The loss of Gothamist and DNAInfo this week is difficult to fully fathom. Launched in 2003, Gothamist heralded the emergence of a new generation of hyper-local news reporting in New York City. The blog soon spawned offshoots in major cities across the country, and then the globe. Other sites including Patch and DNAInfo soon followed, their reporting filling in a crucial niche as more traditional outlets either went out of business or dramatically cut back on local coverage. Early this year, Gothamist and DNAinfo completed a merger in an attempt to make the business model more sustainable.
Yet, this week, but outlets were abruptly and callously shuttered, and their staff dismissed.
Last week our company officially closed the book on our first round of financing. We couldn’t be more excited to dedicate our full attention to product development and other elements of the business.
This was my first time at the helm of a startup’s financing round and I’ve learned quite a few lessons, large and small. Here are some of the most important ones:
Last week Governor Cuomo made headlines by announcing that the MTA would be seeking to implement a corporate sponsorship model for New York’s subway stations. Cuomo argues that conservancies, which are mostly funded through private dollars, worked for parks and thus could inject New York’s struggling subway system with some much needed capital. The city’s subway denizens who suffer through both chronic delays and dreary, nasty stations environments, may be inclined to agree.
Elon Musk is a very smart man.
The billionaire entrepreneur has spawned several successful companies, including Tesla and Space-X. He’s widely recognized as one of the visionaries in today’s tech landscape, with many putting him on-par with the likes of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.
Given this, it’s a bit odd to see Musk so aggressively market the Hyperloop, a concept that has not been built, or really tested, anywhere in the world. Yet, Musk set the Twitterverse on fire, by tweeting that he had received “verbal approval” for building a “Hyperloop” between New York and Washington. According to Musk, the new transportation option would allow passengers to travel between the two cities in just 29 minutes (compared with 3 ½ hours today). He claims, and has claimed in the past, that construction will commence soon and will be far cheaper and more cost effective than high speed rail travel. He has even gone so far as to draw comparison with high speed rail efforts that are underway today, seeing these as a waste of time and money.
Last weekend, the MTA’s recent struggles went national when the Mayor of Chicago, published a Monday New York Times Op-Ed entitled “In Chicago, The Trains Actually Run on Time.” The haughty, headline of Emanuel’s opine earned a swift backlash from New York’s press and many ordinary citizens. New Yorkers may hate the MTA, but it’s our MTA! Beneath all of the noise, there was a rare, thoughtful and prominent critique of urban mass transit best practices.
For me, many of Emanuel’s argument’s resonated, while other’s didn’t.
Yesterday, a tragic accident in Manhattan claimed the life of a cyclist. Dan Hanegby, a 36 year old from Brooklyn, is the Citibike’s first fatality in its four years of operation.
The New York Times provides a summary of the accident below:
New York’s shiny new ferry service, which officially launched on May 1st, is experiencing a few growing pains which underscore the operational challenges of reliable and scalable new transit service, particularly ferries, within the five boroughs
Though the problems have not been well documented by the media, a quick glance at the service’s twitter feed quickly reveals a broad array of complaints from frustrated passengers, though: