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Relevance is key to social marketing of IHG’s hotels

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014
Nick Ayres

Nick Ayres

By Allan Maurer

Relevance is a key element in digital content from the International Hotel Group (IHG). So says IHG’s Director of Social Marketing, Nick Ayres.

One of the world’s leading hotel companies, with 161 million guests nights per year, 687,000 rooms in over 4,600 hotels in nearly 100 countries and territories around the world.

Ayres is among more than 100 thought-leaders, executives, and technology icons participating in the Digital Summit Atlanta May 20-21.

IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) [LON:IHG, NYSE:IHG (ADRs)] is a global organization with a broad portfolio of nine hotel brands, including InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo®, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn® Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express®, Staybridge Suites®, Candlewood Suites®, EVEN™ Hotels and HUALUXE™ Hotels & Resorts.

The first consideration

In its social media marketing efforts, Ayres says, “As we focus on content creation and curation, our first consideration is guest relevance.” Sometimes, he adds, that means “Walking a fine line between what’s important to us as a brand and what our guests find interesting. We look for that sweet spot where the two overlap.”

So, they’re not prone to posting a lot of crazy cat pictures, he notes. Instead, they post items about destinations or tidbits about our brand that might not be front and center.”

In general, he says, as most marketers have found, “Visual is more engaging than text. The photos we share on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram perform way better than text.”

willarddc

The historic Intercontinental Willard in DC.

Not surprisingly, people love posts about beautiful beach destinations. In other cases, the company’s landmark hotels, such as the Intercontinental Willard in Washington, DC, have historical and cultural relevance that make interesting material for posts.

Don’t be company centric

He advises that social media marketers avoid being “company centric.” “Work with your partners to find interesting content.” IHG’s Crown Plaza, for instance, has a partnership with the PGA  that leads to good content.

They also look for unusual elements of their properties – several of their hotel groups are pet friendly, for instance, while some of their Holiday Express hotels have pancake makers. “We found a way to discuss the pancake maker,” Ayres says. “Little nuggets of content can add personality and flare to the brand.”

He says they also target geographically, aiming content at the demographics as well as the psychographics of their customers.”

 

 

 

 

 

Grotech raises new $225M fund for early stage tech

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Grotech VenturesVienna, VA-based Grotech Ventures, which invests in early stage tech firms, has raised a new $225 million fund. The fund was oversubscribed by more than 10 percent, and was raised from both existing and new investors. GV II bringsGrotech’s total capital under management to $1.3B across all funds.

Frank Adams, the firm’s managing general partner, told PE Hub that raising the fund took 20 months because institutional investors were “slow and methodical in their due diligence process, more so than in the 29 years we’ve been doing this.”

Grotech Partner Don Rainey tells the TechJournal that the company is investing in Mid-Atlantic and Mid-West early stage IT firms in Enterprise and infrastructure software, social and cloud computing, security tech, consumer Internet, ecommerce, and energy and healthcare It.

Includes Charlotte, Atlanta, RTP

For Grotech, Mid-Atlantic includes the Carolinas and Atlanta, Rainey notes. Adams told PE Hub the company is spending a good deal of time in Atlanta and Charlotte, NC, for instance, developing deep relationships.

Rainey says that while parts of the social sector are crowded and the opportunity has passed, “There is still a lot of greenfield in it.”

Grotech typically invests the first institutional money a startup raises and continues to invest as the firm grows. Its strategy includes forming top-tier industry syndicates with other investors. It generally invests from $200,000 to $20 million in startups, although initial investments tend to be smaller.

Grotech, which has offices in Virginia, Maryland and Colorado, has already made 12 investmetns from the new fund and continues to invest from its current fund, which has performed well.

We asked Rainey if its harder for tech startups to get that first investment these days.

Don Rainey

Don Rainey

“For top tier entrepreneurs its about the same,” he says. “For the next tier that isn’t as obvious as a backable startup, it’s tougher. If you’re the guy or gal who sold your last company for $500 million and you’re doing another raise for a new company, you can expect the processs to be about the same as it was two, five, or ten years ago.”

Successful exits

It recently secured a major exit with NexGen Storage, which Fusion-lo Inc. acquired in April for about $119 million in cash and stock.

It’s largest exit so far was from the DC-based daily deals site LivingSocial. It led the company’s $5 million Series A round and has since sold chunks of its stake to Amazon, Lightspeed Venture Partners, T. Rowe Price and other buyers for more than $200 million.

Overall, Grotech’s last $109 million fund, which closed in 2009, has a current IRR of 70 percent. — Allan Maurer

Top 10 markets and occupations for IT workers

Monday, April 29th, 2013

Monster.comA “Recruiting for IT Talent” survey of U.S. companies conducted by Monster, the worldwide leader in successfully connecting people to job opportunities and flagship brand of Monster Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: MWW), revealed a large majority of employers who hire for IT professionals are likely to hire in the next 60 days.

Their hiring activity is primarily driven by staff increases (60%) and company expansion (45%).

Employers of all sizes are focused on IT roles that support aligning business and technology goals with primary hiring needs; this includes application development (72%), database analysis and development (58%), web design/development (57%), networking (56%), and business intelligence/analytics (55%).

IT demand remains stable

“The demand for IT expertise remains relatively stable with employers confident that they will look to fill these types of roles in the near-term,” said Jeffrey Quinn, Vice President of Monster’s Global Insights. “Meanwhile, on the job seeker side, the IT jobs viewed on Monster see millions of views each month, indicating high interest by, if not volume of potential candidates seeking employment in this field.”

While the survey revealed nearly one-half (49%) of employers were confident in their ability to find the talent they need for all these roles, some hiring challenges remain, including:

  • A skills gap, with 70% of employers reporting the number of qualified candidates available to fill all the opportunities as smaller than the total opportunities, creating increased competition for talent;
  • Specialized requirements, with 52% of employers reporting many of these technical roles are increasingly defined by highly specific skills further limiting the number of qualified candidates;
  • An inability to attract talent due to compensation. 52% of employers report they are unable to compete on salary alone.

More than one-half (53%) of employers responded that there are fewer IT Professionals searching for jobs in the U.S. And, nearly half of employers (48%) believe IT jobs continue to be outsourced to other countries, a contributing factor to a shrinking number of U.S.-based IT jobs to be available.

For those who may be seeking employment in the IT fields, it’s important to note that the majority of employers (92%) feel that careers in IT are promising and rewarding.

Additionally these companies believe academic training is not enough (40%) while certifications provide an advantage (85%). Employers also report that qualifications beyond technical skills that are critical to the assessment of IT talent include: communication skills, personality/cultural fit, type of work experience and interpersonal skills.

Here are the top occupations and markets for IT jobs by volume1:

Top 10 Occupations:

1. Software Developers, Applications
2. Web Developers
3. Computer Systems Analysts
4. Network and Computer Systems Administrators
5. Computer User Support Specialists
6. Information Technology Project Managers
7. Computer Programmers
8. Software Quality Assurance Engineers and Testers
9. Computer Systems Engineers/Architects
10. Database Administrators

Top 10 Markets for IT:

1. New York
2. Washington DC
3. Boston
4. Los Angeles
5. Dallas-Fort Worth
6. Chicago
7. Atlanta
8. San Francisco
9. San Jose
10. Philadelphia

For a copy of the full report, visit the Monster Resource Center.

50 high growth companies presenting at Southeast Venture Conference

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

SEVC 2013You can make connections with 50 high growth technology companies from the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic as they present to hundreds of executives from the region’s innovation, entrepreneurial and venture communities at the Southeast Venture Conference March 13-14th at the Ritz-Carlton Charlotte, North Carolina.

In addition to presenting companies and hours of executive networking – the conference will feature a speaker line up inlcuding SAP CEO Bill McDermott, dozens of leading venture capital investors from groups like Advanced Technology Ventures, Intel Capital and Edison Ventures; industry  insiders like Forbes publisher Rich Karlgaard and policy makers such as North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory.

This year’s confirmed presenting company line-up includes:

SEVC

The Southeast Venture Conference is headed to Charlotte, NC, in March 2013. The event offers firms a chance to present to top national venture capitalists and angel investors.

In addition to the showcase presenters and hours of networking – SEVC 2013 will feature current market relevant panel and presentation topics for investors and executive entrepreneurs. These events sell out, so register now if you plan on going.

Panel & Presentation topics include:

  • State of Venture Capital
  • Early Stage Fundraising
  • Value Creation: Company/Investor Relationship
  • Growth Stage Funding
  • M&A Outlook and Strategies
  • LP Viewpoint
  • SaaS Investment Trends
  • Getting to Market
  • IPO & Secondary Market Outlook
  • Entrepreneur’s Roundtable
  • International Health Care Trends

Top ten cities for private tech M&A ranked

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013
Washington DC

Washington, DC made this years list of the top ten cities for private tech M&A at number 7.

PrivCo has released rankings of the Top U.S. Cities For Private Tech M&A, based on the number of private tech companies acquired in 2012.

PrivCo has provided its Exclusive Top 10 Ranking below, with Silicon Valley ranking as the #1 metro area with 226 private tech company acquisitions in 2012.

Ranked just behind it were New York (Ranked #2) & Boston (Ranked #3).

San Diego, Research Triangle miss top ten

Interestingly, up-and-coming tech hubs like New York City, Los Angeles, and Atlanta are challenging traditional leaders like Raleigh-Durham’s “research triangle” and biotech hub San Diego, who missed this year’s Top 10 U.S. Cities For Private Tech M&A.

Top 10 U.S. Cities For Private Tech M&A in 2012

(Ranked By Total Number of U.S. Private Tech Companies Acquired in Each Metro Area)

1. Silicon Valley
2. New York
3. Boston
4. Los Angeles
5. Seattle
6. Austin
7. Washington, D.C. (Arlington)
8. Atlanta
9. Dallas
10. Houston

To access PrivCo’s 350 page 2012 Private Tech M&A Industry Report:

http://www.privco.com/products/2012-m-and-a-industry-overview-technology-sector-volume-I

Grotech VC offers seven lessons on entrepreneurship “from the dark side”

Monday, February 18th, 2013

By Allan Maurer

Don Rainey

Don Rainey

Does price really matter in a venture financing deal? Can “small ideas” still get funded?

Don Rainey, a former entrepreneur, says his 12-years “on the dark side” as a venture capitalist, have taught him a handful of lessons that still serve him daily, among them, answers to those questions and others.

Rainey, a general partner with Grotech Ventures since 2007, was named to the Washingtonian’s “Tech Titans” list in 2011, and currently serves on the boards of Grotech portfolio companies Clarabridge, GramercyOne, HelloWallet, LivingSocial, Personal, SnappCloud, and Zenoss. He’s one of more than two-dozen venture capitalists and other investors participating in the upcoming Southeast Venture Conference in Charlotte, NC, March 13-14.

Price doesn’t matter

On his blog, VC in DC, Rainy outlined ten of the lessons about entrepreneurship that still guide him.

That business about price, for instance. “Price doesn’t really matter,” he says. “If you invest in something htat fails, it’s immaterial. If it wins, you might hope you had bought it a little cheaper, but you’ll always wish for that. The question is, is it something you believe in? If a deal works out, the price was right at some level. Get in good deals, and forget about getting the last dollar in a negotiation for that good deal.”

He adds, “We’re judged by whether the companies we invest in succeed, not the price.” Also, he notes, “Sometimes you do everything right and sill lose. Macro events can put real pressures on a company. Just think if you had gone into something aimed at financial services in 2007. Some things are beyond your control.”

Don’t pursue small ideas

Big ideas and small ideas are equally difficult, he says. But a venture capital firm has to have some multiple return on the capital it invests and can’t support small ideas, Rainey says. On his blog, he writes,  “What’s the point in trying to change the neighborhood when you can change the world.”

You’re not a rock star

“I’m very suspect of the venture capitalist who wants to be in front of the parade,” Rainey says. “That’s the role of the entrepreneur. We’re enablers, not the primary actors.”

Add value outside of board meetings

Portfolio company board meetings are not the place where a VC adds real value to the firm’s investment. “Private conversations over coffee, lunch, or late at night is when you really can influence the CEO,” Rainey says.

Don’t Invest in People who don’t take advice

Some entrepreneurs have a world class talent for ignoring good advice, Rainey notes on his blog. “I’ve done this 12 years and only had one CEO who ignored my advice and failed. He made a point of it. It wasn’t personal, he ignored everyone’s good advice. A good CEO listens to everyone.”

Then, he’ll let you know he heard you, saying something like, “I concur on these four items from your suggestions. “That’s what the smart ones do,” Rainey says. “They assimilate all that advice and incorporate it into their own perspective.”

Never Panic

Starting and running a business is often fraught with extreme ups and downs, more than one entrepreneur has told us. One day you land a really big customer, the next everyone you talk to says “No.” An entrepreneur has to be able to ride that roller coaster. “One of the great assets of an entrepreneur is confidence,” Rainey says.

“It does ebb and flow. There are days when you’re driving to work thinking there is no way you could be more screwed than you are at that moment, but when you get to work, you find out you were wrong, there are ways it can be worse. It’s hard. People don’t always appreciate how challenging it can be to be able to swing above your weight in the face of weeks or months of bad news. But you have to keep on fighting, even with a strong headwind.”

Be nice to people, it pays well

“In a business like ours,” Rainey says, “You have to say ‘no’ to 99 of 100 people who come to you for money. If you’re not nice to people, even when you have to say ‘no,’ they remember. They also remember if you were nice about it. None of knows where we’ll be in five years or what we’ll be doing.”

 

State and local governments wasting billions to lure firms from other states

Friday, January 25th, 2013

US mapState and local governments waste billions of dollars annually on economic development subsidies given to companies for moving existing jobs from one state to another rather than focusing on creating truly new positions, according to a study released today by Good Jobs First, a non-profit, non-partisan research center based in Washington, DC.

“What was long ago dubbed a Second War Between the States is, unfortunately, raging again in many parts of the country,” said Greg LeRoy , executive director of Good Jobs First and principal author of the report.

“The result is a vast waste of taxpayer funds, paying for the geographic reshuffling of existing jobs. By pretending that these jobs are new, public officials and the recipient companies engage in what amounts to interstate job fraud.”

Interstate job piracy is not a fruitful strategy for economic growth, LeRoy noted: “The costs are high and the benefits low, given that a tiny number of companies get huge subsidies for moving a small number of jobs.” LeRoy added: “Moreover, the availability of relocation subsidies allows companies that have no intention of moving to extract payoffs to stay put.”

Interstate relocations have microscopic job effects

Summarizing studies demonstrating that interstate relocations have microscopic job effects, the report also reviews the history of economic competition among the states and presents eight case studies of those areas where job piracy is most pronounced.

The case studies cover metropolitan areas such as Kansas City, Charlotte, New York and Memphis, where companies get subsidized to move short distances across state borders; states such as Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, New Jersey and Rhode Island that are aggressive users of relocation subsidies; and states such as Illinois and Ohio, which have given big retention or “job blackmail” packages.

The report recommends that states stop subsidizing companies for relocating jobs from other states, noting that four-fifths of the states already refuse to pay for intrastate job relocations.

The report also recommends that states end their business recruitment activities that are explicitly designed to pirate existing jobs from other states. It also suggests a modest role for the federal government: reserving a small portion of its economic development aid for those states that amend their incentive codes to make existing jobs ineligible for subsidies.

 The report, entitled The Job-Creation Shell Game, is available at www.goodjobsfirst.org/shellgame.

Open Table Diner’s Choice top 100 U.S. restaurants named

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

OpenTableIf you’re looking for that special restaurant in which to wine and dine a potential big ticket customer, woo a business partner, or just to have a great meal while at home or on the road, OpenTable (NASDAQ: OPEN), a provider of free, real-time online restaurant reservations for diners guest management solutions for restaurants, has named the 2012 Diners’ Choice Award winners for the Top 100 Best Restaurants in the United States.

These awards reflect the combined opinions of more than 5 million reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for more than 15,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

All restaurants with a minimum number of qualifying reviews were included for consideration.

Qualifying restaurants were then sorted according to a score calculated from each restaurant’s average rating in the “overall” category along with that restaurant’s rating relative to others in the same metropolitan area and the average number of restaurants reviewed by diners who reviewed that restaurant.

Based on this methodology, the following restaurants, listed in alphabetical order, comprise the Top 100 Best Restaurants in the U.S. according to OpenTable diners.

2012 Diners’ Choice Award Winners for the Top 100 Best Restaurants in the U.S.

Acquerello – San Francisco, California
Addison at The Grand Del Mar – San Diego, California
Altura – Seattle, Washington
Andrea at Pelican Hill – Newport Coast, California
Annisa – New York, New York
Artisanal Restaurant – Banner Elk, North Carolina
The Ashby Inn – Paris, Virginia
Atelier Crenn – San Francisco, California
Auberge du Soleil – Rutherford, California
Bacchanalia – Atlanta, Georgia
The Belvedere – Beverly Hills, California
Bibou – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Binkley’s Restaurant – Cave Creek, Arizona
Bistro L’Hermitage – Woodbridge, Virginia
Blue Hill at Stone Barns – Pocantico Hills, New York
Bouchard Restaurant and Inn – Newport, Rhode Island
Bouley – New York, New York
Café Provence – Prairie Village, Kansas
Café Renaissance – Vienna, Virginia
Canlis – Seattle, Washington
Capital Grille – Kansas City, Missouri
Capital Grille – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Carpe Vino – Auburn, California
Castle Hill Inn – Newport, Rhode Island
Chachama Grill – East Patchogue, New York
Chama Gaucha Brazilian Steakhouse – Downers Grove, Illinois
Charleston – Baltimore, Maryland
Charleston Grill – Charleston, South Carolina
Chez Francois – Vermilion, Ohio
Chez Nous French Restaurant – Humble, Texas
CityZen – Washington, D.C.
Commis – Oakland, California
Cottage Place Restaurant – Flagstaff, Arizona
Daniel – New York, New York
Daniel-Lounge Seating – New York, New York
Del Posto – New York, New York
Eleven Madison Park – New York, New York
Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant – Forestville, California
Fearrington House Restaurant – Pittsboro, North Carolina
Fountain Restaurant – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The French Laundry – Yountville, California
The French Room – Dallas, Texas
Geronimo – Santa Fe, New Mexico
The Goodstone Inn & Estate Restaurant – Middleburg, Virginia
Gracie’s – Providence, Rhode Island
Gramercy Tavern – New York, New York
Hannas Prime Steak – Rancho Santa Margarita, California
The Hobbit – Orange, California
Jean Georges – New York, New York
Joseph Tambellini – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
JUNGSIK – New York, New York
Kai – Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort – Chandler, Arizona
Keiko à Nob Hill – San Francisco, California
King Umberto – Elmont, New York
The Kitchen Restaurant – Sacramento, California
La Ciccia – San Francisco, California
La Folie – San Francisco, California
La Grenouille – New York, New York
L’Auberge Chez Francois – Great Falls, Virginia
Le Bernardin – New York, New York
Le Vallauris – Palm Springs, California
Le Yaca – Williamsburg, Virginia
L’Espalier – Boston, Massachusetts
The Loft at Montage Laguna Beach – Laguna Beach, California
Mama’s Fish House – Paia, Hawaii
Manresa – Los Gatos, California
Marcel’s – Washington, D.C.
Marinus-Bernadus Lodge – Carmel Valley, California
Menton – Boston, Massachusetts
Michael’s – South Point Casino – Las Vegas, Nevada
The Modern-Dining Room – New York, New York
n/naka – Los Angeles, California
NAOE – Miami, Florida
Nicholas – Red Bank, New Jersey
Norman’s at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando – Orlando, Florida
The North Fork Table & Inn – Southold, New York
o ya – Boston, Massachusetts
ON20 – Hartford, Connecticut
Orchids at Palm Court – Cincinnati, Ohio
The Painted Lady – Newberg, Oregon
Palace Arms at The Brown Palace – Denver, Colorado
Per Se – New York, New York
Perry Street Brasserie – Galena, Illinois
Providence – Los Angeles, California
Restaurant Alma – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Restaurant Iris – Memphis, Tennessee
Rover’s – Seattle, Washington
Rudy & Paco Restaurant & Bar – Galveston, Texas
Saint Jacques French Cuisine – Raleigh, North Carolina
Saison – San Francisco, California
Scalini Fedeli – New York, New York
ShinBay – Scottsdale, Arizona
Sonoma – Princeton, Massachusetts
Splendido – Beaver Creek, Colorado
Studio at Montage Laguna Beach – Laguna Beach, California
Tony’s – St. Louis, Missouri
Tosca Ristorante – Washington, D.C.
Vetri – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
VOLT – Frederick, Maryland
Woodfire Grill – Atlanta, Georgia

Diners can also read more about the Diners’ Choice Awards for the Top 100 Best Restaurants in the U.S. by visiting OpenTable Chief Dining Officer Caroline Potter’s “Dining Check” blog.

Telsa clinches top spot on Deloitte Technology Fast 500

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012
Telsa Model S

Telsa Model S

Tesla Motors, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) clinched the top spot in the Deloitte 012 Technology Fast 500 with fiscal year 2011 revenue of $204.24 million and a growth rate of 279,684 percent from 2007 to 2011.

Based in Palo Alto, Calif., the company designs and manufactures electric vehicles and electric vehicle power train components. Palo Alto Networks, in Santa Clara, CA, was second.

Software firms dominated the list for the 17th straight year, comprising 40 percent of the list with 200 companies. Biotech and the Internet sector tied for second place, each with 13 percent of the list.

“The 2012 Deloitte Technology Fast 500 winners have demonstrated remarkable innovation and spectacular growth,” said Eric Openshaw, vice chairman and U.S. technology, media and telecommunications leader, Deloitte.

“Some of the most exciting and useful developments of the future are being created by the companies on this list. We congratulate Tesla and all of the winning companies on this impressive achievement.”

“Tesla took great strides as a company this past year by successfully delivering Model S, the world’s first premium electric sedan to customers, and executing a steep production ramp while creating more than 2,000 jobs in the U.S.,” said Deepak Ahuja, chief financial officer at Tesla Motors. ”

The top ten ranked companies are as follows:

2012 Rank Company Sector Revenue Growth

(2007 to 2011)

City, State
1 Tesla Motors, Inc. Clean technology 279,684 percent Palo Alto, CA
2 Palo Alto Networks Communications/

Networking

166,938 percent Santa Clara, CA
3 Sagent Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Biotechnology/

pharmaceutical

146,443 percent Schaumburg, IL
4 FireEye, Inc. Communications/

Networking

55,413 percent Milpitas, CA
5 Aerohive Networks, Inc. Communications/

Networking

44,569 percent Sunnyvale, CA
6 Avail-TVN Media and entertainment 38,479 percent Reston, VA
7 NeoStem Biotechnology/

pharmaceutical

31,721 percent New York, NY
8 Avigilon Corporation Software 29,917 percent Vancouver, BC
9 Recondo Technology Software 25,482 percent Greenwood

Village, CO

10 EcoSynthetix Inc. Clean technology 25,327 percent Burlington, ON

Innovation hot spots continue to sizzle

Deloitte Technology Fast 500 winners hail from cities far and wide across North America - from Portland, Maine; to Denver, Colo.; to Vancouver, British Columbia. Of the dozens of cities represented on the list, some have a particularly strong track record of consistently attracting inventive entrepreneurs and providing them with a supportive environment.

“Creative and cutting-edge cities often have several things in common including access to capital, supportive local governments, and world-class education systems,” said Bill Ribaudo, national technology, media and telecommunications leader for audit and enterprise risk services, Deloitte & Touche.

“Many of these cities have the resources and culture that startups need to thrive, and so they have become innovation powerhouses and consistently turn out fast-growing companies year over year.”

Following is a list of innovative cities with a significant concentration of winners.

Location Percent of List Fastest-growing Company in the

Region

Company

Overall

Ranking

San Francisco Bay area 20 percent Tesla Motors, Inc. 1
Boston 9 percent HubSpot 17
New York 6 percent NeoStem 7
Los Angeles 6 percent EdgeCast Networks 13
Washington D.C. 6 percent Avail-TVN 6
Philadelphia 6 percent MeetMe, Inc. 32
San Diego 6 percent Optimer Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 15
Toronto 5 percent EcoSynthetix Inc. 10

Software still dominates

For the seventeenth consecutive year, software companies dominated the list, comprising 40 percent of the overall list with 200 companies. The biotechnology/pharmaceutical sector and internet sectors were tied for second place with 13 percent of the list, and the communications/networking sector came in at a close third place with 12 percent of the list.

Sector rankings are as follows:

Sector Sector make-up

of Fast 500

Fastest-growing Company in

the Sector

Company

Overall

Ranking

City, State
Software 40 percent Avigilon 8 Vancouver, BC
Biotechnology/

Pharmaceutical

13 percent Sagent Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 3 Schaumburg, IL
Internet 13 percent EdgeCast Networks 13 Santa Monica, CA
Communications/Networking 12 percent Palo Alto Networks 2 Santa Clara, CA
Clean Technology 7 percent Tesla Motors, Inc. 1 Palo Alto, CA
Medical devices 5 percent MAKO Surgical Corp. 18 Fort Lauderdale, FL
Media and entertainment 4 percent Avail-TVN 6 Reston, VA
Semiconductor 3 percent SiTime Corporation 38 Sunnyvale, CA
Computers/peripherals 2 percent Layer 7 Technologies 183 Vancouver, BC
Scientific/technical instrumentation 1 percent Obzerv 239 Quebec, QC

For additional detail on the Technology Fast 500 including the complete list and qualifying criteria, visit www.fast500.com

Angel funding bubble could burst by 2014

Friday, September 28th, 2012

By Allan Maurer

John Backus

John Backus is one of more than 60 thought-leaders participating in the Digital East event in Herndon, VA, next week.

Is there an angel-funding bubble that may burst as soon as 2014? John Backus, co-founder and managing partner at New Atlantic Ventures, an early-stage venture fund in Northern Virginia and Cambridge, MA, thinks so.

Backus, who is one of more than 60 thought-leaders participating in next week’s Digital East conference (Oct 2-3rd at the Westin in Herndon, VA), wrote in a recent blog post that  “We are in an angel bubble that will keep inflating when Crowdfunding meets Main Street in 2013. But the bubble will burst. Not tomorrow. But soon. Mark my word. Perhaps in 2014?”

Backus says he’s a big fan of angel investors and the startup incubators and accelerators that have formed over the last few years, but notes that only about 2.5 percent of angel funded companies will ever raise venture capital. Most of the rest, he says, “Crash and burn.”

Angel funded companies number over 60,000 now, and Backus expects crowdfunding, the JOBS Act, and incubators to kick that up to 70,000 to 100,000 in the next few years. “It may be easier for companies to raise a first round, but there will be more companies competing for venture capital money than today.”

He adds that while once companies that raised significant capital first could crowd out others. Now though, “Two kids with an allowance can get a Web company up quickly. My 14-year-old went to a app development camp and created a game. The new challenge is how do you break away and get yourself seen. That requires money.”

Started as Draper Atlantic

New Atlantic Ventures began in 1999 as Draper Atlantic and DFJ New England, two affiliates of the Draper Fisher Jurvetson network that worked closely together since inception.

From 1999 to 2006, Draper Atlantic and DFJ New England invested $180 million in 59 companies with investment returns in the top ten percent of all venture funds. The firms joined forces in 2006 to create New Atlantic Ventures, a venture capital firm with a past and present portfolio of companies that generated over $1 billion of revenue in 2011.

It invests from $250,000 to $3 million in early stage firms with a focus on mobile, e-commerce, ad tech, security, online education and the healthcare business. It’s current $117 million fund was raised in 2008.

The firm’s investments show where it sees profit in the future. We think many are on the cutting edge of digital technology in growth areas.

AppTap is a contextual app recommendations and advertising service reinventing the way apps are discovered and marketed. It serves over 150 million targeted, relevant app recommendations across partners like Sprint, AOL and USA TODAY.

Search paradigm doesn’t always work for mobile

“The search paradigm for apps doesn’t always work,” says Backus. “It doesn’t work unless you know the name of the app you’re searching for.” AppTap works to correct that.

“The mobile space is still interesting to us,” says Backus. “It’s disrupting so many industries.”

Next up for disruption, he says, “Is the entire TV industry. We’re going to move from a world where you get 500 channels for $50 a month to buying channels ala carte. People might have eight channels instead of 500. We don’t need that overload.”

That means that cable and satellite TV providers will have to suddenly become consumer marketing companies that can’t rely on getting that $50 a month, and that requires completely separate DNA, Backus suggests.

A college degree for 40 percent less

New Atlantic is also interested in the spot where technology and education meet and has invested in both American Honors and Koofers.

American Honors, based in DC, “Is trying to deliver on the concept of helping kids get a four-year college degree at 40 percent off. They do it by working with community colleges. No one cares where you start college, they just care where you get your degree.”

Another interesting New Atlantic firm based in the Potomac area (Fairfax, VA) is security firm Invincia. It has developed a patent-pending “revolutionary” desktop security software suite and threat intelligence network appliance for protecting enterprise, government and home users.

From the battlefield to the Enterprise

“They won a $20 million plus DARPA contract to give troops in the field secure mobile phones. They beef it up, lock it down and troops can use it for secret level communications. If it falls into the hand of the bad guys, they can’t get information from it. That will move from the battlefield into enterprises.”

Mobile, Backus says, “Is a huge security hole enterprises don’t know how to handle. Desktop security has many solutions. Mobile is an order of magnitude more complicated. People bring their own devices to work and add apps to them.”

What hasn’t happened yet in mobile- but will – “Is a high profile security incident.”

Security threats on mobile have the potential to be much more personally invasive than others, he says.

So far we’ve heard about people hacking into voicemails and stealing photos from mobile phones, but something much bigger is likely to break in the not too distant future, he says.

 

 

 

 

Orlando, DC, Vegas, Miami top Cvent list of top meeting cities

Thursday, August 9th, 2012
Peabody Orlando

Interior of the Peabody Hotel in Orlando, Florida, the number one meeting hotel in the U.S., according to Cvent in a different ranking list. Orlando is number one on Cvent’s just released list of the top meeting cities in the United States.

Cvent, the leader in cloud-based event management solutions, has ranked the top 50 cities for meetings and events in the United States, according to meeting and event booking activity in the Cvent Supplier Network.

Cvent operates the number one marketplace for group meetings business in the world, expecting to source $7 billion of meetings business in 2012.

TechMedia does digital media conferences in several of these cities, such as the upcoming Digital East conference near DC in October, annual events in Atlanta, and new this year, a digital conference slated for Dallas.

The top 10 cities are:

  1. Orlando, FL
  2. Washington, DC
  3. Las Vegas, NV
  4. Miami, FL
  5. Chicago, IL
  6. San Diego, CA
  7. Phoenix, AZ
  8. Atlanta, GA
  9. Dallas, TX
  10. New Orleans, LA

To see the full list of the top 50 cities, see: http://www.cvent.com/en/sem/top-50-meeting-destinations-us-2012.shtml.

Cvent evaluated 1,000 cities and 200 major metropolitan areas (MMAs) in the U.S. on the Cvent Supplier Network to create the list. Activity was tracked between July 2011 and June 2012, and the ranking was then determined by a set of qualifying criteria, some of which included:

  • The number of total room nights booked through the Cvent Supplier Network;
  • The number of unique electronic request-for-proposals (RFPs) sent through the marketplace to venues within the city;
  • The total value of the RFPs submitted;
  • The actual awarded value for meetings booked.

In addition to ranking top cities, Cvent also ranked the top MMAs to represent select markets where notable meetings activity takes place near, but outside the limits of the city core. To see the list of the top 50 MMAs, see: http://www.cvent.com/en/sem/top-50-meeting-markets-us-2012.shtml.

 

Most of the US South a decade behind in high-wage, high skill jobs requiring post secondary ed

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

By 2020, 65 percent of all jobs in the United States will require some form of postsecondary education and training, while the South will require 57 percent, according to the new Georgetown study released today.  Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, and the District of Columbia are the only exceptions.

Postsecondary demand for jobs in the South ranges from 72 percent in Washington D.C. to 43 percent in West Virginia.

While job growth in the South (20 percent) is relatively strong compared to the nation (17 percent), many parts of the region are trapped in an economic cycle known as a low-wage/low-skill equilibrium.  In this equilibrium, high-skill, high-wage industry lacks the incentive to locate in the region and incentives for workers to pursue postsecondary education and training are weakened commensurately.

Once an economy falls behind in producing high-wage, high-skill jobs, it can be difficult to catch up, and the South will need to invest in education and postsecondary training in order to break the cycle.

Educational attainment levels are improving in the South, but the rate of growth is declining.

  • Between 1970 and 2010, the demand for postsecondary education within occupations for the South grew at an average annualized rate of 4 percent (compared to 3 percent for the nation).
  • Between 2010 and 2020 the demand for postsecondary education within occupations is forecast to grow at an average annualized rate of 0.6 percent for the South (compared to 1 percent for the nation).

The study finds that jobs in the South requiring high school or less were lost in the recession and are not coming back.

  • The southern employment profile in construction and in retail was artificially inflated prior to 2007 due to the financial bubble.
  • The South is unlikely to see a full recovery in blue collar construction jobs and retail. This is because the more conservative credit market will ensure that construction and other credit-driven industries will not return to their former employment levels until after 2017. As employment and earnings growth in these industries slow, there will be a commensurate slow growth in consumer-led industries like retail trade.
  • Jobs in many southern states are also concentrated in old-line industries like manufacturing and natural resources, where productivity gains will continue to slow job creation.

The study finds that government, retail and healthcare will continue to be the biggest employers in the South. 

  • The region is home to more than 41 percent (nearly one million) of the jobs in coal mining, natural gas and petroleum extraction. Analysts predict these areas to be the fastest growing job-creators, but they only represent 3 percent of the jobs in the South in the coming decade.
  • Government is the region’s top job provider, projected to grow 16 percent by 2020.
  • Second highest is retail trade, expected to grow by 13 percent by 2020, followed by the healthcare services industry, which will employ seven million people by 2020.

Inadequate demand will ensure brain drain of postsecondary talent to neighboring states, especially from Western Virginia and Louisiana.  Though states are diverse and many are buoyed with natural resource advantages, a large share of the region will need an aggressive multidimensional strategy that mixes educational improvements with economic development.  This multi-faceted approach is necessary because if a state emphasizes education without an emphasis on creating or attracting high-paying and high-skill jobs, brain drain intensifies.

A Decade Behind: Breaking Out of the Low-Skill Trap in the Southern Economy is comprised of a full report which contains a state-by-state analysis and an executive summary. The seventeen state-by-state analysis includes Alabama, Arkansas,Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington D.C. and West Virginia.

 

Do political differences extend to wireless use?

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

 

mapPolitical differences may be at their most divisive ever in America, but they don’t seem to have a significant affect on the pervasive use of wireless technology.

Overlaid onto a political map of America based on the 2008 Presidential election, the results from a Validas study using its big data analytics engine, suggest that Americans of all political stripes consume wireless data similarly, and may suggest trends to spot for the upcoming 2012 election.

Validas found that wireless consumers from Republican states averaged 447 Megabytes (MB) per month, while those in Democratic states were virtually a dead heat at 449MB per month.

“It’s striking that Democratic and Republican states could be so close in how their citizens engage the wireless technology that is integral to many people’s lives,” said Dylan Breslin-Barnhart, VP of Communications at Validas.

Besides commonalities, could the wireless usage map also point to differences that might indicate who becomes the next President?

Of the Top 10 states with the most average data usage per person, six voted Democratic (including Washington, D.C.) and four voted Republican in 2008. If those numbers switch this autumn, is that a good sign for Romney?

Or consider the two “swing” states in the Top 10: Missouri (Republican, 539MB average usage per person) and Virginia (Democratic, 654MB average usage per person). In splits like this, will the Presidency again go to whoever wins the swing state with greater average usage per person?

 

DC the strongest local economy, Des Moines, Seattle, Nashville follow

Thursday, May 31st, 2012
Capitol building

DC is number one on the Norton list of the riskiest online U.S. cities.

For the second year in a row, the Washington DC metropolitan area ranked as the strongest local economy in the United States in POLICOM’s annual “economic strength” rankings. With an expanding federal government as its economic anchor, the metropolitan area has been virtually immune to the national recession.

The Des Moines, IA metropolitan area placed 2nd in the rankings driven by the expansion of the Finance and Insurance sector.

POLICOM annually ranks the 366 Metropolitan Statistical Areas and 576 Micropolitan Statistical Areas in the United States for “economic strength” to enable POLICOM to study the characteristics of strong and weak economies in the country.

For the economic strength rankings for all areas, go to http://www.policom.com.

Concord, the capital of New Hampshire, is top among the 576 “Micropolitan” areas. Micropolitan areas are smaller economies and do not have a city with a population greater than 50,000 people.

The Huntsville, AL MSA improved significantly, jumping from 52nd to 16th place as a result of rapid growth in the high-wage Professional and Scientific Services sector.

“The top-rated areas have had rapid, consistent growth in both size and quality for an extended period of time,” William H. Fruth, President of POLICOM. POLICOM, located in Palm City, FL, specializes in analyzing local and state economies.

“The rankings do not reflect the latest ‘hotspot’ or boom town, but the areas which have the best economic foundation,” Fruth continued.

The study measures 23 different economic factors over a 20-year period to create the rankings. The formulas determine how an economy has behaved over an extended period of time. Data stretching from 1991 to 2010 was used for this study.

POLICOM has created this study each year since 1997.

The following are the 10 strongest Metropolitan and Micropolitan areas.

2012 Ten Strongest Metropolitan Areas

1 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA
2 Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA
3 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
4 Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN
5 Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX
6 Salt Lake City, UT
7 Madison, WI
8 Kansas City, MO-KS
9 Sioux Falls, SD
10 San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX

2012 Ten Strongest Micropolitan Areas

1 Concord, NH
2 Helena, MT
3 Lexington Park, MD
4 Gillette, WY
5 Sheridan, WY
6 Durango, CO
7 Watertown-Fort Drum, NY
8 Lebanon, NH-VT
9 Bozeman, MT
10 Grand Island, NE

Cvent names the top 100 meeting hotels in the U.S.

Monday, April 23rd, 2012
Peabody Orlando

Interior of the Peabody Hotel in Orlando, Florida, the number one meeting hotel in the U.S., according to Cvent

Cvent, the world’s largest cloud-based provider of event management and venue selection solutions, has named the top 100 hotels for meetings in the United States, according to meeting and event planners in the Cvent Supplier Network.

The Cvent Supplier Network is a free online marketplace that connects meeting planners with over 200,000 venues worldwide; it generated $4 billion in business for hotels in 2011 and projects more than $5.5 billion to be generated in 2012.

In addition, over 100,000 meetings were booked on the Cvent Supplier Network in 2011 alone.

The list of hotels was compiled from a pool of 80,000 hotels in the U.S. on the Cvent Supplier Network. The ranking was then determined by a set of qualifying criteria, some of which included:

  • The number of electronic request-for-proposals (RFPs) the property received from the Cvent Supplier Network in 2011;
  • The hotel’s average response rate to the RFPs sent through the marketplace;
  • The number of meeting rooms available;
  • The total square footage of meeting space offered at the hotel; and
  • The amount of business the property was awarded in 2011 by meeting planners through the Cvent Supplier Network.

The list is comprised of venues from a variety of locales, spanning 17 states and the District of Columbia. Florida represents the largest number of meeting hotels in the top 100, taking nearly one-fifth of the list at a total of 19 properties.

Nevada comes in second with 14 properties, and the state of Texas takes third place with a total of 13 hotels on the list.

Top 10 Meeting Hotels in the U.S.

1. The Peabody Orlando, Orlando, Florida

2. Gaylord Opryland Hotel & Convention Center, Nashville, Tennessee

3. Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia

4. Rosen Shingle Creek, Orlando, Florida

5. The Venetian and Palazzo Resort, Hotel & Casinos, Las Vegas, Nevada

6. Gaylord National Hotel & Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland

7. Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

8. The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, Georgia

9. ARIA Resort & Casino at CityCenter, Las Vegas, Nevada

10. MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada

For the complete list of Cvent’s Top 100 Meeting Hotels in the U.S. visit http://www.cvent.com/top100hotelsus.

Which wireless carriers have the fastest 3G-4G service?

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

At&tWhich 3G and 4G wireless services are fastest in your city and overall? PCWorld found out.

Mobile internet service is a major monthly expense for most American consumers, and a very big business for U.S. wireless companies.

The marketing machines of those companies are now in high gear, touting their services as the industry transitions from 3G service to the much faster 4G. Problem is, everybody’s service is “4G”, “most reliable”, “biggest”, “fastest” and “best,” if you believe all the names and claims flying about on TV, radio, print media and the Web.

“The big surprise in this year’s study is T-Mobile’s performance”

That’s why PCWorld has once again hit the road to measure the real-world performance of the four major wireless services on America’s streets and in its coffee shops. During February and March of this year, PCWorld measured the speeds of the major U.S. carriers’ 3G and 4G wireless services from 130 locations in 13 major U.S. cities.

wireless chart

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STUDY

  • AT&T had the fastest download speeds of any 4G service, along with an HSPA+ service that’s very competitive with 3G services–a compelling service combination for AT&T dual-mode phones.
  • T-Mobile’s HSPA+ 21 service proved faster overall than comparable 3G services in our study, and the carrier’s high-end HSPA+ 42 service held its own with the 4G services of its larger competitors. Those services, and the array of flexible and affordable plans it offers, make T-Mobile a good choice for many wireless users.
  • Verizon has 4G service in many more locations than other providers, but in most localities the download speed of its 4G service doesn’t match AT&T’s (though its upload speeds are faster, more often than not). And Verizon’s 3G speeds have not improved much, especially when compared to the competition.
  • Sprint is a consistent laggard in the wireless speed races. The company appears to have virtually stopped developing its network while looking for a way to transition from its outdated WiMAX 4G technology to LTE.

“The big surprise in this year’s study is T-Mobile’s performance,” says PCWorld Senior Editor Mark Sullivan, who designed and managed the study.

“By offering data speeds that are very competitive with AT&T and Verizon along with its affordable data plans, T-Mobile is proving why its proposed acquisition by AT&T last year would have been bad news for US consumers.”

“The other (rather sobering) surprise in this year’s data is Sprint’s poor performance, both in 3G and 4G service. The carrier’s speeds suggest that both the Sprint CDMA and WiMAX networks have seen very little investment and upgrade over the past year—in a mobile data market where the rule is ‘grow faster or perish.’”

“While a majority of wireless consumers still use slower 3G devices today, most will transition to faster 4G devices over the next five years as carriers push them to upgrade to newer 4G devices when their contracts expire,” Sullivan says. Meanwhile wireless companies will continue to increase their networks’ data transfer speeds to compete for new customers and retain old ones.

FASTEST 3G AND 4G SERVICES BY CITY:

Atlanta – 3G: T-Mobile; 4G: AT&T
Boston – 3G: T-Mobile; 4G: AT&T
Chicago – 3G: AT&T 4G: AT&T
Dallas – 3G: AT&T 4G: AT&T
Denver – 3G: T-Mobile; 4G: Verizon
Los Angeles – 3G: T-Mobile; 4G: AT&T
Las Vegas – 3G: T-Mobile; 4G: AT&T
New Orleans – 3G: T-Mobile; 4G: Verizon
New York – 3G: T-Mobile; 4G: AT&T
San Jose – 3G: T-Mobile; 4G: Verizon
San Francisco – 3G: T-Mobile; 4G: AT&T
Seattle – 3G: T-Mobile; 4G: Verizon
Washington DC – 3G: T-Mobile; 4G: AT&T

“Our annual speed study is an important part of what we do at PCWorld,” explains VP, Editorial Director, Steve Fox. “Many consumers look to us for an unbiased, independent, empirical assessment of the wireless technology and services being offered in the U.S. today.”

“It’s exciting to see the data speed wars heating up as the wireless providers move from 3G to 4G technology in their networks and devices,” Fox says. “We only hope that the competition eventually translates into better performance and better value for consumers.”

Read the complete article with detailed results and data at: http://pcwrld.us/HILktj

Sharp rise in labor demand seen in monthly online advertised vacancies

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

The Conference BoardOnline advertised vacancies rose 246,300 in March to 4,669,600, according toThe Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine (HWOL) Data Series.  The March rise is the fourth consecutive monthly rise.  The Supply/Demand rate stands at 2.9 unemployed for every vacancy; however, nationally there are still 8.4 million more unemployed than advertised vacancies.

“The March sharp rise in labor demand continued to narrow the gap between the unemployed and available job opportunities,” said June Shelp, Vice President at The Conference Board.

Nationally advertised vacancies are 60 percent above their levels inJune 2009, the official end of the great recession.  However, that increase has varied greatly among the States with some Midwestern States exceeding the national average, including Minnesota (+ 121%); Ohio (+ 102%); Wisconsin (+ 95%); Indiana(+ 92%); and Michigan (+86%).  Some states where the housing market tank — including Nevada (+ 21%) and New Mexico (+ 24%) — remain well below the national average while other States like Florida (+50%), where the housing market was also an issue, showed more resiliency.

REGIONAL AND STATE HIGHLIGHTS

  • In March all of the largest States except Pennsylvania post gains
  • 12 of the 20 largest States are on an upward trend in job demand

In March the South gained 74,700 advertised vacancies, with gains in all six of its largest States.  Texas was up 19,000, reflecting increases of 11%+ over the last four months for labor demand in the metro areas of Austin, Dallas, and Houston.

Virginia gained 9,200 for a combined three-month gain of 14,300.  North Carolina rose 6,700 bringing its two-month increase to 8,500.  Maryland gained 5,800 for a combined two-month gain of 9,600.  Georgia was up 4,800 in March.  Florida rose 2,400.  Among the less populous States in the South, Tennessee rose 7,800, South Carolina increased by 1,600, Louisiana gained 1,200, and Arkansas gained 900.

The West gained 61,700 advertised vacancies, reflecting gains in all four of its largest States.  California had by far the largest increase, 23,300.  Over the past four months, labor demand in California was up 80,200 with gains in all of its larger metro areas, led by notable increases of 21.7 percent in San Diego and 20.6 percent in Sacramento.  Washington State gained 9,600.  Colorado rose 4,400 while Arizona gained a mere 500.  Among the less populous States in the region, Oregon rose 4,300; Nevada gained 2,600; and Utah rose 1,500.

The Midwest region gained 48,800 vacancies in March.  Ohio experienced the largest gain — 8,700 — and, at 181,900 advertised vacancies, reached its highest level since the HWOL series began in May 2005.  Minnesota rose 6,700. Missourirose 5,600 for a combined two-month gain of 8,200. Michigan gained 5,200 for a two-month gain of 6,500.  Wisconsin rose 4,700.  Illinois gained 1,600.  Among the less populous States in the Midwest, Indiana gained 5,100, Kansas rose 1,800, South Dakota gained 1,300, and North Dakota rose 600.

Labor demand in March in the Northeast  rose 23,100, which included a rise of 9,300 in New York.  New York is up 17,700 over the last four months with the New York metro area up 14.8 percent and Rochester up 12.2 percent.  New Jersey rose 7,100 while Massachusetts gained 4,900 for a combined four-month gain of 11,500.  Pennsylvania was down 1,700 in March.  Among the smaller States in the Northeast, the number of advertised vacancies in Connecticut fell by 300.  Maine rose 1,000 in March while New Hampshire gained 1,400 and Rhode Island gained 300.

The Supply/Demand rate for the U.S. in February (the latest month for which the national unemployment number is available) stood at 2.90, indicating that there are just under 3 unemployed workers for every online advertised vacancy.  Nationally, there are 8.4 million more unemployed workers than advertised vacancies.

The Supply/Demand rates for the states are for February 2012, the latest month available for unemployment data.  The number of advertised vacancies exceeded the number of unemployed only in North Dakota, where the Supply/Demand rate was 0.88.  States with the next lowest rates included South Dakota (1.23), Nebraska (1.28), Vermont (1.41), Alaska (1.56), Minnesota(1.60), and New Hampshire (1.68).  The State with the highest Supply/Demand rate is Mississippi (5.97), where there are nearly 6 unemployed workers for every online advertised vacancy.  Other States where there were more than 4 unemployed workers for every advertised vacancy included Nevada (4.42) and Kentucky (4.13).

It should be noted that the Supply/Demand rate only provides a measure of relative tightness of the individual State labor markets and does not suggest that the occupations of the unemployed directly align with the occupations of the advertised vacancies.

METRO AREA HIGHLIGHTS

  • 19 of the 20 largest metro areas posted gains in labor demand in March
  • San Francisco up 7 percent in March.

In March, 19 of the 20 large MSAs posted increases in the number of online advertised vacancies.  Overall 47 of the 52 metropolitan areas for which data are reported separately also showed increases in March.

A number of the largest metro areas have shown real strength since the official end of the recession in June 2009.  Four have posted increases of over 100 percent since then: Cleveland, up 142%; Minneapolis-St. Paul, up 124%; Detroit, up 116%; andSan Jose, up 112%.

Six MSAs had Supply/Demand rates in January 2012 (the latest available data for unemployment) below 2, indicating there fewer than two unemployed for every advertised vacancy.  Washington, DC continues to have the most favorable Supply/Demand rate (1.21) with about one advertised vacancy for every unemployed worker.  Minneapolis-St. Paul (1.36),Boston (1.54), Oklahoma City (1.63), and Salt Lake City (1.67) were metropolitan locations with the next lowest Supply/Demand rates.

Metro areas where the number of unemployed is substantially above the number of online advertised vacancies includeRiverside, CA — with over 8 unemployed workers for every advertised vacancy (8.23) — Sacramento (4.56), Miami (4.53), Las Vegas (4.47), Los Angeles (4.19), and Memphis (4.04).  Supply/Demand rate data are for January 2012, the latest month for which unemployment data for local areas are available.

OCCUPATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS

  • Supply/Demand rates range widely for the 22 major occupational categories
  • Labor demand for retail sales help rises in March
  • Demand for Healthcare practitioners dipped in March but job opportunities continue to outnumber unemployed looking for jobs 

Changes for the Month of March

In March, nineteen of the 22 Standard Occupational Classifications (SOC codes) that are reported separately posted gains and three declined.

Among the top 10 occupation groups with the largest numbers of online advertised vacancies, demand for Sales and Relatedworkers rose 35,900 to 596,500 and was led by an increase in demand for Retail Salespeople and First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Retail Sales Workers.  The number of unemployed in this occupational category continues to outnumber the number of advertised vacancies by over 2 to 1 (S/D of 2.30) but is substantially below the slightly over four unemployed for every available advertised vacancy in April and May 2009.

Labor demand for Computer and Mathematical Science workers rose 25,800 to 620,700.  Over the past four months, labor demand has increased by 77,100.  The higher demand included increases for Computer Systems Analysts and Applications Computer Software Engineers.  The number of advertised vacancies in this occupational category continues to outnumber job-seekers by over 3 to 1 (0.28 S/D based on February data, the latest unemployment data available).

Demand for Management occupations rose 25,700 to 461,200 for a combined four-month increase of 56,600.  Responsible for the rise was higher demand for Marketing Managers and General and Operations Managers.  The number of unemployed in these occupations was just over one (1.39) unemployed for every advertised vacancy in March and significantly below the almost three (2.9) unemployed for every advertised vacancy at the HWOL series high in October 2009.

Labor demand for Office and Administrative Support occupations rose 22,700 to 476,900 for a gain of 50,100 since January, but the March level is still slightly below the level of demand in late 2011.  Largely responsible for the March increase was higher demand for Customer Service Representatives and Executive Secretaries and Administrative Assistants.  The number of unemployed in these occupations remains above the number of advertised vacancies with close to 3.6 unemployed for every advertised vacancy.

Business and Financial Operations positions increased by 17,100 to 268,100 advertised vacancies in March.  Accountants, Training and Development Specialists, and Financial Analysts were among the advertised vacancies that showed increases.  In this field there are 1.56 unemployed workers for every advertised vacancy.

Healthcare Practitioners and Technical occupations fell 18,800 in March to 578,100.  Largely responsible for the drop were decreased advertised vacancies for Registered Nurses, Occupational Therapists, Speech Pathologists, and Physical Therapists. The number of advertised vacancies in this occupational category continues to be quite favorable and outnumbers job-seekers by 2.4 to 1 (0.41 S/D).

Open Table names 100 U.S. restaurants providing best service

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

OpenTableBusiness travelers frequently need restaurants that have great food, but also good service, since they’re often on the run. If you’re looking for U.S. restaurants with top notch service, here’s some help from Open Table.

OpenTable, Inc. (NASDAQ: OPEN), a  provider of free, real-time online restaurant reservations for diners and reservation and guest management solutions for restaurants, has disclosed the 2012 Diners’ Choice Award winners for the 100 restaurants in the United States providing the best service.

Open Table founder Chuck Templeton is among the top speakers at the Southeast Venture Conference which started this morning in Tysons Corner, VA, and runs through tomorrow.  Templeton created and defined the restaurant reservation space after founding OpenTable in 1998, after his wife spent a frustrating evening one night trying to make dinner reservations for his visiting in-laws one night in San Francisco.

OpenTable’s successful IPO in 2009 was a milestone that helped to reopen the public market for tech companies.

Awards reflect millions of opinions

These awards reflect the combined opinions of nearly 5 million reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for more than 12,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Regionally, the honorees span 29 states and Washington, D.C. The South reinforces the notion of southern hospitality, with 22 restaurants in the region being singled out for best service. The Northeast boasts 15 winning restaurants, including 10 in New York alone.

The Pacific region accounts for 14 winners, 10 of which are in California, as does the Mid-Atlantic, with six restaurants in Virginia claiming spots. Eleven winners come from the Great Lakes Region, four of which are in the Twin Citiesarea.

The Pacific Northwest and the Southwest follow with seven honorees apiece. The Rocky Mountain States count five winners, while the Central Plains has four, three of which are in Missouri. One restaurant in Hawaii also earned a nod.

American food restaurants rack up 40 winners

Superior service can be found across a number of cuisines. Restaurants serving American food, however, account for 40 winners. French restaurants earned 25 places on the list.

Steakhouses followed with 17 spots. Seven Italian restaurants are among the winners. Other cuisines include continental, global international, Japanese, seafood, and sushi.

“The most memorable part of a meal may not be just what’s on your plate, but also, that exceptional staffer who goes the extra step to ensure an enjoyable dining experience,” says Caroline Potter, OpenTable’s Chief Dining Officer.

“These winning restaurants understand this concept and have consciously created a culture of hospitality that is embraced by both front and back of house professionals. Whether it’s a grand gesture, such as a tour of the kitchen, or a simple one, like a warm smile from an attentive server, diners are coming away from these restaurants feeling special.”

The Diners’ Choice Awards for the top 100 restaurants providing the best service are generated from nearly 5 million reviews collected from verified OpenTable diners between February 2011 and January 2012. All restaurants with a minimum number of qualifying reviews were included for consideration. Qualifying restaurants were then scored and sorted according to the highest average rating in the service category.

Based on this methodology, the following restaurants, listed in alphabetical order, comprise the top 100 restaurants with the best service in the U.S. according to OpenTable diners.

The complete list may also be viewed athttp://www.opentable.com/bestservice.

2012 Diners’ Choice Award Winners for Restaurants in the U.S. with the Best Service

Acqua Restaurant & Wine Bar – White Bear Lake, Minnesota

Acquerello – San Francisco, California

Addison at The Grand Del Mar – San Diego, California

Bacchanalia – Atlanta, Georgia

Bibou – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Binkley’s Restaurant – Cave Creek, Arizona

Bistro L’Hermitage – Woodbridge, Virginia

Blue Hill at Stone Barns – Pocantico Hills, New York

Bluestem – Kansas City, Missouri

Bones – Atlanta, Georgia

Cafe Renaissance – Vienna, Virginia

Canlis – Seattle, Washington

Capital Grille – Minneapolis, Minnesota

Castagna – Portland, Oregon

Chama Gaucha Brazilian Steakhouse – Downers Grove, Illinois

Charleston – Baltimore, Maryland

Charleston Grill – Charleston, South Carolina

Chez Francois – Vermilion, Ohio

Chez Nous French Restaurant – Humble, Texas

CityZen – Washington, D.C.

Congress – Austin, Texas

The Copper Door – Hayesville, North Carolina

Corbett’s Fine Dining – Louisville, Kentucky

Cyrus – Healdsburg, California

Daniel – New York, New York

Daniel-Lounge Seating – New York, New York

Del Posto – New York, New York

Dewz – Modesto, California

The Dining Room-Biltmore Estate – Asheville, North Carolina

Eleven Madison Park – New York, New York

Elizabeth on 37th – Savannah, Georgia

Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant – Forestville, California

Fat Canary – Williamsburg, Virginia

Fearrington House Restaurant – Pittsboro, North Carolina

Fig Tree – Charlotte, North Carolina

Forage – Salt Lake City, Utah

Fountain Restaurant – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Frasca Food and Wine – Boulder, Colorado

The French Room – Dallas, Texas

Genoa Restaurant – Portland, Oregon

Gordon Ramsay at the London – New York, New York

The Grill-The Ritz Carlton – Naples, Florida

Grouse Mountain Grill – Avon, Colorado

Halls Chophouse – Charleston, South Carolina

Hannas Prime Steak – Rancho Santa Margarita, California

Herons – Cary, North Carolina

Highlands Bar & Grill – Birmingham, Alabama

The Hobbit – Orange, California

joan’s in the Park – St. Paul, Minnesota

Kai-Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort – Chandler, Arizona

Killen’s Steakhouse – Pearland, Texas

The Kitchen Restaurant – Sacramento, California

La Belle Vie – Minneapolis, Minnesota

La Grenouille – New York, New York

La Mer at Halekulani – Honolulu, Hawaii

L’Auberge Chez Francois – Great Falls, Virginia

Le Bernardin – New York, New York

Les Nomades – Chicago, Illinois

L’Etoile Restaurant – Madison, Wisconsin

Madrona Manor – Healdsburg, California

Mahogany Prime Omaha – Omaha, Nebraska

Marcel’s – Washington, D.C.

The Melting Pot – Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Menton – Boston, Massachusetts

Michael’s-South Point Casino – Las Vegas, Nevada

Mitchell’s Ocean Club – Columbus, Ohio

Morton’s The Steakhouse – Portland, Oregon

New York Prime – Myrtle Beach, Florida

Niche – St. Louis, Missouri

Nicholas – Red Bank, New Jersey

o ya – Boston, Massachusetts

Opus 9 Steakhouse – Williamsburg, Virginia

Orchids at Palm Court – Cincinnati, Ohio

The Painted Lady – Newberg, Oregon

Palace Arms at the Brown Palace – Denver, Colorado

Peninsula Grill – Charleston, South Carolina

Pepper Tree Restaurant – Colorado Springs, Colorado

Per Se – New York, New York

Plume at the Jefferson Hotel – Washington, D.C.

Rafain Brazilian Steakhouse – Dallas, Texas

The Restaurant at Meadowood – Saint Helena, California

Restaurant Iris – Memphis, Tennessee

Rover’s – Seattle, Washington

Rudy & Paco’s Restaurant & Bar – Galveston, Texas

Russell’s Steaks, Chops, and More – Williamsville, New York

Ruth’s Chris Steak House – Jacksonville, Florida

Saint Jacques French Cuisine – Raleigh, North Carolina

Sedgley Place – Greene, Maine

Sonoma – Princeton, Massachusetts

St. John’s Restaurant – Chattanooga, Tennessee

The Steak House at Silver Reef – Ferndale, Washington

Tony’s – St. Louis, Missouri

TRU – Chicago, Illinois

Uchi – Austin, Texas

Uchiko – Austin, Texas

Vetri – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse – Las Vegas, Nevada

Vintage Tavern – Suffolk, Virginia

White Barn Inn – Kennebunk, Maine

Woodfire Grill – Atlanta, Georgia

Diners can also read more about the Diners’ Choice Awards for the Best Service restaurants in the U.S. by visiting OpenTable Chief Dining Officer Caroline Potter’s “Dining Check” blog.

Tech-savvy DC residents seek anytime, anywhere Net connections

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Young, tech-savvy consumers in the D.C. metropolitan area tell Verizon they are using several Internet-connected devices in their home and on the go, making broadband speed and anywhere access important lifestyle assets.

In on-camera interviews that Verizon recently conducted with randomly selected consumers in the District, these “techknowledgeables” provided testimony to their demand for access by listing as many as seven different Internet-connected devices.

They said they use the multiple devices for tapping into entertainment choices, as well as for staying in touch with family, friends and business colleagues, at home and on the go.

At the TechJournal, we suspect this is largely true of most tech “knowledegables,” (ugly word, that). We have at least seven Internet connected devices ourselves, a tablet, cell phone, PDA, two laptops, a netbook, and a Kindle – as well as two desktop home office computers. More and more, we think everyone in urban areas, at least, want those anytime, anywhere connections.

The comments from the DC area folks reinforce Verizon’s business focus to provide its FiOS customers with a borderless lifestyle when it comes to connecting to their favorite TV and on-demand movies.

(Note: Excerpts from those interviews can be seen by clicking here.)

“The candid comments from these denizens of D.C. echo many of the same messages we’ve been emphasizing in our hyperlocal marketing campaign focused on 25- to 39-year-olds, who make up a significant portion of multidwelling unit tenants,” said Chris Anderson, director of consumer marketing for Verizon.

“We launched the campaign in the Washingtonmetro area late last year and this week announced its expansion to the MDU markets in the New York City, Philadelphia,Dallas/Fort Worth and Los Angeles metro areas.”

Many of the campaign elements used during the D.C. pilot – including immersive digital advertising combined with social media engagement, plus a concentrated presence of out-of-home advertising and local events with prospective customers – will be used in the four additional markets.

In these highly competitive areas, Verizon will seek to reach young professionals in places where they spend a great deal of time – gyms, restaurants, bars, movie theaters, malls and transit centers.

 

Are you in one of the top ten riskiest online U.S. cities?

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012
Capitol building

DC is number one on the Norton list of the riskiest online U.S. cities.

The top ten riskiest online U.S. cities reads like a list of the top ten U.S. digital hubs, with DC, Seattle and San Francisco at the top, Boston in the middle, and Raleigh, NC just making it on the list.

Norton teamed up with independent research firm Sperling’s BestPlaces to uncover the nation’s top 10 cities1 that have the highest number of cybercrime risk factors.

The Top 10 Riskiest Online Cities in the U.S. are:

#1 – Washington, D.C.
#2 – Seattle
#3 – San Francisco
#4 – Atlanta
#5 – Boston
#6 – Denver
#7 – Minneapolis
#8 – Sacramento, Calif.
#9 – Raleigh, N.C.
#10 – Austin, Texas

Cities with the greatest risk factors do not necessarily correlate with the highest infection rates, reflecting the fact that many consumers are taking precautions to keep themselves safe.

“In our examination of the riskiest online cities, we’ve considered a number of factors that can potentially affect online safety,” said Bert Sperling, founder of Sperling’s BestPlaces and lead researcher for the analysis. “By looking at data from consumer lifestyle habits as well as cybercrime data provided by Symantec, maker of Norton products, we’re able to provide a holistic view of the various factors that put a person at potential risk.”

DC placed exceptioanlly high in all risk categories

Sperling’s BestPlaces determined the per-capita rankings by examining several consumer behaviors — from the prevalence of PCs and smartphones, to ecommerce, social networking and accessing potentially unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots, among others.

  • As the leading riskiest online city, Washington, D.C., placed exceptionally high in almost all the categories measuring potential risk, and had the second-highest reported usage of smartphones. The nation’s capital also ranked high among cybercrime data factors, including attempted malware infections and attempted Web attacks.
  • The second city on the list, Seattle, which was the riskiest online city in 2010, scored at the top in the majority of the categories surveyed, including email usage and social networking activity. Both Seattle and San Francisco (which ranked third), reported high numbers of Wi-Fi hotspots and hours spent on the Internet.
  • Residents of Atlanta and Boston, which ranked fourth and fifth respectively, share high rankings among the cybercrime data. In particular, Atlanta recorded the highest per-capita number of spamming IP addresses. Both cities’ inhabitants exhibit a tendency toward potentially risky online consumer behavior, such as online financial transactions.
  • The other cities in the top 10 include Denver, Minneapolis, Sacramento, Raleigh and Austin. According to the research, Denver and Minneapolis placed high among potentially risky factors within the cybercrime data. Sacramento, the only city that wasn’t included on the 2010 top 10 list, ranked above average across all categories, while Raleigh and Austin reported high levels of risky online behavior.

Detroit has something to brag about

“With the explosion of smartphones, tablets and laptops in recent years, and the rise of apps and social networking sites, our online and offline lives are blending together in ways that we’ve never before experienced,” said Marian Merritt, Norton Internet Safety Advocate.

“While there are many positive aspects as a result, this analysis highlights the potentially risky factors we face each time we go online. By taking a few simple precautions now, people can make sure they stay protected against online threats.”

Of the 50 U.S. cities examined, Detroit was once again ranked the least risky online city, returning low scores in the number of Wi-Fi hotspots, potentially risky online consumer behavior and PC expenditures. Other low-ranked cities include Tulsa and El Paso, which placed in the 48th and 49th spots, respectively.