Silicon Valley “Startup Castle” ad for roommates ready for the “geometric scaling of success” goes viral

5:48AM | Friday, 15 May

Silicon Valley’s rental market is notoriously competitive, but a new ad for housemates for a “startup castle” that aspires to be a “community of excellence” has gone viral by taking that to a whole new level.   Prospective housemates are required to “prefer organized [sic] systems and common rules” and “like petting dogs”. Having a “degree or job with a strong math/science requirement”, exercising “at least 15 hours in a normal week” and commuting “by car less than 20% of the time” are also key requirements would-be housemates.   Far longer than the list of requirements is the list of things that are frowned upon by residents of the Startup Castle, who are keen on roommates who are focused on the “geometric scaling of success”.   These include having more than one tattoo, watching more than four hours of TV per week, having ever attended more than one protest, posting to social media more than three times a week, wearing make-up more than twice a week, or owning clothes worth more than $500.   You can't live in The Startup Castle if you have more than two tattoos, but if you connect them with a thin black Sharpie line you're good — The Startup Castle (@startupcastle) May 14, 2015   Among those barred from the Startup Castle are people who drink alcohol more than three times per week, use marijuana more than twice a year, have been prescribed anything by a psychiatrist more than once, or who have used any other drug more than twice in their entire lives.   Other big no-nos include having more than one internet app date per week, complex diets requiring lots of refrigerator space, having bills that get paid by somebody else, or listening to a song with explicit lyrics more than an once a day.   John Lakness, the “founder” of the Startup Castle, describes himself in the ad as a “data science consultant, Stanford ICME, former spec-ops fitness competitor”.   In an interview with CNN, Lakness denied any of the requirements – including the requirement not to wear make-up more than twice a week – are discriminatory.   “I don't think there's anything in the post that restricts intellectual or cultural diversity at all. [Sharing a common value system is] the type of diversity that we value and not so much the superficial diversity,” he said.   Meeting the long list of criteria earns you the right to a shared dormitory in Silicon Valley for the low price of $US1000 ($1243.65), with additional charges for “private bathrooms, car parking, and extra people”.   “I really think this is the best deal in Silicon Valley, but let me know if you think I'm wrong,” the ad states.   Do you know more on this story or have a tip of your own? Raising capital or launching a startup? Let us know. Follow StartupSmart on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

THE NEWS WRAP: Pirate Bay online after two-month hiatus

2:42PM | Sunday, 1 February

Popular torrenting website Pirate Bay is back online, two months after its servers were raided by police in Stockholm.   While the site looks similar to how it did in December, moderators will no longer be able to access the site in an attempt to minimise the risk of it being shut down again according to Torrent Freak.   Swedish authorities raided Pirate Bay’s servers in December, targeting computers and other equipment.   The website has been operating since 2003 and has survived a number of high-profile attempts to shut it down. Snapchat launches weekly web series Snapchat has made the leap into the media production space with the launch of its own weekly web series.   The show – called Literally Can’t Even – will be released in five-minute segments and will star Steven Spielberg’s daughter, according to Fairfax.   Last week, the social media platform announced it was introducing a news and entertainment service with partnered organisations such as Vice and CNN. PayPal-backed marketing startup raises $1.2 million A marketing startup based in Menlo Park has raised $1.2 million in funding led by PayPal and customer science company Dunnhumby.   Pulsate is a contextual marketing platform that delivers content for brands based on a user’s location and preferences.   Chief executive Patrick Leddy said in a statement the funds will be used to accelerate product development and ramp-up brand awareness.   “We are already attracting a lot of customers in this space and with this support we look forward to becoming the industry leader in context marketing,” Leddy said. Overnight The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 1.45%, falling 251.90 points to 17,164.95. The Australian dollar is currently trading at US77.77 cents.   Follow StartupSmart on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

THE NEWS WRAP: Twitter introduces group messages and video editing features

1:31PM | Tuesday, 27 January

Twitter has announced it is rolling out a range of new features aimed at boosting public conversations on the platform.   Group messaging will now be available for the private message function, including for people who do not necessarily follow each other.   New! Use Direct Messages to speak privately with a group of up to 20 people. Share Tweets, show emoji & be yourself. — Twitter (@twitter) January 27, 2015   Users will also be able to capture, edit and share videos directly from the Twitter app in the same way that they can upload photos. Videos can be up to 30 seconds in length.   The new features will be available to users in the coming weeks.   Snapchat introduces news and entertainment service   Snapchat has launched a new feature aimed at selling ads and sharing content from news organisations such as Vice and CNN.   “Snapchat Discover is a new way to explore Stories from different editorial teams,” the company said in a blog post.   “It’s the result of collaboration with world-class leaders in media to build a storytelling format that puts the narrative first.”   Snapchat is currently valued at around $10 billion.   Fintech startup raises $1 million in seed funding   Credit card startup Final has raised $1 million in seed funding ahead of its 2015 pilot program.   TechCrunch reports the round was led by Ludlow Ventures, T5 Capital Partners, Y Combinator and other angel investors.   Founded a year ago, Final aims to give credit card users more transparency about their spending and eliminate the friction around having to cancel a card due to fraud or theft.   Overnight   The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 1.62%, falling 287.22 points to 17,391.48. The Australian dollar is currently trading at US79 cents.   Follow StartupSmart on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Teen thinks he can save the US government $400m: A simple cost cutting strategy for startups

4:29AM | Tuesday, 1 April

Having a cash flow crisis or just looking to save a few dollars? One 14-year-old thinks he can show you how.   Suvir Mirchandani has uncovered a way for the US government to save $400 million, and it could help your business cut costs too.   The teen was thinking of ways to save money at his Pittsburgh-area middle school when, in a stroke of genius, he thought of an easy solution – switch to a new font.   Mirchandani calculated changing all federal US government documents from Times New Roman to Garamond would save $136 million a year.   Currently the US Government Services Administration spends $467 million a year on printing costs and if the state governments also switched, an additional $234 million could be saved.   Mirchandani discovered ink is two times more expensive by volume than expensive French perfume, and for a school project he collected samples of his school’s handouts and looked at the most commonly used letters (e, t, a o and r).   For a science project he looked at how the letters were used in four different typefaces, Garamond, Times New Roman, Century Gothic and Comic Sans, and measured how much ink was used for each letter using commercial software, before personally verifying his findings.   Mirchandani detailed this process to CNN and discovered using Garamond could reduce his school’s ink usage by 24% and save $21,000 annually.   While small businesses are unlikely to save hundreds of millions of dollars like the US government, it’s quite possible changing the font type of printed documents could save SMEs more than a thousand dollars annually.   Mirchandani is also hoping his research has a broader impact.   “Consumers are still printing at home, they can make this change too,” he told CNN. “I definitely would love to see some actual changes and I’d be happy to go as far as possible to make that change possible.”   But changing the font of printed documents might be a step behind the game, as reducing printing all together can help businesses save on printing costs, file cabinets and storage space.   Another simple change which can help businesses save money is to set up digital communication systems to hold client meetings over the internet.   By using programs like Skype and Webex, businesses can save on travel costs when communicating with staff or clients in other offices.

Five top business ideas that made millions

3:38AM | Thursday, 14 March

According to Paul Graham, investor and founder of Y Combinator, the best way to get a winning business idea is to not think of any. Instead, you should be looking at which problems you can solve.

Romney concedes, Barack Obama re-elected as US President

3:04AM | Monday, 11 March

Barack Obama has won another four years as president of the United States, with Republican candidate Mitt Romney conceding defeat.

Mention Mobile

9:45AM | Monday, 24 September

In just two years, the founder of Mention Mobile has partnered with an Emmy winner, secured funds from a billionaire and teamed up with a major games publisher.

Buffett awards Berkshire Hathaway stock to young entrepreneurs

7:07AM | Monday, 16 July

Billionaire speculator Warren Buffett has given away $13,000 worth of highly-prized shares in his company, Berkshire Hathaway, to a group of budding entrepreneurs aged under 16.

Aussie start-up Roboinvest makes global competition final

3:44AM | Friday, 15 March

Roboinvest, an Australian-run, New York-based start-up, has made the final of a worldwide funding competition for financial services ventures.

How billionaires live it up

12:13PM | Thursday, 1 December

The Eurozone may be in crisis, the US teetering on the brink of a double dip recession and even Australia struggling to get back to surplus, but that doesn’t mean there’s a lack of enormously wealthy entrepreneurs out there.