Daily Archives: May 3, 2012

Nation on Solid Footing, But Midwest on Slippery Slope

Clear Capital®, a provider of data and real estate asset valuation, investment and risk assessment, recently released its Home Data Index™ (HDI) Market Report with data through April 2012. The HDI Market Report uses a broad array of public and proprietary data sources providing the most timely and relevant analysis available from any vendor. Report [...]
RISMedia » Consumer News and Advice

Seau’s death ruled a suicide (Yahoo! Sports)

SAN DIEGO (AP) Junior Seau’s death has been ruled a suicide by the San Diego County medical examiner’s office.

Yahoo! Sports – Top News

42Floors Launches ‘Showroom’ For All The Stuff Offices Need After Signing The Lease

180017v1-max-250x250

42floors, the startup that launched in March out of Y Combinator’s Winter 2012 class, is still only providing its commercial real estate search product in the San Francisco Bay Area. 42Floors says more regions are on the way, but in the meantime, the company has found another way to go national: The debut today of “Showroom,” a marketplace that provides all the stuff businesses need to move into a new office after they sign the lease on the space.

With Showroom, 42Floors has assembled a curated collection of things such as office furniture, decor items, kitchen accessories, and services such as interior designers and wellness program providers. For now, Showroom links to places where those things can be bought and collects an affiliate fee — but 42Floors CEO Jason Freedman tells me that eventually it will actually be a full e-commerce marketplace.

“With hiring in tech absolutely crazy right now, it’s nearly impossible to find people. So as a startup your offices have to be cool,” Freedman said. “Big companies hire full-time product managers to do stuff like this, but our core user is a startup CEO and his or her office manager. They have full-time jobs already, and moving can be a full-time job. We want to help with every aspect of that.”

To assemble Showroom, Freedman says 42Floors visited dozens of the “coolest startup offices around” and catalogued the products and services they were using. The site also has an inspiration tab, which showcases offices with especially interesting decor, Apartment Therapy style.

In addition to the instant nationwide expansion angle, Showroom is is a smart move because it means that 42Floors can now be a relevant place for businesses to go year-round — not just the one or two times that they make a big move.

Meanwhile, 42Floors is in the process of closing what I’m hearing is a very buzzed-about round of funding from some of the startup scene’s biggest name investors (which seems to show a pattern emerging with Y Combinator’s latest batch of companies.) Freedman was mum on that process for now, but he did say that his six-person team has been working overtime since officially launching at Y Combinator demo day in late March — which is partially why they’re making their aggressive hiring process so entertainingly public. The Showroom launch is just the latest example of how 42Floors is emerging rapidly as a key Silicon Valley startup to watch.




TechCrunch

Beasts of the Southern Wild – Trailer

  Beasts of the Southern Wild – Trailer
In a forgotten but defiant bayou community cut off from the rest of the world by a sprawling levee, a six-year-old girl exists on the brink of orphanhood. Buoyed by her childish optimism and extraordinary imagination, she believes that the natural world is in balance with the universe until a fierce storm changes her reality. Desperate to repair the structure of her world in order to save her ailing father and sinking home, this tiny hero must learn to survive unstoppable catastrophes of epic proportions.
Directed by: Benh Zeitlin
Starring: Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry


Latest Movie Trailers

Interesting photos – 1 May 2012 – Flickr


Daily interesting photos – Flickr

Certified Green Construction Market Strong in Down Economy

Green construction is moving from a niche to the mainstream. The total value of certified green construction worldwide in 2011 is estimated at nearly $ 70 billion. According to a new research report from SBI Energy, the market is anticipated to reach almost $ 150 billion by 2016, and $ 294 billion by 2021. More harbingers of this [...]
RISMedia » Consumer News and Advice

Police: Junior Seau found dead at California home (Yahoo! Sports)

FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2008, file photo, New England Patriots linebacker Junior Seau holds the Lamar Hunt Trophy looks on after defeating the San Diego Chargers 21-12 in the AFC Championship NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass. Police say Seau, a former NFL star, was found dead at his home in Oceanside, Calif., Wednesday, May 2, 2012, after responding to a shooting there. He was 43. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson, File)

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (AP) Junior Seau’s apparent suicide stunned an entire city and saddened former teammates who recalled the former NFL star’s ferocious tackles and habit of calling everybody around him ”Buddy.”



Yahoo! Sports – Top News

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – Featurette

  Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – Featurette
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter explores the secret life of our greatest president, and the untold story that shaped our nation. Visionary filmmakers Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov (director of Wanted) bring a fresh and visceral voice to the bloodthirsty lore of the vampire, imagining Lincoln as history’s greatest hunter of the undead.

Directed by: Timur Bekmambetov
Starring: Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead


Latest Movie Trailers

Where Klout Meets Kickstarter: Wahooly Lands Angel Round

wahooly-logo1

With the passage of the JOBS Act, crowdfunding is going to get a whole lot more interesting — and a whole lot more crowded. Now that everyone and their mother can invest in startups, hundreds of crowdfunding portals are starting their engines. Wahooly happened to jump on the trend early, soft-launching back in September, before the buzz. Well, when we say “early,” Wahooly is by no means a prime mover compared to the likes of Kickstarter, but it still has the advantage of a headstart — if it can capitalize.

Today, as part of that move to capitalize (literally and figuratively), Wahooly is announcing that it has raised some funding of its own, in the shape of $ 750K in seed funding. The investment comes from a host of angel investors, including serial entrepreneur and Kalfa Equity Group Founder Joe Kalfa, Middleman Founder Jamie Dewar, and Shawn Bruins, among others — all of whom are eager to give Wahooly the fuel it needs to test its crowdfunding experiment.

To back up a bit for those unfamiliar, the Minnesota and Austin-based startup set out last year to create a platform on which socially connected, early adopter types (non-accredited investors), can grab stakes in up-and-coming startups, sharing mentorship and influence in exchange for equity.

Back when Wahooly was first hatching its crowdfunding model, there was still a bit more skepticism and concern over crowdfunding models, and whether or not there could be a legitimate way for startups to trade equity in return for social media buzz and feedback. If the effect of that buzz and mentorship is real, it’s easy to see how appealing Wahooly can be as it democratizes startup investing and, in turn, provides growth capital and guidance to young businesses.

Wahooly Founder and CEO Dana Dana Severson tells us that, although the passage of the JOBS Act is exciting both for average Americans and for startups, he doesn’t see much differentiation in the portals being launched to give access to these investments. And, really, how much variation can there be? Severson sees Wahooly as a more interactive, and long-term extension of Kickstarter’s approach, and while there may eventually be a funding platform for each space, music, tech, etc., there are only so many variations on the major theme.

As the JOBS Act developed among politicians last year, Severson moved to establish Wahooly’s model in such a way as that it could be flexible and compliant with the SEC’s regulations should the crowdfunding bill make it through the ringer. (The SEC will likely be make these terms public later this year.)

Partnering with Klout, Wahooly has amassed 30K users to date, and as the startup is still in private beta, Severson says that they’ve capped the user base at that level, even though the wait list continues to grow. The founder says that, in turn, 450 startups have signed up to participate in the first year of Wahooly fundings, though Wahooly is currently on track to showcase about half. Again, the demand is outpacing its resources, another reason why its been raising capital.

In terms of how it works, Wahooly allows startups to tap into its pool of influencers to boost their early publicity and social media buzz, and receive guidance and feedback in exchange for equity. Startups create testing groups between 5K to 8K people, which, once formed, take up to 8 percent equity in the startup. Once these influencers join a startup, the are asked to “Promote, Improve, and Engage,” and are rewarded for the level of their social media influence as well as the quality of their feedback and engagement with points. Their compensation is then based on their total points as a fraction of the total pool.

It can be a bit tricky for first-timers, so Severson says that the team has likened its structure to a company forming an advisory team — albeit a sizable one. The founder gives the example of About.me, which had 26 advisors to its 4 employees, and made quite a bit of money for everyone involved when it was acquired by Aol. In comparison, Wahooly gives startups 5,000 advisors. As companies traditionally bring on advisors to help guide them and engage with their product, promote, and help them improve, Severson says that the same should apply to Wahooly, only on a larger scale.

So, what about the validation from the early participating startups? TweetTV was one of the first to submit to Wahooly’s crowdfunding model, and although it’s not quite About.me, the startup, which is building a realtime social TV guide, recently raised its own $ 750K. Again, it’s still way too early to say Wahooly is onto something big, but the funding was at the very least some early validation that its network has value, and provides a benefit to participating companies.

TweetTV founder, Bradley Markham, is appropriately jazzed about Wahooly, telling us that its program “is by far the best way that an early-stage startup can gain the most valuable asset a budding company can have — social proof.”

Certainly, this approach isn’t right for all startups, and will likely be more valuable to those companies that actually have products ready to bring to market, are a bit further along the road, but haven’t yet found any funding. Not right for all, but for those who fit the criteria, there’s a lot of potential for it be a valuable service.

Of course, there’s a lot of work to be done, especially around validating the participating investors. With such a big crowd, there’s potential for gaps, but even if only a fraction of those provide useful feedback, it’s still better than the alternative. Although clearly it needs to address problems like the one Frederic detailed.

It also helps that Wahooly recently brought on Nathan Beckord, who is a founder and lead advisor at Venture Archetypes. Beckord has been an advisor to or investor in 13-venture-backed startups, 5 of which have found exits. He’s also a veteran of JP Morgan, Access Ventures, and Piper Jaffrey.

For more, check out our previous coverage of Wahooly here, or its homepage here.




TechCrunch