BitPay, the startup with ambitions to become the PayPal of the bitcoin world, is today announcing that it has raised another $2 million. And in a kind of poetic justice, the round is led by none other than the Founders Fund, the VC started by what’s commonly called the PayPayl Mafia.
The Atlanta-based startup says that it was not planning to raise any money at the moment — it announced an initial raise of $510,000 only in January. That was its first outside funding after being bootstrapped internally. However, the company also says that it couldn’t say no, considering who was asking:
“We were not looking to raise any capital until later this year, but we could not ignore the opportunity to have Founders Fund involved with BitPay,” Tony Gallippi, co-founder and CEO of BitPay, notes in a news release on the deal. “There’s no single investment firm we would rather have on our team right now than Founders Fund.”
Nevertheless, it looks like the extra money will be used for hiring: there are currently two jobs open for node.js developers “who are excited about bitcoin.” BitPay is also looking for a UX designer. There will also be more investment in its platform and further product development.
Founders Fund partners know a thing or two about payment platforms — given their past experience as founders and senior execs at PayPal and other companies. Their interest in BitPay comes from the fact that it, and bitcoin, in general, appear to be growing like wildfire.
“BitPay’s ambitions have been global from the outset, and at Founders Fund we have been impressed with the company’s tremendous growth as they sign up hundreds of new customers a day, turning the potential for opportunity into a reality,” said Brian Singerman, a Partner at Founders Fund, in a statement.
When we covered the company’s first raise in January, we noted it had already signed up 2,100 businesses that were using its platform to process bitcoin payments. In April, it added nearly that many again: 1,900 merchants, and they are now processing $5 million per month in bitcoin transactions covering areas like electronics, precious metals, “and other low-margin products.” The promise of using bitcoin over dollars is lower fees, and companies are seeing “a large increase in profitability by accepting bitcoin payments,” the company notes.
In addition to Founders Fund, Max Keiser’s fund Heisenberg Capital, a London-based fund focused on bitcoin companies, is also involved in this seed round. It comes as a number of other VCs are also jumping into the bitcoin landgrab.
The terms of this most recent round were not disclosed, the company notes, “although 100% of the existing seed shareholders exercised their pro rata rights to maintain their ownership percentage in BitPay.” Previous investors in BitPay included Shakil Khan (the Path and Spotify former head of special projects, who has also launched his own bitcoin information resource, Coindesk), Barry Silbert, Jimmy Furland and Roger Ver.
Glympse has been in the news for its deals with the likes of Ford, Mercedes Benz and BMW/Mini to integrate its location-sharing and tracking technology into in-car systems on connected automobiles. Today it’s taking its expansion strategy one step further, with the release of a new software development kit, giving app developers and others the ability to include Glympse-powered location-sharing technology into their services with a few lines of code.
The news comes during a time when social-mapping technology is in the news, with Facebook reportedly in the process of acquiring Waze for up to $1 billion, and Alibaba investing nearly $300 million into AutoNavi in a strategic alliance to develop location-based commerce and other mobile navigation and mapping services.
While Waze has developed a way to collate crowdsourced mapping and traffic data, Glympse doesn’t create the maps themselves — as you can see in the example below, the map data can come from Google, but also Microsoft’s Bing, Open Streetmap and others — but its location-tracking technology effectively lets you create a real-time trail showing your route to a particular location.
The resulting maps are animated routes tracking your movements and other data like the speed at which you’re travelling, travel time, and expected arrival time. A person can also make the data ephemeral (like Snapchat!) by giving it an expiration date for how long it can be accessed look something like this:
Bryan Trussel, CEO and co-founder of Glympse, says that already there are a number of companies approaching Glympse for ways to integrate its technology into new applications — areas that the company itself just doesn’t have the resources to tackle itself right now. One of these involves integration into apps around air travel: tracking where a person is as his plane flies from point A to B, useful for someone waiting to pick up that person from the airport.
Trussel says that the SDK will effectively be a version of the private APIs that Glympse already provides to partners like the car companies and others like Garmin.
It comes at a time when Glympse will continue to expand that partner list, and expand out to other verticals. “We’ve done a major partnership every six months, and we plan more, at the rate of one every couple of months,” he said in an interview. “Some car partners but the majority will be outside the automotive space.” This could also extend to licensing deals for the Glympse technology to start appearing on mobile devices as well. And in fact, there are already a number of companies in non-automotive using Glympse’s technology already. They include Gripwire (app development), PetHub (pet protection) and Runtriz (for hospitality solutions).
Glympse will be offering use of the API free of charge to implementations of 300,000 users or less, in the form of a Lite SDK. That free SDK will include the ability to add Glympse functionality to a mobile app as well as a Map Tool, for developers to create and host a custom Glympse Map. The SDK will let users add GPS and location management, contact integration and viewer permissions as well as the coding for a user interface for users to share location from within the third-party app.
Glympse says that a further, paid commercial SDK is designed for developers and enterprises that expect more than 300,000 monthly active users, or need more support, flexibility with user experience flow, or the ability to create more custom features.
So why the delay of offering an API only now? Trussel says that Glympse has had a lot of incoming requests to use the platform from the beginning, but “we decided not to lead with the platform because we wanted to have it stable and documented. Having an SDK means dealing with support and questions, and we spent our resources working with customers directly and refining platform. Now we are at the point where our partners are using the platform in identical ways so we can handle a variation of people using in a lot of different ways. The timing will be right for us.”
Glympse has to date raised $7.5 million from investors that include Menlo Ventures and Ignition Partners.
Originally posted here: Glympse Launches Its First API To Put Location Sharing Into Any App Or Platform
Facebook has finally found a permanent executive for one of its key leadership positions in its international operation: Nicola Mendelsohn, a longtime veteran of the ad industry, is joining the social network as its VP, EMEA. She replaces Joanna Shields, who left Facebook nearly seven months ago in October 2012 to run Tech City, the London tech cluster advocacy group. Carolyn Everson, VP of Global Marketing Solutions, was in the role on an interim basis.
Mendelsohn joins most immediately from Karmarama, an ad agency where she was partner and exec chairman. Before that she was at Grey London and a board member at BBH. She had also most recently been president of the IPA — the first female in the organization (an ad trade industry body) in 96 years. She’ll be leaving her position at Karmarama in July and making the transition then.
Facebook has had a mixed picture in EMEA and given that it currently makes the vast majority of its revenues from advertising, it makes sense to draw from that world for the role. Europe alone has 269 million monthly active users in Q1 but its ad revenues in the region actually declined last quarter, and are now at $423 million, down from $440 million the quarter previously. That was in a quarter where other regions like the U.S. declined as well — although some of that would have been due to seasonal attributes and also the fact that the last quarter covered a slightly longer period.
On the other hand, the EMEA operation also includes key markets that in some ways may represent some of the most interesting growth for Facebook: with regions like Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe also included in Mendelsohn’s remit, she will also be responsible for some of the emerging markets that are currently some of the fastest growing for the social network. As CEO Mark Zuckerberg said when Facebook announced 1 billion users, the next 1 billion is likely to be in emerging markets like those in in EMEA rather than in more developed and mature regions like the U.S.
Mendelsohn will be bringing deep contacts in the industry, along with both independent and big-four agency experience to the mix as Facebook looks to grow the number of brands and agencies relying on Facebook and its particular brand of social advertising for their marketing strategies.
“Facebook’s innovation in the way brands are putting people at the centre of the conversation is fascinating,” Mendelsohn said in a statement. “I am very excited to be joining the team and I look forward to bringing my experience to Facebook.”
She will be reporting to Everson. “I could not be more thrilled to announce Nicola Mendelsohn as the VP of EMEA,” Everson said in a statement. “She brings outstanding leadership and passion for what Facebook can do to become an indispensable partner for our clients and agencies throughout the region. It’s testament to Facebook’s innovative role in business and advertising that we’re able to welcome a leader with such great experience.”
More to come. Refresh for updates.
Read the rest here: Facebook Appoints Ad Vet Nicola Mendelsohn As Its New VP For EMEA
As millions of 20-somethings defy the age-old tradition of young marriage for another decade of baby-less romance, one study suggests that the Internet is responsible for boosting holy matrimony 14% among 21-30-year-olds. In a deliciously dry economic assessment of romantic partnering, University of Montreal Professor Andriana Bellou finds a surprisingly strong relationship between broadband Internet penetration, dating website use, and youngins gettin’ hitched. “Exploring sharp temporal and geographic variation in the pattern of consumer broadband adoption, I find that the latter has significantly contributed to increased marriages rates among 21-30 year olds,” she writes [PDF].
Two graphs, in particular, help explain the boost in digitally facilitated permanent hookups (the first figure is a poll of spouses the second figure the linear trend between broadband and marriage)
Econometrics For Novices
How do we know these marriages wouldn’t have happened anyways, regardless of whether residents had Internet access? Internet service providers roll broadband around the U.S. for mostly business purposes, provided that local bureaucrats don’t make deploying it a regulatory nightmare. Unless regulators were snuggling with young lovers as they teased their marriage intentions with each other, there’s no reason to believe broadband deployment was following regions ripe for lots of marriage.
So, if we see a see a spike in marriage rates in only states with ubiquitous broadband penetration, the Internet is probably playing some role (econometricians call this an Instrumental Variable). Of regions with similar composition in race, socioeconomic status, population density, unemployment, and age, the author finds the Internet is associated with a sizable 13-30% boost in first-time marriages.
The Hottest Marriage Talk You Can Handle
Readers can imagine how an available pool of hot-and-heavy eager singles facilitates marriage, but the way in which an economist describes romance may just be the hottest thing ever. Nestle an ice-pack between your legs, because this is NSFW.
1. Dating sites increase the chance you’ll find your one true love.
“In a basic infinite horizon search model, individuals search for suitable marriage partners and receive offers drawn from some known distribution. Search continues until a partner is found whose “quality” equals or exceeds an endogenously determined reservation value…Standard search theory predicts that, all else equal, higher search costs lower the reservation value and increase the probability of marriage”
2. It’s hard to meet people in a new city.
“In an offline, decentralized environment searching for a suitable partner can be a lengthy process accompanied by uncertainty regarding match quality and psychological costs associated with personal encounters and potential rejections. An online centralized marriage market instead has the potential to resolve a number of these issues. This is because it allows for targeted search along certain desirable characteristics while the users retain a degree of anonymity”
3. Sometimes, a girl just needs to be asked.
“greater exposure to potential mates will increase the frequency of offers and therefore the likelihood of marriage”
4. Yo, it’s a sausage fest out there.
“The potential of the Internet to affect matching is probably the greatest for those perceived as facing thinner markets or those who experience difficulties in meeting potential mates”
A Word of Caution
A few cautionary notes before we all hail Match.com as the savior of the institution of marriage.
First, these are a percentage of a percentage. Marriage rates increased about 5% for 21-30 year olds, but it went from 0.36 to .412, or a 14% relative increase. This jibes with a 2005 Pew Poll which found that 5% of all marriages began online.
Second, this study says nothing of the quality of the marriage. As I personally investigated, hyper-focused romantic searchers are a mixed blessing. Sometimes we find that the person we thought we wanted is actually the worst possible match.
The truth is, the Internet is probably playing some role in boosting marriage. Speaking as a guy who is part of the new 20-something trend of moving away from home and delaying domestic life to focus on career, online dating helps me sort through the sea of strangers. Now, if it could only make those first dates a little less awkward. Get on it, Internet!
Here is the original post: How The Internet May Have Increased Young Marriages 14%
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!