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What you will find in the following pages is a concept we are hoping to launch. iTracker is designed to improve the experience of reading online content by combining the latest in aggregation technology with the design techniques honed in the past decade by the magazine industry. By blending the two worlds together, we can accomplish a couple things. The first is that you can remain connected to all the content you care about, without being overwhelmed by it's volume or the labor of visiting each separate source, including social networks. We can also personalize the content delivery to you as a complex individual, and to provide interactive feedback that traditional magazines just can't.
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Fashion-focused startup StyleCaster Media is unveiling a redesign of the flagship site that gives the company its name.
Vice President of Product Peter Tanapat gave me a quick tour of the new site (the first full redesign since March 2012) last week, and many of the changes are well-executed variants of what you’d expect — the design is now responsive, meaning that it works on tablets and smartphones by adjusting to the size of the screen, and the top articles are highlighted with big pictures at the top of the page, in an area that Tanapat referred to as the “Jubmotron.”
From a business perspective, the biggest change is probably the addition of e-commerce features. Users will now be able to buy products after trying them on virtually using StyleCaster’s Try On! Studio (based on technology from StyleCaster’s acquisition of Daily makeover last year), browse and purchase editors’ picks, and purchase the other fashion that’s written about on the site.
While incorporating e-commerce into fashion sites is hardly a new idea, founder and CEO Ari Goldberg argued in the redesign press release that StyleCaster is “the first publisher to provide advertisers and brands with both the technology and premium editorial content that will effectively help readers find their products through the buying decision process.” The company says this is the launch of its third big revenue source, in addition to advertising and Try On partnerships.
One otherthing that Tanapat emphasized is the fact that the redesign was also built with existing StyleCaster content in mind — many redesigns leave older articles looking weirdly formatted or downright unreadable, but he said, “A lot of the content is evergreen. We have a lot of traffic to pages … that were published six months ago.”
Founded in 2009, StyleCaster Media says that across StyleCaster and other sites like Beauty High, The Vivant, and Daily Makeover, it reaches 7 million unique visitors every month. The company also says that 35 percent of its traffic comes from mobile devices.
Although I write a lot about apps and Internet stuff, I never really learned to code.
I threw the “really” in there to soften the blow, but the fact is, I straight up don’t know how to do it. I started learning at one point in middle school, but my high school didn’t push CS, and by college I spent all of my waking hours writing for the student newspaper or reading books written by dead white guys. So it just never happened.
But it’s on my to-do list. I swear.
Today Codecademy made its first foray into the app space and released an intro to coding course designed to take less than an hour to complete. I had a lot of laundry to do, so I figured I’d give it a shot.
The launch was timed to coincide with Computer Science Education Week, one of the goals of which is to get 10 million students in the U.S. to take an hour of coding. But the broader aim with the app was to create a version of the coursework that could be done in bite-sized portions on the go, well-suited for working professionals and busy types who want to learn a new skill.
Codecademy for iPhone will eventually be its own independent learning platform, CEO and founder Zach Sims said. Version one is very basic — it essentially shows you what coding looks like and what the most rudimentary functions are — and the team is hoping to push more content out this week.
The app is meant to be a super-easy onboarding ramp to future coding. The text feedback you get after each question is encouraging and makes you feel like you’re nailing it, which is nice motivation if you, like me, have a fragile but easily swollen ego. I finished the course just before the wash cycle on my lights ended and immediately wanted more.
The program is currently broken up into five different sections that flow from one into the next: an intro (“Getting Started”), Data Types, Variables, Comparisons, and If… Else. Each comprises a few examples and questions, making for, as Sims put it, a series of “snackable” lessons.
The learning experience has to operate under the usual constraints of mobile, specifically a smaller screen size and user intolerance for typing a lot. Whereas Codecademy’s desktop service supports learning by doing, the app holds your hand a bit more. Rather than writing their own code, users fill in brief segments of pre-written lines of code, most of which are presented as multiple-choice questions. For some sections, you just have to hit “Run” without answering a question
Some of the questions seem ridiculously easy. In the introductory section, for instance, you are asked, “Can you write a program that calculates ’6-2′?” and all you have to do is fill in “print(6 ? 2);” with a minus sign. (The “?” there is a box that you tap for your multiple-choice options.)
“Ha-ha!” You may laugh to yourself. “Coding is for dummies! I’ll make a fortune on my app idea!”
That’s the trouble with passive learning, rather than working all the way through a problem on your own. You have to remember to pay attention.
My only issue with the half hour I spent on the app today (humblebrag) is that there weren’t any definitions provided, so you might have to Google things like “what is a string?” Just for instance. Presumably that will get ironed out as Codecademy continues to build out the mobile wing of its business.
The goal is to create a product that is platform-agnostic, Sims said, citing Duolingo as an ed-tech company that has succeeded in that regard. The restrictions on producing one’s own code are tough, so I’ll be looking forward to seeing how Codecademy negotiates that. For now, I think I’m going to sign up online.
If you paid a visit to Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’ Sand Hill Road headquarters on any given day, you’d likely bump into Chi-Hua Chien. Chien, who has emerged as one of the firm’s most accessible public figures since joining Kleiner some six years ago, is known for being a particularly engaged and responsive VC — always ready to pop into the office, provide advice to an entrepreneur, or talk shop with his fellow investment partners.
But aside from continuing his workaday routine, things are changing for Chien and other partners at the storied Silicon Valley venture capital firm. Sources say that Chien is in the process of transitioning out of his role at Kleiner, amid recent changes in the firm’s partner structure.
Both Chien and Kleiner Perkins declined to comment on this story.
Last month, Fortune’s Dan Primack reported that Chien was “thinking about launching his own venture capital fund” that would focus on early-stage consumer technology companies. Two other seed investing sources we spoke to backed up this story and said Chien has continued to look into building his own fund, as part of his plan to transition out of Kleiner. Another person familiar with the situation says that early interest from potential limited partners in a new Chien-led fund has been solid.
Chien, who joined Kleiner in 2007, has led the firm’s investments in a number of consumer web startups including Path, Klout, Zaarly, and Chill. Some people have speculated that it is partly the lackluster performances of these kinds of consumer web investments that led to Kleiner’s restructuring in October, which left Chien and several other partners off of the investment committee in charge of Kleiner’s latest fund. At that time, however, it was reported that no partners were leaving Kleiner as part of the changes.
Chien’s ongoing departure is said to be amicable on a personal level — he was in attendance at the firm’s holiday party, and continues to be active at other Kleiner events. People with knowledge of the situation say a more full exit will likely happen over the course of 2014.
We’ll be sure to keep tabs on Chien’s next moves, since he’ll no doubt continue to be someone to watch in the startup investing space. It’s just the latest example that as much as industries like venture capital can seem to take on an air of staid permanence, technology is at its heart about constant change — and the world of those who invest in the sector is no different.
Opscode has raised $32 million and changed its name to Chef, after the configuration management and IT automation “cookbook” that has become very popular in the enterprise market. Scale Venture Partners led the round. Citibank and Amplify Partners also participated, as well as existing investors Battery Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), and Ignition Partners. The Series D funding brings the company’s total amount raised to $65 million.
As part of the news, Chef also announced that Scale Venture Partners’ Rory O’Driscoll has joined the company’s board of directors. In addition, the company has hired Curt Anderson as its CFO. Anderson comes from Microsoft where he worked as CFO for Microsoft’s Manufacturing and Supply Chain Division.
Companies like Nordstrom are using Chef to build a code-centric platform for automating the practices between different groups in the IT organization so the company can adapt and move faster in the overall market. The retailer has used Chef’s cookbook of automation scripts to give it the predictability it needs at a speed and scale that it can’t do manually. With Chef, Nordstrom can integrate its heterogeneous infrastructure, allowing the company to make the most of its engineers. For example, the retailer has a number of Unix engineers who can now work on Windows systems. Chef automates the underlying infrastructure so engineers can work on code to make changes that are automatically propagated to the Windows-based systems.
Chef, founded by engineers from Amazon and Microsoft, plays in a booming market. For instance, retail is learning that it has to treat its stores like showrooms connected to mobile apps that provide a clear way to compare different products. That’s not just something these traditional companies can do without thinking of their IT investment, which is often more than 20 years old.
The shift for many is from old, middleware software to a new services environment that abstracts old systems. A number of companies are seeking a piece of this market by offering continuous integration services. Chef will use its funding to build out its own version of a continuous integration platform that leverages its IT automation platform.
The challenge for the company will be less about its name and more about the competitive market it faces. Puppet Labs, another IT automation provider, is Chef’s biggest foe but there are also a number of new challengers rising in the market, including SaltStack and AnsibleWorks.
This week on TechCrunch TV’s Ask A VC show, Accel Partners’ Ping Li and Foundation Capital’s Charles Moldow will be joining us, separately, in the studio. As you may remember, you can submit questions for our guests either in the comments or here and we’ll ask them during the show.
Li focuses on early-stage growth software and data-center investments for Accel and is also responsible for the firm’s Big Data Fund. He’s a board member of Blue Jeans Network, Cloudera, Code42, Lookout, Nimble Storage, Origami Logic, RelateIQ, Tenable Network Security and Trifacta. Prior to Accel, Li worked at Juniper Networks as a Senior Product Line Manager for their flagship M-series router products, as well as Director of Corporate Development.
Moldow has made 14 investments since joining Foundation in 2005, of which five have been acquired: PowerSet to Microsoft; Xoopit to Yahoo; Adwhirl to Google; Weblistic to Spot Runner; and Therative to Phillips.
His current portfolio includes: BancBox, CloudOn, Copious, Everyday Health, Fanhood, HomeRun, LendingClub, Luminate, Motif Investing, Revel Touch, and SunRun. Previously Moldow spent five years with Tellme Networks and was a member of the founding executive team.
Please send us your questions for Li and Moldow here or put them in the comments below!
Foursquare no longer allows users to check in privately with the iOS version of its app. The change was made with the recent 7.0 release and ‘iOS 7 refresh’ last week and appears to be a play to demonstrate the value of its network by ensuring check-in data is accessible to users of the product, its API partners and any possible suitors for acquisition.
“As Foursquare continues to grow, we have decided to remove the ability to privately check in,” the entry states. “If you don’t wish to share your location, we’d encourage you to still use Foursquare to get out and explore awesome places nearby!”
Foursquare clarifies that all past check-ins that were made privately will continue to be private. The entry notes that private check-ins will still be available on its desktop and other platforms like Android (and older versions of the iOS app?) for now, but we’d expect this option to start disappearing across all offerings sooner or later.
We discussed Foursquare’s recent 7.0 update last week and found it to be a nice step forward. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to use it for my normal ‘Foursquaring’ and it holds up really well.
The private check-in was a feature that allowed you to tag a location as having been visited without exposing it to your network of friends. If you’re not a Foursquare user, it’s important to note that detailed check-in info was and is only visible to your friends on the network. A private check-in was an additional layer of privacy that allowed you to create a personal list of ‘been theres’ without broadcasting those locations.
Foursquare notes that you’re more than welcome to continue getting value out of the network without checking in if you don’t want to share your location.
This decision speaks to Foursquare’s current direction on several levels. First of all, it coincides with the overall shift of the service away from a ‘check-in game’ to a recommendation engine. Removing the private option means that you can no longer use Foursquare as a ‘personal diary’ of visits, either. It is firmly a public network of curated locations in the vein of Yelp now.
It’s also interesting in the light of the questions about profitability that seem to surround Foursquare with a low hum of acquisition talk these days.
Foursquare is a great, well-built product in and of itself. But its database of locations, verified by personal check-in and user activity like reviews, photos and likes, is unmatched by almost any other competitor in that space. There are databases with more locations, but I have a hard time thinking that any of them are so rich in signals. The Foursquare API is one of the go-to location feeds for independent developers that I speak to, and many big-name apps that don’t have skin in the Google v. Apple game (and they’re getting fewer by the day) use it because it’s just really dang good.
Increasing the addressable surface area of public check-in data only makes sense if Foursquare wants to increase its attractiveness for acquisition. Of course, it probably won’t hurt the amount of public signal when it comes to powering its own product, too.
Update: One interesting question about this is what will happen eventually with Foursquare check-ins via API. One of the larger private check-in partners, Path, has an experience built off of checking in either solo or with small trusted groups that may or may not align with your Foursquare friends. If Foursquare applies this ‘no private check-in’ model to the API as well, will these partners be out of luck or will there continue to be a solution offered there. If there’s a significant amount of data coming in from outside networks like Path, the answer might be the former, rather than the latter.
Qualcomm has just announced the Snapdragon 410 chipset series, which is Qualcomm’s first announced processor with 64-bit support, but it’s actually more interesting because it aims to make integrated 4G LTE support a lot more affordable for device manufacturers. They plan to launch the 410 as a manufacturing sample by the first half of next year, which means it could be in shipping phones by this time in 2014.
The 64-bit component is a key part of these new chipsets and should make it possible for devs to take advantage of improved processing capabilities in future Android software. But the LTE support being made available to devices like the Moto G, which currently uses a Snapdragon 400 as its powerhouse, and even more affordable devices sold in emerging markets like India and other places is bound to be far more exciting to device makers, app developers and service operators. Access to broadband is often cited as a key factor in helping determine not only income but quality of life, so making LTE affordable, even if only on the consumer hardware end, could have a tremendous impact on the global economy.
It’s not just Android that stands to benefit here, either – Qualcomm calls out specifically Windows Phone and Firefox OS as supported by the Snapdragon 410, too. But for a North American audience, I’d be watching this very closely as used by the newly rejuvenated powers at Google-owned Motorola: As of right now, the Nexus 5 is probably the best deal in a 4G-capable off-contract phone, but Motorola could convert the remaining non-smartphone users domestically into both smartphone and LTE users in one fell swoop.
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Over the past couple of months, there have been a few Bitcoin app rejections by Apple that have made some waves. First, the venture-backed startup Coinbase had its app removed entirely from the App Store. Today, a blog post from peer-to-peer messaging and payments app Gliph highlights its own rejection and the subsequent removal of its ability to transact in Bitcoin.
Gliph’s Rob Banagale talks about a few aspects of the rejection, including the technical details of how Gliph handles Bitcoin, Apple’s motivations for rejecting the app and the possibility that it could change its mind.
The rejection, Banagale notes, was based largely off of section 22.1 of Apple’s App Store review guidelines. The rule states that “apps must comply with all legal requirements in any location where they are made available to users. It is the developer’s obligation to understand and conform to all local laws.”
Bitcoin is not illegal, but it is also not legally recognized by governments as a currency. This gray area is what is leading Apple to reject Bitcoin-transaction apps.
We reached out to Banagale to talk about the way that Gliph functions, and how it differs from apps like Coinbase. He notes that the app works with wallets like those from Coinbase and BIPS, but doesn’t function as a wallet itself. Instead, it passes along requests for wallet addresses (just strings of numbers) to the wallets themselves, and back to the recipient. The setup also means that Gliph does not deal with exchanges.
“We didn’t want to specify which wallet you had to use,” Banagale says. “By doing it that way we aren’t really manipulating Bitcoin directly.”
This method means that Gliph isn’t actually processing Bitcoin transactions, just facilitating them. It’s a distinction that may either be lost on Apple, or that isn’t evident enough to differentiate Gliph from other Bitcoin wallet apps.
Banagale notes that Apple itself may be planning on entering the payments game outside of its own stores, and that this may have influenced their decision to reject Bitcoin apps. But that’s probably pretty unlikely. It is clear, though, that Apple isn’t acting as any real advocate of Bitcoin at this point, something that Banagale says it’s in a good position to do.
In the end, the answer is likely fairly simple. From our understanding, Apple rejected both Coinbase and Gliph based on rule 22.1 specifically. Yes, the interpretation of the rule is fairly narrow, as Bitcoin has not been declared legal or illegal in most of the areas that the apps have been available. But this is not a matter of speculation about whether Bitcoin will become legal, it’s a simple matter of whether or not it is currently legal. Since there is no clear-cut government acknowledgement of Bitcoin’s legality, Apple is simply taking the safest, most protective path by disallowing transaction functionality in App Store apps — for now.
Google has similar rules related to illegal activity on its Google Play store, but has chosen not to enforce them on Bitcoin apps at this point. The stance there appears to be one of lenience or, as Banagale puts it, ‘optimism’ about the future legal status of Bitcoin.
Still, Banagale feels that Apple got this one wrong. He points out that Gliph does not actually handle transactions, but only facilitates the triggering of them via online wallets. Yes, it’s a technicality, but there are plenty of apps that function as a basis of a small technical twist. Literally billions have been spent and earned by companies based on technicalities. So, in the case of Gliph, perhaps the functionality merits another look by Apple, but we wouldn’t hold our breath.
This is a case where the rules that Apple uses to govern its store have to take into account the probable byproducts of litigation or legal ramifications, not just current complaints. And for a company with as big a target painted on it as Apple, caution is likely the better part of valor here.
We’ve heard, but don’t know exactly why, Apple has been issuing stern comments to developers about legal notices in apps. They’ve been instructing app makers to ensure that any links to legal info about using Apple assets or other items with terms and conditions of use attached are visible and links are accessible when appropriate.
It could be that the stance on Bitcoin is tied into that, but Apple has had a fairly standard approach to transaction functionality in the App Store for years when it comes to the crypto currency. The recent rejection of Coinbase and Gliph doesn’t represent an about-face so much as perhaps ‘enhanced awareness and activity’ when it comes to rejecting apps based on rule 22.1.
With the recent loss by Apple in the courts related to the e-book case and the installation of a government-appointed monitor, the company is under more scrutiny than ever. Whether that’s coloring their handling of Bitcoin apps is a matter of conjecture, as we’ve gotten no information that indicates one way or another.
As to how Apple might handle Bitcoin transactions in apps in the future, look to how it handles gambling apps, also covered in the App Store rules. For states or countries that allow gambling — like Nevada or the UK — Apple allows apps to use geo-fencing to restrict activities to those regions. A similar system could be put in place to allow Bitcoin transactions in places where it has been deemed ‘legal’ by a government entity.
Is there a personal vendetta towards Bitcoin because Apple could expand its Apple ID-based payment system? That’s not our understanding. But will its attitude towards Bitcoin be one of caution for the foreseeable future? Yes. And any developers looking to include core transaction elements would do well to note that stance for now.
Disclosure: Author owns a very, very small amount of Bitcoin.
Article updated to clarify the legal status of Bitcoin.
Image credit: Zach Copley
Amazon today added support for video uploads in the new iOS version of its Cloud Drive Photos app, which also now natively supports iPad and iPad mini. The update comes over a year and a half after Amazon first introduced the capability to store videos in its Cloud Drive Photos service via the app’s Android counterpart. Its slow progress to introduce the feature on Apple devices goes to show how much Amazon values its iOS customer base. (Or rather, how it doesn’t).
The company quietly released the updated app this afternoon, which, like the Android version, now supports the ability to upload videos up to 2 GB in size or 20 minutes in length. That’s long enough for the majority of personal videos, and still slightly longer than YouTube’s default setting of 15 minutes (ahead of account verification).
Also like the Android app, those who have turned on Cloud Photos’ Auto-Save functionality in the iOS version will now see support for video uploads, too. That means that both new and existing videos and photos from the iPhone or iPad will be automatically uploaded to Amazon Cloud Drive when the device is connected to Wi-Fi (or Wi-Fi and cellular, if you choose).
It’s handy that Amazon will retroactively upload your media collection when you switch this feature on, as that’s not always the case. For example, when Flickr rolled out an auto-upload feature of its own earlier this fall, it would only begin auto-uploads from that point forward, making it troublesome for new or lapsed users wanting to move their entire photo collections over to Yahoo’s photo-sharing site.
Amazon has a few other tricks up its sleeve, too. For example, a “large upload mode” setting lets you disable the iOS device’s lockscreen in order to allow large uploads (like all your videos) to complete. And you can switch on an “Auto Save” option which allows progress to continue in the background.
In addition, the Settings screen shows an indicator of how much Cloud Drive storage you’ve used, with separate colors for files, photos and now videos.
Still, the app feels very basic compared with competition from Flickr or Google, for example, or other popular mobile photo-sharing apps. You can’t organize your photos or videos in any real way, tag them, search through them, or edit them using built-in tools. It’s merely an interface that connects the phone or iPad to Amazon’s online storage. Still, with 5 GB of free storage available, it’s worth it to back up your content to the cloud, if you haven’t already done so using another service, like Google, Facebook, or Apple’s iCloud.
Now with video support across both iOS and Android platforms, Amazon may need to rethink the name of this app, since Cloud Drive Photos is no longer quite right.
The updated version of the iOS app is here on iTunes.
Microsoft watchers Mary Jo Foley and Paul Thurrott recently detailed a number of changes that could be coming in the next major version of Windows, something that Foley is hearing called “Threshold.” It could be heading towards our waters in 2015.
Unsurprisingly, Threshold continues the trend of unification inside the Windows aegis. The platform becomes more tightly locked, with a common core sporting several faces, or SKUs. One, as described by Foley as “Modern,” is akin to Windows RT, and would focus on Windows Store apps.
Also potentially coming with Threshold is a “more traditional consumer SKU,” which would include “some semblance of productivity and familiarity with Windows.” That makes sense. And, finally, an enterprise facing SKU that would suit organizations of scale and their needs. This should all make sense, as the builds that Foley is describing mirror closely Windows 8.1 RT, Windows 8.1, and Windows 7.
Microsoft declined to comment.
The real force behind what Foley is discussing is the idea of having one core Windows regardless of SKU or device, that would allow developers to build once and deploy broadly. You can see the outlines of this in WinRT, and so forth. So, not surprising, but also encouraging. Now, to something that does surprise: The Start menu could be coming back.
According to Thurrott, the Start menu – not just the Start button, which has already returned – could come back to Windows. It would probably “appear only on those product versions that support the desktop,” which makes sense given that sans desktop, you wouldn’t need the damn thing.
All this kicks together to imply that in the Windows RT/Windows Phone OS we are not going to have the desktop at all. Office will go Metro, ending the need for the desktop on those devices. Naturally, there needs to be more user interface integration and so forth, but I think the writing is on the wall.
So the story of Windows unification could contain new wrinkles that bring back old functionality in some SKUs. Thurrott likes this:
When you combine this information with Mary Jo’s SKU info, you can see that Microsoft is, if not moving forward per se, at least continuing to do the right thing and responding to complaints. And given the changes in the groups responsible for Windows, this wasn’t a given at all. It’s a good sign.
I agree with that, mostly, though any focus on the desktop comes at the expense of Metro, which means the Windows Store. Still, Microsoft has to assuage enterprise customers and consumers alike, which requires sacrifice.
Top Image Credit: Flickr
This weekend a taxi driver dropped me off at Twitter HQ and, as I paid my $7 fare with Square, he asked me if I worked at Twitter. When I responded “No,” he said, “Ok, I usually charge those people more.”
Depending on who you ask, tech’s hyper-gentrification is either causing an economic cold war, or is blown out of proportion. Any way you slice it, the tech industry, paying proportionally higher salaries because of VC funding and creating millionaires through lucrative IPOs, has caused housing prices and everything else influenced by housing prices in the Bay Area to skyrocket.
And it’s spreading.
No one likes paying 3k rent for a 1 bedroom, rich or poor…—
Justin Kan (@justinkan) December 09, 2013
The rising housing prices and sense of inequity led to community protests this morning at Valencia and 24th Street, with the intent of blocking a Google private bus, for many a symbol for all that is wrong with the tech bubble. The protestors demanded $1 billion dollars from the tech giants in order to fund affordable housing.
Of course, no one, tech rich or not, wants to pay $3,000 in rent for a one-bedroom apartment. The collective startup world cringed as news broke of a particularly insensitive response to the protestors: “Why don’t you go to a city where you can afford it? This is a city for the right people,” screamed someone who purported themselves to be a Googler.
According to the reporter who originally uploaded the video, the confrontation was actually a staged performance by who looks to be University of California union organizer Max Alper. (Update: Alpers confirms it was a stunt.)
The most comical part of Alper’s act was his declaration that he had been living in SF for six months! Honestly, if he really wanted to piss people off, he should have borrowed a pair of Google Glass.
Despite the myths, oblivious outliers and dumb Op-Eds, few people working in tech think that tech is a meritocracy. Sergey Brin has been secretly buying up property and engaging in a sort of private rent control down South. And Google, Facebook, Apple and Genentech are working with the City of San Francisco to pay for permits to use the MUNI stops, taking their proposal to the MTA board in January.
You don’t need Glass to see there’s a problem, and the solution isn’t Social Darwinism.
Another exit for a new media startup into the arms of the old media industry: E.W. Scripps, the storied owner of 19 local television stations and daily newspapers in 13 markets across the U.S., today announced that it has acquired Newsy, a digital video news platform, for $35 million in cash. Newsy will become a subsidiary of Scripps.
To mark the video-friendly event, Newsy and Scripps posted a YouTube video.
The deal is expected to close January 1, Scripps said.
This represents a pretty impressive exit for Newsy, which was founded in 2008 and raised under $5 million. It also represents an interesting evolution for Scripps: back in 2007, in a moment of digital chicken that it lost, it spun off its Scripps Interactive division (full of hundreds of millions of dollars in acquired and homegrown assets) and remained E.W. Scripps the publishing company. Since then, it has quietly been building that digital effort back up, with more cautious footing.
This is about Scripps, which was founded in 1879, buying an asset that gives it a digital video component to complement its existing TV and online services — effectively a bridge between the three areas where it already does business if you also count newspapers.
It also gives the company access into an audience that consumes their news (and video) on devices like tablets, and has largely turned away from some of those more traditional platforms where Scripps still bases a majority of its business.
“Newsy adds an important dimension to our video news strategy,” Rich Boehne, Scripps chairman, president and CEO, said in a statement. “It’s a next-generation news network designed and built exclusively for digital audiences. Newsy’s uncommon approach to curation and storytelling has helped it build a strong national brand, which fits well with both our current media assets and our ambitions to further develop digital media businesses.”
Newsy’s ad-supported videos are currently delivered to web, mobile, tablet and connected TV platforms, both direct to consumer and via partnerships with (TC’s owner) AOL, Microsoft and Mashable, among others.
The fact that these were named in the release might hint that those partnerships will continue post-acquisition, although this wasn’t specified. What has been is where the service will expand, which will be into more city- and region-based content: “Newsy will become an important news source on the Scripps digital products in local markets,” the company said.
“Scripps is committed to participating in the future of digital media,” said Adam Symson, senior vice president and chief digital officer for Scripps, in a statement. “Newsy is built for the digital audience, especially on the platforms we’re seeing emerge now with highly connected consumers.”
Newsy’s 35 full-time employees and its part-time employees will remain in Columbia, MO, the company says. That will include founder and CEO Jim Spencer. “We are proud to be joining with Scripps, which shares our values of innovation and editorial integrity,” he noted.
Co-hosted by TechCrunch, VentureBeat and GigaOm, the annual “Oscars of Tech” celebrates the best of the past year. But it’s you, the tech community, that nominates who among us will be most deserving to take the stage at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco on February 10th.
Included in the 20 categories are the Best Startup, Best Design, and Angel of the Year with GitHub, FiftyThree, and Chris Dixon taking those top prizes home last year, respectively. New for 2013 is the Best Heath Startup in which we will recognize the company that best epitomizes the future of medicine.
Nominations will close on December 15th, 2013 at 11:59PM PST. General admission tickets are now available and start at $80.