Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.
This year’s crop of Disrupt NY Battlefield startups has been one of our strongest yet, but out of the 30 that entered the fray only seven would go on to the final round. HealthyOut, Enigma, Floored, Glide, HAN:DLE, SupplyShift, and Zenefits emerged from the pack as our seven finalists, and their respective teams were faced with another challenge.
They had to take the stage one more time to present and face even more intense scrutiny from our judges, Sequoia Capital partner Roelof Botha, Allen & Co. managing director Nancy Peretsman, SV Angel managing partner David Lee, KPCB partner Chi-Hua Chien, CrunchFund partner (and TechCrunch founder) Michael Arrington, and TechCrunch co-editor Eric Eldon.
Our judges sequestered themselves backstage at the Manhattan Center for quite some time, but they eventually settled on one ambitious startup.
Enigma, founded by Marc DaCosta, Hicham Oudghiri, Jeremy Bronfmann, and Raphaël Guilleminot, is a web service that allows its users to dig into a vast amount of publicly available (but hard-to-obtain) data. The service pulls its data from more than 100,000 data sources, but the process of sifting through all this information is deceptively simple — a quick search for a person’s name and company brings up multiple previewable tables of information, and jumping in and playing with data is thoughtfully executed.
Thinking of Enigma as a sort of Wolfram Alpha for public data gets you close, but Enigma is much smarter when it comes to finding connections between seemingly disparate data points. To date, Enigma has raised $1.45 million in seed stage funding, and has locked up partnerships with the Harvard Business School, research firm Gerson Lehrman Group, S&P Capital IQ, and newly-minted strategic investor the New York Times.
You can read more about Enigma here
Handle (or HAN:DLE), founded by Shawn Carolan and Jonathan McCoy, is a so-called “priority engine” available as a web app and iOS app that aims to make users become more productive. And how do the apps do that? By basically folding the functionality of an email client and a task manager into a single service. Users are able to “triage” their emails, as well as archive them for later perusal, but they’re also able to create tasks and schedule them for completion on a given day.
The web app is full of power-user shortcuts (hitting the ‘A’ key archives an email, while ‘R’ opens a response) — that coupled with the overall focus on forming a clear picture of what needs to be accomplished on any given day makes for a potentially powerful tool for the chronically busy. So far, Handle raised $4 million from Menlo Ventures (where Carolan is managing director).
You can read more about Handle here.
Here is the original post: And The Winner Of TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2013 Is… Enigma!
The white device here (pictured next to a phone for scale) is in the process of getting mounted on store walls in Singapore malls. When active, the device will emit an ultrasonic signal that an app can pick up, and will allow participating stores to broadcast deals and rewards to shoppers.
The device is called the iSenze, and is made by a startup in Singapore called Rainmaker Labs. Rainmaker’s bigger plan is to roll out a service called ShopGuru to stores, which allows them to list deals on it. Users who have the ShopGuru app can browse for deals. How it all connects is that some deals require users to physically step into these stores, and the iSenze will ensure that their presence is logged.
Alex Leong, co-founder at Rainmaker Labs, showed me the device recently. The service isn’t live yet, but will be in a month or two. The company intends to get its clients properly onboard before launching, he said. Rainmaker is first targeting fashion brands and will go to F&B chains after that. It’s signed about 18-20 so far, and has been trialing the device in stores over the past six months.
The company has a “six-digit” budget to push out its marketing campaign, so they’re taking their time to get it done right, he said.
The way the app offers rewards is to award users points for browsing deals on it. You get more points for walking into the store, and should you buy anything, you can log your purchase with your user ID at check out for additional points. These points are redeemable for other goods from participating stores.
On the retailer’s end, the ShopGuru service will provide a dashboard with some customer analytics in it, said Leong. This is derived from customer behavior in the app, as well as their physical movements, as tracked by the iSenze. This can provide more accurate feedback on what customers are interested in, and what deals don’t get picked up.
It’s free for shops to sign up with the ShopGuru service, but Rainmaker takes a cut of the sales made through it.
Rainmaker was founded in March 2011, and closed its first seed round of S$590,000 last November, led by Singaporean tech investor, Incuvest. Together with some angel funding at the start, Rainmaker has hit $800,000 so far, said Leong.
Ronnie Wee, managing partner at Incuvest, said the team was picked for incubation because of the potential in solving a “real problem in the market today”. “Since our investment, they have started to show good progress and solid traction with customers,” he said.
Rainmaker’s managed to pull along a few seasoned advisors in the country as well. Liew Woon Yin was the former CEO of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), and is a pro bono consultant for the startup. Tay Liam Wee, group managing director of Sincere Watches is also an advisor.
Singapore’s first for the ShopGuru service, but it intends to move into the Southeast Asian region soon after.
Read more from the original source: Mall App Tracks Shoppers With Ultrasonic Device
Two Italian VC firms and an institutional player, Fondo Italiano di Investimento, have combined to form United Ventures, closing a first round of funding at €30 million ($39M). The new firm has set a fund-raising target of €50 million, with a term of ten years and brings together Annapurna Ventures, a firm founded by Massimiliano Magrini which has specialized in seed investing, and Jupiter Venture Capital, which specialized in early-stage and late-stage investments, a firm founded by Paolo Gesess.
Together, with institutional and private investors, the new entity aims to take advantage of a recent explosion in tech activity in Italy, which was evidenced by the enormous reception we had a TechCrunch Rome last year. In part, Italy’s terrible economy is channeling talent towards one of the few growth areas: tech.
In addition to Fondo Italiano di Investimento, the first closing of the fund was participated in by institutions Fondazione Banco di Sardegna, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Lucca, Banca Sella and Banca Patrimoni. Among individual investor there is serial entrepreneur Matteo Fago founder of Venere.com, Marco Corradino co-founder of BravoFly group and Davide Serra managing partner of the edge Fund Algebris.
Massimiliano Magrini, founder and managing partner, says: “There is an entire generation of young Italians with entrepreneurial talent who would prefer to have the opportunity to create their own jobs rather than look for one. To do so, they will need to found their own companies, and this is why the system needs venture capital.”
For his part, Paolo Gesess, founder and managing partner, added: “This first closing, completed with important support from both institutional investors and successful digital economy entrepreneurs, is only the first stage in a process that… we believe needs to be completed as swiftly as possible.”
Paolo Gesess and Massimiliano Magrini’s associates include operating partners Mario Mariani, founder of the incubator The Net Value and former partner of Annapurna Ventures, and Sergio Zocchi, former partner of Jupiter Ventures.
It’s the most wonderful time of year… because Disrupt New York is getting closer! We’re now wrapping things up behind the scenes, and the show is shaping up to be our best ever — we know, we know, we always say that.
Today we’re honored to be announcing three more luminaries who will take the much-vaunted Disrupt stage in late April.
Sequoia Capital partner Roelof Botha, SV Angel’s David Lee and Valley don Ron Conway are all speaking at Disrupt NYC 2013. They’ll be joining previously-announced speakers Fred Wilson, Ken Lerer and Ben Lerer.
Remember, Startup Battlefield applications are due on 2/22. Battlefield is the heart and soul of Disrupt, and a fantastic launch platform for a startup. We know you can be the next Mint, Dropbox, or Yammer but you have to apply first.
And for those of you who are already Mint, Dropbox and/or Yammer, you can sign on to sponsor the event by mailing email@example.com.
Partner, Sequoia Capital
Roelof Botha is a partner at Sequoia Capital, and works with a broad range of companies. Some democratize technology access (Square, Eventbrite, Unity, Nimbula); some create global user communities (YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram); and others disrupt markets through innovative business models (Evernote, Weebly, Xoom). Roelof also sits on the boards of Aliph, Mahalo, and TokBox. Roelof is a champion of consumer Web plays and considers himself “just another consumer.”
Roelof led the initial financing of YouTube on behalf of Sequoia Capital in 2005.
Roelof served as the Chief Financial Officer of PayPal, where he led the company through its IPO in 2002, and the acquisition by eBay before joining Sequoia Capital in 2003.
Roelof loves to hear a founder recount what inspired them to strike out on their own and to gain an understanding of how the founder is uniquely solving a customer pain point.
Founder & Managing Member, SV Angel
David Lee is the Managing Member at SV Angel, where Ron Conway is a Special Partner. SV Angel focuses its investments on early-stage consumer media companies.
He focuses on investments within the consumer Internet, mobile, video and other IT industries. Prior to SV Angel, he was at Google, where he led new business development efforts in video, media and content/data partnerships. After Google, he led all business development-related efforts for StumbleUpon.
Recently he was a partner at Baseline Ventures and also an attorney at Morrison and Foerster representing high-tech companies in commercial transactions. He is a graduate of Johns Hopkins, NYU (JD) and Stanford (MSEE), where he was a National Science Foundation Graduate fellow. He is an individual investor in Square, WePay, Chomp and EQAL; an adviser at ScanScout, SocialDeck (acq. by Google) and Rupture (acq. by EA); and was on the board of directors of BookFresh (acq. by Sugar Inc.).
Angel, SV Angel
Ronald Conway has been an active angel investor for over 15 years. He was the Founder and Managing Partner of the Angel Investors LP funds (1998-2005) whose investments included: Google, Ask Jeeves, PayPal, Good Technology, Opsware, and Brightmail.
Ron was previously with National Semiconductor Corporation in marketing positions from 1973-1979, and Altos Computer Systems as a co-founder, President and CEO from 1979-1990. He eventually took Altos public in 1982 and served as CEO of Personal Training Systems (PTS) from 1991-1995. PTS went on to be acquired by SmartForce/SkillSoft. Ron has served/serves on Boards/Advisory Boards including: Twitter, Digg, Brightmail, Ask Jeeves, Rupture (acquired by EA), Associated Content(acquired by Yahoo!), Facebook, RockYou, ScanScout, Zappos, Trulia, StumbleUpon, Plaxo (acquired by Comcast), Photobucket (acquired by Fox), and Anchor Intelligence (co-founder).
Ron was recently named #6 in Forbes Magazine Midas list of top “deal-makers” in 2008 and is actively involved in numerous philanthropic endeavors. Ron is Vice Chairman of the UCSF Medical Foundation in SF, Board Member of The Tiger Woods Foundation, and SF Homeless Connect, and on the Benefit Committee of Ronald McDonald House, College Track, and the Black Eyed Peas-PeaPod Academy Foundation.
Conway is also featured in Gary Rivlin’s book “The Godfather of Silicon Valley: Ron Conway and the Fall of the Dot-coms”, in which he is described as ‘the man who has placed more bets on Internet start-ups than anyone else in Silicon Valley.’
The one-command automation tool promises that a developer can be hacking on GitHub within 30 minutes.
The tool follows a trend to offer developer-ready laptops. Dell has developed a laptop built specifically for developers called Project Sputnik. The laptop is now commercially available.
GitHub posted on its blog today that Boxen started nearly a year ago as a project called “The Setup,” which they describe as a pipe dream to let anyone at GitHub run GitHub.com on their development machine with a single command. That pipe dream is now giving new developers an added treat when unboxing their Macs (oh the joy).
I see this a lot. Startups need their own tools to do the work they do. So they create their own. Boxen is a great example of this trend. It is designed with the GitHub developer in mind. According to the blog, it automatically updates itself every run and opens and closes GitHub issues as problems arise and get fixed.
In a post on its blog, GitHub said:
With Boxen, we treat our development environments with the same care we give production: we test our code and rely on Continuous Integration to deploy changes.
Pretty cool trend unfolding as more Internet-scale businesses invent the software and increasingly the hardware to get work done that they can’t do with off the shelf products.