Controversial car start-up's new ploy: Kitten rides
The latest news from the CNBC Disruptor50 companies upending the status quo in the markets:
Uber's whiskered whisk
Private car service Uber has run afoul of regulators all over the transportation map. It's hired a small army of lobbyists to fight (or cozy up to) the establishment, but this past Tuesday it found a better way to ingratiate itself. This past Tuesday was National Cat Day, and Uber got into the feline act by partnering with popular meme site Cheezburger to deliver kittens in New York, San Francisco, and Seattle, according to a report on CNET.
Uber's app included a "KITTENS!" option on Tuesday between the hours of 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Philosopher Emmanuel Kant said you can measure a man's morality in how he treats animals (or something like that) and so, maybe you can measure the true heart of a disruptive start-up in its ability to match on-demand car service with on-demand cats.
(Read more: Amazon State, Apple U, Google College)
The people in your neighborhood
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner John Doerr has been playing catch-up in social networking investing, and a report in the Los Angeles Times this past week detailed his latest bet, beyond buying into Facebook at a $52 billion valuation and CNBC Disruptor Twitter at a $3.7 billion valuation. Nextdoor, the social network for neighbors, raised $60 million from Doerr's Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and other investors. Comcast Ventures (owned by CNBC parent Comcast) was also an investor in the round.
Teens are abandoning Facebook, according to analysis of its earnings report from this past week, but maybe those teens are simply looking next door, to "the Facebook of neighborhoods." Nextdoor is a private network "to find a babysitter, borrow a cup of sugar, organize a block party or spread word of a break-in," according to the report. The company has raised $100 million in less than a year and is now valued at more than $500 million. It's in 22,500 neighborhoods in the U.S., or one in every seven.
(Read more: Charts that changed the world)
Vertical integration: Hipster edition
This past Monday, The Corner Shop, a full service barbershop offering inexpensive hipster haircuts opened in Greenwich Village. It's not an ordinary barber chair, though, according to a report on Mashable. An offshoot of men's grooming products company Harry's—which is itself a side project of Warby Parker co-founder Jeff Raider—The Corner Shop aims to do for your "do" what Warby has done for your eyewear. That would be to vertically integrate affordable style in a retail setting. Warby Parker now has a flagship store in Soho, and The Corner Shop is selling Harry's grooming products.
Why did the chicken cross the road?
So you could rent it, of course.
We've featured Rent the Runway's pioneering retail rental model as a CNBC Disruptor, and we've featured smart thermostat company Nest, And even today, we've seen how a sharing economy company can take cute animals and put them to work, but who could have predicted that a bizarrre barnyard breeding experiment of the Rent the Runway model and a nest could result in online chicken rental businesses. According to the New York Times, it's a birdgeoning business niche. Rent the Chicken is one of a handful of backyard chicken rental businesses that have cropped up in states including Michigan, Massachusetts and Maryland.
Rent the Chicken founder Phil Tompkins told the Times, "They walk up to you and talk to you. They want to interact with you. They're like a cat or dog, except they're a chicken." In fact, Uber is reportedly in hostile takeover talks for Rent the Chicken so it can kittens deliver a dozen eggs to your door. Just kidding! But who knows where this sharing economy will stop?
(Read more: Apps are collecting your intimate data)
Hot for teacher
This past week CNBC Disruptors went to school. We unveiled the first-ever CNBC Disruptors for the education sector and posed the question: An education crisis is good for capitalism, but are the capitalists who are attacking this crisis good for education? Within a decade, half of education texts will move online and half of U.S. higher education institutions will be out of business. Think that's crazy talk? You haven't been speaking to "the most hated teachers in America."
Prepare for your grandkid to attend Google U.
—By Eric Rosenbaum, CNBC.com