in a variety of tech categories. The reviews are provided by IT workers who provide the reviews to gain face time to the small businesses who will use ProCompare to help figure out which products match their needs. They have a suite of tools to help narrow down the recommendations based on the small business owner’s needs.
Mor discussed their business model which I think needs work. Part of their plan is to go to the companies listed on the site (e.g. Cisco, HP, Microsoft, etc.) and try to get them to pay for referrals. They also plan to not link to the companies unless they pay and will note that these non-paying companies are just that on their results. I think this is a huge mistake because all it does it take away from the user experience to the end user. If a company doesn’t pay and ProCompare doesn’t link out to more details, that will come across poorly. I also think they need to be careful to never appear like companies who pay get preferential treatment in the results – especially since they push the trust factor on the site. It could end up like the issues Yelp is facing today regarding removing negative reviews for money.
On the flip side, I think they could partner with a company which we just reviewed the other day, WebCollage. For product companies who signup for a premium membership, WebCollage could provide a microsite inside ProComare. That could work very well for both companies.
Tonight at the TechAviv meetup in NYC, uTest CEO & Co-Founder Doron Reuveni provided an overview of how their testing marketplace works. I call it a testing marketplace because companies bring their applications and match up with testers from around the world. They currently have 15,000 testers from 150 countries available to complete the tests that companies setup.
Companies can select the characteristics of testers they want for a specific test. I asked the management team about payouts to the testers and they told me typically they start at $2 and go up from there to about $30. The tester gets paid only if the company accepts the bug report. uTest also provides load testing and can bundle the bug testing on top of the load testing as sometimes applications perform worse under load.
In the video below, Doron speaks about a new product launch coming from uTest next month. It’s called "AppGrader" and will allow startups to get free reviews of their web applications using a select set of testers in the uTest service. The information on the example Doron showed included usability reviews, first impression reviews, etc. Looks like it could be a win for both startups and uTest as startups get a chance to test the service with limited functionality for free and as the startup grows, they will come back to uTest for more involved bug testing.
FlyScreen is a new startup out of Israel that launched last month. FlyScreen brings updates to your mobile phone from social networks including Facebook, weather, sports news and RSS feeds. There are plenty of tools that do this already but FlyScreen works when your phone is asleep. Basically they have found a way to use the screen of the mobile even when it’s not being used.
The company says it actually uses very little battery to generate the updates and it uses less battery than running a full app when the phone is "awake". Currently the service only works on Nokia Symbian phones (E71, N95, etc.).
I assume that advertising will be their business model. The app looks great but I wonder… when my phone is asleep, I am not using it. Will this make me use it more?
Here’s a quick overview from the company on how the service works (there’s no sound):
2Pad is an Israeli company that is attempting to make finding and sharing photos and videos stuck inside your email easier. 2Pad searches through your email, finds the photos and videos and then adds them to your 2Pad gallery. Inside of the 2Pad gallery, you can share the media with others.
Their business model consists of two pieces. First images can be printed into tshirts, hats, etc. and 2Pad gets a percentage of the sale. Second the larger your gallery, the more you pay for the hosting.
2Pad uses Amazon S3 and EC2 for storage and server processing. Here’s 2Pad cofounder Aaron Boublil explaining how 2Pad works:
A year ago we interviewed MeeMix CEO Gilad Shlang to learn more about his personalized music service. We’ve just learned that MeeMix plans to launch a Facebook application early next week. MeeVideo is a Facebook application that allows users to choose their favorite artist and get their own personalized music video channel.
The videos will be streamed via YouTube and MeeMix notes, the unique MeeMix taste prediction algorithm analyzes song parameters, member profile and behavior traits to determine each user’s personalized playlist as they watch and listen."
What would be great is if the application pulled in music and videos to keep the playlist fresh. This is certainly an application that can seriously increase the time on site metric for Facebook if they can get a strong userbase.
The application will also be available in Hi5, Bebo, Orkut and MySpace. Here’s a sample of what the MeeVideo Facebook application: