Tuesday, August 28, 2007

CrossCast WiTV demo

CrossCast: the Joost Killer?

Made in Italy 2.0 tech got a big boost last week with the talk about CrossCast, a new video on demand product that some bloggers say is the real "Joost killer". WebTV and Mashable have seen previews and are raving about this new Italian startup from the Lake Como region. I had a chance to ask some of the Joost execs partying at the CrunchGear birthday party here in NYC last week, and they confirmed that Joost is watching CrossCast closely. The new service debuts later this month at a Media Event in Milan. Kudos to the LSVMultimedia group that developed CrossCast. This has to be the most anticipated Italian tech I can remember, and I've been watching the Italian tech/Net scene for some time.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Fotolog Founders Cash In

Congrats to Scott Heiferman and the other Fotolog founders. It's not official yet, but Silicon Alley Insider reports today that Fotolog has been sold to a "major Latin American media company" for $100m or so. Makes sense since Fotolog has huge traffic in Latin America. Alexa ranks it as one of the most popular websites in several nations down there. Now, Scott can ramp up Meetup.com, his other successful startup.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Silicon Alley's music related startups are garnering major funding these days. A couple wks back it was Amie Street that made the news. Today, another key player that won rave reviews at the NY Tech Meetup several months back is getting a second round of financing, and well-deserved.
uPlayMe (www.uPlayMe.com), developer of a desktop application which automatically connects people through their shared tastes in music, movies, TV shows and other digital content, announced today it has closed a multi-million dollar funding round including investments from Warner Music Group (NYSE: WMG), Village Ventures, and other investors.


Large corporations want to use social networking tools. No big surprise. Many leading "social network in a box" services like Ning, KickApps and others are eyeing the corporate market. A new NY-based player has also jumped in -- SelectMinds.
Flatiron-based SelectMinds has raised $5.5 million in Series A funding from Bessemer Venture Partners, the company said today. SelectMinds sells on-demand corporate social-networking software and networking services to companies like Dow Chemical, Ernst & Young, and JPMorgan Chase. KickApps, also based here in NYC, raised subtantial funding last week.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Food, wine, card games and 3-d metro guides were the theme at Tuesday nite's fine Web2NewYork meeting at the Gallery Bar in the Lower East Side here in NYC.
Great presentations by Snooth, a wine rating website, UpNext, a 3-d NYC metro guide, and HeyCosmo, a card game multiplayer site. Danny Moom of UpNext and the Snooth team got rave reviews (even though it was clearly a beerdrinking crowd). A lot of food-related website owners were in the house, including charming Blanca Valbuena of FriendsEAT.com, a hot new Hoboken-based site, and Jenn Beisser of chefsline.com. Compliments to our Meetup organizer Peter Verkooijen.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Gnomedex: Meeting of A-List Minds

Kudos to Chris Pirillo (and his family) for organizing one of the best tech conferences (or unconferences) I've seen in a while. This year's Gnomedex 7 conference featured Bob Steele, Scoble, Calacanis, Kawasaki and others. I watched on the Gnomedex website, which featured a live eventstreaming, (and saved myself a ton of $). Steele, a former CIA agent, spooked the audience with a rant about the NSA and policing of social media in the US. It was a bit chilling, but on target. Meanwhile, Kawasaki, as usual, spoke like a preacher who really energized the audience with his tales of Silicon Valley. My buddy Jason Calancanis fielded some tough questions about Mahalo, his human powered search engine service, but made some fascinating points about the future of search. Also made news by announcing that Mahalo will now feature comparable search results from Google, Yahoo and other "non-human" search engines. Way to go Jason.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

NowPublic stays Independent

Hat's off to Len Brody and Mike Tippett, founders of NowPublic.com for raising over $10m in new financing from Rho Ventures, a NY based VC outfit, and, more important, fending off potential "media company" suitors.
NowPublic, the largest "participatory journalism" organization on the planet, has an agreement with AP and other newsgathering orgs to provide "crowdsourced" content and news. My hope is that many of the Media beat reporters in the business media (NYT, WSJ, BW, etc.) that have heard my pitch about this Canadian-based pioneer will now start to pay attention.

Money Still Flows Into Silicon Alley

New York area companies received $446.1 million in venture capital funding in the second quarter, down 19% from the same quarter a year ago, according to a survey released Tuesday.

While the amount of money declined, the 65 venture capital deals was the same number as in the year-ago quarter, according to the MoneyTree Report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Amie Street: Supply Meets Demand

What if you could sell something and price it based on its popularity? The ultimate matching of demand and supply. Economists should study Amie Street.
Kudos to the folks at Amazon for investing in one of the hottest music websites.
The key to Amie Street isn't just the indy music available on the site, but the so-called REC system.
"The REC system drives the site's music discovery process. The price of a song is determined by how many times it is purchased, and Amie Street pays customers for discovering and recommending great music. For example, if a user "RECs" a song when it costs 0 cents, and the song grows to 98 cents, the user receives 98 cents for RECing that song." Will Amazon start selling books by indy publishers and writers based on the REC system. Time will tell.