Vdio, the video streaming service which launched into public beta this April as a complement to Rdio’s subscription music service, is today becoming available to all. Earlier, the service was available for preview in the U.S. and U.K., but only to those who were already paying Rdio Premium or Unlimited customers.
Intercom, a startup promising to help online businesses to communicate with their customers in a more personalized way, has raised a $6 million Series A.
I wrote about the company last month, when Facebook’s Paul Adams joined Intercom as its new head of product design. At the time, Adams told me that Intercom’s work matches his own belief that businesses’ interactions with customers have to become more personal and relationship-based.
If you thought the “ambient location” craze has passed, prepare to be surprised. A company called SocialRadar is announcing today that it has raised $12.75 million in Series A funding from NEA, Grotech Ventures, and others including Steve Case, Ted Leonsis, Dave Morin and Kevin Colleran for a mobile, location-based people discovery app arriving first on the iPhone.
In 10 days, Google’s RSS feed-reading service Google Reader will shut down for good. In its wake, developers working on products in the RSS ecosystem have been stepping up to deliver apps, tools and other services to fill the void. Today, one of the frontrunners, Feedly, is transforming itself from RSS application to RSS platform, with the public debut of Feedly Cloud, the infrastructure that has been powering Feedly’s own apps and those from a small handful of approved developers.
In today’s tech industry, if you ask a startup founder to describe the biggest hurdles that stand between them and total world domination (or at least market penetration), it won’t be long before they begin grumbling about recruiting and the challenging process of hiring top-tier technical talent.
The Internet isn’t lacking for sites and services where people can post their comments and thoughts, but Andrew Sider, co-founder and CEO of a startup called Bunch, argues that there’s still something missing: “How do we connect with people, not around friends, not around social networks, but around a topic that they care about deeply?”
After all, Sider said that many of your Facebook friends and Twitter followers probably aren’t passionate about the same things that you are. He acknowledged that online forums have filled this role in the past, but he said those forums forums are now intimidating to casual users and also kind of uncool. (Other attempts at reinventing the forum include a new startup called Discourse.)
Today Nestio, the same service that helps you sort through and organize rental listings in the hunt for a new apartment, has today announced a brand new initiative to help improve the accuracy of listings across all of the web by offering a comprehensive service for brokers, landlords, and the end-user. In the rough, and quite crowded world of NYC rental listings, TechStars-backed Nestio made a name for itself by taking all the various rental listing services on the web and compiling them in one place. But the service has been quiet of late, working on solving yet another problem for its users. Despite the fact that Nestio offers a huge volume of listings, the service had little to no control over the accuracy of those listings. But to fix it, the company had to start all the way at the bottom of the food chain, with the landlords. See, landlords are currently using a number of outdated systems to update their various touchpoints, including leasing teams, brokers, and their own company website. They use a combination of phone calls, whiteboards, spreadsheets, word docs, and even fax machines to update the world on a various space or unit that’s just become available, or rented. That said, Nestio went quiet for nine months to build out a system to help everyone involved. It’s a web-based tool (optimized for mobile) that lets landlords, brokers and renters update and communicate rental listings in real-time. It looks a little like this: A landlord learns that one of his newly listed apartments has been rented. He updates once on the Nestio platform that Unit 4B has gone off the market, and the leasing team, brokers, and end-users all see the change in real time. Right now, the platform is only ready for the landlord side of the system, but broker functionality (wherein brokers can make their own updates in real time) will be available soon. Nestio has been evangelizing the new product for about six months, and has already landed 15 percent of the NYC landlord market. In the meantime, the team is reaching out to brokers with email blasts promoting the new system, and the open rate is about 76 percent. The new service is available to landlords today, with broker functionality coming soon. Check it out here.
Tartu, Estonia-based startup Velodroom leverages tech to solve a problem any bike commuter can sympathize with – how to add lights to your ride that are convenient to use and require absolutely nothing from the rider besides a simple installation. The Velodroom light borrows some tricks from tech available in any smartphone to give the Velodroom a mind of its own, with some very useful consequences.