Posts Tagged ‘SEVC’
Monday, March 11th, 2013
By Allan Maurer
Businesses of all sizes, not just the major brands, need databases and real time analysis capabilities if they want to compete effectively in today’s marketplace, but can startups afford the necessary infrastructure?
Here’s some good news for fledgling analytics companies: SAP has a startup focus for HANA an extremely fast database management platform providing real time insights from transaction systems, data warehousing, and predictive and text analysis.
Accelerator for analytics startups
The program supports startups in developing new applications on SAP HANA. The program is an accelerator for big data, predictive and real-time analytics startups. The 12-month program is free and the company says, “no fees and we don’t want your equity.”
Bill McDermott, SAP’s co-CEO, calls HANA “A breathtaking invention that lets companies run their data and business transactions, connect to sentiment analysis of social networks, and see what’s going on in their business in real time.”
Available in the cloud or on premises, HANA, he says, “Can run all your data, social and otherwise, structured and unstructured, to provide real time answers to business questions.
Invests in some small firms
SAP is working with more than 100 startups in 25 industries now. It even invests in some small firms to help get them going, says McDermott.
McDermott, who bought and managed a deli while he was still in high school, was an executive VP of worldwide sales and operations at Siebel Systems, prior to joining SAP in 2002. Before that he was president of Gartner Inc., and in his 17 years at Xerox was the company’s youngest corporate officer and division head.
He became co-CEO of SAP, which has 55,000 employees and more than 190,000 customers, alongside Jim Hagemann Snabe in February 2010. McDermott is a featured speaker at the sold-out Southeast Venture Conference in Charlotte, NC, this week (March 13-14). You may be able to snag a seat due to last minute openings.
Advice for startups
McDermott has some advice for startups – besides using HANNA to “check the tires” at .99 cents an hour or use it more widely to tap real time business information.
“The most important thing is to keep your eye on your customers,” he says. “In what way are you uniquely qualified to serve them?”
Next, he says, “You need to create value chains with other companies to get more immediate scale.”
Finally, he adds, “You need to think about your distribution channel strategy.”
Friday, March 8th, 2013
SAP AG found that 53 percent of industry leaders believed that improving customers’ retail experience would be essential to creating a successful mobile payments scheme, in its third consecutive GSMA Mobile World Congress survey.
The survey is aimed at addressing top issues facing mobile commerce service providers and reflects the sentiments of mobile operators, fixed telecommunication providers, over-the-top (OTT) players and other global mobile industry executives.
SAP’s C0-CEO, Bill McDermott is a featured speaker at the Southeast Venture Conference in Charlotte, NC, March 13-14. The event is sold out, but you can sign up for a wait list if last-minute openings become available.
Secret sauce for better retail experiences
SAP’s survey results revealed that the “secret sauce” for creating a better retail experience includes location-based point-of-sale offerings (24 percent), point-of-sale services such as near field communication (NFC) (28 percent) and facilitating universal acceptance of mobile payments (25 percent).
Less popular services included targeted offers based on consumer preferences and shopping history (12 percent) and integration with mass transit (nine percent).
“We are seeing a maturing of the mobile payments market, as we move from a service that is driven by person-to-person payments to one that must tackle the challenges of the retail environment,” said Diarmuid Mallon , lead, Global Mobile Marketing Programs, SAP.
Apps need to support loyalty and couponing
“It is clear from our survey that in addition to improving the payment experience, mobile wallet apps need to support a multitude of services such as loyalty and couponing.”
The anticipated leaders of future successful mobile payments offerings included banks (29 percent); online payment schemes, such as PayPal, Apple iTunes or Amazon Payments (28 percent); credit cards (26 percent) or a consortium of operators (26 percent).
This statistic diverged slightly from the 2012 SAP Mobile World Congress Survey, which anticipated banks (24 percent) and mobile operators (26 percent) would be important catalysts, but placed lower expectations on credit cards (10 percent) and online payment networks (19 percent).
Confusion holding back services
The survey found that 34 percent of the respondents felt that applications like Apple Passbook will speed up brands offering wallet services.
In regard to changes in the mobile wallet, only 28 percent of mobile insiders expected new ticketing and coupon services, such as Apple Passbook, Google
Now and the Samsung wallet app, could become an alternative to true mobile wallets; and still, 38 percent believed that the lack of consumer awareness and too much confusion around the offerings were holding back mobile wallet services.
For more information, visit the SAP Newsroom.
Monday, March 4th, 2013
By Allan Maurer
David Jones, President & CEO, Peak 10.
Even though Peak 10, the Charlotte-based data center and managed services provider now has 350 employees, CEO David Jones says the company still tries to foster an entrepreneurial spirit.
“We don’t make all our decisions centrally,” says Jones.
Jones co-founded Peak 10 in March of 2000 and has led the company to a top market position as a leading independent data center, managed services, and cloud computing solutions provider in the United States, with facilities in Charlotte, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Cincinnati, Louisville, Nashville, Tampa, South Florida, Raleigh, and Richmond.
Participating in the Southeast Venture Conference
Jones, who speaks often to entrepreneurial groups and is a past chair and still a director of the North Carolina Technology Association, is one of dozens of thought-leaders, venture capitalists, angel investors and entrepreneurs participating in the Southeast Venture Conference in Charlotte, NC, March 13-14.
“I think it’s going to be a great event for Charlotte,” Jones says. “It has an informative agenda, not the same old stuff you usually see at conferences. It’s going to bring a lot of faces into Charlotte who don’t normally spend time here.”
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.
Specifically, that includes speakers and panelists from national and regional venture capital firms and 50 innovative presenting companies from the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. Last we heard, there were only a handful of seats left for the event, so it’s a good idea to reserve yours now if you plan on attending.
Part of the Peak 10 entrepreneurial culture derives from its growing an average of about 25 percent a year and regularly opening new facilities to meet demand in the areas it serves.
Four pieces of advice for entrepreneurs
We asked Jones what advice he thinks is most important to starting a company.
First, he says, “Stay focused. We’ve all heard stories of companies that try to do too many things at once and don’t do any of them well.”
But even more important, he says, “Hire the best people you can. Don’t be complacent about that.” In the end, “That will make you successful or not.”
Get the right financial leadership
Next, he says, “Make sure you have the right financial leadership. A lot of startups fly by the seat of their pants. You need to know your operating costs. I’ve always tried to find the best financial officer I could. If nothing else, have a financial advisor who can help you strategize where you are and the things you’ll need.”
Doing that can prevent you from “Hitting a brick wall when you find you didn’t plan for what you need on the development side.”
Finally, he adds, “Make sure you have a plan that can get funded. Great ideas go nowhere unless you have a plan to get there. Keep it simple. The more complex you make it, the harder it will be to get to where you want to be.”
In general, Jones says, “We’re in challenging times, but there are still a lot of opportunities out there.”
Friday, March 1st, 2013
The Internet of Things is quickly becoming a reality as manufacturers are increasingly linking “things”, such as smartphones, appliances, cars and machines, to the Internet and to each other.
IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization, today announced the results of a survey that gathered insights from more than 1,200 Facebook members, which includes engineers and technologists, on the future of the Internet of Things, the developing ecosystem of Internet-connected devices.
Mark Rostick, Intel Capital’s director of East Coast investments, is participating in the upcoming Southeast Venture Conference in Charlotte, NC, March 13-14.
Intel Capital’s Mark Rostick recently told The TechJournal in an interview that the Internet of Things is an investment area Intel is watching carefully.
Rostick is one of dozens of venture capitalists, angel investors, entrepreneurs and technology thought-leaders participating in the upcoming Southeast Venture Conference in Charlotte, NC, March 13-14.
Results from the IEEE survey include:
Work > Play
As the Internet of Things continues to develop and expand, much discussion revolves around the role that connected devices will play in users’ everyday lives. IEEE’s survey identified the ways in which consumers envision using connected devices.
A surprising65 percent of respondents said they are most interested in using connected devices to improve their work productivity, versus interest in managing their homes (14 percent), interest in improving their commutes (12 percent) or interest in improving their health (9 percent).
“As the Internet of Things evolves, we’re discovering the varied ways connected devices can improve every aspect of our lives,” said IEEE Senior Member Raul Colcher of Brazil.
Office use holds most interest
“People have always been most interested in technology that provides an immediate benefit, and connected devices can meet consumer need for instant, gratifying results that enhance quality of life.
While one might imagine that improving the quality of ones’ personal life would be most important, the overwhelming majority of survey respondents are most interested in using connected devices in the office. This statistic provides great insight about the types of devices that will be most well-received in the future.”
What does it really mean?
In light of its rapid development, the Internet of Things faces growing pains and has yet to be clearly defined within the industry. Leaders hold differing opinions as to what qualifies a device as connected.
According to IEEE’s survey, unity may be closer than it seems. Nearly 70 percent of respondents feel connected devices can be defined as those that are either directly connected to the Internet, or indirectly connected by way of another component within the ecosystem.
For example, a pulse counter wristband connected via Bluetooth to a cell phone. Only 30 percent of respondents feel that a device must be directly linked to the Internet to be considered connected; for example, a smart phone or laptop.
Pressing challenges must be overcome
“The Internet of Things is still new and people have varying perceptions of what the network entails,” said Roberto Saracco , an IEEE Senior Member and Director of the Italian Node of the EIT ICT LABS.
“As people become more used to interacting with connected objects, for example using a cell phone to read a bar code, the way they define connected devices will become more clear and universal.”
Beyond definitions, the Internet of Things faces pressing challenges that must be overcome to continue its path of growth.
Safe and sound
As devices and data become more intertwined, the opportunity for consequences grows, and people are acutely aware of these issues.
Nearly 46 percent of respondents feel that privacy concerns is the biggest challenge facing widespread adaptation of connected devices, followed closely by concerns about data security (40 percent).
The Internet of Things is a particularly easy target for privacy and data breaches because of visible vulnerabilities in its early development. Consider a health device that monitors the vital signs of someone who is chronically ill.
Privacy and security issues
The monitor will gather data points, such as heart rate and blood sugar level, but rather than send the information directly to the doctor’s office, the stats may first be routed to a local hub for processing and temporary storage.
The more transfer points along the path of travel, the more opportunity for data to be stolen or compromised.
“Overcoming the Internet of Things’ privacy and security issues will be a significant challenge for the industry,” Saracco said.
“However, worthwhile innovation does not come without obstacles. I believe that the great minds of technology and engineering can collaborate to find a solution that will alleviate some of these development concerns.”
For more information about IEEE’s latest research on connected devices and the Internet of Things, please visit:http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/search/searchresult.jsp?newsearch=true&queryText=internet+of+things&x=0&y=0
Thursday, February 28th, 2013
You 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:
- addshoppers - Charlotte, NC
- AirSage - Atlanta, GA
- avidxchange - Charlotte, NC
- Badgy - Atlanta, GA
- blue nano - Charlotte, NC
- BoomTown - Charleston, SC
- BrightContext - Arlington, VA
- Bronto - Charlotte, NC
- Buystand - Durham, NC
- Campaign.io - Charlotte, NC
- CanDiag - Waxhaw, NC
- Clearleap - Duluth, GA
- dealcloud - Charlotte, NC
- deja mi - Raleigh, NC
- Digitalsmiths - Durham, NC
- Distil - Arlington, VA
- Entigral - Raleigh, NC
- Fitsistant - Durham, NC
- flomio - Miami, Florida
- Fotopigeon - Tampa, Florida
- Freebeepay - Atlanta, GA
- gematouch - Raleigh, NC
- Hinge - Washington, DC
- HireIQ - Atlanta, GA
- infina connect - Cary, NC
- Koupon Media - Frisco, TX
- nContact - Morrisville, NC
- Nextinput - Atlanta, GA
- PatientPay - Durham, NC
- PopUp - Raleigh, NC
- Punch Technologies - Charlotte, NC
- Respirion - Winston Salem, NC
- ReverbNation - Durham, NC
- Savveo - Charlotte, NC
- Sensory Analytics - Greensboro, NC
- Smart Sky Networks - Charlotte, NC
- Sweet Relish - Charlotte, NC
- t1 visions - Charlotte, NC
- Tales2Go - Washington, DC
- The Targeted Group - Charlotte, NC
- umatch - Greenville, NC
- Valencell - Raleigh, NC
- veenome - Arlington, VA
- viddlz - Charlotte, NC
- WealthEngine - Bethesda, MD
- Wildfire Connections - Charlotte, NC
- Worthpoint - Atlanta, GA
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
Wednesday, February 20th, 2013
By Allan Maurer
The mobile app economy is a big deal right now, with app developers commanding higher than average salaries and companies stumbling over each other to get on the mobile bandwagon. But, in five years, says Ron Shah, vice president at the Stripes Group venture firm, “many people will bypass apps altogether.”
By then, Shah says, “Just accessing the web on your phone will be so much better you won’t need 79 apps. Consumers will want to download apps less and less and just things on the open web.”
Also, he notes, “Two app stores now have a chokehold on user capabilities. That’s an unnatural place to be. Companies don’t want Apple or Google sitting between them and their customers.”
Shah is focused on sourcing and executing technology, software and internet investments as well as strategy and business development with portfolio companies at Stripes, which closed its current $350 million fund early in 2012.
Participating in the Southeast Venture Conference in March
Shah is actively involved with the firm’s investments in Kareo, Netbiscuits, eMarketer, Elance, MyWebGrocer, Art.com, Folica and Perimeter.
Prior to joining Stripes Group, Ron co-founded Endgame Capital, which focuses on land investment and development in the mid-Atlantic region.
People networking at a previous Southeast Venture Conference.
He’s one of more than two-dozen venture capitalists and investors participating in the upcoming Southeast Venture Conference in Charlotte, NC, March 13-14.
Shah will talk about the merger and acquisitions environment in areas where he has expertise at the event. “We’ve invested in several companies providing deep technologically integrated services in various industries,” he says.
He expects to see media companies, which made a round of acquisitions three or four years ago, to be looking to buy again. “They’re coming up on another cycle where they need to buy again to service their customers.”
Avoiding the Deathstar approach to software
He adds, “There’s a lot of pressure for those guys to figure out how to service existing relationships in a world that looks very different from ten years ago. They need to know what customers are consuming, how they consume and so on.”
Another big trend he sees in M&A is in SaaS. “We’ve seen significant acquisitions of SaaS companies by the big guys – Oracle, IBM, SAP, Salesforce all bought several. They realize their clients are not in spending millions on the Deathstar approach to building software. People are coming from the bottom end and taking revenue from them, so they need to acquire to have cost effective offerings.”
He also notes that “In Enterprise technology, buyers have been aggressive with the evaluations they’ve been paying in core areas such as customer relationship and talent management and business intelligence.”
They can all be consolidated to some extent, he says. “We saw some of that in the marketing automation space. Then the larger players ended up getting bought: Buddy Media by Salesforce, Vitrue by Oracle.”
A process of consolidation
It’s a process, he explains. “Companies spring up in the venture space and rise to the forefront in a typical category. They buy smaller companies with innovative features. Then, if they’re playing in an interesting category, the big tech guys will buy them.”
Even after that big step in consolidation, three or four years later some of the big players realize they don’t have the right play in a category and “The cycle starts all over again,” says Shah.
Next he says mobile device analytics is likely to see some consolidation. “A lot of the core tech companies feel the need to bolster their offerings,” Shah notes.
That interest is fanned by a couple of macro trends. “People are spending less time on print and more on the web, no one can deny that, and within that, they’re spending more time on mobile devices.”
The natural conclusion? “Ad dollars will slowly migrate there because that’s where the eyeballs are, on smartphones and tablets.”
Tuesday, February 19th, 2013
By Allan Maurer
What is the amount of accomplishment venture capitalists need to see these days to finance a true Series A r0und of a startup? The bar is higher than it used to be, says Mark Rostick, director of East Coast investments for Intel Capital.
Intel Capital must be doing something right. It is number one of a list of the top 20 venture capital firms of 2012 based on how many private tech company exits each had.
Rostick is among more than two dozen venture capitalists and investors participating in the upcoming Southeast Venture Conference in Charlotte, NC, March 13-14.
With the availability of online tools, the ability to inexpensively write code to get something started, and the proliferation of accelerators such as Y Combinator, there has been “An explosion of startups that create a light or beta version of a product and get a few customers to buy it quickly,” Rostick says.
The bar has moved
The problem is, he adds, “That water tends to be very shallow, so what they’ve accomplished doesn’t tell you much about what their chances are. It’s so much easier to do all of that earlier, the bar has moved for what an investor needs to see.”
That, he notes, means that “Now it’s much harder to separate the wheat from the chaff and judge how much the company has de-risked by what it has done. There is an explosion of new companies you need to sift through. So we have to be more savvy about what the level of accomplishment for a Series A financing needs to be.”
It also means startup teams need to think about how they’re going to separate themselves from the pack, he says. “Have they thought through their road map? Do they know their next step? Do they know what the management team needs? There are ways to prove your game.
Hot tech sectors
Intel, Rostick says, sees several tech sectors it thinks are going to do well.
“There is a ton of upside in the Enterprise that people haven’t thought about much,” he says. “A lot of startups in the social and mobile world use the cloud, but Enterprises are still in the process of making that move. It’s a gigantic shift and we’ve made a lot of bets on that infrastructure.”
Intel is also spending a good deal of time looking at big databases and analytics. “How do we talk about this data? How do we visualize it? All of that is creating opportunities. And it’s starting to mature to the point where people are thinking its time to get some bets down.”
Always looking for local opportunities
He suggests, “Look at the M&A history in these areas. IBM is buying analytics companies. SAS is doing that. They’re looking at how to use cloud infrastructure to help their customers.”
Another “big thing,” he says, “is the Internet of things.” If a company deploys a lot of equipment in factories or the field, trucks, a wireless network, meters, monitoring and managing them centrally makes a lot of sense,” Rostick explains.
It lets companies know what’s happening right now with the ability to fix or tune operations.
Online video and video analytics are two other areas Intel finds interesting.
Rostick asked us to note that Intel is “Always looking for local opportunities here in North Carolina.”
Tuesday, February 19th, 2013
Which venture capital firms had the most private tech company exits in 2012? PrivCo has just released rankings of the Top 20 Venture Capital firms, based on the number of exits their portfolio companies made last year.
Santa Clara-based Intel Capital tops the list. Ranked just behind it were Felicis Ventures (Ranked #2) & SV Angel (Ranked #3).
Mark Rostick, director of East Coast investments for Intel Capital is among the more than two-dozen venture capitalists and investors participating in the upcoming Southeast Venture Conference in Charlotte, NC, March 13-14. See our interview with Rostick.
The Top 20 Most Successful Tech Venture Capital Firms of 2012:
(Ranked By Number of Private Tech Company Exits)
1. Intel Capital
2. Felicis Ventures
3. SV Angel
4. Sequoia Capital
5. First Round Capital
6. Battery Ventures
7. Draper Fisher Jurvetson
8. Greylock Partners
9. Ignition Partners
10. Google Ventures
11. True Ventures
12. Benchmark Capital
13. Lerer Ventures
14. Menlo Ventures
15. Polaris Venture Partners
16. Accel Partners
17. Bain Capital Ventures
18. Redpoint Ventures
19. RRE Ventures
20. Focus Ventures
To access PrivCo’s 350 page 2012 Private Tech M&A Industry Report:
Friday, February 15th, 2013
By Allan Maurer
Is it still possible to build a digital media company into a disruptive force that leads to a hugely successful IPO these days? Bob Hower, general partner at Advanced Technology Ventures, believes it is.
Hower was instrumental in Acme Packet’s 2006 IPO, one of the most successful in the communications sector this decade. Forbes named him to its Midas list the last two years. is ATV‘s East Coast lead partner for investments in information technology and is primarily focused on the internet, digital media and software sectors with an Enterprise focus.
“I don’t know that it’s harder or easier to launch a successful IPO now,” he tells the TechJournal. “But on the Enterprise side, there are all kinds of disruptive opportunities and trends going on. You need a really strong idea and a team that understands the market.”
Hower will join two-dozen other top venture capitalists and more than 50 innovative presenting companies at the upcoming Southeast Venture Conference in Charlotte, NC, March 13-14.
Going after problems businesses have takes exceptional people and ideas, Hower says, and winning in the end probably requires some first mover or other advantage in the beginning. “Every startup needs to look for that kind of thing,” he adds. “Technology advances that give them an advantage.”
Look for an advantage
Businesses, he notes, “Are looking at the cost structure of lots of things they have.” For instance, he says, “It used to be that moving your apps to the cloud was risky. Now it’s risky if you’re not thinking about it.”
Today, Hower says, startups have to move faster because “Information is moving faster than ever. You can be sure your competitors will be looking at you,” and given the chance, they’ll stomp on your new idea. So, he says, “You have to move faster and be more conscious of building a protectable business model and go-to-market strategy.”
Ash Ashutosh, CEO, actifio.
There are ways to get it done. Hower points to one of ATV’s portfolio companies, Actifio. “It’s in the digital storage space, which is hard, because people are careful with their storage. The CEO (Ash Ashutosh) is an incredibly customer-centric guy. He understands how difficult it is for people to manage their storage now. I’ve actually heard some of his customers say, ‘Now I can sleep at night.’ That’s the kind of emotional impact you need to have.”
Hower says that one of the things great entrepreneurs have is “A way of telling a story that is both credible and exciting. They emphasize the possibilities without being unrealistic.”
How do you get there?
The quality of an idea and the business narrative are related, he points out. “If you say you have a billion dollar market, you have to build some credible assumptions so people know how you are going to get there.”
Entrepreneurs can do research to show how companies that came before them achieved certain penetration rates, for instance.
What does Hower look for in an entrepreneur’s narrative when they’re seeking an investment?
Questions a VC asks
He says, “An early question I ask is ‘How many customers have you talked to? How much will they pay for this? Then you have a basis for how big the market can be.”
Beyond that, he says, “An entrepreneur has to understand not only his customers, but also the ecosystem they’re going to be in. Do they know anyone who can give them a leg up? Who can become a partner or a customer?”
He looks for entrepreneurs who “Are eager to learn and can do an accurate self-assessment of what they do and do not know.”
He also looks for optimism, “based in reality.” Running a startup is an up and down business. Some days you sign a major customer. The next day everyone you talk to says “No.”
“They have to be able to put with a lot of ambiguity and hard work. If you’re going to walk the long trail with this person (as an investor) you have to think he’s savvy enough to get there.”
Wednesday, February 13th, 2013
Small businesses in the United Kingdom will have an alternative way to finance their operations. Atlanta-based Kabbage, an online provider of working capital for small businesses, has launched in the UK, its first market outside the United States.
Since opening two years ago, Kabbage has quickly become the fastest-growing small business finance company, extending more advances to small businesses than any other provider of working capital.
Kabbage Chairman Marc Gorlin tells the TechJournal,”Small business are at the core of what do. There are small businesses in other countries, and we want to be there to help them. It also helps that the UK is Europe’s biggest e-commerce market.”
Its funding platform leverages dozens of data sources to determine real-time business performance, and delivers funding to small businesses within seven minutes of applying online.
Kabbage’s breakthrough data platform has earned the company top industry accolades including most recently being named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies and winning first place at VentureBeat’s CloudBeat Innovation Showdown 2012.
Fast Company found them
Gorlin says, “The Fast Company is really meaningful as this wasn’t something you could even apply for. They found us.”
Kabbage has participated in numerous events produced by TechMedia, the TechJournal’s publisher, including the Southeast Venture Conference, which has its seventh annual event coming up in Charlotte March 13-14.
Rob Frohwein, Kabbage Co-Founder and CEO said of the UK move, “Kabbage is deeply passionate about making funding easy and accessible to all small businesses in order to enable growth,” said. “The UK is Europe’s largest ecommerce market but small businesses there face the same challenge that American businesses face — banks are hesitant to lend the capital so desperately needed.
“Given the size and demand of the UK market, it was the natural destination for our first launch overseas. We’re tremendously excited to begin providing UK businesses with access to our simple, flexible funding platform in order to fuel their growth.”
Tuesday, February 12th, 2013
Brian Rich, managing director, co-founder, Catalyst Ventures.He’s participating in the Southeast Venture Conference in Charlotte, NC, March 13-14.
By Allan Maurer
What’s the best way to contact a potential investor in your startup company? Venture capitalists see so many business plans come through the door that the way you contact them is important, says Brian Rich, managing partner and co-founder of Catalyst Ventures.
Since the mid-1990s, New York-based Catalyst has invested in more than 50 portfolio companies and completed 100+ consolidating acquisitions. Prior to co-founding Catalyst, Rich founded and managed TD Capital, the entity that made Toronto Dominion Bank’s U.S.-based equity, mezzanine, and limited partnership investments from 1995 to 1999. As group head, he oversaw approximately 40 investments totaling more than $600 million.
Rich will join two-dozen other venture capitalists participating in the upcoming Southeast East Venture Conference March 13-14 at the Ritz Carlton in Charlotte, NC. The Seventh Annual SEVC includes presentations from more than 50 high growth technology companies from the region, and insights into fund-raising from industry experts, and many networking opportunities.
SEVC has named the first round of presenting companies.
Best way to approach VCs
The best way to approach a venture capital firm, Rich says, “Is through a warm introduction. Email me referencing someone I know or trust. Things like LinkedIn make that easier. ‘Brian, I know so-and-so and he recommended that I write to you.’ That’s a warm introduction, and I’ll pay more attention to that.”
Before you approach any VC with a pitch, however, you should do your homework thoroughly, he adds. “We’re sort of like doctors in our business – very specialized,” he explains. “There are investors who are geographically focused, some who are stage (of fund raising) focused, and some industry focused.”
Those specializations break down even further to things such as early-stage healthcare, or social media and so on.
“You need to do your homework directly or through an intermediary because there is no point in talking to someone with no interest in what you do.”
Should you use an intermediary?
That brings up another question. Should you use an intermediary when fund-raising?
Bankers are not like consultants, he says. They don’t get paid for the time they spend on a deal, so they want bigger deals. If you’re only raising a million or two, Rich says, “I’d have to question whether or not you’re likely to be more successful with them or without them.”
If you do choose to go with an intermediary, however, Rich says you should make sure it’s with someone who has demonstrated that they raised money for other companies and can provide references. “Talk to four or five CEOs of companies they worked with,” he suggests, “and ask how they performed. Did they do what they said they would? Of the money raised, how much did they raise? Were you happy with the results?”
Once you make that decision, then decide on which VC you’ll approach – preferably with that warm introduction.
What sort of email should you send?
“Don’t send me a diatribe in email,” he warns. “I’m not going to read it. I get a hundred a day. Get to the point. This is my company, this is our size and scale, how much we intend to raise, the key merits of the deal and who you are. Keep it short enough to read in a minute or less.” Attach a one-page pdf with more details and if the deal interests the VC, it will get read.
It is essentially a written version of the elevator speech an entrepreneur should be able to deliver between floors.
Once you get into see a VC, “Don’t be too rigid in your presentation,” says Rich. “Allow the investor to ask questions. If you’re in the right place, he’ll have a good knowledge of the space you’re in. If the questions take you off track, you should be strong enough to pull the meeting back on track.”
If you don’t get funding and you come back to the same venture firm in a couple of years time, “Rest assured we will pull out your old set of projections. We save everything,” says Rich. “So be careful of what you say you’re going to do.”
If you’re lucky enough to interest a couple of investors, he says, “Don’t dilly-dally. Close with one of them. Go and get it done.”
Thursday, January 31st, 2013
Looking for a way to make lasting connections with hundreds of venture capitalists and entrepreneurs? Register before Friday (February 1) and you can still get the Early-Bird rate for the 7th Annual Southeast Venture Conference at the Ritz Carlton in Charlotte, NC, March 13-14.
You’ll hear from 50 of Southeast’s most innovative growth firms from 11 states and network with hundreds of private equity investors.
Top industry leaders will share insights on M&A, fund raising strategies, IPOs, valuations, hot investment secotrs, and early-stage trends.
Speakers lined up for this year’s event include Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP; Bob Hower of Advanced Technology Ventures, Scott Maxwell of OpenView Venture Partners, Larry Bettino of StarVest Partners, Adrian Wilson of Square 1 Ventures, Sean Cantwell of Volition Capital, Brian Rich of Catalyst Investors, Roland Reynolds of Industry Ventures, Janet Yang of Novak Biddle Venture Partners, Mark Rostic of Intel Capital, Don Rainey of Grotech Ventures, Lenard Marcus of Edison Ventures, Trevor Kienzle of Correlation Ventures, David Jones, CEO of Peak 10; John Lawrence of Longworth Venture Partners, Matt Shapiro of Second Market,; Cater Griffin of Updata Partners, an Ron Shah of the Stripes Group, among others.
Thursday, December 6th, 2012
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.
High growth innovative technology companies from young firms to the pre-IPO stage have an opportunity to present in front of top national venture capitalists and private equity professionals at the 2013 Southeast Venture Conference March 13th and 14th at the Ritz-Carlton in Charlotte, NC. Applications to present at the event are now being accepted.
The event seeks high growth, innovative companies from diverse technology industries including Software-as-a-Service, New Media, Bio-IT, Clean-Tech, Medical Devices, Mobile, Security, among others.
Hundreds of the region’s leading Entrepreneurs and High Growth Company Executives (from Startups to pre-IPO), National Venture Capitalists and Private Equity Professionals, M&A facilitators and other leading professionals serving the high growth technology community.
SEVC highlights both early and later stage investment opportunities from: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington DC.
Last year’s SEVC Average Presenter Profile:
- Average Annual Revenue: $5.9 million
- Average Capital Raised to Date: $6.7 million
- Average Number of Employees: 35
While the presenting companies are from the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, the investors fly in from all parts of the country, including California, New York, and Massachusetts, as well as those that are regionally focused.
Exclusive panels, speakers, programming
The SEVC features market relevant investor and executive panels, exclusive networking opportunities, featured speakers and dozens of the region’s top private technology firms presenting to a national audience of venture capitalists, investment bankers and private equity investors.
As a TechMedia company and sponsor of the event, the TechJournal has reported on many firms that subsequently landed angel or venture backing. Venture capitalists tell us, they find new firms to put on their radar and track at each year’s event and many have returned year after year to spot hot Southeast opportunities.
SEVC is also an unparalleled networking event in which innovative firms meet potential partners, customers, and employees, in addition to making invaluable contacts within the venture and angel funding community.
Additional information on presenting and registration can be found at seventure.org andyou can view a list of past presenters here.
Wednesday, October 17th, 2012
The Southeast Venture Conference is headed to Charlotte, NC, in March 2013.
The seventh annual Southeast Venture Conference, a major event for investors and entrepreneurs, is headed to Charlotte, NC, March 13-14 at the Riz-Carlton.
The conference features presentations by 60 of the region’s high growth investment opportunities.
They will include both early and later stage companies from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington DC.
The conference offers an unparalleled opportunity to Network with hundreds of the region’s leading Entrepreneurs and High Growth Company Executives, National Venture Capitalists and Private Equity Professionals, M&A facilitators and other leading professionals serving the technology community.
We’ve covered many startup and later stage firms that presented at previous SEVC’s and later landed multiple financing rounds.
SEVC is also teaming with the Internet Summit in Raleigh Nov. 6-8 this year to present the two-day Startup Summit focused on entrepreneurs.
ttendees and speakers include leading incubators, venture capital firms, and innovative companies. We’ll feature 16 presenting startups that will showcase their companies and concepts. You’ll have the opportunity to meet them one-on-one in our demo pit.
Speakers at the Startup Summit include influential entrepreneurs and leaders from the investment community:
- Angus Davis, Founder & CEO, Swipely
- Paul Singh, Partner & Master of the Hustle, 500Startups
- Sarah Lacy, Founder & Editor-in-Chief, PandoDaily
- Scott Maxwell, Founder, OpenView Venture Partners
- Michael Doernberg, CEO and Co-founder, Reverbnation
- Laura Witt, General Partner, ABS Capital
- Rob Go, Partner, NextView Ventures
- David Morken, Founder & CEO, Bandwidth.com
- Jonathan Perrelli, Founding Partner, Fortify.vc
- Dayna Grayson, North Bridge Venture Partners
- Neil Kataria, Founder & Chairman, newBrandAnalytics
- Greg Cangialosi, Managing Dir, Nucleus Venture Partners
- Jason Caplain, General Partner, Southern Capital Ventures
- Robbie Allen, Founder & CEO, Automated Insights
- John Burke, Founder and General Partner, True Ventures
- Joe Velk, Contender Capital
- Chris Heivly, Managing Partner, Triangle Startup Factory
- David Jones, Partner, Southern Capital Ventures
- Joe Schmidt, CMO, Cafepress
- Tom Lotrecchiano, Sr Vice President, Cafepress
- Matt Williamson, Founder & CEO, Windsor Circle
Thursday, March 1st, 2012
By Joe Procopio
Last night at dinner, Windsor Circle’s Matt Williamson was a busy man. In between bites and drinks, he filled pages in a notebook with research on a number of investors who introduced themselves after his pitch. The beautiful thing was there was a veritable cornucopia of information to be had among the six of us at dinner, and by the time it was over, he was armed.
Williamson says, “It’s been an incredible experience being in such a tight concentration of venture capitalists. The overwhelming response is that we’re a compelling story for such a short amount of time that Windsor Circle has been around. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how helpful the VCs are.”
He said a lot more than that, but I blacked out. It was late.
He’s not alone. Several startups are making that upward swing from the pitches into meetings, and if yesterday was an explosion of activity, then this morning and afternoon should be buzzing with follow up.
Not Just Digital
PodPonics is an Atlanta based high tech agriculture startup, converting shipping containers into high tech controlled growing environments producing fresher, urban, weather-safe produce — in other words better and faster with incredible yield. These containers can be stacked 10 high to produce 150x yield per acre.
That’s a game changer.
CEO Matt Liotta will present this afternoon. But they’ve been networking and meeting people in preparation. They say it’s a good setup, allowing mass concentration of conversation is short periods of time and they’ve been able to generate interest before they even take the stage.
Not Just Deals
It isn’t just the dealmaking though. This year, I’ve met more entrepreneurs and potential entrepreneurs who are here just to get the lay of the land and figure out how to take the next steps with their idea or fledgling company.
The panels have also been refreshingly honest. The first sentence I heard in the Venture Capital Outlook session was that “the wheels fell off on August 15th.” Having been out in the field raising money at that point, I absolutely agree with that. It’s like the mirage vanished.
Overall, there seems to be a lot of activity in the $1 billion plus range, and a lot in the under $100 million range, with a big black hole in the sweet spot. This is troubling for those early-stage graduates, but with such an emphasis on customers and revenue over the last four years, it’s certainly not a shocker.
There is a lot of visceral reaction to crowd-funding, and you’re going to see a lot more in this space in the near future, and it will probably be volatile and filled with argument.
It’s tricky, to say the least. There was a lot of talk about how it can and should be done, not only from a legal perspective but also making sure that you can get follow on money and that there are no surprises going into your next round.
However it can’t be ignored. Kickstarter, though not technically crowd-funding but more beta-product pre-purchase (or free T-shirt), has done three $1 million plus deals already this year.
So while Groupon, Facebook, and Zynga dominate the exit talk, crowd funding made up a large portion of the entry talk.
But it wasn’t the only talk. Angels are making more noise these days, and a common theme, the lack of organization in the Angel community that makes it hard to get started, is still an issue, even post AngelList. One of the questions was “where do I find Angels” and the first answer was “LinkedIn.”
Coincidentally, TechCrunch did a post last night on AngelList potentially creating a common pitch-deck template. And while I don’t agree that that’s the right next step, it should be about more robust ways to build relationships between the entrepreneurs and the angels, it’s at least a step.
Wednesday, February 29th, 2012
If content is king, distribution is King Kong.
By Allan Maurer
If content is King, then distribution of that content is King Kong, says Grab Media’s CEO Alvin Bowles.
Dulles, VA-based Grab Media, formerly Grab Networks, evolved from from the merger of Anystream and Voxant in September of 2008.
Grab Media is a leading premium video distribution company. It connects premium video content from a wide collection of professional sources and brand-name advertisers to ideal viewers. Marketers rely on Grab Media to position their message in front of large-scale, engaged audiences, so they can focus on brand promotion.
The company is one of 60 innovative firms presenting to investors representing billions in capital at the Southeast Venture Conference today (Feb. 29) and tomorrow (March 1) at Tysons Corner, VA. Bowles says the company is interested in strategic relationships, not just raising growth capital. “We can go bigger,” he says.
The 32-employee company has an overall audience 350 million video views by 27 million uniques a month from 80 to 100 million short video streams and was cited as the second fastest growing online video firm by comScore last year.
The company gets video content from180 media firms such as Martha Stewart, Yahoo and Conde Nast. It uses only professionally produced short videos – no user created content.
It provides 140,000 Web sites with a one-line of code video player to stream relevant content with advertising from movie firms, HBO, and other clients. “We stream the right content on the right site next to the right advertising,” Bowles says. It shares revenue from the advertising with the video producers and the publishers.
The whole concept is similar to TV syndication of shows, in which a station licenses content and sells advertising against it.
“The value proposition is about engagement, selling contextual relevance, behaviorial targeting and psychographic profiling,” Bowles says. Any ordinary content – sports, weather, news – is enhanced by video, he notes.
No squirrels on skates
He emphasizes that he’s not talking about “The squirrel on skates running across your living room” variety of user produced videos. “People will watch professionally produced video,” he says. “Whether they’re video-snacking or watching full-length shows.”
That’s why Google’s YouTube, Netflix, and others are launching original content channels.
It’s a huge market – estimated at $3 billion a year, with great growth potential, particularly in mobile. “Mobile is the only medium where there is more ad demand for quality content than there is supply.”
Only a few people are doing video the right way, Bowles says. What is the right way?
“Give people what they want, when they want it.”
Previously on the TechJournal:
Grab Networks wraps up $12M funding
Anystream merges with Voxant
Wednesday, February 29th, 2012
Business 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.
Tuesday, February 28th, 2012
By Allan Maurer
Low interest rates don’t do much for a bank account, and that has had one good effect, says Sean Glass, partner with Novak Biddle Venture Partners. “There is more early stage capital around than ever because of the rate environment,” he says.
“When you have really low interest rates, people will take more risk with their portfolio. So there are a lot of angel investors who wouldn’t be in other times. More money available means more investors get a shot at it (creating a successful startup).”
That view contrasts somewhat with those of Jim Jaffe, president and CEO of the National Association of Seed and Venture Captialists (NASVF), who told us that the seed level funding of $100,000 to about $1.5 million can still be the “Valley of Death,” for many startups needing outside backing.
At SEVC this week
Both Glass and Jaffe are among the dozens of investors, entrepreneurs and 60 presenting companies participating in the Southeast Venture Conference in Tysons Corner, VA, Wednesday and Thursday (Feb. 29-March 1).
Glass, who is also founder and CEO of Employ Insight, and a founder and executive board member of the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute, says that while more early stage capital may be available, the flipside is that “We’re seeing a consolidation of late Series A rounds to mezzanine money”(often the final large round before an IPO or other exit).
“So,” says Glass, “We’re seeing a lot of entrepreneurs get started, but it’s getting harder to land that next round. They have to show traction a bit faster.” That contrasts with several years ago when companies that got seeded were fairly sure of a next round, he adds.
Glass says that signs the economy is getting better may not be such great news for entrepreneurs. “You would think it would be good for them, but it’s bad, because all of a sudden investors have alternatives with equal returns and less risk. It will take money away from the process.”
Glass says other changes are at work in the venture-backed startup economy.
Americane Entrepreneurs building a company now, for instance, “Will probably have to compete with someone outside the U.S., not just from firms in Boston and Silicon Valley. They may see competition from London, Rio, Santiago, and maybe Beijing. That’s why Groupon had to start going international early on, making sure it could win those markets.”
Pinterest could have done without so much early press
That means getting attention early on may not be the best thing for some companies. “My friend, the founder and CEO of Pinterest (Ben Silbermann) says he wishes the press hand’t started writing about them for another 12 to 18 months,” because the competition comes out of the global arena so quickly. “That makes it harder to build a new Facebook or Twitter,” says Glass.
Glass also says that many tech entrepreneurs don’t understand that many businesses may have good but limited potential. “A lot of tech startups can build nice $10 million to $15 million businesses but will never hit the scale needed to impact a venture firm’s portfolio.”
Businesses that do interest venture firms, he notes, “Need a large amount of capital to produce lots of profits quickly.”
Glass says entrepreneurs who can find a niche and build a company in a way larger firms can’t because they’re not geared to doing new things are going to “Get paid, because those big companies have cash and they want to buy growth.”
So, he says, “There will be options for exits and expect to see a lot of merger and acquisition opportunities.”
Interviewed by phone while in the Florida Keys, Glass says he sees evidence of an improving economy there. “There are people on the streets, restaurants are full, and the marina is full of boats – and they’re big boats.”
Glass says he’s looking forward to attending the SEVC, one of, if not the largest Mid-Atlantic venture event, this week. ”