Friday, June 26, 2009

Oneforty is First Company in TechStars Boston to Get Seed Funding

TechStars' first-ever summer program for entrepreneurs in Boston started on May 26th. Fifteen days later, on June 10th, the first team got funding. That must be some kind of land speed record.

The funded company is Oneforty, founded by Boston Twitter maven Laura 'Pistachio' Fitton. Fitton, who has 35,000 followers on Twitter, is also the author of 'Twitter for Dummies,' just published. (Makes me wonder if someone has already written 'Twitter for Sophisticates.' Is it really that complex?) Fitton also runs Pistachio Consulting, based in Brighton, Ma.

Investors describe the new company's goal as creating an "app store for Twitter," bringing together in one place all the free and paid apps designed to enhance Twitter's value and utility. Fitton herself isn't wild about the phrase "app store for Twitter," instead describing the company as "a Twitter ecosystem play" that intends to "help people make sense of the Twitter ecosystem, and find, rate and share apps." Fitton noted that she'd started talking with potential investors before the TechStars program began.

Several angel investors have put less than $250,000 into the company, I'm told. They include Jeff Bennett of NameMedia (formerly of Lycos) and John Landry of Lead Dog Ventures (formerly of Lotus). Oneforty is still a bit virtual. Fitton is out in San Francisco developing the site with Pivotal Labs. She has two full-time employees starting next week at the TechStars office in Cambridge, and several others working on the project as contractors.

"I invested very much in [Laura], and her network and her enthusiasm, which is really quite contagious," Landry says. "She believes that Twitter is an infrastructure. She's on a mission, and she will figure out how to make this pay off."

Nice start for TechStars Boston, which wraps up in late August.

(In the video below, shot at SXSW in March, Fitton dodges some questions about Oneforty...starting at about the one-minute mark.)

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