Artspace, an e-commerce startup that helps connect contemporary artists and galleries with potential customers, has raised a $2.5 million Series A funding round with participation from Felicis Ventures, Accelerator Ventures, Blue Equity LLC, and Metamorphic Ventures.
The round also includes a wide range of accomplished entrepreneurs. The full roster: Michael Yavonditte (Hashable, Quigo), David Rosenblatt (1stdibs.com, Doubleclick), Dave Morgan (Simulmedia), Seth Goldstein (turntable.fm), Thomas Stemberg (Founder/former CEO of Staples); Rob Selati (Madison Dearborn Capital Partners); Todd Simon (CEO of Omaha Steaks) and Peter Ricketts (former COO of Ameritrade). The company previously raised a $1.2 million seed round last spring.
Artspace is setting out to make contemporary art accessible to those of us who aren’t necessarily deeply immersed in the art world already — and to help connect artists and galleries with potential buyers. The site also allows art fairs to create a virtual representation of their fair, which helps expand the number of potential buyers beyond those who can attend an event in-person.
The company says it plans to use the money to expand its team, boost marketing, and to continue to build out its product. Alongside the funding news, the company is also announcing that Andrew Goldstein, who was previously executive editor of ArtINFO, will now lead the site’s editorial teams, who will be writing educational content and tracking art-related news.
Cofounded by Catherine Levene (formerly COO of DailyCandy) and Christopher Vroom (founder of Artadia), Artspace is one of several NYC-based companies looking to help bring the art world to the web. Other startups in this space include Art.sy (a service, currently in private beta, that looks to be a sort of Pandora for fine art) and Artsicle (which lets customers rent art for $25 a month). There are also sites like 20×200 that sell curated art prints, and Etsy, which has been connecting artists with shoppers directly for years.
Asked about how the site differs from Art.sy, which has also generated plenty of buzz, Levene says that Artspace is focused on ecommerce — everything on the site is available for purchase and can be bought directly through the site. In contrast, pieces on Art.sy are not always for sale, and you can’t actually purchase pieces directly through the site (you need to get in touch with Art.sy to coordinate the transaction).
The site itself looks great, and there are options available for most pricepoints (the homepage currently includes pieces running from $100 to $6500).
At Artspace, they’re changing the way the world experiences art. Their mission is to help collectors and aspiring collectors discover, learn about and collect fine art. Their curators collaborate with top museums, galleries and cultural institutions to provide the best collection of contemporary art in the world. They offer limited editions and original works from the most recognized artists to rising stars and make them available for sale online, at affordable prices. Membership is free and grants their subscribers…
Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/Zl9VFjVA1rk/
Electric car drivers deserve to see their positive impact on the environment and their wallets, but the official mobile apps for the Nissan LEAF and Chevy Bolt only display remaining battery. GreenCharge is a new iOS app released today that displays your car’s remaining charge, but also its current range, the local energy price, a log of its usage, and your cost and carbon reduction versus driving a gasoline vehicle. Finally, an app that shows how you’re saving both kinds of green.
The app was developed by Xatori Inc, creators of PlugShare, the largest electric vehicle charging network in the United States. It’s the second product from the Palo Alto-based company, fueled by $400,000 in seed funding and three full-time employees. CEO Forrest North engineered for Tesla and was the CEO of electric vehicle component company Mission Motors. CTO Armen Petrosian developed anodes for Amprius and was on the Stanford Solar Car Team.
Just like the official LEAF and Volt apps, the $9.99 GreenCharge wirelessly connects to your car via cell signals know as telematics. Once authorized, GreenCharge continuously records your EV’s usage creating a logbook of your total, peak, and average energy expenditure. GreenCharge ties this to local energy costs, providing the most accurate way to determine the cost of driving a electric car.
The app also gives you plenty to feel good about. You’ll see your monetary savings and the pounds of carbon offset by not driving a gas guzzler. You can put some friendly pressure on others to consider electric vehicles by sharing how much money you saved to Facebook, Twitter, or email.
Since Xatori’s PlugShare app is already free, it might make sense to add its functionality within a tab of GreenCharge for easy access. The ability to share other stats beyond money saved would useful too. An Android version of GreenCharge on the way.
A vague sense of helping the environment isn’t enough. EV sales won’t surge until their financial benefits become common knowledge. By educating drivers and their social networks, GreenCharge could get the mainstream to plug in.
Xatori is a Palo Alto-based company that builds innovative software for electric vehicles and an enlightened electricity grid.
CEO Forrest North was previously founder and CEO at Mission Motors and an engineer at Tesla Motors. CTO Armen Petrosian was previously an engineer at Amprius and on the Stanford Solar Car team. Advisors include Max Levchin (co-founder of PayPal and Slide) and Marc Tarpenning (co-founder of Tesla Motors).
Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/EtzFnlJ7FV8/
Note from the editor: This is a guest post from Steve Case, the co-founder of AOL (which owns TechCrunch) and founder of Revolution. Case is the chairman of the Startup America Partnership and sits on the White House Jobs Council.
In recent weeks, Americans from all walks of life came together to stop SOPA from advancing through Congress, demonstrating the power of the Internet to rally people around an important cause. In the weeks ahead, we have reason to rally again. This time, the goal is not stopping something bad, but starting something good. Specifically, ensuring that America builds on its legacy of innovation, and remains the world’s most entrepreneurial nation.
Earlier today, President Obama unveiled his Startup America legislative agenda and called on Congress to pass it quickly, so he can sign it promptly. It’s a very positive first step.
Let’s capitalize on this moment, and call on our elected representatives to quickly pass this legislative agenda that helps entrepreneurs start and scale the companies that can change the world while creating jobs, jumpstarting our economy, and increasing our competitiveness globally.
Here’s why you should join me – now – in rallying behind the President’s proposed Startup America legislation:
Young high-growth companies have created 40 million American jobs in the past three decades thirty years – and accounted for all of the net new jobs produced during that period.
America’s entrepreneurial economy has been the envy of the world for decades. But other nations now recognize that entrepreneurship has been America’s secret sauce, and they are now racing to replicate it. Just as we’re seeing the globalization of manufacturing, we’re also now seeing the globalization of entrepreneurship.
Meanwhile, outside of some sectors (like social media) and some regions (like Silicon Valley), America’s entrepreneurial economy is sputtering. Indeed, start-ups are down 23% since 2007.
The rest of the world is accelerating, while America is slowing. But we still have time to act.
Enter the President’s Startup America legislative agenda. The proposed legislation, released this morning by the White House, builds on the great work that Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and the House have initiated in recent months.
Here’s a short primer on some of the measures included in the President’s Startup America legislative agenda:
Crowdfunding – The legislative package will allow entrepreneurs to leverage online platforms to raise small amounts of capital from a large number of people. The benefits of creating an efficient and transparent marketplace to raise capital have been established by successful platforms such as Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, and this new legislation will extend the reach of these platforms to help fund entrepreneurial companies.
IPO on ramp – Well-intentioned regulations to protect investors have contributed to a decline in IPOs. The cost and complexity of initial public offerings has resulted in fewer companies going public, and more companies being sold. Public offerings of less than $50 million were 80% of IPOs in the 1990s, but only 20% in the 2000s. Sadly, IPOs typically lead to accelerated job growth – 90% of job creation typically occurs after a company goes public – while acquisitions often lead to job-deceleration. The President is embracing the recommendations of the IPO Task Force and his Jobs Council by calling for a smart, phase-in for emerging growth companies, so that they can adjust to the most costly and complex requirements of going public.
Winning the global battle for talent – America is great at attracting talented immigrants to its universities, but then forces most to leave and return to their countries – taking their educations with them, and all too often creating companies in other countries that end up competing with ours. This is a critical issue that will require more attention, but the Startup America legislative package takes a positive first step by allowing more highly-skilled immigrants to stay, build companies in the U.S., and create American jobs.
Investment incentives – The proposed legislation provides a capital gains tax cut when an investment is kept in a business for at least five years, incentivizing investors to put their cash behind entrepreneurs who are focused on building lasting companies. In addition, the package adds investment incentives by raising the limit for “mini-offerings” from $5 million to $50 million and increasing the Small Business Investment Company program by $1 billion.
Incentives to Encourage Growth and Reinvestment – The Startup America legislative agenda would make permanent certain tax cuts for small businesses, so that once a new firm gets up and running, it has more capital available to re-invest in growing the company. The package also includes a 10% income tax credit for new small business hires, a doubling of the tax deduction for startup expenses, and an extension of the 100 percent depreciation for property through this year.
I was honored to chair the high growth enterprises subcommittee of the President’s Council on Jobs Competitiveness. (Other members included John Doerr of KPCB and Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook.) We met with the President in October and presented a series of recommendations on steps both the private and public sector should take to improve the environment for entrepreneurs.
Since then, nearly a dozen bills have been introduced in Congress. The AGREE Act was introduced by Senators Rubio (R-FL) and Coons (D-DE) and the Startup Act was introduced by Senators Warner (D-VA) and Moran (R-KS). Now, the President has stepped forward with his own proposal, the Startup America legislative agenda.
I’m encouraged to see our nation’s leaders focus their attention on entrepreneurship – and issue legislative proposals that will help us innovate, grow our economy, create jobs, and strengthen our competitiveness.
This is a moment. While the partisan bickering in Washington is intense, and will heat up further as we head towards the November election, we can – and must – rally the entrepreneurial community to support pro-entrepreneurship legislation.
It might seem as though Washington isn’t listening, but the successful effort to stop SOPA in its track proved that we can have an impact. That was about stopping misguided legislation. This is about promoting a positive Startup Agenda that moves us in the right direction. Is it a perfect package for entrepreneurs? No, but there is no such thing as perfect legislation – and we can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
So join the cause and tweet your support with the #StartupAmerica hashtag. Now is the time to rally together and pass a Startup America legislative agenda!
- STEVE CASE
As a businessman and philanthropist, Steve Case invests in diverse for-profit and nonprofit enterprises, with a particular interest in health care and the economic and social sustainability of Hawaii, his home state. To that end, he and his wife, Jean Case, created the Case Foundation in 1997.
In April 2005, Steve launched Revolution, a company that seeks to drive transformative change by shifting power to consumers. Revolution’s mission is to partner with entrepreneurs in building businesses that give people more…
Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/PygPCytDnmE/
We measure every last click when it comes to the Web, but there remains a gulf between online and the real world. Yet the online world increasingly drives behavior offline, especially when it comes to purchasing habits. How many times have you researched something online or on your mobile phone before buying it? Yet when you go to a store to buy it, everything you did online might as well disappear as far as the merchant is concerned.
It doesn’t have to be that way. The last mile in local commerce is really only the last few inches between the credit card in your outstretched hand and the card swipe at the register. That terminal is the gateway to the payment network, which today isn’t really connected to the Internet for most practical purposes. The payment networks is archaic and operates based on its own closed standards. But what if it was as easy to connect to the payment network as it is to develop an application on the Web?
That is the question a group of former Netscape engineers and executives are trying to answer with a new startup called CardSpring launching in private beta today. Cardspring is creating an application platform that will allow Web and mobile developers to write applications for credit cards and other types of payments. Cardspring attaches itself to the payment network in a secure fashion on one side, and on the other it presents itself as a platform for developers to create payment apps via Web-standard APIs. It is a bridge between the two networks.
These applications could include things like electronic coupons, loyalty cards, virtual currencies, or yet-to-be-imagined commerce apps. For example, you could get a $10 off coupon online, enter your credit card number, and then when you go to a store and pay with that card, the payment network would recognize the card and give you the $10 credit. Or you could swipe your card and it could email you the receipt. Or it could check in for you. Swiping the card would trigger an application. What you see is a piece of plastic. What the network sees is an application.
If this sounds a little bit like what Groupon, LivingSocial, Foursquare, Square or Google are trying to do, it is because they’ve all been trying to crack this nut in different ways. They all want to close the redemption loop between digital offers and in-store payments. “Groupon threaded the needle with coupons,” says CEO Eckart Walther, but in his eyes daily deals are no more than a “wonderful one-off solution—We are literally inside the payment network.”
Walther once ran Netscape’s platform group. He later went to TellMe Networks, Yahoo search, LiveOps, and ended up as an EIR at Accel. The company’s CTO is Jeff Winner, who was the head crypto guy at Netscape. He is helped come up with SSL (the standard security layer in the browser), among other things. Cardspring already raised $10 million from Accel and Greylock in a Series A (Andrew Braccia from Accel and James Slavet from Greylock are the partners on the deal). Other investors include SV Angel (which is a big believer in the Online2Offline trend), Morado Ventures, Felicis Ventures, and Maynard Webb’s investment vehicle, WIN.
Groupon isn’t the only attempt at a one-off solution. Foursquare links its merchant specials to American Express card purchases, but not every card. Google Wallet is trying to put payment apps into your phone. It’s too fragmented. “Every day, a mini-platform is trying to launch.” he says. Instead, CardSpring is attacking the problem just like you’d expect a bunch of Netscape engineers would: at the network level. “What if we could bring the browser platform to the payment network?’ asks Walther.
Try to wrap your brain around that for a second. Your plastic credit card can trigger different applications—coupons, loyalty rewards, reminders, check-ins, you name it. All of it is secure and based on permissions you allowed each application to have (in return for some benefit). “One of the Internet’s fundamental challenges is its inability to effectively capture the economic value it creates for business in the physical world,” notes Braccia. “CardSpring’s platform enables offline stores to easily measure the impact of the web on their business.”
There is a huge need for this type of payments platform. Groupon could use it to finally track redemptions of its coupons without having to ship iPads with special software to bars and restaurants. Foursquare could tie it into its specials and actually capture the purchase data and then show that to merchants in their dashboards. So could LivingSocial.
And that’s just for starters. Imagine cost-per-action ads where the action is an in-store purchase. The possibilities are endless. Not only that, but any website or mobile app that takes credit card information will now have the opportunity to append data to those purchases, and to read and write data to the payment network. It is not just about moving money, but moving payment-related data. In the end, the data may turn out to be more valuable.
The difficult part will be to convince consumers to hand over their credit card numbers in order for these applications to work. To the extent that the initial websites and apps already hold consumers’ credit card information, like Groupon or LivingSocial do, that shouldn’t be an issue. But when unknown sites or businesses start asking for that information, it might not be as forthcoming.
Still, there is a lot of low-hanging fruit here and Cardspring brings a clever approach to a difficult problem. It is not asking much of consumers or merchants. They do not need any new technology or fancy NFC-powered phones or terminals. All they need is their credit card. The network will do the rest.
- GOOGLE WALLET
Groupon features a daily deal on the best stuff to do, see, eat, and buy in more than 565 cities around the world. By promising businesses a minimum number of customers, Groupon can offer deals that aren’t available elsewhere.
Groupon brings buyers and sellers together in a fun and collaborative way that offers the consumer an unbeatable deal, and businesses a large number of new customers. To date, it has saved consumers more than $300 million and claims it…
LivingSocial is the social commerce leader behind LivingSocial Deals, a group buying program that invites people and their friends to save up to 90 percent each day at their favorite restaurants, spas, sporting events, hotels and other local attractions in major cities.
LivingSocial has an extensive user base of more than 85 million, and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.
Foursquare is a geographical location based social network that incorporates gaming elements.
Users share their location with friends by “checking in” via a smartphone app or by text message. Points are awarded for checking in at various venues. Users can connect their Foursquare accounts to their Twitter and Facebook accounts, which can update when a check in is registered. By checking in a certain number of times, or in different locations, users can collect virtual badges. In addition, users…
Cardspring is creating an application platform that will allow Web and mobile developers to write applications for credit cards and other types of payments. Cardspring attaches itself to the payment network in a secure fashion on one side, and on the other it presents itself as a platform for developers to create payment apps via Web-standard APIs. It is a bridge between the two networks.
These applications could include things like electronic coupons, loyalty cards, virtual currencies, or yet-to-be-imagined commerce…
Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/pM6ri7i5D6s/
Last year, Hulu brought in $420 million in revenues, with was 60 percent above the year before. The news, however, was seen as a miss because Hulu earlier in the year suggested that it would make $500 million.
Today at the D: Dive Into Media conference, CEO Jason Kilar defended his record, revealing that “our board plan was $408 million.” So Hulu came in above the internal goal it had set for its board.
So why the discrepancy? “Earlier in the year we were pacing higher than that,” says Kilar. Then in the third quarter the ad market softened and the “pacing changed.” But he insists that there was a rebound in the fourth quarter and so far in 2012.
Nevertheless, Hulu’s subscription business, Hulu Plus, “is our fastest growing business,” says Kilar. He ended last year with 1.5 million subscribers and expects subscription revenue to become the majority of revenues this year. Those subscription dollars “allows us to pay the content business more than anyone else,” he says.
He plans on spending $500 million this year on licensing more content and creating original shows. He thinks it will be important to have a mix of exclusive shows on Hulu and a broad library in order to create some differentiation from other online video services such as Netflix, Amazon, and Apple.
Asked specifically about the auction last year for Hulu and why they didn’t sell, Kilar quipped: “Things changed.” In retrospect, he now says, “The strategic value of something like Hulu you can see dwarfing some very considerable economic considerations.”
That sounds like a post-facto justification for why Hulu didn’t attract higher bids, but Kilar is philosophical about what he is doing with Hulu and the dance he must do with the traditional media companies, some of whom are his biggest investors.
“In the late 1940s,” he notes, “everyone in California thought the television was the devil incarnate. It had to be destroyed. Walt Disney was one of the first to go to New York to find out what was this devil incarnate.” As everybody knows, TV “was one of the best things to happen to the content industry.”
Online video, he argues, will have a similar effect. “It is not different than the introduction of television when there were movie houses everywhere and people used to go to them three times a week. That is how they used to get premium content.” Now with online video, you are going from video in one room of the house to “getting premium content 24/7 wherever you may be.”
Photo via AllThingsD
Founded in March 2007, Hulu is operated independently by a dedicated management team with offices in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Seattle and Beijing. NBC Universal, News Corporation, as of April 2009, Disney, Providence Equity Partners and the Hulu team share in the ownership stake of the company.
Hulu is an online video service that offers a selection of hit shows, clips, movies and more at Hulu.com, numerous destination sites online, and through the ad-supported subscription service, Hulu Plus.
Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/s2xixEa08OY/
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