Minority tech founders seek VC connections

Black and Latino entrepreneurs push an insular and often risk-averse industry in new directions.
via Judith Messina of Crain’s New York

In a city that is 27% Latino and growing, Ricardo Garcia-Amaya is a rarity. He’s a tech entrepreneur who founded a venture-capital-backed startup.

“I find myself at the forefront,” said Mr. Garcia-Amaya, whose company, DonorTap, uses data to help nonprofits raise money.

It’s a place he’s gotten to by stepping beyond his Latino roots. “Within my immediate Latino community, there are no mentors, especially in tech in early stage,” Mr. Garcia-Amaya explained. “In fact, forget about tech; just early-stage investment is extremely difficult. Throw in tech and it’s a whole different ballgame.”

Black and Latino entrepreneurs are a small subset of Silicon Alley, where 83% of teams getting seed and Series A money are all white, according to 2010 research from CB Insights, with the all-white teams receiving a higher median investment from venture capitalists.

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Pinterest Missed An $8 Billion Opportunity And This Little Startup Just Snatched It Up

via Emma McGowan of Killer Startups

I recently discovered what a deep rabbit hole Pinterest is when I took a tumble down it in search of a bridesmaid’s dress.

Hours upon hours of my life were lost to that infinite scrolling, addictive site and the biggest thing that pissed me off was when I couldn’t figure out where the $%!$@ the dress I wanted came from originally. Cue reverse image search on Google that brings me up 8 million other dresses I DIDN’T want and no info on the one that I DID.

If only I had known about Browsy two weeks ago, I could have saved myself a whole lot of pain.

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DreamIt Health Philadelphia names 2014 class

via John George of Philadelphia Business Journal

The nine health-care technology startups selected to participate in DreamIt Health Philadelphia 2014 include companies looking to reduce health-care fraud, manage wound-care treatment from remote location and use 3D printers to create therapeutic biomaterials.

The program recruits entrepreneurs from across the country willing to set up shop in the city. It was created last year through a partnership of Independence Blue Cross, Penn Medicine, and DreamIt. Last year, 10 companies participated in the high-tech accelerator program.

This year’s participants will take part in a 16-week boot camp from July 21 through November and receive $50,000 in seed capital; coaching from successful tech entrepreneurs; free workspace at the University Science Center’s Innovation Center and access to people and resources at local health-care organizations.

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Browsy Helps Pinterest Users Shop

People spend a lot of time browsing on Pinterest. Fine, but what if you want to buy something you see? We know – happens all the time. That’s what Browsy is all about. It’s an automated solution that instantly imports your pins, identifies the products and searches the web to find the best prices.

Makes sense. Saves dollars. Gotta love that!

Co-founder Sonali Pillay tells us how she plans on making millions and millions of Pinterest browsers a lot happier.

Tell us about the decision to apply for DreamIt Accelerator.

In the last few years, fashion-tech has blossomed. Along with the maturing of the industry has come incredibly high expectations – both on the part of your users and potential investors.

Our team at Browsy applied to DreamIt hoping to get a 90-day stress test from a network of founders, investors, and practitioners who could help ensure we build both the best product possible for our users, as well as a tenable business.

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Too Big to Eat

via James Moore of The Huffington Post

Software isn’t eating the world; it’s feeding it. In fact, since Netscape founder andventure capitalist Marc Andreessen wrote his iconic piece for the Wall Street Journal in 2011, data has accumulated to show that hardware businesses are resurgent, and software, rather than replacing humans, is enabling their greater productivity. As the Internet of Things expands and more physical objects are connected to the web, there will also be an even greater demand for manufacturing of those products, and a need to make people more efficient in their creation.

Andreessen’s arguments prompted a predictable narrative about the “rise of the machines” and a conviction that software was destined to replace vast workforces and profoundly change our lives. There is no disputing that software has, in fact, dominated large sectors of global economies. However, in the three years since Andreessen’s predictive analysis a reality has evolved that offers a more nuanced view of software and its impact.

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@WalmartLabs Grabs Its First “Silicon Alley” Startup With Acquisition Of Fashion App Stylr

via Jordan Crook of TechCrunch

@WalmartLabs, the retailer’s Silicon Valley-based R&D and innovation center, is today announcing its 13th acquisition — and its first from New York’s “Silicon Alley” — with the acquisition of fashion app Stylr. The app, which helps consumers find clothes they love in nearby stores, will be shut down. It will be pulled from the iTunes App Store by the end of this month.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but we understand it was more of an acqui-hire related to bringing the talent of the founders, Eytan Daniyalzade and Berk Atikoglu, to Walmart.

Stylr was a smaller company, with only the two founders at the time of the acquisition. The company was backed by $20,000 from DreamIt Ventures, but had no other outside investment.

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Yes, We Did It!

DreamIt New York 2013 alum, WeDidIta young Brooklyn-based start- up technology company, helps non-profit organizations fundraise online.

Su Sanni, CEO and co-founder, learned about Comcast Ventures Catalyst Fund and specifically the DreamIt Access Program through a couple of networking events that were taking place in New York City in 2012 and was accepted into the summer 2013 program. 

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TrendKite Raises $3.2M For PR Analytics, Recruits Dachis Group’s Erik Huddleston As CEO

via Anthony Ha of TechCrunch


TrendKite, a startup promising to help brands and agencies measure the effectiveness of their PR efforts, has raised $3.2 million in Series A funding. It’s also announcing that it has a new CEO — Erik Huddleston, former CTO and executive vice president of product at social monitoring company Dachis Group.

Huddleston told me that when Dachis Group was acquired by Sprinklr in February, he was “fully committed” to staying on-board.

However, he was already an adviser with TrendKite, and shortly after the acquisition was announced, the startup’s founders took him to dinner and suggested that he join as CEO. It was, in his words, “a bit of an ambush.” And apparently it worked.

Those founders will remain involved in the company — former CEO Matt Allison is now chief product officer, while his co-founders AJ Bruno and Patrick Brannen continue to serve as president and CTO, respectively.

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Tech startup to help bars prevent underage drinking during summer’s ’100 Deadliest Days’

Bar & Club Stats will offer its ID-checking app for free until Labor Day
via Phyllis Furman of the Ny Daily News

Cheers to this: A local tech startup will be giving its potentially life-saving app away for free to bars this summer.

Bar & Club Stats, whose app verifies IDs, has launched a promo that piggybacks on New York State’s proposed “Hard Card” legislation, Bar & Club Stats CEO Ben Silbert told the Daily News.

The law, if passed, could provide a boost to the fledgling tech company.

Among other things, bars and other establishments caught selling liquor to minors would have to purchase an ID scanner or be hit by a $2,000 fine.

The weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day are known as the “100 Deadliest Days” for teen drivers.

“To help people out this summer and to prevent underage drinking and the negative affect that goes along with it, we are making ID scanning free until Labor Day,” Silbert, 34, told the Daily News.

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The $100 million idea that barely anybody knows about

via , CNBC

Five years ago, Russ D’Souza and Jack Groetzinger were frustrated.

They wanted a single, convenient website where a user could find the best deals on concert and sports tickets, and it just wasn’t there. So like other entrepreneurs before them who built businesses from nothing, they createdSeatGeek.

With $100 million worth of tickets flowing through the ticketing platform in 2013 alone, conventional wisdom says it’s been successful so far. Still, SeatGeek faces the challenge of getting its name out there, so Marcus Lemonis of CNBC’s “The Profit” spoke with the founders about their marketing plan.

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