Rip Empson is a writer and rabble-rouser at TechCrunch. He covers startups. Why? Because some of those startups are the next Googles, Facebooks and Twitters of the world, they just can’t afford the office space yet. Plus, entrepreneurs tend to be more insane (and interesting) than the average human. Within the Whacky World Of Startups, Rip focuses on music, social, mobile, sports, health and education – with an emphasis on the latter two.
He’s a really great guy, and you might like him, but only if you call him after 9am PT. Only. Otherwise, he can be a little bit stabby.
He gets a lot of email, most of it Viagra spam, but also a few pitches. So if you don’t hear back from him right away, the first and only thing you should do is take it extremely personally. That usually helps. Then write a strongly-worded email.
Rip has been quoted by various people at various times – some of them publications referencing his work – some of them people mistakenly re-tweeting him thinking he’s Rip Torn. VCs have been investing in the companies he writes about for three years now and still haven’t thanked him. That’s not why he does this, granted, but it still just doesn’t seem very polite, does it?
He enjoys writing about not only startups and things that are disrupting the disruptable disruptions, but ideas that are actually going to change the world. And make it a better place. That’s why he follows book larnin’ tech and next-gen stethoscope apps. Also because he is a hypochondriac and never graduated from 5th grade. HUZZAH!
You can reach him at rip[at]techcrunch[dot]com … but don’t send him copy-and-pasted press releases, or he’ll say mean and nasty things behind your back even if he’s nice to your face.
As to what he’s doing right now? He’s either transferring his life savings from Scramble With Friends tokens to Bitcoin or vice versa. Hard to say, really.
Disclosure: Rip does want you to endorse him on LinkedIn, but don’t tell anyone about it, it’s embarrassing. It also turns out he owns shares in a technology-focused ETF, though he has absolutely no idea what that means. However, Google informs him that it’s an index fund that includes Apple, Microsoft, Intel, Oracle, Google, AT&T and Verizon. He does not hold any individual investments in these or any other tech companies. Or does he? Just kidding, he doesn’t.CrunchBase profile →
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If today isn’t your first day in the tech industry (or reading TechCrunch), then you’re likely familiar with the rise of the accelerator program, a phenomenon that has swept through Startup Land like wildfire over the last five years. Pioneered by early movers like Y Combinator and TechStars as part of experiments that aimed to identify the best ways to support nascent companies during… Read More
Three Classes In, Boost.vc Is Raising A New Fund With Plans To Incubate 100 Bitcoin Startups By 2016
Adam Draper and Brayton Williams launched Boost.vc in 2012 at a time when the accelerator market was beginning to burst at the seams with new entrants — some would say it was nearing saturation. In an effort to differentiate their approach and attract quality startups amidst the growing noise in Accelerator Land, the Boost founders decided to put a premium on experimentation. For the… Read More
YC-Backed CareMessage Is On A Mission To Improve Health Literacy By Bringing Mobile Healthcare To The Underserved
It’s no secret that the U.S. healthcare system is in desperate need of change, especially as costs have continued to rise, while the quality of care remains the same. While technology will play a critical role in reversing this trend, many assume that improving outcomes is simply a matter of putting smarter technology in the doctor’s office. However, the problem isn’t a scourge… Read More
In 18K Schools And Counting, Clever Confirms $10.3M Raise From Sequoia, As It Looks To Build The Next Big Learning Platform
Clever launched out of Y Combinator in 2012 on a mission to help K-12 schools bring the latest education software into their classrooms. By giving districts a central way to manage student and teacher accounts in each learning application, and closely integrating those apps with their existing data systems, Clever saves developers from having to write one-off integrations for every school district… Read More
Unbabel Launches A Human-Edited Machine Translation Service To Help Businesses Go Global, Localize Customer Support
Today, you can be anywhere in the world in a matter of clicks. Thanks to globalization and the plucky old Information Superhighway, our world is shrinking. Inquisitive globetrotters can pop over to Google Earth, pilot through volcanoes in Hawaii or navigate a few Norwegian fjords and still be home for dinner. Vasco de Gama? Not impressed. The sheer number of people not only coming online but… Read More
With Over $100M Raised, P2P Lending Platform CommonBond Expands To 100 Programs To Help Grad Students Reduce Debt
New York City-based CommonBond launched in late 2012 on a mission to bring the power of person-to-person lending and crowdsourcing to the student debt crisis. With student debt in the U.S. having surpassed $1 trillion, college grads find themselves in an ugly situation today when it comes to subsidizing their education. Borrowing money from Uncle Sam means turning to federal loans and their high… Read More
What eCommerce Boom? From Amazon Textbooks To New Seed Funds, Education Technology Is Exploding In Brazil
Over the last decade, Brazil has “come online” in a big way. The percentage of people using the Web in Brazil leapt from 9 percent in 2002 to about 50 percent in 2012, according to the ITU. With 60 million Brazilians now using Facebook, thanks to increasing access to the Internet and the rise of social media, the country is undergoing a digital transformation — and with that… Read More
Looking To Serve 17M In 2014, SimpleTuition Lands $26M To Help Students Afford College, Pay Off Loans
By now, you’ve probably heard about the mounting student loan crisis. Thanks to the financial crisis, the high cost of a college degree and comparatively high interest rates in the U.S., some 40 million Americans have amassed somewhere between $1.08 and $1.2 trillion in debt. With the average debt load nearing $30K per student in the class of 2012, it’s no wonder student loan debt owns… Read More
Another Day, Another EdTech Giant Acquired: Following Renaissance Learning, Education Software Veteran Skillsoft Sells For $2B+
It’s been an active week in the world of education software, with this weekend bringing news of the second big-ticket acquisition of a veteran EdTech company in as many days. Last week, Renaissance Learning, the 29-year-old, Google Capital-backed analytics and assessment giant, was acquired by private equity firm Hellman & Friedman for a hefty $1.1 billion. On the same day, rumors of… Read More
With 40% Of U.S. Doctors Signed On, Doximity’s Jeff Tangney Reveals How The Social Network For M.D.s Hit The Tipping Point
With the arrival of Obamacare, millions of uninsured Americans are entering the healthcare system for the first time. As these new patients happily stream into waiting rooms, doctors are scrambling to keep pace with the increasing demand. Preserving a high standard of care amidst the waiting room blitz requires greater efficiency from medical practices, and doctors are desperate for solutions that… Read More
For most students, learning within the traditional confines of the educational system has been something to be endured, rather than something that’s just as fun as it is rewarding. Every student knows that learning is more fun when content it comes alive and is personalized. In other words, when it’s actually adaptive, interactive and engaging. Thankfully, advances in adaptive learning… Read More
With 10K Schools On Board, BrightBytes Lands $15M To Help Measure The Real Impact Of Technology In Education
Over the last year, BrightBytes has become a personal favorite in the ballooning world of education startups. The reason for this begins with the fact that when it comes to our beleaguered education system — from its skyrocketing costs to its middling outcomes and dwindling resources — many have begun to look at technology as a savior. Certainly few would argue that the litany of new… Read More
Seeing 15M Travelers In 2013, Gogobot Goes After Kayak With New Hotel Metasearch Utility To Help You Find The Best Deals
Gogobot launched in 2010 in the early stage of a wave of new interest in the social travel space, as a glut of new startups promised to as a new generation of companies promised to transform stodgy old travel with the magic of the social graph. Some of those players built products on top of Facebook, growing quickly thanks to the instant-scale of Facebook’s platform. However, it was a… Read More
Fresh From IPO, Wix Acquires Israeli Startup Appixia To Bring Native Mobile Commerce Support To 42M Users
Wix emerged in 2006 as part of a new generation of startups on a mission to do for website creation what Blogger, WordPress and Tumblr have done for bloggers and content creators. Riding the increasing demand for easy-to-use, DIY website builders, Wix is now one of the largest platforms of its kind on the Web, along with Weebly and SquareSpace. With over 40 million people now using its free web… Read More
Historically, the U.S. educational system has struggled to get young people excited by and involved with STEM-related fields, especially computer science, which has actually seen a steady decline in participation over the last two decades, according to Time Magazine. Luckily, the winds of reform have begun to sweep into education, and parents, educators and even Uncle Sam have begun to pressure on… Read More
Priceline Buys Israel’s Qlika For $15-20M To Boost Global Expansion With Rocket Science-Powered Ad Tech
Qlika launched out of UpWest’s fourth batch of Israeli-American startups in March to tackle a big problem in online marketing: Localization. In other words, what’s the point of spending millions of dollars on marketing campaigns — across search, social and display — if those campaigns look exactly the same in California as they do in Sydney? Ideally, with conversion rates… Read More
Ingram Buys CourseSmart, As Two Largest eTextbook Players Unite, Point The Way To A Post-Textbook Future
Over the past few years, change has come to the textbook market in a big way. Chegg, one of the first companies to bring textbook purchasing and rentals online and reach a sizable audience, has begun to re-position. Affordable, “open” digital textbook pioneer, Flat World Knowledge, is moving “beyond” the publishing business, too. Pearson has been seeing lower demand for its… Read More
If we’re going to prepare future generations for the increasingly technical workforce, and world, then computer science and engineering will need to be given greater credence in early education — both in and outside of the classroom. While that may sound like a given to some readers, the fact is that the U.S. education system is struggling to get young people excited about and engaging… Read More
A Year From Launch, Skillshare Lands $6M From USV, Spark To Double Down On Its Project-Based, Online Classes
Skillshare launched in 2011 to give those interested in continuing to learn outside the classroom a place to get real-world skills from both online and offline classes. Over the past year, the New York-based startup has moved towards the massive, open online course approach, connecting subject experts across industries with anyone looking to “get their learn on” through interactive… Read More
With $500K In The Bank, Credible Launches A Kayak-Style Marketplace To Simplify Student Loan Refinancing
With outstanding student debt now over $1 trillion in the U.S., it’s clear that college grads are struggling mightily to make payments and refinance their debt. Meanwhile, thanks to decades of plummeting borrowing costs, millions upon millions of consumers have been able to refinance mortgages and begin paying down debt. In some irrational alternate universe, one might expect that lenders… Read More