BNTER ADOPTS THE MAKERY. Matt Langer, former GroupMe contractor, recently became Matt Langer, real GroupMe employee, even though his mug is still missing from GroupMe’s page of surprisingly unflattering team headshots. Mr. Langer is settling happily into his new environs, comforted by the security of staff meetings and welcome wedgies from senior GroupMes.
But what became of the beloved Brooklyn coworking space Mr. Langer bore, groomed and subsidized out of his own pocket? The Makery will continue as a coworking space, but is not accepting new tenants, Betabeat learned. Makery resident Bnter, headed by co-founders Lauren Leto and Patrick Moberg, has taken over the lease, Ms. Leto said. “It’s Bnter offices, but everyone is still here,” she told Betabeat. “As people leave, we will not replace them, because Bnter is growing weekly.” The startup has four employees now and will have five as of October 17, and probably seven by the end of the year, Ms. Leto said. “So weekly isn’t true,” she amended. “Ha, my math is lovely.”
The Makery officially closed on Sept. 1, Mr. Langer said, which coincided with the space’s one-year anniversary. “I was so happy to let it go because I was just losing so much money on it,” Mr. Langer said. “Like SO MUCH.” (We were speaking on Gchat.) “PEACE OUT, $500 CON ED BILLS.”
BLIND RAISE, BROOKLYN. A two-person, once-pivoted startup has closed a seed round for just under $250,000 from the Knight Foundation, Betabeat has learned, which will be formally announced later this month. The young team persevered despite a failure to gain traction on the first iteration and has now produced a tool with a different name and which bears little resemblance to version 1.0. The entrepreneurs are still hammering out the bugs, but they (and Knight) hope media companies will find it useful.
OCCUPY SILICON ALLEY. Meetup’s socially-conscious co-founder Scott Heiferman and New York tech staple Dave Winer have both come out in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement. “Let’s stop turning our brightest students over to the VCs to become mini-Zucks,” Mr. Winer wrote. “Most of them will fail. It’s a bad deal for the kids, and it’s mortgaging the future of academia, the same way the bankers are mortgaging everything else.”
But the tech scene at large seemed to be largely turning up its nose. Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey was tweeting and Instagramming about his lovely walk down Wall Street on Wednesday, which caused a few sympathetic local techies to pause: “It would be so cool if @Jack were heading to Occupy Wall Street!” but nay, Mr. Dorsey was headed to the New York Stock Exchange for the elbow-rubbing, Guest of a Guest-snapping SAI 100 party.
Steve Jobs was a hippie-lefty-radical (sorta) leaning mind; Google’s co-founders go to Burning Man every year. Tech innovators have historically been in line with the creative underclasses, one entrepreneur told Betabeat, so why is it that the well-scrubbed necks at General Assembly are going around saying people at Occupy Wall Street just need to get a job (or learn how to code)? “While the aimless and outraged struggled to get pics and videos of police abuse downtown and telling tails of the horrors of pepper spray, some people actually attempting to *create* change were busy hacking together funding projects for UNICEF at the NYC Famine Hackathon,” Charlie O’Donnell wrote in his This Week In Innovation newsletter on Monday. “While protesters demand undefined ‘change’ by stripping down to their underwear, the team at Banksimple works hard at ending the tyrrany of bank fees and customer abuse by actually building a new kind of bank from the ground up—one with the consumer at the center.”
The tide of tech sympathy, however, may be turning. Even Bryce Roberts got on board, putting it into techspeak: “#occupywallst proving to be a classic disruptor. dismissed as whiny hippies a few weeks ago now doubling every 3 days,” he wrote on Twttr, and said he plans to visit the protest and at least see for himself.
THE NEW NORMAL. Apparently the mourning period on the internet is 48 hours, as Betabeat’s Ben Popper noticed with amusement, because the day after the glowing stories about Steve Jobs was followed by a day of negative ones. “The Other Steve Jobs: Censorship, Control and Labor Rights,” writes ReadWriteWeb’s newest hire, Alicia Eler. In the comments, to pacify angry Jobsians, editor/publisher Richard MacManus weighed in: “While we adored Jobs, we wanted to share the other side too in order to give a fuller picture. I would recommend however also reading my article linked to above, for a more balanced profile of Steve Jobs’ immense achievements.” Under the bus with you!