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Angel investment groups eye larger deals, national scope

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

By Allan Maurer

Jamie Lewis

Jamie Lewis

Atlanta Technology Angels (ATA) decision to join other angel groups in financing Austin-based Wisegate, was significant in more ways than one, says ATA and Wisegate board member Jamie Lewis.

Lewis, formerly CEO of  The Burton Group, like Wisegate, an IT research and advisory firm that sold to Gartner for $56 million in 2009, tells the TechJournal the ATA/Wisegate deal “Is largely a reflection of how significantly the capital markets have changed in the last five years or so.”

National, not just regional deals sought

A member of ATA for about a year, Lewis notes there is a move afoot in the Angel investor space to create a national syndication network so deals can happen nationally rather than just regionally.

The ATA itself says the decision to invest in a company outside of Georgia represents its own desire to expand its footprint throughout the Southeast and possibly beyond.

Reasons for the change

“There is a lot of interest in deals occurring as widely as possible, even though it’s natural for most to occur regionally,” Lewis says.

A primary reason for this change in angel investing strategy, says Lewis, is that many venture capital firms have altered their own strategies.

“Back ten or 15 years ago,” says Lewis, “the typical VC was doing lots of early stage deals, including companies with a little seed funding, not a lot, and maybe some revenue, but not profits.”

VCs more like private equity firms

Not so much any more, he says. “Most VCs now act more like private equity firms,” he says. “They like later stage deals, investing in companies that have proven themselves in the markeplace and are well beyond the seed stage.”

That creates a much talked about early stage funding gap.

Why? “It’s by choice,” says Lewis. “They don’t want the risk.” He adds that it also has to do with the risk profile of their limited partners (those who invest in the venture funds). They’re taking money from institutional investors and pension funds. Those have a much different risk profile than the typical angel investors.:

Many angel investors are themselves former or current entrepreneurs who are more accustomed to risk, he notes.

The change opens the field for angel groups to step up. The syndicate that invested $3 million in Wisegate included Texas, New York, and Georgia angel groups. By investing together, the groups can structure larger deals the size of many Series A rounds.

Not your typical IT service firm

“That’s how Wisegate sees this,” says Lewis, “as a Series A raise. It’s interesting that a syndicate of angel networks can pull together that kind of money and fund a company at that level. ”

Wisegate, he says, “Is not your typical IT service company.” Right now it is focused on what Lewis calls “One of the biggest issues worldwide – the whole concept of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).” That is causing security problems for many companies.

Wisegate brings -by invitation only – IT experts together to discuss best practices, what works, what doesn’t, which tools are effective, which not, and so on, to provide clients with IT advice from people in the know.

For more about Jamie Lewis, see “Be What You Aspire to Be.” In it, an interview about commitment, determination, and passion in business and life, he quotes Randolph Bourne who said, “He who mounts a wild elephant, goes where the elephant goes.”

Atlanta Technology Angels expanding reach beyond Georgia

Monday, June 24th, 2013

The Atlanta Technology Angels has invested in a company outside of Georgia for the first time. The move signals that the Angel investor group is opening up to investing with other angel groups and venture capitalists in firms across the Southeast.Atlanta Technology Angels

“We’d like to get the word out that the ATA is looking at investment opportunties outside of Atlanta,” Jenn Pratt, who handles PR for the group with Carabiner Communications, said.

The ATA joined Cowtown Angel Network and Central Texas Angel Network and Golden Seeds in a $3 million investment in Austin-based Wisegate,an innovative IT research service founded in 2011.

Here at the TechJournal, we’ve noticed that a number of Angel groups are forming syndicates with other angel groups and early-stage venture capital firms to do somewhat larger than usual deals.

Using a crowdsourcing model

Through its service qualified senior technology professionals share information without the bias of analysts, vendors, media or advertisers.

Using a crowdsourcing model and advanced algorithms, Wisegate gives technology professionals trusted, timely, relevant and affordable access to the   collective knowledge and experience of their peers.

Wisegate membership is available to senior IT professionals working for companies that do not sell IT products or services, and all applicants are screened to ensure they meet strict membership guidelines.

 

Top ten cities for new college grads named

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013
Raleigh is number six on the list of the top ten cities for new college grads from Apartments.com.

Raleigh is number six on the list of the top ten cities for new college grads from Apartments.com.

College graduates from across the country have more in common than that shiny new diploma and the class of ’13 distinction. No matter where they received their degree, they all face the same life-changing decision: where to work and where to live.

 While the national unemployment rate is moving down, competition for jobs is still stiff, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics citing 11.7 million unemployed persons (April 2013) and a mere 3.8 million available jobs (March 2013).

With apartment rents increasing each year and the continuing challenges of a slower economy, it is becoming more important for recent grads to explore the possibility of starting their professional lives in a city that offers the best overall opportunity for employment, career success, living affordability and an energetic, youthful culture.

Making the decision easier

For the sixth year, Apartments.com has complied the “Top 10 Best Cities for Recent College Graduates” to help make this big decision a little easier.

“When starting the search process, it can be tempting to focus on just the biggest cities,” said Tammy Kotula, public relations and promotions manager for Apartments.com. “In fact, many other ‘best of’ lists tend to be heavily weighted toward the country’s largest markets, which obviously offer a lot of career opportunities.

However, it is important to carefully consider all aspects that a city, even a smaller market, has to offer before deciding where to settle down.”

Personally, we’d look at how these cities and the states they are in treat the “creative class,” and their support for education, and recreation, as well, for instance.

Kotula added that the first step should be to identify cities that offer affordability alongside professional opportunity. Hand-in-hand with this qualification is to try and determine if the city’s demographics line up with those of a recent college graduate.

“If you are single and in your early to mid-20s, chances are the lifestyle in a city with a similar demographic profile will be more appealing than it would if you were striking out on your own in a market that is heavily skewed toward married households with a higher median population age,” continues Kotula.

The sixth annual Apartments.com “Top 10 Best Cities for Recent College Graduates” list is a resource designed to help identify the best places in the country for new graduates to begin this chapter of their lives, taking into account employment opportunities, salary, rent for a one bedroom apartment and the city’s median age and percentage of male and female only households, as an indicator of the youthful singles’ scene.

The Apartments.com 2013 “Top 10 Best Cities for Recent College Graduates” list, along with the average rent for a one bedroom apartment, includes: 

Top 10 Best Cities for Recent College Graduates Average Rent for 1 Bedroom Apartment
1.        Phoenix, AZ $ 708
2.        Orlando, FL $ 857
3.        San Antonio, TX $ 794
4.        Columbus, OH $ 634
5.        Austin, TX $ 1,006
6.        Raleigh, NC $ 788
7.        Oklahoma City, OK $ 722
8.        Fort Worth, TX $ 795
9.        Dallas, TX $ 983
10.     Minneapolis, MN $ 1,177

The Apartments.com “Top 10 Best Cities for Recent College Graduates” list distinguishes itself from other “best of” lists through its comprehensive view of what qualifies a city to be considered.

“Over the past six years that Apartments.com has been culling this list, we have adapted to economic changes and have adjusted our methodology accordingly,” states Dick Burke, senior vice president and general manager, Apartments.com. “This way we are evaluating what is most meaningful to recent graduates in the context of the bigger picture in unemployment, affordability and other key factors.”

Affordability, unemployment considered

This year’s list took into account affordability vs. just median income, which gave advantage to cities where the average rent for a one bedroom apartment falls within the recommended 25% of gross median income. In addition, unemployment was a major factor in determining this sixth annual list. Cities with unemployment above 7% were eliminated.

Burke adds, “We believe that a low unemployment rate contributes to a vibrant community with more job opportunity across the board, which is good not only for entry level positions, but also as an indicator of potential as a person moves through his or her career.”

In addition, this year’s list takes into account demographics. Added weight was given to cities with the highest percentage of population between 25-29 years of age and men-and-women-only households, as an indicator of the youthfulness and singles scene in each market.

In addition, cities with significantly low or high median age for population were eliminated. Kotula comments, “This helped steer our list away from all college towns, which is reflected by a low median population age, as well as cities that skew more middle to retirement age population-wise.”

MicroVentures investors pump $16M into seed stage startups

Friday, May 17th, 2013

MicroventuresSan Francisco, CA and Austin-TX-based MicroVentures, the only combined equity crowdfunding platform and broker-dealer in the US, announced says that accredited investors on their platform have invested $16 million in startups.

With investments in 34 companies, MicroVentures has now invested more with legal, accredited investors than any other equity based crowdfunding platform.

MicroVentures employs a crowd-sourcing process that enables the power of the crowd to decide which startups will receive investments in an effort to provide a higher probability of successful outcomes. Further, MicroVentures has a dedicated due diligence team that screens out companies that may have potential growth inhibiting challenges.

Tim Sullivan, CEO of MicroVentures, said, “As we patiently wait for the SEC to enact rules around the JOBS Act, we are utilizing traditional securities laws to connect startups with great investors. This is only possible as a result of our being one of the only registered broker dealer in the space. This is the first time ever that accredited investors have had the ability to invest alongside VC’s without taking major stakes and ending up with similarly diversified portfolios. However, we may find that the crowd does an even better job at picking winners.”

He added, “We’ve reached a milestone that proves that our platform doesn’t just ‘work’ — but that there is significant demand from smaller investors to take part in this asset class.”

Invests in seed stage startups

MicroVentures’ platform invests primarily in seed stage startups, but will participate in follow on rounds alongside the VCs throughout the life of a company.

For example, visual book publishing platform Graphicly (www.graphicly.com) and rich media advertisement platform Republic Project (www.republicproject.com) have both received multiple investments from MicroVentures as they have continued to gain traction and required additional capital to accelerate their growth.

Other investments include SupplyHog (www.supplyhog.com), a Tennessee-based company that operates a platform that streamlines the process for buying building supplies and material online, along with Kickfolio (www.kickfolio.com), the first foreign management team, who have created a platform that enables developers to run iOS app demos in a standard web browser.

“Our platform has created the opportunity for our investors to invest in everything from seed stage startups to huge companies such as Twitter and Facebook through secondary transactions. We’re giving investors the chance to participate and the transparency to make decisions in a way they have traditionally never been able to,” said Sullivan.

Digital marketing: build relationships rather than buying eyeballs

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

By Allan Maurer

Adrian Parker

Adrian Parker

Looking at the future of digital marketing, social and mobile technologies are creating many opportunities for real people to connect, So, it is less about buying eyeballs or paid media buys and “More about  building out authentic relationships and trust,” says Adrian Parker, head of social, mobile, and emerging media at Intuit’s accounting professionals division.

Traditionally, Parker says, “Marketers invested in scale, frequency, ROI. But what builds trust are peer recommendations, referrals, blogs, editorial, forums. Those can build a significant amount of trust among your consumer base. You can’t buy a relationship.”

Parker’s work has spanned client and agency-side strategies for Foot Locker, ESPN, Nike, adidas, Liz Claiborne and Body Shop and he served as director of social media and digital strategy at Radio Shack, where he launched its social practice across 35,000 employees in 27 countries. In 2011 he won a Forrester Groundswell award, recognizing him for top-performing B2C digital campaigns.

Discussing the “Relationship Era” at Dallas Digital Summit

Parker will join speakers from brands that include Google, AOL, Twitter, Stumbleupon, PBS, reddit, Cheezeburger Network, Oracle and Vistaprint, among others, at TechMedia’s Dallas Digital Summit Dec. 4-5 at Union Station, Dallas, TX.

He’ll be discussing what some have called “The relationship era.”

The relationship era changes the game, Parker notes. “In the past,” he says, “the big brands had all the power. That’s shifting. Now a lot of smaller brands are faster and nimbler.”

At Intuit, Parker’s goals include building out channels such as Twitter and LinkedIn, creating content to “allow consumers to use our products,” but also “how to make you a promoter,” he says.

So far Intuit’s efforts are working extremely well. “We’ve had significant success even in the last couple of weeks,” Parker says.

“We launched an enhanced Facebook and YouTube presence and website. We’ve seen a 5X increase in Facebook reach since launching with a mix of paid media, contests and promotions to speak to influential businesses. We’re also targeting them with video and rich media content.”

Three ways to build social relationships

We asked Parker what the top three things you should consider when building digital relationships.

First, he says, “Less is more. It’s not really about the volume or quantity of communications but about being simple and authentic.”

Second, “Think mobile first. I know that 70 percent of my accounting customers use a smartphone and can be reading my marketing message or email on a phone. It’s now the first screen of preference, surpassing the TV screen, laptop or desktop. So think of the mobile screen first.”

Progress over Perfection

Third, he says, consider “Progress over perfection. Things are changing so fast there is no way to be perfect. You have to improvise and test. We did a series of tests and experiments before achieving that 5X increase in Facebook reach.”

Parker predicts we’ll see a pivot away from “Big Bang Campaigns” to smaller test campaigns. “You always have to move forward,” he says, adding, “That’s easier said than done.”

A regular speaker at events such as the Dallas Digital Summit, Parker says the number one question he hears is how to translate social and digital campaigns into something a marketing team of one can handle as opposed to big brands with million dollar marketing budgets.

How smaller businesses can play

“How do I translate your marketing strategy into something actionable for me?” they ask.

“Before Radio Shack, I had my own business,” Parker says. “I learned from the ground up – some of the best social campaigns are not the ones that cost the most money. You can be creative on Facebook and Twitter with pictures and posts that cut through the clutter. It does take time to manage those things. But there are a host of free and automated tools people can use to optimize their presence and make it a meaningful experience.”

He advises, “Do a little with what you have. Pay for expertise when you can. Choose the best channel and go all in. If you’re a B2B company, LinkedIn may give you the best bang for the buck and you may not need a Facebook presence.

 

Four steps to building a winning mobile strategy

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

By Allan Maurer

Adam Landrum

Adam Landrum

Building a winning game plan for mobile marketing starts with the basics of all marketing, says Adam Landrum, president, CEO and founder of Merge, a ten-year-old digital strategy agency based in Greenville, SC. First, he says, determine what your objectives are, and that will determine what you do.

Landrum is one of dozens of digital marketing experts, Internet mavens and top brand speakers appearing at the upcoming Dallas Digital Summit, Dec. 4-5 at Union Station, Dallas, TX. He’ll join speakers from Google, Twitter, PBS, StumbleUpon, AOL, reddit, Cheezburger, and Oracle, among others at the premier of this TechMedia event.

Landrum will discuss building a winning mobile strategy at the event. Here’s a preview:

What are your objectives

“What are your objectives? Customer acquisition? Brand awareness? Lead generation? Or any of a myriad of others? Determine that and then what types of advertising or marketing you need to achieve them,” says Landrum.

Is is essential to have a mobile strategy, he notes. “Adoption of smartphones and tablets over the last 18 to 24 months has been huge and it’s changing computing habits. Everyone is walking around with a computer in a pocket.”

Choose your network or platform

The next step after determining objectives, Landrum says, “Is to choose the right ad network (or platform). Some are very specific – SMS or Localizaiton marketing – others pretty much do it all.”

You typically don’t want to pick more than one network, he cautions. “They use the same ad exchanges, so you could be competing against yourself if you use more than one.”

Then, “Pick your tactics,” he says. “You might pick localization plus coupons if your objective is customer acquisition so he gets an ad on his mobile browser to entice the customer in as he passes your business. If you want brand awareness, you might choose a display ad or video. Tactics will be driven by your overall objectives.”

After you’ve picked you tactics, you set up your analytics. “Use a service such as Flurry to get details of how your campaign is peforming and adjust accordingly.”

Make sure your website is ready

One of the biggest problems they see at Merge, Landrum says, “Is that company websites are not ready for all this mobile traffic. You could put together all this effort creating the most brilliant mobile campaign and if you haven’t looked at the website experience, it’s all moot.”

So, he says, “The biggest thing to do before you get into mobile marketing is to look at the experience that your mobile website or landing pages offer. Are the buttons spread out enough for the mobile phone or too close together? Does it take more than seven seconds to load? If it does, they’re out of there. Look at all that before going through the trouble of setting up your mobile plan.”

Landrum,  a CPA and former Arthur Andersen consultant, blogs at the Merge site and we’ll be doing a followup piece about the “Five Nots of Digital Marketing.”

Austin Ventures names Brett Hurt a venture partner

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

 

Brett Hurt

Brett Hurt

Austin Ventures (“AV”), the most active and established early-stage venture capital firm in Texas, today announced that Brett Hurt has joined the firm as Venture Partner. Hurt is a seasoned entrepreneur who is widely recognized for turning groundbreaking ideas into leading businesses.

He most recently led Bazaarvoice (NASDAQ: BV) as CEO from Austin start up to global, publicly-traded leader with nearly 2,000 clients and nine offices around the globe.

He brings deep experience at all stages of the growth cycle and a clear eye for emerging market opportunities to Austin Ventures, where he will focus on early-stage venture investing. At Bazaarvoice, Hurt now serves as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Most exciting time in history for Austin entrepreneurs

“This is the most exciting time in the history of Austin for entrepreneurs,” said Hurt.

“Bazaarvoice’s success, and the continued explosion of the tech scene here, has inspired and energized a new generation. I have been fortunate enough to be on the ground at every stage of a company’s growth: identifying markets, scaling operations, leading IPOs and acquisitions, and nurturing the culture that makes success possible. I couldn’t be more excited to put this expertise to work on finding and coaching the entrepreneurs that want to build the next great company.”

“We have enjoyed the privilege of working with Brett for more than seven years. It has been a truly amazing run at Bazaarvoice from bootstrapped concept through IPO, follow-on offering, and now two acquisitions,” said Chris Pacitti, General Partner, Austin Ventures.

“Brett is enormously — and contagiously — passionate about entrepreneurship. We are excited to share that Brett has agreed to channel his boundless passion using the AV platform.”

Previously CEO of Bazaarvoice

Hurt previously served as CEO and president of Bazaarvoice, leading the company through its highly successful Initial Public Offering (IPO), which the Wall Street Journal named as one of 2012’s Best IPOs.

Hurt subsequently guided the company through a successful follow-on offering, and two acquisitions, PowerReviews and Longboard Media. A past recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, Hurt was recently named Austin Business Journal’s Best CEO of 2012.

Under Hurt’s leadership, Bazaarvoice has been repeatedly recognized for its corporate culture that places innovation, passion, and service at the center of its business. The company has been ranked as one of the best places to work in Austin at every stage of its growth by the Austin Business Journal and Austin American-Statesman for its innovative culture and deep community involvement through the Bazaarvoice Foundation.

Founded two other firms

Prior to Bazaarvoice, Hurt founded Coremetrics and helped grow the company into a leading marketing analytics solution for the eCommerce industry before its acquisition by IBM. He was previously the founder and CEO of Hurt Technology Consulting and BodyMatrix, an online retailer of sports nutrition products, which he sold.

Before that, he was a consultant at Deloitte Consulting and Andersen Consulting (now Accenture). Hurt holds an MBA in High-Tech Entrepreneurship from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a BBA in Management Information Systems from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a native Austinite, and was fortunate to grow up in a city that supported his desire to change the world through technology and began programming computers when he was seven years old.

“My best advice to any aspiring CEO would be that the soul of a company is what drives long-term success, and culture really matters,” Hurt continued. “I am honored and privileged to work alongside the best investors in Austin to charter the new companies that will truly make a difference in the world.”

An early start is need to interest girls in science and tech

Monday, August 13th, 2012
Sally Ride

The late Sally Ride, the first U.S. woman in space.

Nearly 30 years after Sally Ride became the first female astronaut, not much has changed for America’s girls.

In college, young women continue to enroll in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) majors in far fewer numbers than boys.

Numerous studies have shown that the decline in interest and motivation to study STEM subjects begins early in life, but there are ways to help girls become more confident and interested in studying STEM subjects.

According to electrical engineer and Technigirl founder Melissa Montanez, in order to achieve these goals, it is very important to start building girls’ confidence from an early age.

Why so few?

A report by the American Association of University Women entitled “Why So Few” shows that just over 20% of entering men planned to major in physical sciences, engineering, or computer science, while only about 5% of women planned to major in those fields.

Why do girls seemingly have less interest in studying STEM subjects than boys?  Studies show that one major issue is societal stereotypes such as “girls aren’t as good at math as boys”:

If a girl believes that most people, especially those in her immediate environment, think boys are better than girls at math, that thought is going to affect her, even if she doesn’t believe it herself. (Why So Few, p.45)

In order to gain the confidence they need to succeed in math and science, a study by the Institute of Education Sciences’ What Works Clearinghouse concluded that it is important that girls be taught that academic abilities are expandable.

Teaching this will enhance girls’ beliefs in their capabilities in math and science.

“It’s really important that we start giving girls positive messages about their capabilities in math and science as early in life as possible,” said Melissa Montanez.

“As an electrical engineer, I know how lonely it can be for women in this field.  Too many young girls and women dismiss it as a career choice early in life.”

Technigirl was founded in 2011 in Austin, TX and creates intelligent clothing for girls.  The company’s mission is to encourage girls to be proud of their intelligence and to help build their intellectual confidence from birth onward.

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

Sales pros still prefer face-to-face and phone to social media contacts

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

sales callSocial media technologies have re-shaped how we interact. But do they help salespeople sell?

Not according to the results of two surveys presented at the 2012 annual convention of the Southwestern Psychological Association in Oklahoma, City.

The surveys found that sales people vastly prefer tradition methods of contact such as the telephone and face-to-face meetings.

The surveys, reported by behavioral scientists, Trelitha R. Bryant and George W. Dudley at Behavioral Sciences Research Press in Dallas, Texas, were presented April 13, 2012.

Bryant and Dudley asked 4,768 salespeople (67% men, 33% women, average age 40) in more than 1,000 U.S. companies which form of client communication is most helpful for generating new sales.

The salespeople were surveyed as part of a standard assessment protocol for sales professionals which included the Sales Preference Questionnaire (SPQ*GOLD), a psychological test used worldwide to detect emotional discomfort associated with prospecting for new business.

Face to face & telephone preferred

Almost 70% said established forms of communication (face-to-face and telephone contact) were most helpful generating new sales.

Only 10%  claimed email was most effective and less than 10% said other forms of computer-mediated communication were most effective. Results were not age-related.

“Further analyses uncovered another relationship,” Dudley said.

“Salespeople claiming social media is most effective might be struggling with sales call reluctance, an emotional impediment to production characterized by apprehension, conflict, hesitation or avoidance specifically associated with sales prospecting.

“They had elevated prospecting distress scores on eleven of the twelve forms of sales call reluctance measured by the test.”

Follow-up study confirmed results

To confirm their results, the research team conducted a follow-up study of 1,512 additional salespeople (64%male; 36% female, average age 40). The outcome was essentially the same (68% said conventional, 2.8% computer-mediated).

“The second study confirmed what we learned in the first,” Bryant said, “including the link with sales call reluctance. Computer-mediated social media may help find a date, keep tabs on old friends or support a political campaign. But most salespeople don’t think it’s as helpful as conventional person-to-person contact for generating new sales.”

Here at the Techjournal, we wonder if the results suggest that many in sales have not yet mastered the new skills necessary to use social media effectively?

Just as an example, many sales people still tell a joke or two as part of the in-person sales process, but jump into social media directly with a sales pitch.

Whereas telling a joke or two first or otherwise engaging with potential contacts by getting their interest first is much more likely to be effective. – Allan Maurer

Competition for talent creating tech-oriented sub-markets

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Jones Lang LaSalleStrong growth in high-tech sector hiring and increasing  competition between firms for talent created new  tech-oriented submarkets around the U.S. and Canada in the first quarter of 2012, according toJones Lang LaSalle’s High Tech Industry Report.

“Despite high-tech’s relatively small footprint in office markets, accounting for just 8.5 percent of all jobs using office space, it has had a tremendous impact on the absorption of office space in the top five tech-oriented markets.

Additionally, the sector’s recent employment growth — roughly three times the overall U.S. employment rate – has begun to affect a growing number of other markets around the U.S. and Canada,” said Colin Yasukochi, Northwest Director of Research, Jones Lang LaSalle.

Top five markets see rent growth

Jones Lang LaSalle estimates that high tech accounts for nearly one-third of recent office market absorption nationwide.

The top five markets of Boston, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Silicon Valley recorded annual rent growth across key tech-oriented submarkets between 16.8 and 57.9 percent in the first quarter.

“We’re now seeing strong evidence of the ‘high-tech effect’ spreading out beyond the five major markets as companies in the technology sector both expand their business models and engage in a vigorous battle to land new pools of talent.

This quest for more human capital is increasingly pushing firms to look outside traditional tech cities to set up new operations,” Yasukochi said.

The submarkets that saw positive annual rent growth in the period included Vancouver’s Yaletown submarket; Boulder, Colorado; downtown Pittsburgh; Washington, D.C.’s East End; and the West Loop submarket of Houston, Texas.

High-tech demand for office space, which has led to rent recovery in many markets adversely affected by the financial downturn, is now spurring speculative construction activity in the office sector for the first time in more than five years.

“In markets like San Francisco, where high-tech demand is intense and tenants have been snapping up creatively configured office environments, there are very few large blocks of space available to accommodate additional growth.

With rents rising, we are now at the point where new construction — for those with access to capital to build – is now coming to the drawing board,” Yasukochi said.

Recently, a New York-based developer announced plans to build a spec office tower in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood, the first such development in the city since 2006.

Best schools to study video game design from California to the New York Highlands

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

The Princeton ReviewThe University of Southern California at Los Angeles and M.I.T. are the top two schools for studying video game design.

So says The Princeton Review (www.princetonreview.com) — one of the nation’s best-known education services companies, which today reported its third annual list naming the schools with the best programs to study video game design.

The new list, “Top Schools to Study Video Game Design for 2012,” recommends 50 schools in all.  It names 10 undergraduate and 10 graduate schools in rank order to its respective “top 10″ lists and 22 undergraduate and 8 graduate schools as Honorable Mentions.  The Company’s full report on the 2012 list is accessible now at http://www.princetonreview.com/game-design.aspx.

The Princeton Review chose the schools based on a comprehensive survey it conducted in the 2011-2012 academic year of administrators at 150 institutions offering video game design coursework and/or degrees in the United States and Canada.

The survey, which included more than 50 questions, covered a wide range of topics from academics and faculty credentials to graduates’ employment and career achievements.

Criteria for The Princeton Review’s school selections covered the quality of the curriculum, faculty, facilities and infrastructure.  The Company also factored in data it collected from the schools on their scholarships, financial aid and career opportunities.

The Princeton Review’s top 10 undergraduate schools to study video game design for 2012 are:

  1. University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)
  2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA)
  3. University of Utah (Salt Lake City, UT)
  4. DigiPen Institute of Technology (Redmond, WA)
  5. The Art Institute of Vancouver (Vancouver, BC)
  6. Rochester Institute of Technology (Rochester, NY)
  7. Shawnee State University (Portsmouth, OH)
  8. Savannah College of Art and Design (Savannah, GA)
  9. University of New Mexico (Albuquerque, NM)
  10. Becker College (Worcester, MA)

The Princeton Review’s top 10 graduate schools to study video game design for 2012 are:

  1. University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)
  2. Rochester Institute of Technology (Rochester, NY)
  3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA)
  4. University of Central Florida (Orlando, FL)
  5. Southern Methodist University (SMU) (Plano, TX)
  6. Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA)
  7. Savannah College of Art and Design (Savannah, GA)
  8. DigiPen Institute of Technology (Redmond, WA)
  9. Univ. of California, Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz, CA)
  10. Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA)

Honorable Mentions– Undergraduate Schools (alpha order):

Bradley University (Peoria, IL)
Champlain College (Burlington, VT)
Columbia College Chicago (Chicago, IL)
DePaul University (Chicago, IL)
Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA)
Ferris State University (Grand Rapids, MI)
Full Sail University (Winter Park, FL)
Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA)
Miami University (Oxford, OH)
Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI)
New Jersey Institute of Technology (Newark, NJ)
New York University/NYU POLY (New York, NY)
North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC)
Northeastern University (Boston, MA)
Ohio University (Athens, OH)
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY)
University of Advancing Technology (Tempe, AZ)
University of California, Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz, CA)
University of Maryland, Baltimore County (Baltimore, MD)
The University of Texas at Dallas (Richardson, TX)
Vancouver Film School (Vancouver, BC)
Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Worcester, MA)

Honorable Mentions – Graduate Schools (alpha order):

DePaul University (Chicago, IL)
Full Sail University (Winter Park, FL)
Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA)
New York University/NYU Poly (New York, NY)
Parsons – The New School for Design (New York, NY)
Sacred Heart University (Fairfield, CT)
The University of Texas at Dallas (Richardson, TX)
University of Utah (Salt Lake City, UT)

Visitors to the Princeton Review website area on this list http://www.princetonreview.com/game-design.aspx can access additional information about the schools’ programs and click on links to the schools’ websites.

“Academic and professional programs in video game design studies – from very specialized college majors to highly concentrated graduate degrees – have evolved tremendously over the past 10 years,” said Robert Franek, Princeton Review’s Senior VP/Publisher.  “We salute the schools on our list this year for their commitment to this burgeoning field and the innovative programs they offer. For students aspiring to work in this more than $10.5 billion industry and for the companies that will need their creative talents and skills, we hope this project will serve as a catalyst for many rewarding connections.”

The Princeton Review is also known for its annual rankings of colleges, law schools and business schools in dozens of categories which it reports on its website and in its books including The Best 376 Colleges and the recently published book,The Best Value Colleges.

The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University and it is not a magazine.

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.

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.

Where the social media jobs are and what they pay (infographic)

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Where are the social media jobs and how much do they pay? The most jobs are in New York, San Jose, San Francisco, LA, Boston, DC and Baltimore, says Onward Search. They pay the most in New York, San Francisco, LA, Boston and DC.

Social media jobs initially fell into the hands of traditional marketers, but more and more it is separate job category. Onwardsearch.com not only offers advice on how to find a job in social media, it has created a series of infographics outlining the best cities for social media positions, and now a social media salary guide.

The blog also offers some solid advice to those in social media. Brian Chappell of Ignite Social Media, for instance, suggests, “Steer away from fuzzy metrics and focus on social media marketing that can move the needle.”

For more, see Onward Search feature, “Social Media Advice from Leading Marketers.

Here’s the firm’s infographic on social media salaries:

infographic social media

 

 

 

 

salary infographic

Study names top ten states for “app economy” jobs

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

TechNetWASHINGTON, DC – A new study showing that there are now roughly 466,000 jobs in the “App Economy” in the United States, up from zero in 2007.

The study, sponsored by Illinois-based TechNet and conducted by Dr. Michael Mandel of South Mountain Economics, also found that App Economy jobs are spread throughout the nation.

Two-thirds of app economy outside CA and NY

The top metro area for App Economy jobs is New York City and its surrounding suburban counties, although together San Francisco and San Jose together substantially exceed New York. And while California tops the list of App Economy states, more than two-thirds of App Economy employment is outside of California and New York.

The results also suggest that the App Economy is growing quickly and that the location and number of app-related jobs are likely to shift greatly in the years ahead.

“America’s App Economy — which had zero jobs just 5 years ago before the iPhone was introduced — demonstrates that we can quickly create economic value and jobs through cutting-edge innovation,” said Rey Ramsey, president and CEO of TechNet.

Creating jobs in every part of America

“Today, the App Economy is creating jobs in every part of America, employing hundreds of thousands of U.S. workers today and even more in the years to come.”

“The App Economy, along with the broad communications sector, has been a leading source of hiring strength in an otherwise sluggish labor market,” said Dr. Michael Mandel, the report’s author and President of South Mountain Economics and former Chief Economist forBusinessWeek.

“As the technology industry and in particular software evolves, the app economy is becoming a critical new area of development and growth,” says Fred Hoch, President, Illinois Technology Association. “Illinois, with rich resources in data, development, advertising and design, is poised to take a leading role in this newly evolving ecosystem and related job creation.”

The full study, entitled “Where the Jobs Are,” is available at: http://www.technet.org/new-technet-sponsored-study-nearly-500000-app-economy-jobs-in-united-states-february-7-2012/

Top U.S. Metro Areas With Highest Percentage of App Economy Jobs

   
New York-Northern N.J.-Long Island 9.2%
San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont 8.5%
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara 6.3%
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue 5.7%
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana 5.1%
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria 4.8%
Chicago-Naperville-Joliet 3.5%
Boston-Cambridge-Quincy 3.5%
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta 3.3%
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington 2.6%
   

Top Ten States for App Economy Jobs (Percentage)

   
California 23.8%
New York 6.9%
Washington 6.4%
Texas 5.4%
New Jersey 4.2%
Illinois 4.0%
Massachusetts 3.9%
Georgia 3.7%
Virginia 3.5%
Florida 3.1%
   

The research shows that when it comes to employment impacts, each app represents jobs — for programmers, for user interface designers, for marketers, for managers, for support staff. Conventional employment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics are not able to track such a new phenomenon because this economic ecosystem is so new. The research analyzed detailed information from The Conference Board Help-Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) database, a comprehensive and up-to-the-minute compilation of want ads, to estimate the number of jobs in the App Economy.

The total number of Apps Economy jobs includes jobs at ‘pure’ app firms such as Zynga as well as app-related jobs at large companies such as Electronic Arts, Amazon, and AT&T, as well as app ‘infrastructure’ jobs at core firms such as Google, Apple, and Facebook. In addition, the App Economy total includes employment spillovers to the rest of the economy.

MicroVentures raises $300K to buy private shares in Facebook

Friday, October 28th, 2011

MicroVenturesAustin-based MicroVentures, an online peer-to-peer investment service that allows accredited investors to invest in deals that they might not see, says it has raised $300,000 for a fund created to buy private shares in Facebook, on a secondary market.

“In the first ten minutes of making the investment available on the MicroVentures,, investors committed $40,000 to the fund,” said Bill Clark, founder and CEO. At the end of two weeks, the fund closed with $300,000 from investors in five states. The average investment was $10,000.

Buying shares from employees and preferred stockholders of hot Internet sites on what’s known as the secondary market has gained steam in the past six months as fund managers and retail investors try to get in on the pre-public deals.

“I always try to identify promising, high-growth tech start-ups and get in early, but there are hurdles for individual investors. The peer-to-peer network at MicroVentures opens up this process,” said David Winikoff, one of the program investors. “It lets me quickly connect with other investors who share similar goals and companies with a large upside. It’s crowdfunding done right.”

The Facebook investment fund was created by MicroAngel Capital Partners, an Austin-based venture capital management company founded by Clark. MicroAngel Capital Partners opens doors for those who have never invested in a venture fund or other alternative investment products like the Facebook fund.

“As the market continues to go through its own adjustments, VCs and angles are beginning to look more closely at start-ups courting them for funding. This crowdfunding method is a viable option for start-ups, especially those that are concerned that funding might be drying up,” said Clark. “Traditionally, it takes many months for an entrepreneur to raise money from venture capitalists or angel investors, but we help cut that time down significantly.”

Information void creates risk in IT decision-making

Friday, October 21st, 2011

WisegateSenior IT professionals are experiencing an information void that is leading to increased risk in critical decision making. according to a new report from Austin-based start-up Wisegate, a social knowledge network.

Amid the growing volume of vendor sales hype and social networking noise, Wisegate’s study shows that access to the most trusted sources of information – peers who work in the same industry with similar experience – is declining.

As a result, IT management is less likely to have the information they need to make the best data security and information technology decisions for their companies.

At a time when technologies and corporate IT environments are rapidly growing in complexity, resource-strapped IT professionals are called upon to make more high-impact decisions in less time. In this high-pressure atmosphere, many senior IT leaders report that they don’t have sufficient time or adequate resources to gather all the facts they need to confidently and quickly make IT decisions.

In hundreds of hours of interviews with senior IT professionals Wisegate found that:

· 81% said they want more practical IT project and technology information
· 89% rated peers as their preferred source of most trusted IT information
· 81 % said trusted feedback from senior IT peers would help reduce risk in IT
decisions

Wisegate’s research found that IT decision makers commonly expressed a higher level of trust in their peers because they are not influenced by vendors, they have practical knowledge through experience and are usually able to provide a superior level of detailed IT information that includes the full story – both good and bad – about their experiences. The research also found, however, that despite the preference for peer feedback, meaningful peer relationships are on the decline.

Wisegate is an invitation-only community where senior IT professionals meet in a private environment to exchange knowledge and solve problems with their peers. By enforcing strict membership guidelines, which exclude vendors from joining, Wisegate is able to provide members with unmatched access to senior-level IT professionals and quality content.

For example, Kristin Knight, senior privacy director for Phillips Electronics North America, says the big-picture advice she got from Wisegate peers on data loss prevention equipment helped her to shape a successful Data Leakage Prevention (DLP) program. Although she was asking about a specific technology, the advice she got from other members brought up some red flags in her overall approach and steered her in a different direction.

Request a copy of Wisegate’s report titled “Reducing Risk in IT Decisions.”

Software companies dominate Deloitte’s 2011Tech Fast 500

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

DeloitteSoftware companies dominate on Deloitt’s 2011 Technology Fast 500, an annual ranking of the fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and clean technology companies in North America. Software firms account for 39 percent of the entire list, with 194 companies. Not surprisingly the West is home to the most (37%) Fast 500 tech firms.

Five of the top 10 companies in this year’s rankings are from the software industry, including Avigilon (No. 4), ServiceNow (No. 5), NexJ Systems Inc. (No. 6), Real Matters (No. 7) and HubSpot (No. 8).

MAKO Surgical Corp., an orthopedic medical device company based in Fort Lauderdale, Fl., ranked No. 1.

MAKO Surgical Corp.’s fiscal year revenue of $44.29 million and five year fiscal growth rate of 70,211 percent topped this year’s ranking which is based on the percentage of fiscal year revenue growth from 2006 to 2010.

“Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 recognizes some of the most exciting technology companies in North America today,” saidEric Openshaw, vice chairman and U.S. Technology, Media & Telecommunications leader, Deloitte LLP. “We are proud to honor MAKO Surgical Corp., and we congratulate all of the ranked companies for their extraordinary achievements.”

The top ten ranked companies are as follows:

2011 Rank Company Sector Revenue Growth(2006 to 2010) City, State
1 MAKO Surgical Corp.www.makosurgical.com Medical Equipment 70,211 percent Ft. Lauderdale, FL
2 Accedian Networkswww.accedian.com Communications/Networking 50,136 percent Saint-Laurent, QC
3 RTI Cryogenics Inc.www.rticryo.com Clean Technology 46,278 percent Cambridge, ON
4 Avigilonwww.avigilon.com Software 38,796 percent Vancouver, BC
5 ServiceNowwww.service-now.com Software 32,048 percent San Diego, CA
6 NexJ Systems Inc.www.nexj.com Software 29,161 percent Toronto, ON
7 Real Matterswww.realmatters.com Software 28,265 percent Markham, ON
8 HubSpotwww.hubspot.com Software 27,746 percent Cambridge, MA
9 AVI BioPharma, Inc.www.avibio.com Biotechnology/Pharmaceutical 25,483 percent Bothell, WA
10 ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc.www.ariad.com Biotechnology/Pharmaceutical 19,875 percent Cambridge, MA

Mark Jensen, managing partner of Deloitte’s national venture capital services group, added, “During the 17 years Deloitte has published this list, some deeply entrenched patterns have evolved. Software companies have dominated year-over-year, and the western and northeastern regions of the U.S. have consistently attracted innovative, high growth companies.”

West region yields highest concentration of Fast 500 companies, followed by Northeast

Overall, the West remains home to the highest concentration of Technology Fast 500 companies (37 percent), trailed by the Northeast (24 percent), Canada (15 percent), Southeast (12 percent), Midwest (6 percent), and Southwest (6 percent).

Region Percent of List Fastest-growingCompany in the

Region

City, State
West 37 percent ServiceNowwww.service-now.com San Diego, CA
Northeast 24 percent HubSpotwww.hubspot.com Cambridge, MA
Canada 15 percent Accedian Networkswww.accedian.com Saint-Laurent, QC
Southeast 12 percent MAKO Surgical Corp.www.makosurgical.com Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Midwest 6 percent Gevo, Inc.www.gevo.com Englewood, CO
Southwest 6 percent SoftLayerwww.softlayer.com Dallas, TX

Software sector dominates – again

Five of the top 10 companies in this year’s rankings are from the software industry, including Avigilon (No. 4), ServiceNow (No. 5), NexJ Systems Inc. (No. 6), Real Matters (No. 7) and HubSpot (No. 8).

The software sector comprises 39 percent of the overall list with 194 companies, followed by biotechnology (15 percent), communications/networking (12 percent) and Internet (11 percent).  Medical equipment, scientific/technical instrumentation, semiconductor, computers/peripherals, media/entertainment and clean technology companies round out the remaining 23 percent of the list.

The percentage of companies from industry sectors are represented on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 as follows:

Sector Percent of List Fastest-growingCompany in the Sector City, State
Software 39 percent Avigilonwww.avigilon.com Vancouver, BC
Biotechnology/Pharmaceutical 15 percent AVI BioPharma, Inc.www.avibio.com Bothell, WA
Communications/Networking 12 percent Accedian Networkswww.accedian.com Saint-Laurent, QC
Internet 11 percent SAY Media, Inc.www.saymedia.com San Francisco, CA
Medical Equipment 7 percent MAKO Surgical Corp.www.makosurgical.com Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Clean Technology 5 percent RTI Cryogenics Inc.www.rticryo.com Cambridge, ON
Semiconductor 4 percent MaxLinear, Inc.www.maxlinear.com Carlsbad, CA
Media and Entertainment 3 percent Collectivewww.collective.com New York, NY
Computers/Peripherals 2 percent PlumChoicewww.plumchoice.com Billerica, MA
Scientific/TechnicalInstrumentation 2 percent Digital Ally, Inc.www.digitalallyinc.com Overland Park, KS

Technology Fast 500 Ranking Methodology

In order to be eligible for Technology Fast 500™ recognition, companies must own proprietary intellectual property or technology that is sold to customers in products that contribute to a majority of the company’s operating revenues.  Companies must have base-year (2006) operating revenues of at least $50,000 USD or CD, and current-year (2010) operating revenues of at least $5 million USD or CD. Additionally, companies must be in business for a minimum of five years, and be headquartered within North America.

Ranking is rounded to the nearest percentage point. Revenue growth is calculated as follows: [(FY’2010 revenue – FY’2006 revenue)/ FY’2006 revenue] x 100.  For example, a company with reported revenues of $350,000 in 2006 and$7,500,000 in 2010 would have fiscal year revenue growth of 2,043 percent during the period from 2006 to 2010.

The ranking is compiled from nominations submitted directly to the Technology Fast 500™ Web site, and public company database research conducted by Deloitte.  Deloitte has not audited the ranking and, accordingly, does not express an opinion or any other form of assurance on it.  Some companies that may be eligible to appear on the ranking are not included because they did not submit the required information or otherwise declined to participate.

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

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte & Touche LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. Please seewww.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

 

SOURCE Deloitte

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Are the people in your city among the most curious?

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Just AnswerSAN FRANCISCO – JustAnswer,  a paid Q&A website, has listed its Top Five Most Curious Cities in the U.S. While New York, NY – the nation’s most populous city with over nine million residents – ranked number one in total questions asked, it isn’t anywhere near the top. That distinction goes to Naples, FL, whose total number of questions asked represented 12.01% of the city’s total population of 21,653, making it nearly 38 times more curious than The Big Apple, which came in at .32%.*

Rounding out the Top Five Most Curious Cities (based on percentage of population) in the U.S.:

2. Littleton, CO: 8.41%

3. Spring, TX: 6.68%

4. Sarasota, FL: 5.31%

5. Marietta, GA: 4.62%

“Since the Experts on JustAnswer began answering questions in 2003, we’ve always been intrigued by where the pockets of curiosity are around the country. While we’re not surprised to discover that the nation’s largest urban cities asked the most total questions, we’re very intrigued by the online engagement of smaller cities, such as Littleton, CO and Spring, TX,” said Andy Kurtzig, Founder and CEO of JustAnswer.

How Major U.S. Cities Stack Up in the Curiosity Department

Among U.S. cities with populations of over 400,000, Atlanta, GA topped the rankings with questions asked representing 2.44% of its population, followed by:

2. Miami, FL: 2.16%

3. Minneapolis, MN: 1.87%

4. Las Vegas, NV: 1.55%

5. Denver, CO: 1.44%

A Tale of Two Cities: What’s In a Name?

When it comes to asking questions, two cities can share a name, but not necessarily their curiosity quotient. While Naples, FL topped the JustAnswer ranking of most curious cities, Naples, NC accounted for only two questions.

Similarly, Portland, OR (47th), Philadelphia, PA, (96th) and Memphis, TN (97th) far outdistanced their namesakes, Portland, MO, Philadelphia, MO and Memphis, IN, which combined for a total of just four questions asked.

*Rankings are based on an estimate of user location according to the IP address of the computer used to visit the JustAnswer website between June 2010 and June 2011. Population figures are from the United States Census Bureau. JustAnswer does not identify or record actual locations or addresses of its users.