Posts Tagged ‘Startups’

SkillSlate Seeking Developer

May 24th, 2010

My start-up, SkillSlate, is seeking a talented and energetic developer to join our core team.  If you know of anyone good, please spread the word.  Job description is below:

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We’re a VC and angel funded local start-up looking for a driven developer to build a product that has a meaningful impact on the daily lives of New Yorkers (and beyond). We’re based in Manhattan (Chelsea/Flatiron loft office), and the ideal candidate can start ASAP.

Must Haves:
• Belief in vision of individual empowerment
• Ruby on Rails (RoR) experience (min. 1 year experience) or equivalent (e.g. Django)
• BS/MS in Computer Science
• Entrepreneur-at-heart – thrives in a fast-paced startup environment and has the hunger to succeed and build a product that changes the world
• Demonstrated leadership ability and self-starter mentality
• Passionate about writing agile, elegant, DRY code

• Experience with search/vertical search
• Experience with automated testing / continuous integration frameworks
• Experience with database optimization (my.cnf, EXPLAIN, indexes, replication)
• Experience provisioning and managing cloud resources (Engine Yard, Heroku, App Engine, or equivalent)
• Strong user experience design / interaction design reasoning skills

Compensation: Competitive mix of salary and equity. This is a full time, permanent position.

SkillSlate empowers the 16mm+ individual service providers in the US to market their services directly to consumers. A SkillSlate profile provides detailed professional and personal information including pictures, fees, and reviews, all with the aim of not only showing what the person does, but who the person is. SkillSlate puts these profiles into a searchable directory where consumers can find service providers that fit their specific needs.

SkillSlate is backed by prominent venture capital and angel investors including Canaan Partners, Jason Finger (founder/CEO of SeamlessWeb), Peter Lehrman (co-founder of Gerson Lehrman Group), Dan Ciporin (former CEO of, and other high-impact angels. Learn more at

Presenting SkillSlate at Stern Innovates

March 29th, 2010

I was recently invited by my classmate and friend Yoni Argaman (new co-president of the Stern entrepreneurship club) to present my startup SkillSlate at the inaugural Stern Innovates event.  I was humbled to have been asked, and am very excited to formally unveil the first iteration of SkillSlate to the NYU community.  I’ll be joined by my colleague Bartek Ringwelski who is the co-founder and CEO of SkillSlate.

The idea of Stern Innovates is to provide exciting NYU affiliated startups with a venue to present and receive feedback on their ventures from members of the Stern community as well as from venture capitalists, lawyers and other entrepreneurs that will be in the audience.  Each event will also feature a successful entrepreneur that will share his story with the audience. Following the event, we will continue for post-event drinks at a nearby reserved venue (TBD soon).  I look forward to the event,  more details are below.

4:45 – 6:45PM, Wednesday, April 14th, KMC 5-50

Guest Speaker: Itzik Ben-Bassat, former VP at Blizzard Entertainment (World of Warcraft) and the current Founder and CEO of GameGround, a local venture backed gaming start-up will review current business models in the gaming industry.

Pitching Early Stage Ventures:

1. Brian Rothenberg, SkillSlate
SkillSlate connects consumers with trusted individual service providers who charge a fraction of the price of established companies.  SkillSlate empowers the 16mm+ individual service providers in the US to market their services directly to consumers. A SkillSlate profile provides detailed professional and personal information including pictures, fees, and reviews, all with the aim of not only showing what the person does, but who the person is. SkillSlate puts these profiles together into a searchable, sortable directory where consumers can find service providers that fit their specific needs.

2. Dan Leahy and Ben McKean, VillageVines

VillageVines provides a private marketplace where upscale service businesses discount specific hours when they have excess capacity. VillageVines provide businesses with a demand management tool to improve their utilization and enable consumers to book discounted appointments with high-end restaurants, clubs, spas, salons and events. Since discounts on VillageVines are only visible to VillageVines members and cannot be listed by search engines, businesses can discreetly tier their pricing structures to profitably serve more customers without cheapening their brands to the general public.

3. Adi Kalderon, PolySolar
PolySolar is a startup company based on an innovative technology in the solar energy field of Organic Photovoltaics (OPV). Developed at the Organic Electronics Lab at Polytechnic Institute of NYU by Professor Kalle Levon and Eduard Nasibulyn Ph.D., our OPV solar cells are polymer based and manufactured using electrochemistry techniques. This unique combination has enabled PolySolar to drastically reduce the overall cost and offer a solar energy source that is efficient, cost-effective, flexible, transparent and lightweight that can operate in low-light intensity and be applied to any shape or surface. With these competitive advantages, PolySolar’s OPV technology is targeted for the portable electronics market to offer a sustainable energy solution. The company’s OPV solar cells will allow devices, such as cell-phones and laptops, to recharge without electricity from grid power

Please RSVP to this event as seating is limited! Has a New Website!

February 17th, 2010

StartupAtWork launched a very clean new website last night, just in time for the first Speaker Series event of the spring season (24/7 Real Media, which was awesome by the way – more to come on that later).  While I provided a bit of input here and there (with Warren Lee and Bartek Ringwelski), our developer Sankho Mallik drove the project and did a terrific job.  While his code and design skills are solid, he stood out from many developers I’ve worked with due to his excellent project management and communication skills.  Cheers Sankho!

The new website has some killer videos from the fall speaker series (including the full interviews).  A few of my favorite clips are:

  1. Being public isn’t as fun as going public – Steve Hafner, CEO/founder of
  2. What Ron looks for in a deal – Ron Conway, angel investor and “Godfather of Silicon Valley”
  3. Bill’s bullshit meter – Founders of
  4. Concept of drag coefficients – Steve Hafner, CEO/founder of
  5. When the fax lady sings -Dave Morgan & Curt Viebranz of TACODA

Check it out and let us know what you think by leaving comments or sending the organizers feedback!

VigLink: a Startup to Watch

January 18th, 2010

ViglinkLast week I read about VigLink‘s $800K seed round funding by Google Ventures and First Round Capital, as well as several notable individual investors such as Reid Hoffman.  Danny Sullivan has a great write-up on VigLink over at Search Engine Land, but the basic gist is that VigLink helps publishers easily monetize links on their sites by offering an “install and forget” code snippet that automatically secures revenue from the sites they already link to without any visible changes to their sites.  I think there is a huge opportunity here, and part of that is based on my own personal need / pain point.

In January 2009, while doing diligence for my search fund’s acquisition of, I created a list of additional monetization opportunities for Sneakerplay.  Below is a verbatim copy/paste from that document:

  1. Hotlink all user generated ebay, amazon, etc. links throughout the site through those affiliate programs – UPSIDE: $x growth, Level of Effort: Medium/High
  • In the forums and other areas, there are thousands of user links to ebay and other sites.  Like livewords, when a user adds a link to ebay/amazon, dynamically tag our affiliate tracking on the end.  This will add a tracking cookie when the user clicks through and we’ll get CPA revenue if they buy anything on the merchant’s site.

Did we ever implement this?  No.  Why not?

  1. It was difficult to quantify the upside of such an implementation
  2. We would have had to build a custom solution which would have required quite a bit of development

By no means am I claiming to have had the original idea, I just find it funny that I previously documented a need that now looks like it is being filled by VigLink (and to be fair, others like Skimlinks as well, though I hadn’t seen them until the VigLink announcement).

I believe that VigLink is a startup to watch based on the fact that they are solving a real publisher need (help monetizing content, particularly user generated content such as user-posted links) in a market that is potentially HUGE.