Posts Tagged ‘RTP’
Monday, July 18th, 2011
Adzerk Founder and CEO James Avery is the kind of guy you just sort of immediately feel a kinship with. It’s not because he’s filthy rich, although he is, or because he’s quick to give you a sticker, he’s got tons of them, it’s the fact that he’s a straight talker who always happens to know exactly what he’s talking about.
Example: At the recent Tech Jobs Under the Big Top job fair, when a dozen RTP startups got up on stage to present to roughly 250 job seekers, Avery showed a minute or two of the Startup Guys video, which then faded to black with the caption:
“Not all startups are full of ****.”
What Did He Just Say?
Huge laugh from the crowd, but this is exactly what Avery is about. It’s a joke, right? Or is it? I dig that. Plus he hired someone from that event, so obviously at least one other person dug it as well.
I feel a kinship with Avery because we took a similar path. We both got out of the corporate technology world and started one-person consulting practices that grew over time into larger and more successful consulting practices. Neither of us were ultimately happy, no wait, neither of us were fulfilled. Something was missing.
It was the startup thing.
So while I started shifting the focus of my practice to the startup world, Avery went out and started another company.
More specifically, he bought an ad network in 2007 which was bare bones, and he replaced it and built on top of it. In the beginning, he was only using it for himself, but then he started another vertical ad network and modified the software to run both of them, The Lounge and Ruby Row.
When he tried to start a third ad network, he realized that the software itself was a more compelling play than creating and running ad networks.
Now, there’s a long history of companies in the ad-tech industry trying to run networks and sell software at the same time, and usually the software part ends up becoming the ugly stepchild. You just can’t do both and have both be successful. So in December 2010, he sold off one of the ad networks and focused on the stepchild.
The RTP Startup Playbook
An office in American Underground came first. And when the Underground announced via Twitter that Adzerk was moving in, Avery got a tweet asking if he was hiring.
Now he had space, an engineer, and a little bit of runway. So when he saw how much of an impact those dollars made, he knew he needed more.
He ran the gamut of the RTP support structure, including the aforementioned job fair, the CED Venture Conference (although he knew everyone there), TechMedia’s Internet Summit (where he met the guys from Argyle, Spring Metrics, and JobKatch), Launch Durham (although he launched at Calacanis’ LAUNCH Conference), and even though he was too far along for Startup Stampede or Launchbox, he eventually hired three former Launchboxers.
Most every ad server has two fundamental problems. It’s likely built on 90s technology and it’s probably run by a big media company.
Adzerk is independent and based on current generation technology. And they innovate. Right now they have what Avery calls an “incrementally better ad server.” It’s faster, the ads get served asynchronously, stats are real time, all cloud based, scales quickly.
Some publishers care a lot about this, others don’t. So Adzerk has carved out a market where those features are differentiators. But Avery knows that having an “incrementally better” mousetrap is not enough.
So Adzerk is going after bigger game. They’re bucking the traditional model – enterprise software, contracts, etc. Thus, the pitch becomes “let’s change the way ad-serving works.”
Eight months go by. $650K seed round.
This is where the story gets a little funny, because out of that $650K Avery finished raising this month, exactly $25,000, or just a little under 4%, came from in-state.
Avery says he was naïve as every other first-time fundraiser, figuring he’d go to the people he knew, find the right ones at the right time, and get just what he needed to get to the next level. It took about a month before he realized he needed to talk to anyone and everyone who would pick up the phone. So he did.
That says two things. But neither of them is a soap-boxy “Local investors need to invest in more local companies!”
Santa Claus. What?
I’ve got a great analogy for this. This is like asking Santa Claus to quit bringing a bunch of presents every Christmas and instead just show up with one present on the 25th of each month.
I know. That one came to me in a traffic jam.
The frustrating thing about the RTP investment region is that we’ve got a bunch of investors and a bunch of startups but 95% of the time the goals of one do not match the intentions of the other, and vice versa.
When Avery and I discussed this, the lament wasn’t “Man, it would be cool if the local VCs would start investing their big bucks in early stage companies,” it was more like “Man, it would be cool if we had some apparatus here by which several early-stage companies could raise $100K on a standard term sheet.”
That’s the first thing. The second thing is a lot more hopeful.
Startup Investing Enters the 2000s
Adzerk’s path to funding is not unique. There have been a number of investments here lately that have involved money from the west coast, New York, pretty much everywhere, and it’s getting easier. During his fundraise, Avery left the area twice, and one of those trips was to shake hands with the lead before they signed the term sheet.
It’s a good tale, a no-BS founder product company with customers and revenue operates within a robustly-evolving support system to land seed-stage money and swing for the fences
Rinse and repeat, people.
Joe Procopio heads up product engineering for sports media startup StatSheet . He also owns consulting firm Intrepid Company (http://IntrepidCompany.com) and creative network Intrepid Media and runs the startup social ExitEvent (http://ExitEvent.com). Joe can be reached via Twitter @jproco and read at joeprocopio.com.
Thursday, November 11th, 2010
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC – Here’s a Veteran’s Day story we like: November 13, Kramden Institute will donate 250 computers to children of enlisted men and women stationed at Fort Bragg who do not have computers in their homes.
In many cases, the computers will connect children with their parents who are serving abroad. The children have been nominated by their teachers to receive the computers so they have access to technology and can achieve their full academic potential.
The PCs that the military families will receive were refurbished by volunteers from the computer manufacturer, Lenovo. Lenovo is Kramden’s founding sponsor and continues to partner with Kramden to bridge the digital divide by connecting deserving students with recycled and refurbished computers. This is the third time that Lenovo has sponsored a Give-A-Thon for families of U.S. servicemen and servicewomen from Ft. Bragg.
The Give-A-Thon will be held Saturday November 13 at the Reserve Center at Ft. Bragg (BLDG A-6292 Lewis and Pratt St.) from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. To learn more, call 919-293-1133 or go to www.kramden.org.
Kramden will have a booth at the upcoming Internet Summit Nov. 17-18.
Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC – Weston-MA-based Biogen Idec Inc. (Nasdaq:BIIB), which has more than 800 employees in the Research Triangle, is cutting its workforce by 13 percent and moving some jobs to North Carolina.
“The company will relocate its U.S. workforce from six current locations into three existing state-of-the-art facilities in Weston and Cambridge, Mass., and Research Triangle Park, NC. ,” the company said a statement.
The company has a manufacturing plant and research and development facility in the RTP and a customer service office in Durham.
Biogen said it will close its San Diego office, consolidate offices in Massachusetts, and move some jobs to NC, although it did not say how many.
It has a total of about 4,750 employees, and the cuts will affect approximately 617.
Monday, July 19th, 2010
NC IDEA’s grants program is intended to be a catalyst for technological breakthroughs developed in North Carolina that have a significant potential to successfully transition into commercially viable high-‐growth enterprises.
The upcoming Fall grant opportunity for North Carolina based companies will open in late August 2010. Learn more about NC IDEA’s grant application process and criteria at www.ncidea.org.
The following five companies are NC IDEA’s most recent grant recipients for the Spring 2010 cycle:
BioShape Solutions – RTP, NC
BioShape is developing medical devices that permit simple and effective local delivery of therapeutic agents around surgical implants. The company’s initial products are focused on delivering antibiotics for the prevention and treatment of orthopaedic implant infections. The combined treatment of these implant-‐associated infections costs the U.S. healthcare system nearly $2 billion annually.
The Coaching Mark – Morrisville, NC
The Coaching Mark provides a Software-‐as-‐a-‐Service platform dedicated to helping youth thrive through athletics. TCM works with scholastic athletic programs, offering holistic team management tools to the coaches and Athletic Directors, and provides athletes and their families a wide range of tools, content and exclusive offers to foster their athletic and life skill development.
Cooperative Entertainment, Inc. – Raleigh, NC
Cooperative Entertainment is developing a technology, service and marketing platform based on the tracking and utilization of idle or spare CPU capacity during online computer and video game sessions. A free software API called JoosyCloud is being created for developers and publishers to incorporate into their games that aggregates spare CPU capacity within these games and leases them to corporate, academic and government customers.
Open Connect Corp. – Charlotte, NC
Open Connect Corp. develops and markets ezFoodOrder, a web-‐based application that streamlines the nation’s $175 billion foodservice distribution industry. By allowing foodservice distributor to easily compete for restaurant business, ezFoodOrder reduces food costs for restaurant operators. Because restaurant profit margins are thin (5 percent on average) and food costs are substantial (roughly 33 percent of revenue), the result is a boost in bottom-‐line profitability for restaurant customers.
Patagonia Health – Cary, NC
Patagonia Health’s easy to use Electronic Medical Records software designed for physician’s small practices.
Wednesday, April 28th, 2010
By Allan Maurer
ATLANTA & RESEARCH TRIANGLE – The economic recovery is not jobless in venture-backed startups. Southern Capitol Ventures’ Jason Caplain tells us, “100 percent of our portfolio companies are hiring.”
In Atlanta, Noro-Moseley Partners portfolio companies list about 150 openings on its site.
Intersouth Partners, based in Durham, NC, says that 14 of 16 of its portfolio companies it surveyed are “hiring across the board.”
Caplain says many of Southern Capitol’s portfolio firms are staffing up in sales and marketing. Southern Capitol’s 11 portfolio companies include firms in Miami, RTP, Baltimore, Morrisville, Raleigh and Durham.
Noro-Moseley’s portfolio firms list jobs for network and systems engineers, security specialists, software engineers, a director of channel sales, a PR associate, and a project manager, among many others.
Intersouth tells us 14 of its companies plan to hire an average of 18 employees each this year with jobs open in both its tech and biotech companies.
Jobs across the board
Jobs are across the board – in sales, development, engineering, clinical, operations, marketing, says Intersouth spokesperson Suzanne Cantando.
We think a broader survey of the Southeast and in fact the nation would reveal that venture-backed startups and those bootstrapped, as well, are the real engine of job creation, not all these huge companies the government keeps pumping money into.
Intersouth Partners Dennis Dougherty
Intersouth’s Dennis Dougherty points out that ““High-growth startups aren’t using the money they’ve raised to acquire real estate or build new buildings – they’re using it to hire people. If you take the amount of venture capital raised each quarter and multiply it by 80 percent, that’s probably about the amount of money that will be going to paying for jobs.”
Noro-Moseley’s Mike Elliott says all of its portfolio companies have positions open. “If we were an investor during the downturn, they were stripped to minimal staffs,” he says, “So now they’re beginning to put people in both C level and middle management positions.”
Eliot says that while he feels “We’re definitely coming out of the recession, I don’t think we’re going to come roaring out. We have to remain cautious.”
He adds, however, “That we would like to show the folks in DC that it’s the young companies that really create the fuel for growth.”
Wednesday, April 7th, 2010
Duke's Comprehensive Cancer Center
RESEARCH TRIANGLE, NC – Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University and N.C. State University have been awarded a $12.5 million, five-year grant from the National Cancer Institute to develop new methods for the design and analysis of cancer clinical trials.
“Statistical Methods for Cancer Clinical Trials,” is one of the largest grants of its kind to be awarded by the National Cancer Institute. The project is led by three principal investigators: Michael R. Kosorok, Ph.D., professor and chair of the biostatistics department of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health; Marie Davidian, Ph.D., William Neal Reynolds Professor of Statistics and director of the Center for Quantitative Sciences in Biomedicine at NC State; and Stephen L. George, Ph.D., professor of biostatistics at Duke.
The project will support a major collaborative, multidisciplinary effort that takes advantage of the unrivaled concentration of leading statistical and clinical experts at the three campuses, as well as the two highly-rated cancer centers at UNC and Duke.
Clinical trials are controlled studies in humans that evaluate the value of prevention, diagnosis or treatment methods, such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery. The effectiveness of almost all advances in cancer treatment must be evaluated in clinical trials before being adopted in clinical practice.
Statisticians play an integral role in designing trials, analyzing and interpreting the results to determine if they are meaningful and developing new methods for design and analysis in settings where traditional methods are inappropriate.
The goal of the project is to dramatically improve the efficiency of the cancer clinical trial process and ultimately to improve the health and longevity of cancer patients.
Thursday, March 11th, 2010
About 21 million Americans spend an average of $15 a month on Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games, according to a new report form Gamesindustry.com adn TNS.
They spend more than 90 percent of the $15 a month directly online. Another 25 million Americans play MMO games without spending a penny, the report says.
That’s in line with our habits. We play the occasional MMO game, but generally the free to play ones.
Significant number pay to play
Still, while the majority of the American MMO players do not pay to play but still a significant share of 46 percent does. It shows that MMO games are being accepted as a type of game worth paying for.
Of the hundreds of MMO games in the market, only a few require payment up-front, mainly by selling software to be installed on the PC. Americans spent approximately $400 million on this, split up into boxed products and online downloads. $2.4 billion is spent on monthly or annual subscriptions.
Many free-to-play MMOs rely on selling in-game virtual items using direct micro-transactions or a virtual currency approach, grossing another $1 billion in revenues.
World of Warcraft leads
Looking at number of players, World of Warcraft leads the pack, just in front of kids MMOs NeoPets and ClubPenguin, with approximately 12,500,000 Americans admitting to have played.
This includes people only making use of the free trial.
The top five is complemented by Disney ToonTown and Runescape. No doubt World of Warcraft is grossing most revenues but the launch of hundreds of new MMOs over the last years has definitely attracted new players to the genre and other companies are also finding ways to get players to pay.
Both North Carolina’s Research Triangle region and Georgia have significant game development hubs.
Wednesday, March 10th, 2010
RESEARCH TRIANGLE, NC – One of the tricks to getting the most from any business Web site is posting frequent original content.
Nothing gives a stronger boost to a site’s search engine optimization, all other things being equal. One thing essential to posting timely, frequently updated content is finding the right content management system.
But choosing the right content management system for your needs requires some research.
The Web site EContent offers a guide to selecting a CMS in 15 steps. Here’s a look at the first five:
First: Organize Your Content, EContent’s guide suggests. Content needs to be categorized, labeled and arranged for navigation. You may want to index and abstract it to make searching easier.
Second: Search the Web.
While the least expensive step, it can be the most powerful. Find out what’s available online and use it. You can go back to it again and again once you’ve found the most useful sources.
Third: Read books and articles.
Most articles are free. Books may cost $20 or more, but it’s a small investment compared to consulting fees many firms charge.
Fourth: Hire vendor-neutral consultants.
You can hire experts to guide you through the CMS process. It will be even more valuable to you if you preceed it by doing the first three steps.
Fifth: Look to magazines (and Web sites).
You can narrow your search for vendors. Strong companies buy advertising in the trade magazines and articles they carry will keep you abreast of recent trends.
The EContent article includes ten more items ranging from purchasing industry analyst reports to attending trade shows and approaching vendors. You can read the whole article here: Select A CMS in 15 Steps
For the first article in this series presented by webslingerz, see: Building Subject Matter Expert Communities Using Social Media
webslingerz helps organizations utilize interactive media to create and maintain connections with customers, partners, and employees.
Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010
RALEIGH, NC & ATLANTA – Forbes Magazine has ranked Raleigh the most wired city in the United States in its annual “Most Wired Cities,” list. The magazine says Atlanta, number 1 in 2008, is second, while last year’s number 1 selection, Seattle, is third.
The magazine bases its rankings on three criteria, broadband penetration, broadband access and Wi-Fi spots. It said Raleigh placed in the top ten in all three areas.
It points out that Sprint chose Raleigh and the nearby Research Triangle as one of the first areas for its 4G wireless network.
Calling Raleigh a “surprising winner,” the magazine wrote, “Raleigh is the kind of tech-forward city that, innovative as it is, often gets overlooked in favor of San Francisco, San Jose or Seattle.”
It said Raleigh boasts plenty of tech assets, including a high concentration of info-tech companies, research universities and state government offices. It noted that IBM, Cisco, and Lenovo all maintain large offices in the RTP.
Comments on the magazine’s article point out that some of the assets it cites, such as much of Research Triangle Park and Duke University are actually in Durham, but many surveys and lists of this type look at the Raleigh-Durham Metro Area rather than the individual cities.
The DC-Potomac region ranked 5, Baltimore 8, and Orlando 9 on the list.
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC – IBM plans to unveil its new, $360 million data center in Research Triangle Park, Thursday.
North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue will meet with the media and guests at the new center for a Town Hall session prior to touring the facility.
The 60,000 square foot center was built with IBM’s “Project Green” technology, aimed at making the data center more energy efficient. The company estimates the new center will create 10 jobs.
IBM employs 10,000 people in the Triangle area, which is its largest single campus.
The new center will showcase IBM’s cloud computing and other services.