betaworks series b / betawhat

Last week we announced a series b funding round at betaworks.  Since then several people have asked us what we do at betaworks and how.   Here goes.

betaworks is a company focused on the social, real time web. We believe this represents a radical shift in how people use the internet. We believe it is swiftly becoming the primary navigational interface to the internet and we believe it’s different, so different that we see the change underway as a 10 year shift.

It’s about dynamic streams of information not static pages. It’s about push not pull. It’s about enabling publishing tools, data and the ways you can touch and experience the web as widely as possible. It’s about an open architecture that permits software developers and users the ability to move data back and forth across services. It’s about letting users stitch together a set of services they want to use, rather than using data to lock people into a single service. It’s about creating great new companies at an accelerated rate using the infrastructure that has been built over the past ten years — from AWS to OAuth, from the Twitter API to Google maps API, from Facebook Connect to AppEngine. It’s as if the metabolic rate of the Internet is changing and this shift is what betaworks is centered on.

What we do at betaworks is build and invest in great companies that make up the loosely coupled experience outlined above. This all happens out of a company, not an incubator, not a fund.  The company was formed and designed for this transformation, betaworks itself, the network of companies that are part of betaworks, are a sense a mirror image of this shift.   As the metabolic rate changes the possibility for connection, recombination and innovation increases, dramatically.   As many people have observed it cheaper and cheaper to trial and test yet, with appropriate instrumentation, its also cheaper to scale — scale product development, scale infrastructure and scale a business.   We like to scale fast or fail fast at betaworks.

When we build a company, invariable its an idea we have come up with, an itch we want to scratch and we have an ongoing operational role in building that company.  These companies are the core of betaworks. The things we build are born of the focus on the real time social web — they are more often than not white spaces where we see a need that hasn’t yet been filled.

betaworks investments does seed stage investing in the ecosystem around this core. For us seed investing means first money, our average investment size is 150k. These investments are done as part of a syndicate of angels or early stage VC’s. Our requirements from an investment side are simple:  it has to first fit the thesis, it has to fit the investment profile (early stage, tech centered etc.) and there needs to be a beta, public or not — a working product, our office is a ppt free zone.

That’s it