Looking To Hire Top Talent For Your Startup? Here Are Five Things You Should Know

You may know Dan Porter as the CEO of the free multiplayer gaming and chat platform, OMGPOP, which specializes in making social games, like Puppy World, for example. What you may not know is that, for the last year, Porter has been managing and curating a free, weekly newsletter called Inside Startups.

The mission of Inside Startups, Porter says, was to move people from larger companies and corporations into up-and-coming startups in an effort to galvanize the New York City startup scene. The conceit, too, is simple. If you’re looking for a job at a startup or know someone who does, simply sign up (for free) and Inside Startups will email you five great startup jobs available in New York City every Saturday. (Although cities like Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Boston, San Francisco, New York, and Atlanta are now included on Inside Startups’ website.)

Even for those not actively looking for jobs, the founder says, it’s a great way to stay on top of the startup scene in your city — and around the country.

As Porter says on Inside Startups:

I was having trouble finding great people to hire. Job boards were static and consisted of people looking for jobs, and recruiters were expensive. I wanted to find the best people, the people who already had jobs, and get in front of them in a low impact way. So the team set out to build a comprehensive mailing list of every person in New York City who worked or wanted to work for a startup. Then we signed up over 200 startups and began sending out our weekly email.

So, after sending out hundreds of jobs over the course of the last year and seeing its community grow to now include 5,000 subscribers, 250 hiring companies, and a 50/50 developer-to-business split in NYC, Inside Startups decided to launch a comprehensive analysis of the click-throughs in the postings it sent out in its newsletter in an effort to answer one of the biggest questions facing founders and startup teams looking to hire: “What are the attributes of a killer job posting?”

Last week, Porter and company produced a report based on its data that offers five tips to help startups be more effective in their hiring (and avoid common misconceptions and fallacies), because, after all, finding the right people can be the difference between life and death for a fledgling company.

For starters, Inside Startups found that the top three skill sets available that received the most click-throughs (in proportion to other types of jobs) were business/finance, communications/social media, and software/web development — in that order.

The company’s short-list of recommendations for startups when creating their job postings and going after new talent? Focus on press and traction over investors, keep it short, remember the interesting perks, sell the job more than the company, and stay away from using “ninjas” or “rockstars” to reduce the lame-ness factor.

For a longer look, check out the top five below:

 

 

Fab Hits A Million Users, Is Raising Many Millions of Dollars

Design-focused flash sale site Fab announced an important user milestone today, the site hitting a million members; The company celebrated by giving each of their users $10 to spend and another $10 more to each friend they signed on.

The invite-only site has seen massive success since it pivoted from a gay social network in June, bringing in another 275K users in the past 30 days — with around 150K people visiting the site through its daily email alone. The company is operating profitable, expected to bring in $20 million in revenue in 2011.

Fab is taking advantage of this boom to raise some cash, we’ve heard from multiple sources. The company is raising a “huge” Series B round, which one source pegs as between $40 – $50 million at a ~$250 post-money valuation. Another source said that the valuation was in the “hundreds of millions.”

Existing investors First Round Capital and Menlo Ventures will be following on, and the round has a new top-tier investor who I haven’t quite yet sussed out. From what I’m hearing term sheets have been signed and the deal is set to close early December.

“Our buyers’ job is to find stuff that will make people smile,” Fab CEO Jason Goldberg, who wouldn’t give comment on the funding rumors, told me earlier today, “If they can do that the product will sell, and if we keep doing that the next million will come faster than the first million.”  Goldberg says that flash sales are just the start, and the company is presently working on supporting overnight shipping and in addition to adding advanced social features.

Links Posted By Big Facebook Pages Have A 0.14% CTR, 1 Click Per 1000 Fans

The click through rate for links posted to the news feed by Facebook Pages with over 100,000 fans is 0.14%, or 1 click per 715 impressions according to a new study shared with us by analytics provider EdgeRank Checker. Pages receive 0.00093 clicks per fan, or roughly 1 click per 1000 fans. These figures should give marketers an idea of how many Facebook fans they’ll need to accumulate to drive significant traffic to external websites, a core way of deriving return on investment from the social network.

Facebook only started providing link click metrics to Page admins at the beginning of October. Until then, marketers had to use links with tracking tags or URL shorteners that can reduce CTR in order to determine the referral traffic their Page posts were driving.

For comparison, links posted by Pages have nearly 3x the CTR of Facebook ads which average 0.05% CTR, and they top online display ads which average a 0.1% CTR according to Webtrends.

Facebook Pages can be a useful marketing channel for brands, especially those that organically accrue Likes from passionate customers such as entertainment, consumer packaged goods, fashion, and automotive companies. To drive significant referral traffic, though, most brands have to invest in advertising in order to beef up the fan counts of their Pages.

Most major brands have at least 100,000 fans, and Posts by Pages with few fans have a much higher CTR as you can see in the graph below. Therefore, I excluded them to avoid skewing the data. For all Pages with over 1,000 fans, including those with few fans, link posts still only have a 0.35% CTR, 1 click per 280 impressions, 0.00236 clicks per per fan, and 1 click per 424 fans.

EdgeRank Checker’s data is based on 84,000 link posts by over 5,500 Pages in October. The study also looked at which days of the week were the best for Pages to post on. It found that posts on Wednesday receive the most clicks and shares, while posts on Friday receive the fewest.

If they spend the time and money, brands like Porche, Netflix, and Old Navy can drive around 2,000 qualified clicks a day for free. Facebook Pages can’t completely replace the need for paid advertising, but they can become an important component of a savvy online marketing strategy.

The Rise Of The Health Startup? A Peek At The 13 Companies In Rock Health’s Inaugural Batch

There’s been a bit of a debate going on of late among venture capitalists and investors over whether or not web startups are currently experiencing a cash crunch when it comes to early-stage and series A financing. (You can read Alexia’s recent breakdown here.) As per usual, the answer depends on whom you ask. This recent debate contrasts with the data seen in Column Five Media’s infographic from June, which showed venture funding and investment levels picking back up in the first half of 2011, poised to storm back to pre-2008-collapse levels.

Of course, the data showed that not all tech sectors were experiencing the boom times: Health and medical-related investment, for example, was on the low end, receiving only 3 percent of venture funding over the last year. Yet, there may be some evidence that investment in the digital health space may in fact be heating up. Looking at this data compiled by new healthtech startup incubator Rock Health, we see a list of 41 healthtech startups have been funded in 2011. CrunchBase’s data, which uses slightly more generous paramaters for defining “health tech”, puts that number over 120 or so.

Of those startups that were founded this year, Aza Raskin’s Massive Health raised $2.25 million in seed funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Charles River Ventures, and more. (Well, Massive Health was actually founded in December 2010, but close enough.) And Azumio, which was founded this year, raised $2.5 million in seed funding from Founders Fund and Accel in July.

What’s more, we just covered 100Plus’ $500K seed raise from Founders Fund earlier this week. The personalized health prediction startup was not mentioned in Rock Health’s list, I assume because it is still in private beta.

But the point is, as we’ve seen in Dave Chase’s series of guest posts, the healthcare industry is ripe for disruption. Sure, the industry has a long way to go, but we’re seeing some great progress from startups like Practice Fusion, for example, which is busy becoming the largest provider of electronic medical records in the industry.

There’s also plenty of room for help in the way of incubators. On Friday, Rock Health, the startup accelerator for health-focused startups, hosted its Demo Day at UCSF Mission Bay, where the 13 startups in its latest class introduced their businesses to 250 attendees, among them investors from Accel, NEA, Khosla Ventures, True Ventures, Benchmark, Kapor Capital, SV Angel, The Social+Capital Partnership, Founders Fund and more.

For those unfamiliar, Rock Health provides seed funding ($20K grants, without taking equity), office space, and mentorship to entrepreneurs that want to break into healthcare. We covered their debut here.

The thirteen startups that demo-ed range from BitGym, which makes motion-sensitive iOS video games for working out; to IDEO-spinoff Omada, an online support group to reverse diabetes; toCellScope, a smartphone plugin designed to remotely diagnose ear infections.

It was also great to see that these teams included entrepreneurs that have previously worked in other areas of tech and media and are now bringing their talents to health: For example, Gabe Vanrenen, the former Founder and CTO of Flurry, Jackson Wilkinson, the former head of UX for Posterous and LinkedIn, to Jeff Lieberman, the host of Discovery Channel’s Time Warp.

Again, we covered the initial eight Rock Health startups that were ready to introduce their wares back in June, and you can read about them here. However, five of the startups were not yet ready for the limelight, so we’re providing brief introductions to those below:

Bigevidence provides clinicians focused access to the universe of medical evidence at the point of care and within electronic health records, improving quality of care, while reducing costs and risks.

BitGym thinks you should be using video games to exercise. Their patent pending technology uses an iPad to turn any cardiovascular machine into an interactive
gaming experience.

Cake Health is the best free way to manage your healthcare expenses online. The startup was a finalist at TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco in September. You can read our initial profile here.

Crohnology is a social health network for people with chronic medical conditions to share and learn what treatments work, meet others near them, and track and share their health.

Heartbeat is a salesforce.com-like enterprise solution for wellness professionals that aims to empower people to be successful doing what they love.

Applications for Rock Health’s next class beginning in January 2012 are open until Wednesday, November 16th.

Google Open Sources Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich

The code for the latest version of Android — 4.0, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich — is now in the wild.

According to a post from Jean-Baptiste M. “JBQ” Queru, a software engineer on the Android Open Source Project, the code is still in the process of being uploaded, and developers are advised to wait til it’s fully complete before they start downloading it themselves. But it’ll be available very soon.

This is a huge deal for a few reasons.

For one, Android 4.0 includes some major improvements over both Gingerbread and Honeycomb, which are the versions of Android that are shipping on current Android devices. These include new API calls, performance improvements, and more.

But more important: it’s the first time Google has open-sourced a version of Android that’s optimized for tablets as well as phones. Now, obviously devices running Android 3.x Honeycomb have been around since early this year. But Google opted not to release the source code for Honeycomb. The reason? It had been thrown together quickly, and Google had to take some shortcuts to get it out the door (they were also concerned that third parties would try to port Honeycomb back to phones, which it isn’t suited for).

The open sourcing of ICS will allow manufacturers who aren’t working directly with Google to pump out tablets of their own (there are some low-cost tablet devices out there shipping with Gingerbread, simply because they couldn’t use Honeycomb). And it also means that custom ROM developers like CyanogenMod can tweak the code, port it to older devices, and more.

A couple of other interesting notes: the version of ICS that’s being open sourced is 4.0.1, and developers can download an image of the Galaxy Nexus, which has the build target full_maguro.

Oh, and if you really want to look at the Honeycomb source, it’s in there too (since it is an ancestor to Ice Cream Sandwich). But Google is discouraging anyone from actually using it.

Battery Breakthrough Could Improve Capacity And Reduce Charge Time By A Factor Of Ten Each

It’s no secret that batteries are holding back mobile technology. It’s nothing against the battery companies, which are surely dedicating quite a lot of R&D to improving their technology, hoping to be the first out of the gate with a vastly improved AA or rechargeable device battery. But battery density has been improving very slowly over the last few years, and advances have had to be in processor and display efficiency, in order to better use that limited store of power.

Researchers at Northwestern Universityclaim to have created an improved lithium ion battery that not only would hold ten times as much energy, but would charge ten times as quickly.

It’s probably safe to call it a breakthrough.

Inside Li-ion batteries, there are innumerable layers of graphene, a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms. Lithium ions fill the spaces between these layers, and when the battery is being charged, these atoms must creep their way physically to the edge of the sheet in order to get down to the next layer and make room for more ions. The rate of recharge is limited by how fast these ions can go from layer to layer. One solution tried before was replacing the carbon sheets with silicon, which for some chemical reason can hold many times the lithium ions — but the silicon would expand and contract with the charge cycles, quickly breaking.

Professor Harold Kung, researcher at NU and lead author of the paper (published this month in the journal Advanced Energy Materials), has discovered not just one, but two techniques for improving this charge process. His lab decided to combine the strengths of both materials, carbon and silicon, by populating the area between the graphene sheets with silicon nanoclusters. These little clusters greatly increase the amount of ions that can be kept in the battery, and because they are small and the graphene is flexible, their size changes are manageable. Thus, the charge capacity of the battery was improved by, Kung says, a factor of ten.

But that’s not all. Kung’s lab also thought of perforating the graphene sheets, allowing ions to take a “shortcut” to the next layer. They call these 10-20nm holes “in-plane defects,” and they essentially rust them out. The result? Charging is ten times faster.

A possible downside is a faster degradation process; after 150 charges and discharges, the batteries showed only a 5x improvement to capacity and charge speed. Of course, those 150 charges would be the energy equivalent of 1500 charges of today’s batteries.

Naturally this huge leap in battery power and efficiency won’t be in your phones next week; they estimate they could be on the market in three to five years — cold comfort to iPhone 4S owners who are only getting seven or eight hours of on time. But the process is changed enough that existing manufacturing techniques are likely insufficient.

The full paper, In-Plane Vacancy-Enabled High-Power Si-Graphene Composite Electrode for Lithium-Ion Batteriesis available to subscribers here.

Shopping Discovery App Zoomingo Raises $1.3 Million

The newly launched shopping discovery app Zoomingoannounced today it has secured $1.3 million in funding from early-stage VC firms Naya Ventures and Benaroya Capital along with several prominent angel investors. Previously self-funded, Zoomingo says it will use the additional capital to enhance its current mobile application, build a retailer platform and grow its community through expanded outreach to customers and retailer partners.

With this funding, Dayakar Puskoor, managing director of Dallas-based Naya Ventures, will also join Zoomingo’s board of directors.

For background, Seattle-based Zoomingo was founded by language learning service Livemocha’s co-founders, Shirish Nadkarni (Zoomingo CEO) and Krishnan Seshadrinathan (CTO). Nadkarni said he had the idea for the service when he noticed that his wife (an avid shopper, he says) was having trouble locating nearby sales using her mobile phone. So many of today’s apps focus on barcode scanning, deals and offers or price comparisons, but none simply rounded up all the nearby sales at local retailers in one easy-to-access mobile application.

Hence, Zoomingo.

The app pulls in sales data from major retailers using a combination of manual and automated means as well as crowd-sourcing via its “Deal Scouts,” who are positioned in several major U.S. cities. Zoomingo now provides access to 70,000 retail outlets in the U.S., and growing.

The app is available on both iPhone and Android.