Web/Tech Hub

VentureOut Fund Seeks To Invest in LGBT-led Startups

VentureOut-Logo-with-text-300x200Launch Angels, a Boston area venture capital firm, is looking to breathe life into fledgling startups helmed by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender founders with its VentureOut Fund. Much of the innovation that comes out of Silicon Valley is a direct result of angel investing, VC funding, and mentorship within startup incubators. Currently in the process of raising $2 Million from some 15-20 investors, VentureOut hopes to connect with 15-20 startups currently in their seed stage.

Affinity funding, the idea of investors partnering together around a central idea or purpose, has been Launch Angels CEO Shereen Shermak’s primary focus in guiding the firm. Currently Launch Angels has focused primarily on mobile and consumer companies, but it’s looking to diversify its portfolio.


“So many more folks are out of the closet in the business world than were even five years ago,” Said Greg Wiles, the managing director of the VentureOut Fund. According to Wiles, funds like VentureOut would have languished in the recent past, considering that the world of venture capitalist is composed of primarily straight, white men.

VentureOut, says Wiles, wants to set its fund apart by reaching out to those founders who might have an amazing idea, but perhaps not as much experience with the startup world. Moreover, the fund sees the potential in tapping into the closely-knit, grassroots-y social networks that are often the driving force behind social causes spearheaded by LGBT organizations.

Browser Plugin Reveals Who Is Funding Your Congressperson


Money perpetually plays shenanigans in politics and it can be hard to keep track of who is funded by which organizations and lobbyists. 16-year-old self-taught coder Nicholas Rubin decided to make things a little bit easier by creating Greenhouse, a web browser plugin that will fetch campaign contribution data and display it on screen when you mouse over a Congressperson's name on a webpage. Rubin's motivation for creating the app: 

Exactly one hundred years ago, in Harper's Weekly, Louis Brandeis made the frequently quoted statement that "sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants." Brandeis's preceding sentence in the article may be less well known, but it is equally important: "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases." I created Greenhouse to shine light on a social and industrial disease of today: the undue influence of money in our Congress. This influence is everywhere, even if it is hidden. I aim to expose and publicize that disease through technology that puts important data where it is most useful, on websites where people read about the actions, or inaction, of members of Congress every day.

The app pulls data from OpenSecrets.org, and while it still needs a little tweaking - it sometimes mistakenly highlights close matches for names and doesn't always recognize names depending on a site's formatting - it's an immensely informative plugin for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.

Senator Al Franken Steps Up Fight To Save Net Neutrality: VIDEO


We are in danger of losing Net Neutrality now that the FCC Chair Tom Wheeler is considering letting internet and cable providers create data "fast lanes" for companies willing to shell out the money for it, relegating everyone else to crippled bandwidth. Net Neutrality, for those unfamiliar, essentially states that ISPs can't discriminate in terms of allocating bandwidth to specific sites, that speed is only influenced by the bandwidth capacity and location of the ISPs servers.

Losing Net Neutrality means that providers could charge extra for unimpeded access to sites like YouTube, or that Comcast (for example) could reduce access to Amazon Instant Video to a crawl in order to make the content on NBC - whom they own - more palatable.

Senator Al Franken is taking a stand against the potential loss of Net Neutrality and has a petition up to call for the FCC Chair to either abide by President Obama's promise to defend Net Neutrality, or to step down from his position. As of this writing, the petition has 90% of the required signatures needed.

You can watch a slightly gaming-centric rundown of Net Neutrality by Extra Credits and Senator Franken's call to action AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Senator Al Franken Steps Up Fight To Save Net Neutrality: VIDEO" »

GayGamer Profiles 11 Tech And Entertainment Industry Prop 8 Donors

Brendan Eich Firefox

The recent controversy over Brendan Eich, the Mozilla CEO who donated to California's Prop 8, has reopened some old discussions and prompted GayGamer.net's Jean-Luc "Neshoba" Pierite to do some digging into that donor list and see who else in the tech and entertainment industries contributed to the fight against marriage equality.

Aided by a database tool provided online by the LA Times, Pierite profiled almost a dozen individuals from various sectors of the entertainment and tech industry. Some of the offenders include:

  • Jeremy Gess, former Sr. Game Designer for Defiance at Trion Worlds, who donated $100
  • Hyrum V. Osmond, Character Animator at Walt Disney Feature Animation and worked on Frozen and Wreck-It Ralph, who donated $2200
  • Aldric La'auli Porter, Assistant Director and Co-Producer for various films including The Hunger Games series and A Beautiful Mind, who donated $6000
  • Keneth Swanson, creator of JavaScript and engineer at Oracle/Sun Microsystems, who donated $8901 as well as $2000 for Family Research Council Action PAC

You can read the full list at GayGamer.net and use the LA Times database tool to search for other donors who wasted their money to fight against equality.

Is This What Facebook Has In Mind For The Oculus Rift? - VIDEO


Four days ago, Facebook acquired the crowd-funded virtual reality firm Oculus for $2 billion. Oculus, of course, is the creator of the Oculus Rift, a headset that immerses viewers into virtual reality environments.

But what does Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have in mind for the Oculus Rift? One YouTuber imagines a future where pointless status updates and endless ads ruin all possibility of immersive gameplay. Oh, and where Zuckerberg teabags you in mockery — fun!

Watch the video, AFTER THE JUMP…

Continue reading "Is This What Facebook Has In Mind For The Oculus Rift? - VIDEO" »

SXSW 2014 - Witness The Technology That Will Make Holodecks A Reality:VIDEO


Sxsw_2014_bugWhile at the SXSW Gaming Expo, we spoke with Jordan Williams the President and CEO of Captured Dimensions, a company that uses image capturing technology to create three-dimensional figurines, holograms and computer images.

According to Williams, 3D imaging will inevitably lead to the creation of real-world virtual environments like the one seen on Star Trek’s holodeck. As the technology improves and becomes gains more video capability, it could also help render realistic 3D digital images of the human anatomy, complex costumes, archeological sites, famous sculptures, theatrical sets or even wholly artificial environments viewable through devices like the Oculus Rift.

See? We told you 3D imaging was the future

See the interview with Williams AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "SXSW 2014 - Witness The Technology That Will Make Holodecks A Reality:VIDEO" »


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