Nilay Patel asked the above question in a great article on This is my next. He’s right, it does seem crazy that phone numbers still restrict us unnecessarily to a particular carrier while we can access and transmit data for free via Skype and IM from nearly any platform. A sizable group of heavyweights providing free and non-restrictive telecom services are emerging right now, and it’s hard to imagine that they will not spell the downfall of the conventional phone number fixed to a single provider. Continue reading
This post marks the beginning of our “Startup Sit Down” series. We will be interviewing different entrepreneurs about their projects and their experiences in the start-up world. Our first interview is with Jonathan Mckinney, co-founder and CEO of CabCorner, a company that allows cab riders headed in the same direction to link-up and split rides (anybody who lives in an outer-borough and parties in Manhattan can immediately see the value in this “cab-sharing” idea). In order to ensure a predictable and high-quality passenger experience, CabCorner maintains relationships with different livery cab companies, most recently Skyline Credit Rides. A New York native, Jon founded the company with Jesse Sommer, a friend from college and has been building the enterprise since 2008. We are excited to see how CabCorner grows in New York and other cities around the globe.
Interview after the jump
Thanks for stopping by our new blog! Fans of our Tumblr should check here for updates on our work and articles about the industries we work within: Technology and Film.
LUA Technologies is a startup based out of NYC founded by three classmates from Wesleyan University: Michael Keoni DeFranco, Eli Bronner and Jason Krigsfeld. We are developing a web-based messaging service feeding into an interactive call sheet for the video production industries. A “status now” for any set you are working on. By providing a centralized, digital hub for production related messages and information, we hope to address pain points of fragmented on-set communications and time intensive, static paperwork.
The LUA Team spent August-December 2010 working on the set of Terrence Malick’s still untitled follow up to Tree of Life (winner of the 2011 Cannes Palm d’Or). We arrived on set with dozens of role specific prototypes, ranging from location scouting and image galleries, to schedule planning tools and even sun horizon maps. We spent 5 full months conducting customer feedback in the field, while participating in various on-set odd jobs including collecting ambient sound, carrying equipment, and even stepping in as extras a few times. Besides making life-long friends and helping Terrence Malick create a magical film, we discovered something on-set in Oklahoma: the heartbeat of a film set lives in the ability for instructions and ideas to transmit from “A” to “B” as quickly as possible. Every lost second costs money and time. Eventually scenes are cut, money is wasted, crews are hostile and a great vision for a film is lost…
In a shocking turn of events, our own Eli Bronner has become something of a media darling in the past week. After being featured in a piece on Business Insider about where young NYC tech entrepreneurs eat, he made the front page today in an article on entrepreneurs’ relationships with their parents. The interesting article, written by Todd Stone, looks at a handful of young tech entrepreneurs. Needless to say, we’re proud of Eli – stay tuned for his upcoming feature in TMZ. Below: Eli’s fantastic quotation from the article.
“My father shapes and designs his own product all the time, which I came to realize is a dream come true”
Two nights ago we attended the 2nd annual Digital Wesleyan meetup, hosted by ZelnickMedia at their offices. The event, which was a blast, brought together around a hundred Wesleyan alumni and affiliates involved in different parts of the digital sector. We got to chat with journalists, VC’s, and entrepreneurs; among the companies represented at the event were Union Square Ventures, Betaworks, Bit.ly, SwitchGames,CabCorner. Michael Roth, Wesleyan’s current president, gave an insightful talk on the importance of collaboration and networking for tech entrepreneurs, and stressed the relationship between the philosophy that drives both entrepreneurship and liberal arts.The rest of the night’s pictures can be found here.
Last night, we attended a great talk with Brad Burnham, a partner at Union Square Ventures and a veritable staple of the New York startup scene. The talk was held at our office, General Assembly, and took place as part of a lecture series called Founders @ Fail. The series focuses on learning from the failures and various experiences of industry veterans.
In front of a packed GA main room, Brad touched on a wide range of topics and lessons derived from both his experiences as a VC and as an entrepreneur. One of the most interesting topics he addressed was the complex relationship between the investor and the entrepreneur, especially in relation to the way failure is handled, addressed, and identified. It is difficult to make the call as a group, he explained, because the entrepreneur has only one bat to swing, while the fund has an entire portfolio. Later, Brad told a few stories about his early entrepreneurial experience at AT&T ventures. Another interesting observation he had was about the tighter relationship between marketers and developers that today’s tech game demands. As Brad explained, the tech game is now as much about social engineering as it is about electrical engineering. Finally, before taking questions from the audience, he went into his views on certain key policy issues, such as net-neutrality, copyright, and patent reform. Brad and his partners care deeply about these issues, and he emphasized the important role that all of us in the startup industry must play in the fight for net-neutrality. Personally, we couldn’t agree more – the stakes are high for tech and web innovators, who rely on equal access to online consumers and networks. This summary only covers a small fraction of what Brad addressed last night. He really left us thinking and brought a good group of people together for post-lecture chatting. Thanks to Founders @ Fail and, of course, GA, for another great learning experience.
It’s been a big day for Steve Jobs. As of the market’s closing last Friday, Apple (AAPL) had a market value of $317.6 billion. Apple’s massive consumer success and unstoppable growth is certainly no secret, so what makes this figure significant? It means that the tech giant is now worth more than Microsoft and Intel (dubbed ‘Wintel’ for their longstanding partnership) combined, which were respectively valued at $201.59 billion and $115.21 billion at Friday’s close. Following this milestone in Apple’s stratospheric rise, today at the WorldWide Developers Conference Jobs previewed a bevy of new products Apple plans to unleash throughout 2011. In his keynote address, Jobs gave sneak peaks at iOS5 (newest version of their mobile operating system), OS X Lion, and most importantly their brand-new cloud-based storage service ‘iCloud,’ which they plan to incorporate into both iTunes and their MobileMe service. On top of all this, Jobs’s authorized biography, “iSteve,” set to release on March 6 of next year, was made available for pre-order today on Amazon and Apple’s iBookstore. As always, Steve’s doing big things, and we’re behind him 100%. Cloud-based file-storage is clearly the future of document exchange, and we look forward to seeing how Apple’s new system will shape music and document sharing and storage, and how it will compete with Google Music Beta service, which is invite only for the moment (but like all things Google will be free after launch).
After an extremely successful opening week, collecting over $488k over the four days following its limited release and a per-theater average of $93k, Terrence Malick’s new film Tree of Life has received high praise from critics across the board, including some of film’s most respected opinion-makers. It’s an amazing movie, a must see on the big screen. Congratulations to the Malick team for releasing such a bold and silently beautiful picture in 2011. We look forward to the still untitled follow up to Tree of Life, the set where LUA Communications was born. Here’s a small selection of things critics had to say about Malick’s groundbreaking film:
“Amid one’s exasperation, there is no mistaking Malick’s unfailing ability to grab at glories on the fly.”
“There are very few films I can think of that convey the changing interior weather of a child’s mind with such fidelity and sensitivity. Nor are there many that penetrate so deeply into the currents of feeling that bind and separate the members of a family.”
“Better than a masterpiece — whatever that is — The Tree of Life is an eruption of a movie, something to live with, think, and talk about afterward.”
“‘Tree’ delivers truths that don’t go down easy. No one with a genuine interest in the potential of film would think of missing it.”
“Shot with a poet’s eye, Malick’s film is a groundbreaker, a personal vision that dares to reach for the stars.”