To paraphrase Cracker, I would wager what the world needs now is another content management system like I need a hole in the head. However, I’m pleased to note that I will allow Ghost a pass.
Ghost is an open source publishing platform with Markdown compatibility and a real-time preview features as well as a very robust statistics-gathering system. It is on Kickstarter now and is fully funded. Funders will get early access to the platform which will be free. $16 gets you access to the service.
“I came up with Ghost due to the frustrations of trying to manage both small and large blogs with other platforms. They generally fall into two categories. Either complicated content management systems which can “do everything” – or overly simple social networks which are pretty much just for sharing photos of cats. Ghost is about bloggers, it’s about publishing, it’s about journalism, and it’s about promoting and enabling real writing for the web,” said the founder, John O’Nolan. O’Nolan worked as Deputy Head of the WordPress UI Group until he decided to strike off on his own.
“Ghost is different from competitors in that it’s open source, completely focused on publishing (not content management like Squarespace/WordPress), and non-profit. And it’s lead by a designer (me) as opposed to most open source projects, headed up by devs,” he said. O’Nolan has built websites for Microsoft, Nokia, and Virgin Atlantic. He is working with Hannah Wolfe, senior developer at Moo.com, and Rob Hawkes of Mozilla.
The product allows WordPress programmers to convert their code quickly and easily into Ghost’s native framework. The open source version of the software will launch in September 2013, a month after the launch of the Kickstarter version.
The real value of the platform isn’t quite ready to demo but thus far it looks quite promising. The Markdown compatibility is obviously important as is the multi-user features that O’Nolan is building in. Furthermore, any new publishing platform is worth a second look – or a $16 investment – especially when it looks so darn beautiful.
See the original post: Ghost Will Take Your Boring Blog To The Next Astral Plane
Fortune reported earlier today that Mike Brown Jr. and much of the team that ran AOL’s venture funding arm have formed their own VC firm — Bowery Capital — that aims to find and fund enterprise-friendly startups. While it’s somewhat heartening to see a new firm set up shop in New York City, there’s another weighty question here that hasn’t been answered yet: now that nearly all of its staff has spun off a new venture fund, what’s going to happen to AOL Ventures?
Well, long story short, it’s not going anywhere yet. I spoke to Bowery Capital founder Mike Brown today, and he confirmed that AOL Ventures’ other co-founder/partner Jon Brod would continue to run the show now that Brown is off managing a fund of his own. According to a reputable source with knowledge of the situation, AOL has no plans to give up on its early-stage investment activities, but it’s next step isn’t exactly clear. While that source said that under CEO Tim Armstrong’s leadership AOL would remain connected to the startup world, there’s no firm plan in place for how the company’s venture arm will proceed from here.
Meanwhile, an AOL representative provided the following statement:
“AOL Ventures, which Mike and I started in 2010, has a high performing portfolio of 27 tech start-ups and remains an important part of AOL,” said President of AOL Ventures Jon Brod, who will continue to oversee the group. “We wish Mike well in his new position and are pleased that he will continue to help manage the AOL Ventures fund.”
(Disclosure: AOL acquired TechCrunch back in 2010, but you probably knew that.)
While the details on AOL’s future in venture capital are still unclear, that’s definitely not the case for Brown’s Bowery Capital: it’s focused primarily on B2B startups that could strike a chord with a younger generation of CTOs and CMOs. The most prominent companies in the Bowery portfolio that fit that vision are Codecademy, Sailthru, Premise, and Moat, all startups that Brown invested in as an angel.
That’s not to say that relationships he and the rest of his team made with AOL Ventures’ portfolio companies have gone up in smoke — of the $33 million in capital that has been committed to Bowery, $30 million came from larger institutional investors (including AOL, as AllThingsD points out) with the remaining $3 million being chipped in by “90 percent” of the AOL Ventures portfolio companies Brown was involved with.
And Brown is still actively helping out those AOL Venture portfolio companies — the team held a quarterly meetup for those startups’ executives at AOL’s offices in New York earlier today. Unlike the sorts of CEO get-togethers that firms like First Round Capital are known for, the one held today was meant for chief marketing and revenue officers to swap notes and take in talks conducted with leaders from Buzzfeed, Box, and Pandora to name a few.
A brief aside: it’s actually a little embarrassing to be covering Bowery’s news like this. The TechCrunch New York team works in the same office as AOL Ventures (well, when we managed to crawl out of our hovels), and as I write this I’m looking at the desk where Bowery Capital general manager/former AOL Ventures chief of staff Keegan Forte used to sit. In case you were wondering, that whole area is covered in BC swag. Not pictured: me facepalming for not catching on any sooner.
Read the original here: Despite A Staff Shakeup, AOL Ventures Lives On With Co-Founder Jon Brod At The Helm
While Defense Distributed, the Thingiverse for gun parts, has been working on a 3D-printed lower receiver for the AR-15 for some time now, they’ve finally announced that they’ve completed a real 3D-printed handgun called the Liberator. Made entirely out of 3D-printed ABS with the exclusion of a single nail used as the firing pin, it looks to be the fruition of DefDist’s mission to open source the gun-making process.
Forbes has an actual hands-on and has said that the founder, Cody Wilson, will release the open source plans on his site. It fires handgun rounds and can be modified to shoot different calibers.
They have also added a piece of steel so that the gun will be detectable by metal detectors, ensuring it complies with the Undetectable Firearms Act.
It’s hard to say how usable or how reliable this firearm will be, especially when ABS quality is iffy when it comes to various types of printers. However, with a good printer, good plastic, and a little luck this thing may not explode in your hand.
We’ll have more information as it emerges, but until then, get ready for some interesting discussions about gun rights this weekend.
View original post here: Defense Distributed Claims To Have Produced The First Fully 3D-Printable Pistol
Apple’s iOS 7 will arrive “on time,” according to a couple of well-placed sources following a report from Bloomberg this morning that suggests it was risking delays in the face of major software changes. Apple blogger and noted beard-wearer Jim Dalrymple gave one of his famous one-word confirms today on his blog, agreeing with a source which told AllThingsD that while Apple has had to shift engineering resources away from OS X to iOS to make sure things proceed on schedule, the update will arrive on time.
Apple says on its WWDC landing page that we’ll see “what’s next in iOS and OS X,” but it hasn’t spelled out that we’ll see new versions of either its Mac desktop OS, or the mobile platform that powers iPhones and iPads. Still, the focus at WWDC is on software, and it’s more than reasonable to expect given the teaser on the information page as well as references to the future of iOS and OS X made in the official press release noting when tickets for WWDC would go on sale this year.
iOS 7 delay rumors have been making the rounds since John Gruber noted that Apple was “running behind” on the next version of its OS, and they cropped up again today thanks to Bloomberg’s report. But while Apple is apparently having to devote more engineering resources than normal to helping with the redesign process, which is rumored to be headed up by Jony Ive and involves a big visual refresh, which will embrace “flat” design (favoring solid colors and doing away with optical effect that mimic the textures and reflections of physical materials) and bring big changes to the calendar and email tools built-in to iOS.
The changes coming in iOS 7 are about modernizing the UI, likely to inject some fresh energy into a mobile operating system that has retained a fairly stable aesthetic style throughout the course of its six year existence. A significant change to the basic functionality of some apps and the look and feel of the entire OS would be quite difficult on its own, but Bloomberg says that the management shift that took place at the end of last year with Scott Forstall’s departure ended up causing a pause and refocus in the direction of overall development.
WWDC is just over a month away, so we’ll see exactly how extensive the modification really is with a likely introduction of a public developer preview version at that time, if Apple continues doing the same thing it has in the past around the iOS development process.
Startups in the UK are upbeat about the future and usually more profitable (comparatively) than their US counterparts (which tend to focus on growth over revenues). But they find raising Series A money difficult, with 90% of entrepreneurs saying the UK fundraising environment is “challenging”. Those are the findings of a survey commissioned by Silicon Valley Bank (its first such) which has set up operations in the UK. Admittedly the 125 startup executives surveyed is not vast, but it’s likely to be highly targeted given SVB’s historically close relationships with the tech startup ecosystem.
Top line findings of the survey revealed some 83% anticipated positive business conditions in 2013, 39% are looking to raise capital from VCs and Angel investors, but there remains a funding gap between Seed and Series A funding. This latter point chimes with our own anecdotal evidence from TechCrunch sources. It appears Seed funding sources are widespread – it’s now what happens afterwards that’s the issue.
Some 90% of entrepreneurs in the study say the UK fundraising environment is challenging, with over a third blaming a “risk adverse” UK VC ecosystem. Most entrepreneurs surveyed are looking to Angel investors or VCs for their next source of funding (39% for each). Some 14% blamed ‘inexperienced investors’. Companies with fewer than 10 employees are more likely than those with 10 or more employees to look to: Angel investors (49% vs. 12%); the SEIS government tax relief scheme for investors (24% vs. 6%) and the EIS scheme (20% vs. 6%).
Frankly, this feels like an opportunity for US investors to pick up some very competitive deals.
One in five businesses is beating their revenue targets for 2012, and another strong year is predicted for 2013. Some 60% of the respondents say business conditions had improved in 2012 compared to 2011 and 73% met or exceeded revenue targets last year. Of the UK startups questioned nearly half expect their company to be profitable this year. The survey claims “just 26%” of their US counterparts report the same, though sources for that figure were not cited.
More than half (56%) want greater access to government grants and funds designed specifically for startups, while 52% would like to see tax reforms. This latter figure sounds pretty favourable, given recent government changes on tax and funding, such as the SEIS initiative.
Hiring is a key priority for UK based startups. Eighty-seven percent of survey respondents plan to hire in 2013 and 77% say that finding workers with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) skills is “absolutely critical”.
Commenting, Bindi Karia, Vice President at Silicon Valley Bank says while the outlook appears pretty good, “the flipside is that many executives have concerns around how they should fuel the next level of growth, since access to funding and talent are cited as challenges for many startups.”
Joshua March, Co-Founder and CEO of startup business Conversocial (based in Shoreditch at the centre of the so-called TechCity tech cluster) says: “The tech scene in London has evolved dramatically since we started working on Conversocial in 2009. One of the most exciting changes is how much easier it is to hire great developers than just a few years ago. Undertakings like Silicon Milkroundabout and the Tech City initiative, backed by so much government and press support, have turned ‘startups’ into a viable career path.”
Market research firm Koski Research conducted the survey for Silicon Valley Bank in December 2012. For the purposes of the study, UK startups were defined as companies in the innovation sector with less than £25 million in annual revenue and fewer than 100 employees.
Here’s a Summary of the statistics:
A big year:
• 83% anticipate positive business conditions in 2013.
• 18% of respondents say their company exceeded revenue targets in 2012.
• 55% or respondents say revenue met projected targets.
• 66% of respondents say conditions in 2012 were better than in 2011.
• 66% of companies are generating revenue.
• 30% of companies are profitable.
• Of UK start-ups earning revenue, nearly half expect their company to be profitable this year, while just 26% of their US counterparts report the same.
Start-ups are Hiring
• 87% of startups plan to hire new employees in 2013
• 38% of start-up executives say workers with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) skills are critical , and 23% say management, marketing, and other non-STEM skills are most critical.
• Engineering (69%) followed by Marketing-Sales (41%) are the hardest skills to find.
• 90% of entrepreneurs in this study say the UK fundraising environment is challenging.
• Over 1/3 of the comments received from respondents think that this is due to a UK VC ecosystem that is not as mature at the US one (risk adverse).
• Most entrepreneurs are looking to Angel investors or VCs for their next source of funding (39% for each).
• 28% cite a risk adverse culture as a barrier to funding; 22% claim that access to capital is in issue; 14% blame ‘inexperienced investors’.
• Companies with fewer than 10 employees are more likely than those with 10 or more employees to look to:
Angel investors (49% vs. 12%)
SEIS (24% vs. 6%)
EIS (20% vs. 6%)
Attitudes to Government support
• Over half of startup executives think that the Government has a role to play in helping the startup sector. • 56% mention that they would like greater access to government grants and funds, designed specifically for startups
• 52% want tax reforms.
Read the original post: Survey Finds UK Startups Upbeat On Growth And Revenues, Downbeat On Fundraising