News Byte

Wireless Beacon Startup Estimote Lands $3.1 Million, Hires GroupMe Vet Steve Cheney

Estimote, a Y Combinator graduate that makes wireless sensors — or beacons — that can be used to transmit information to nearby smartphones in environments such as retail shops, has snagged a $3.1 million seed round from a long list of venture firms and angel investors, including Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, Betaworks and Bessemer Venture Partners. The company is also announcing the hire of former GroupMe business-development boss Steve Cheney, who will open Estimote’s New York City office and run business operations.

News Byte

GroupMe Co-Founder Steve Martocci Launches Music Collaboration Startup Splice

Steve Martocci, who co-founded messaging service GroupMe in 2010 and sold it to Skype in 2011, has a new project: Splice. The service, co-founded by Matt Aimonetti, is supposed to let musicians collaborate on projects and share the results with fans. Union Square Ventures’ Andy Weissman led a $2.75 million seed round, along with other investors including True Ventures, Lerer Ventures and SV Angel.

Which Messaging App Is Right for You?

It might seem like there are more mobile messaging apps out there than there are friends to send texts to. Here’s a guide to how they work.
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This Year at SXSW, the Next Killer App … Maybe Isn’t

This year’s digital festival in Texas doesn’t have a clear breakout theme as yet.
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Ringya Makes Organizing Mobile Contact Lists Easier

Ringya wants to build a better mousetrap for one of your phone’s most commonly overlooked features.
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Messaging App GroupMe Gets Into Commerce (No, Really!)

GroupMe will offer deals on real-world experiences to its users, in the hope that they will use its messaging app to coordinate and pay for their group activities.
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Two Years and $33 Million Later, Start-Up Investor Lerer Ventures Starts Building Its Own Companies

Like lots of other investors, Ken Lerer, Ben Lerer and Eric Hippeau are plowing money into start-ups. Unlike some of the other guys, they’re making some of them themselves.
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Forget Cleantech — It’s Cleanweb at SXSW

Can smartphones help save the planet?
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Hello, Brooklyn! You’ve Got Your Very Own VC Fund.

Charlie O’Donnell leaves First Round Capital and sets up shop across the bridge. (Don’t worry, he’ll stray out of King’s County, too.)
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One to Watch: Kibits Takes Mobile Group Chat to the Next Level

Kibits yesterday posted the first public version of its iPhone app, which helps users create groups on the fly to chat and collaborate.
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Indian Start-Up Turns Texts Into Dollars