Uber Says F*ck You To Massachusetts Cease & Desist, For Now

Please before you fire off a hate mail telling us that Uber is based in San Francisco (The Valley) we know this already. Since Uber expanded outside of the Valley to “everywhere else” we’ve written about Uber on occasion. They are really great people, and each city office is a corporately owned office, they are actually run more like franchises. Their Washgton DC and New York office are really good to us (disclosure Uber likes what we’re doing on our road trip and supplies us with uber cards when we are in their cities. They care about the rest of “everywhere else” like we do)

Uber has been served with a cease and desist from the Division of Standards of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Division of Standards is using the National Institute of Standards and Technology as a vehicle to try and push their anti Uber agenda. Massachusetts contends that, because the National Institute of Standards and Technology doesn’t have guidelines in place for GPS location technology, Uber can’t legally operate in Boston.

Uber’s says in this blog post, that they’ve had their legal team go over this with a fine tooth comb and they feel that they are not in any kind of violation. As such they plan on continuing to operate in Boston, despite the Cease & Desist, as they have since October 2011.

The sedan hailing app service was recently under fire in Washington DC. On July 11th we reported that Washington DC area cabbies had solicited the help of Washington DC City Councilwoman Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3). Cheh has proposed legislation that would make the minimum fare for an Über ride $15 which is a five times higher than the minimum fare for a normal sanctioned district cab.

By the end of the day that had been squashed as locally based celebrities and even members of congress took to Twitter to defend Uber.

NBC’s Luke Russert took to Twitter to express his dismay:
“I’m willing to bet #DC cabbies after 12am will say, ‘cash only, no credit’ or claim that their credit machine ‘is broken.’” Russert tweeted earlier in the day.

He wasn’t alone, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) tweeted about the issue from his official Twitter handle @Jasoninthehouse, “Uber fans unite! D.C. Council wants to keep fares high. This is wrong! #UberDClove political website rollcall.com reported.

After that public outcry on Twitter Cheh removed the Uber portion of that Taxi bill.

For now Bostonians, fear not as Uber is still in service until the Division of Standards comes with a better argument.


Here’s Uber’s website

Here’s their blog post

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Washington DC City Council Looking To Price Über Out Of Town?


Back in January what brought you this story about Washington DC’s response to Über moving into town. Über is a mobile app hailing service for affordable limos and town cars.

Although Über is a Silicon Valley based startup, each new market is treated as its own separate company even though they are ultimately all head quartered in San Francisco. The Washington DC unit is by far the one that’s run into the most difficulty.

Über works just about effortlessly in all the markets they are in. You download the app to your smartphone and tell the app where you are. From there an indecent network driver is dispatched to you. You pay via the app so no cash needs to change hands. In DC, New York and San Francisco I’ve never waited more than 15 minutes for an uber ride.

Well as we reported back in January the taxicab drivers in Washington DC have had a major a problem since Über put up roots in Washington DC’s DuPont Circle neighborhood.

DC cabbies (which have even had a movie made about them starring Mr. T) were furious over the business they would possibly lose to Uber who according to the DC Taxicab Association, operates under a loop hole and should have to be licensed the same way limos are.

Now it appears the cabbies have enlisted the help of Washington DC City Councilwoman Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3). Cheh has proposed legislation that would make the minimum fare for an Über ride $15 which is a five times higher than the minimum fare for a normal sanctioned district cab.

NBC’s Luke Russert took to Twitter to express his dismay:
“I’m willing to bet #DC cabbies after 12am will say, ‘cash only, no credit’ or claim that their credit machine ‘is broken.’” Russert tweeted earlier in the day.

He wasn’t alone, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) tweeted about the issue from his official Twitter handle @Jasoninthehouse, “Uber fans unite! D.C. Council wants to keep fares high. This is wrong! #UberDClove political website rollcall.com reported.

After the outcry on Twitter Cheh removed the Über portion of a proposed taxi bill from the legislation.

Rollcall also reported that lifetime DC political figure, former Mayor who was busted smoking crack while in office in January of 1990, wasn’t a fan of Über either. The Washington Post’s Tim Craig tweeted: “Marion Barry said he’s opposed to Uber because its a ‘San Francisco-based company’ and cab drivers ‘don’t need limousines coming in here.’”


Find out more about Über here

Source: rollcall.com

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We Interview DC Startup Barrel Of Jobs At Capital Connection 2012

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(photo: nibletz syndicate)

While at the Capital Connection/TechBUZZ conference in Washington DC this week we got to meet Chris Hertz and Craig Zingerline, the co-founders of Washington DC based startup Barrel Of Jobs. They were one of 28 new startups that presented their business in a four minute presentation on Wednesday at the conference.

Of course by the name, Barrel of Jobs, you already know it has something to do with jobs and careers. With Barrel of Jobs though, we’re not talking bout the next monster.com or Career Builder.  Barrel of Jobs is a social recruiting platform to connect employers to the best candidates.  Barrel of Jobs is using the social web to help recruiters, employers and even startups, find the best talent.

As the baby boomer generation starts to retire, recruiters and HR Departments are looking to find the best young talent possible. With the current generation in the talent pool we’re all accustomed to the traditional online tools for jobs. Tools like monster.com, Career Builder and other job websites are getting crowded with jobs and applicants. Because of this, more and more talent seekers are turning to the social web to find the best applicants.

Their is a problem with the way recruiters are using the social web right now though, and that is that they really can’t penetrate past the first node in terms of finding applicants. Another problem is the fact that some of the best candidates are already employed, and they’re passive job seekers. This means that they’re employed but may consider changing employers if the best opportunity was presented to them.

More after the break
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Startup America CEO Scott Case Offers 7 Tips For Relationships At TechCocktail Event in DC

20120524-202955.jpgToday was the big day of two Cases for Startups in Washington DC. It was day two of Capital Connection/TechBUZZ at the Omnin Shoreham Hotel. The 35 hour private investor conference highlighted 28 great Startups on Wednesday and equally as many later stage companies today.

Capital Connection features AOL Co-Founder and CEO of Revolution, Steve Case. He offered a great talk highlighting what he’s been working on as an entrepreneur and the strength of Washington DCs thriving tech and startup community.

Later in the evening we went just two miles down the road to TechCocktails Sessions event focusing on relationships and networking. The featured keynote speaker was Scott Case the CEO of the Startup America partnership and the founding CTO of Priceline.com.

Case opened up his talk by making sure everyone knew he wasn’t there to talk about dating. He did however talk about sex, gambling and getting lucky. In short that portion of his talk was about meeting his wife and having four kids (the sex). He then shifted to a story about his father in law who is a horse handicapper. He also talked about one of his friends, and their father, Ira, was also into horse racing (gambling). Then he explained how he was considering a move to the west coast and he got a call from Ira right before he left. Ira wanted to introduce Case to another one of his friends, who was ultimately the founder of Priceline.com (getting lucky).

With Case’s vast experience and the fact that he’s trying to become the most traveled man in the United States as CEO of Startup America, he’s met and networked with thousands of people.

Case brought up the fact that so many startups that he meets are so focused on product development that they forget about customer development. Customer development is totally different from customer acquisition. The roots of customer development lie in relationships and networking.

Case offered these 7 great tips for networking, specifically aimed at startups who sometimes forget about things like this:

1. Everybody has a story, understand what their story’s about.

2. It’s not about you it’s about them. Figure out more about the other person.

3. Find a way to say yes when people ask you for something. All the most interesting things in Cases life started by saying yes. You’ll find yourself falling forward and creates an opportunity for someone else to help you.

It’s very hard to say no to something when they’ve said yes to you

4. There are relationships when you won’t have something in common

5. Social networks aren’t a replacement for in person hand to hand make a relationship with them.

6. Use these tools to keep your relationships current. It’s not enough to go back 6 months. Use social networks to keep current between face to face interactions.

7. You have to be intentional about all of this. Allocate time and energy to networking. You can meet people almost anywhere.

Baltimore Black Owned Startup: Point Click Switch Presents At TechBUZZ DC

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Point Click Switch CEO & Co-Founder Phil Croskey Speaks At TechBUZZ DC (photo: Nibletz inc)

Phil Croskey,, CEO and Co-Founder of Black Owned Baltimore Startup, Point Click Switch took the stage today for four minutes to talk about his business which has a solid foundation to stand on because “everyone needs electricity”.

Point Click Switch is a web based application that helps people who live in de-regulated states discover, compare and sign up for utilities. The deregulated states are: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida,Georgia, Illinois, Indiana,Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan,Montana,Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington DC, and West Virginia.

Point Click Switch is like an Expedia or Hotels.com for your energy choices. The site aggregates 7-10 of the most competitive offers and allows the user to compare rates and offers side by side from the comfort of their computer.

When the user is done making their selection, Point Click Switch allows them to initiate service through their site. They will still be billed by the utility itself and they will also still call the utility directly with outages and problems.

Croskey told us that he thinks the rest of the country will eventually adopt the deregulation of energy and electricity which will add an even larger base for Point Click Switch.

Here’s the video:


Check out Point Click Switch here

Check out more coverage from this event here

We’re on a sneaker strapped, nationwide startup road trip, find out more about that, here

Disrupt Is Like Shark Tank, Capital Connection & TechBUZZ Are Like Pitching To Trump

We saw some of the best and brightest new startups from primarily the greater Washington DC area, at TechBUZZ today. TechBUZZ kicks off the annual CapitalConnection conference which focuses on private equity, startups, growth companies and emerging trends.

Capital Connection is celebrating its 25th anniversary super serving the private investment community in the greater Washington DC area. When Capital Connection first started out most of the investors invested in companies within 100 miles of their homes here. Nowadays with the global change in startup climate, angel funding and venture funding, the hundreds of investors at the conference represent a global community.

Although we’ve been to Launch, DEMO and TechCrunch Disrupt (even yesterday), Capital Connection feels different. It’s a more seasoned crowd of investors ranging from angel investors, venture capitalists, private equity firms and more. Where you get the feeling that the angel and VC firms we read about in TechCrunch and PandoDaily every day, are great people but even fairly new themselves, the Capital Connection conference feels like more seasoned, and dare I even say “old money”.

A better analogy may be, that where pitching at TechCrunch Disrupt, DEMO or Launch would be like pitching to Shark Tank, Capital Connection feels more like pitching to Donald Trump.

Where we wore shots and nibletz t-shirts yesterday we’re in slacks and polos today and possibly a bit underdressed. If you’ve ever been to a startup conference it’s typically shorts, crocs and your startups t-shirt. Presenters today are in long sleeves, some with their startup t-shirt hanging out and some in ties and jackets.

All of this atmosphere makes the pitch seem a little more formal and probably a little tougher on the startup.

We’ll be bringing you coverage over the next couple of days from this amazing conference.


28 Startups Compete For Best of The Buzz In Washington DC, 3 Are Victorious

We’re now bringing you coverage from both TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2012 and CapitalConnection 12/TechBUZZ in Washington DC.

Today in the nation’s capital 28 different companies did four minute pitches to a packed house vying for “Best of the BUZZ”. Those three companies will head to the Main Stage tomorrow afternoon to compete in the TechBuzz Showdown.

In this contest the audience is given the power to vote via the Disruptathon app.

The 28 companies were:

AakinaTek, LLC

Aardvark Sensors

Activity Rocket LLC


Augaroo, Inc.


Barrel of Jobs



CloudeAssurance, Inc.








Kapta Systems

Kinergy Health, LLC


My Design Guide.com




RideLeads Inc.


Speek Inc.

Syllabuster, Inc.

By audience vote the three “Best of BUZZ” at this years TechBUZZ 12 are:


Augaroo is building a next generation real time big data visualization system called Zoomdata. The system processes real-time data streams and generates tactile, interactive visualizations on web and mobile denies. Through Zoomdata, which is currently beta testing, users can experience data analysis in an entirely new way.

Cont3nt.com was the winter of the Startup America TechBUZZ Challenge Contest earlier this month. They won the coveted 28th presenter spot in today’s competition.  Cont3nt is a real-time marketplace for entrepreneurial media and visual journalism. The platform allows video journalists to monetize their content in new disruptive ways without having to “know somebody”.

Speek is a simplified conference calling ervice which leverages modern web services and VOIP/Telephony takeaways. Speek users will be able to own a “Spek” line which may be shared via a personal URL. Speek leverages viral growth principals and will offer free and premium services.

TechBUZZ kicked off today in Washington DC with a keynote from Founder and CEO of Opower Dan Yates. Tonight will be an evening of festivities celebrating the “Sterling Companies” alumni of the 25 year Capital Connection program.

Tomorrow there will be pitches on the main stage by companies who are a little further along then the ones today. They may come seeking funding, they could also be pre-IPO. No matter what, Nibletz the voice of startups everywhere else, will bring you all the action.

Tomorrow rounds out with a keynote by America Online founder Steve Case. Later tomorrow evening is a TechCocktail DC Sessions event with Startup America CEO Scott Case (no relation).


DC TechEd Startup Grade Ninja Revolutionizes Grading With ScanTron

Grade Ninja was born when Daniel Kleinman noticed that his sisters were spending their nice weekend days not going outside, jogging, shopping or even relaxing. His sisters are school teachers and they were constantly using up their free time grading Scantron sheets, something that ideally was supposed to be a fast process because it’s Scantron.  That wasn’t the case and Kleinman wanted to do something about it.

Kleinman created an iPad app that uses the iPad’s camera to take a picture of the Scantron sheet and check it against a master. Kleinman, a self-taught Objective C programmer was able to refine the app so it has a margin of error of, at best, 1%. Things like how fast the sheet is fed and if the sheet is still perfectly in tact can swing the margin of error far greater when using a Scantron machine to grade.

I noticed it first with my sisters and my mom. Why are dedicated teachers spending so much time outside of school grading? Teachers spend about a day a week grading, roughly 8 hours. What if we could give this time back? This is why I created Grade Ninja. Kleinman told Carl Pierce of InTheCapital.com

In addition to freeing up teacher’s valuable free time Kleinman’s app will link back to gradebook apps making the grading process seemless and far more accurate than having to transpose anything.  From their website:

GradeNinja can cut grading and recording time down to a fraction of what you spend now. Instantly scan multiple choice tests and input scores directly into your gradebook. Use the ultra fast grid to enter all your scores in a flash for any assignment types.

Kleinmann is sneakerstrapping this startup but we’re sure it’s going to become a hot commodity as TechEd continues its nationwide explosion. As for ScanTron grading, there are so many other issues our public schools need to work out before they make a move away from traditional ScanTron machine.

source: InTheCapital


DC Mayor Vincent Gray Makes Tax Changes To Attract Tech Companies & Startups

Washington DC Mayor Vincent Gray has announced some tax changes that are designed to keep the districts budding tech scene building to scale. The changes he outlined recently will be formally announced to the city council on April 17th.

The first tax change is that District residents who invest in technology companies or take on equity as part of their employment would be subject to a 3 percent capital gains tax that they hold on investments they hold for two years or longer.

Gray’s other tax plan for DC is to do away with the borders for the tax technology zones.  As it stands now there are certain areas within the district where companies have no income tax for five years from the time they register with city offices. Gray has decided to make this a city wide tax break

“We want to make sure it’s as easy as possible for tech entrepreneurs and business people to set up their business in the city without worrying about which streets are in and which streets are out,” said David Zipper, the city’s  director of business development and strategy.

These tax breaks are designed to grow the number of early stage investors who reside in the city. and encourage startups to remain after they cash in.

source: Washington Post