Startup News: Etsy Goes Big for Christmas and Bloomberg Giving Away Big Prize to Makers

GrubHub finally lets you track your food.

Mr. Dickerson (Photo:

Lots Of Tiny Wicker Puppets Sold Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson took to the company’s blog to address his craft-obsessed minons and report big new numbers. Etsy recently hit 20 million members across over 200 countries. In the first week of November, they passed the $700 million sales mark and their direct checkout system has now processed over $100 million in transactions. By the end of the year, Etsy projects that it will have sold over 100 million items in the company’s history.

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The company is also going all out for the holiday season and expects to have its best month yet. It’s running a multi-million-dollar online advertising campaign and opening a Etsy Holiday Shop in SoHo from November 29th through December 8th. SoHo though? Isn’t Greenpoint or Williamsburg more on target with the Etsy brand?

Chu Bets Against Zynga Betable has already announced partnerships with big game companies and is right on the path to become the Spotify of online gambling and pass its closest rival, Zynga. Ya-Bing Chu, a former VP and GM of Zynga’s mobile division, has now joined Betable as the company’s new Chief Product Officer. At Zynga, he was responsible for operating Words with Friends and Scramble with Friends. Mr. Chu explains the move in an essay on Betable’s blog, where he says, “I realized that Betable was the only frictionless way to enter the real money market, which is revolutionary.”

Make It, Don’t Break It Mayor Bloomberg and NYCEDC have opened submissions for their New York’s Next Top Makers challenge. Competitors will have to create a product with commercial potential which includes consumer products, equipment, furniture and lighting, soft goods, packaging, interaction, transportation, DIY (kits) or something else. There are six $5,950 prizes and an $11,000 grand prize up for grabs. The deadline is in three months, so get to brainstorming right away.

Tumblr Goes Native Tumblr just released an update to its iOS app with a completely redesigned dashboard. The app has gone fully native and now finally runs a lot smoother: it runs faster than before, photos are a lot bigger, and GIFs play automatically when swiped. Better GIF’s on your phone people, this is the stuff of the future.

Where’s Our Food? There aren’t many differences between the major players of the online food ordering game. But GrubHub has just changed the game a little bit with the beta release of its Track Your Grub feature. Similar to Domino’s Pizza Tracker, Track Your Grub lets you know what the status of your order is during every step of the way. You’ll get texts when your food is expected to arrive and when it leaves the restaurant. In certain areas, you can even watch your food make the trip to your apartment in real time on the maps feature. Seamless just got a little nervous.

Shop Like No One’s Watching Sole Society, the West Coast based site that lets you order shoes direct from the manufacturer, has announced its first celebrity collection with two-time Dancing With The Stars champion Julianne Hough. On the site, Hough says, “Every girl needs a sexy leather jacket and a cutout heel.” Noted.

Big Data Gets Big Money The social data platform, Datasift, has just secured $15 million in Series B funding. The round was led by Scale Venture Partners and Northgate Capital and Daher Capital also contributed. Rory O’Driscoll, the managing director of Scale Venture Partners, said in a press release sent to Betabeat, “Great companies make hard problems simple for the end user, and DataSift has done that with its game-changing visual interface.”

Sad Turkey Daily deals site are a dime a dozen and so 8Coupons, a site that thinks of itself as “Kayak for deals,” lets you see all daily deals across the web at one glance. The site’s efficiency was proved this week when David Burke at Bloomingdales tried to pawn off its special turkey dinners on nine different deal sites at the same time. Seems a little desperate to go for nine sites at once.

Poke Your Way To Africa Plyfe, the game that rewards you for using social media with real prizes like Lady Gaga tickets, is about to go mobile. The site, which raised one million dollars in funding last March, has also announced an unexpected new partner–the United Nations. Users can now win opportunities to do development work in Africa. That should lead to some great new submissions for Gurl Goes To Africa.

Bad Guys Still Temporarily Nice Time Warner Cable, the unexpected nice guys of Hurricane Sandy, has announced that it will automatically credit many local residential and business customers whose services were impacted. The company says that it will also waive any fees or penalties for equipment, such as set-top boxes and cable modems, which were lost, damaged or destroyed as a result of the storm. In a press release sent to Betabeat, John Quigley, regional VP of operations for Time Warner Cable’s New York City market, said, “By posting credits automatically to customers’ accounts in the hardest-hit parts of our service area, we hope these affected residents and businesses will have one less call to make as they recover from the storm.”

Startup News: Etsy Goes Big for Christmas and Bloomberg Giving Away Big Prize to Makers