Are we in a tech bubble?A lot of strange things are happening that make us think so.
Instead of launch parties, founders are throwing pivot parties. Venture capitalists are being pitched by 7-year-olds.
Hopefully not another bubble burst.
SkillSlate is a year-old startup that began as a review site for freelancers. This month, it decided to pivot after blowing through half of the $1.1 million it raised in October. Now SkillSlate helps freelancers find gigs.
Admitting failure and changing direction is nothing to be ashamed of. Groupon and Turntable.fm did it gracefully. But SkillSlate decided to make it an event.
It held a 'Pivot Party' complete with a DJ and a firedancer it hired off the site.
Last year there was talk of Startup 2010 company GoTryItOn getting its own TV show.
Now Techstars has one that's airing on Bloomberg next month. The startup accelerator will have 6 episodes dedicated to the winter 2011 Techstars session.
All 11 startups were filmed, as well as their mentors. Mentors include Fred Wilson, Chris Dixon and Dennis Crowley.
The New York Times recently wrote an article announcing a new band of star tech analysts that have emerged. In the early 2000s, BI's own Henry Blodget, Mary Meeker and Jack Grubman ran the show.
Now, three new stars are receiving a lot of buzz and a lot of money.
'Douglas Anmuth was lured to JPMorgan Chase earlier this year with a pay package valued at roughly $2 million,' The New York Times writes. 'Heather Bellini landed at Goldman Sachs with a remarkable pay package worth almost $3 million. And Mark Mahaney, whom JPMorgan tried to hire with an offer of about $3 million, stayed on at Citigroup -- after getting a raise.'
NYT notes that the three aren't nearly as famous as Blodget, Meeker or Grubman, but they're making it 'sexy again' to cover tech.
If you want to be an entrepreneur, it is considered poor form to go to college.
In fact, people are paying kids not to go to school so they can start businesses instead. Peter Thiel has offered 24 kids up to $100,000 each to become entrepreneurs.
Last week, a man with two companies was accepted to Harvard Business School; he was so torn between his startups and attending Harvard that he encouraged the tech community to vote on his future.
One entrepreneur we spoke with, Alex Godin, is a high school junior in the summer Techstars NYC class. He told us he feels it's important to start college, but that it's not important to finish.
Connor Zamary is the creator of 99-cent iPhone app, Toaster Pop. It's a game that allows users to put a variety of spreads on pieces of toast.
Zamary pitched his idea to investors with a self-made PowerPoint, hired an iOS developer, and filed for an LLC.
Oh, and he's seven years old -- which means he's in second grade.
Zamary's entrepreneurial aspirations don't stop there. He also wants to become an investor (with allowance money maybe?). His first target is his six-year-old sister who has an app idea. Zamary is currently 'waiting for her to pitch him' before investing and helping her develop it.
Of course, Zamary's proud father is lending a heavy helping hand. Yesterday he tweeted at us, 'Yes, this was a fun/learning summer project. Connor is the brains and Dad supports him!'
City Kitty (a toilet training seat for cats), Snuggie Sutra apps, and social networks for people with curly hair are just a few startups that recently launched.
The social network for people with curly hair, Naturally Curly Network, closed a $1.2 million round of funding.
City Kitty, a toilet training seat for cats, also has $100,000 in funding from going on ABC's Shark Tank.
From Ashton Kutcher to Justin Timberlake, Hollywood is flocking to invest in tech startups.
Kutcher alone has made more than 15 investments. Other celebrity investors include Lady Gaga, Kanye West, and Demi Moore.
In just the past year, a handful of startups have raised massive rounds at even bigger valuations.
Recent additions to the billion-dollar startup club include Airbnb, Storm8, Gilt Groupe, ZocDoc, Rovio, Spotify, Square, Dropbox Foursquare (almost), and Tumblr (almost).
Accelerators like Techstars, Y Combinator, and Dreamit are launching in more cities.
General Assembly is becoming a school for entrepreneurs, and incubators like DogPatch Labs and WeWork Labs are hosting early stage startups for dirt cheap.
All of them are making it easier for people to ditch paychecks and start their own ventures at a lower cost.
As our own Henry Blodget explained:
Right now, Groupon has this source of cash: rapidly growing Groupon sales. As long as Groupon sells enough new Groupons in one quarter to pay all the bills it racked up in the prior quarter, it will not need additional cash.
But if the company's growth stumbles, or if competitive pressure leads to Groupon's gross profit margin getting squeezed, look out. Under those scenarios, the company may not be able to sell enough new Groupons to pay off its old bills, and then it will face a serious cash crunch.