Out of the Crisis #13: Alpha Lee on remembering the 2003 SARS epidemic and his opensource COVID-19 Moonshot

Startup Lessons Learned

The main proteinase of SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 shares a 96% similarity, which means that if the world had persisted in discovering a proteinase inhibitor against the 2003 version of SARS, COVID-19 might not even be a pandemic. Eric Ries : If the world leaders who were on the stage in 2003 had taken this seriously and made the investments, we're talking about how to accelerate these drugs from 18 months to 12 months, from 12 months to 6 months, but we had 17 years to do this.

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Capital Efficient Business Models


Yesterday I participated on a panel at the Mid Atlantic Venture Conference on the current venture capital market and how to raise capital. While this was a plain-vanilla panel about venture investing, there was one theme that was echoed by a number of my fellow panelists from Rho Ventures, New Venture Partners, Edison Ventures, and Cross Atlantic-today’s world requires software companies to have a capital-efficient business model.


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Companies are bought and not sold


Besides taking a brief time out to celebrate the Expertcity deal , I have spent a fair amount of time interviewing VP candidates for one of my portfolio companies. As with any smart executive who cares about the value of equity, the question I am often asked is, “What is your exit strategy.”

Check Point makes first meaningful acquisition


Zone is expected to do around $28mm of revenue in 2003 and $42mm in 2004. The revenue multiple is 7x for 2003 and 5x for 2004. So Checkpoint is going to buy Zone Labs for $205mm. Here are my thoughts on the deal. That is pretty much in line with existing security multiples of 6-8x revenue. The more significant point is that Checkpoint made its first, meaningful acquisition. So for all of you security companies out there, add Checkpoint as another potential acquirer.

The Economy and IT Spending


Its latest survey calls for an increase of 2% spending for 2003 versus a December 2002 survey which forecasted a decline of 1.1% for 2003 spending. That being said, the October 2003 survey forecasts spending growth of only 1.3% for 2004, down from an August 2003 spending survey forecast of 2.3% It looks like the economy in Q3 grew even faster than we initially thought , 8.2% annual rate versus 7.2%.

The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good


Yesterday, I was in a meeting with an early stage company reviewing the product development plan with the management team. While the plan was well thought out and defined by process, there was one major problem-it would take too damn long to get a product in GA (generally available to sell!). There were 2 problems-an overemphasis on process and a burning desire to build the ‘perfect product’ at the expense of getting to market. Let me address each problem in turn.

ASP Part II-Siebel buys Upshot, Motiva


It looks like Siebel is jumpstarting its efforts on the ASP side with its purchase of Upshot for $50mm + $20mm of earnout for 2003 and 2004. Word has it that Salesforce.com is expecting to do $100mm of revenue in 2003 while being profitable for the last 2 quarters. Siebel Buys UpShot, Motiva. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. On an earlier post , I commented on the return of the ASP model.

China’s real effect on our economy


By keeping the Yuan low, the Chinese are keeping our interest rates low as they are huge buyers of US Government bonds (as of May 2003, China held $121.7 It is easy to blame China for our domestic problems. The argument from Bush and the US Goverment is that because China is keeping the Yuan artificially low against the dollar, the US is losing jobs and running a huge trade deficit.

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Citrix buys GoToMyPc maker, Expertcity-great day for ASPs


Congratulations to Expertcity and Andreas, John, and Klaus. It has been great to work with you from a board level over the last 4 1/2 years. When the transaction closes, I look forward to writing a little more about how you were able to persevere through some tough times, launch new product, stay focused on leveraging the core screen sharing technology, and build a high growth business in a completely new market.

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Software packaging


Om Malik (ex-senior writer for Red Herring) has been writing about the commoditization of hardware. In a recent article in Business 2.0 titled “The Rise of the Instant Company,” Om talks about how hardware has become commoditized to the point where hardware expense as a cost of goods sold is de minimis. In other words, companies can now cobble together off-the-shelf-hardware with proprietary software to create companies that can quickly and cost-effectively go after large incumbents.

Securing Cyberspace-the Government vs. the private sector


There were 2 conferences yesterday addressing cybersecurity. One was the National Cyber Security Summit in Santa Clara and the other was a smaller event in DC. While I was not in attendance, I did speak with a couple of people who participated in the events. The takeaway is that 85% of the critical infrastructure in the US is owned and controlled by the private sector. The other 15% is the government.

Building Sales Teams


Jeff Nolan from SAP Ventures has some interesting insights on building sales teams. One other I would add is pay commissions when you get paid. The post Building Sales Teams appeared first on BeyondVC. Entrepreneurship

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Hand-held device security


Hackers like to go where they can cause the most pain. As 3G rolls out in the US, you can bet that hackers will go there as well. There was a great article last Friday in the New York Times about viruses and other security issues on cellphone and hand-held devices in Japan (free site but registration required). It is clear that we should look at how Japan is dealing with this issue as their wireless infrastructure is much more advanced than ours at this point.

Chuck Prince, CEO of Citigroup


I was at the TIE Tri-State annual event in New York yesterday and participated on a venture capital panel helping young companies refine their pitches and business strategies. There were some interesting software and BPO (Business Process Outsourcing)companies that presented.

netForensics raises $12 million


Congratulations to netForensics! We are excited to have Nomura as a new investor and look forward to them helping us with our international expansion. For those of you who are interested in security, please see an earlier posting on Microsoft and Securing the Perimeter. The post netForensics raises $12 million appeared first on BeyondVC. Security Venture Capital

Strategic Investors-the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


I had the opportunity to speak on a panel today at the Corporate Venture Capital Summit. There was an interesting crew of speakers representing corporate-related venture activities for companies such as Hitachi, Intel, Nokia, Panasonic, Siemens, and Kodak. While one moderator cited numbers showing that the amount of corporate venture investing in terms of dollars is down 50% from 2000, in my mind, that does not seem that different from the change in the general VC market.

Thoughts on Offshore Outsourcing


A number of my portfolio companies outsource development to India and other locales. When offshoring it is important to think about what can and cannot be offshored, whether management can handle it, and whether or not you open your own office with your own infrastructure or outsource completely.

Novell in Microsoft’s crosshairs?


Novell to buy Suse. “This is not about competing with Microsoft. This is about addressing the impediments holding Linux back,” says Chris Stone, Novell’s Vice Chairman in the office of the CEO. What a great quote! I have worked with Chris in the past having invested in his prior company, Tilion. Chris is a smart guy and thinks big. Who in their right mind will tell Microsoft that they are competing directly with them?

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Corporate DNA


Like individuals, every company has its own DNA. Every company possesses a unique team with a unique culture, rhythm, and way of doing business. What many of us forgot during the last few years is that it is awfully hard to change one’s DNA. What do I mean by that?

What Microsoft really needs to secure the perimeter


We all know that there have been a number of issues with Microsoft’s security. We have all been bothered by the daily ‘Windows Update Available’ alert. Steve Ballmer has stated that making their products more secure is their highest priority. In fact, MSFT’s CFO mentioned that security-related issues had a negative impact on its most recent quarter delaying some very large licensing deals. So what is Microsoft doing to fix this?

Google weighs IPO next year


Yes, this is old news and much anticipated. Just one word of caution for us venture capitalists and entrepreneurs-let’s not equate this to a return to the mid-to-late 90s IPO boom.

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Linux on the Desktop (continued)


In an earlier post , I talk about 2004 as a year where Linux begins to make inroads on the desktop. Here is a recent article from Infoworld suggesting the same. In the article Nat Friedman, cofounder of Ximian which was recently sold to Novell, makes some interesting points. It is not a David vs. Goliath battle where Linux fells Microsoft with one swift blow; 2. Desktops for Linux shouldn’t try to look like Windows.

NYC Entrepreneurs and Offshore Resources


Having met with a number of NYC entrepreneurs recently, I am refreshed to see that many of them are utilizing offshore resources to develop their products. Yes, this is not a new phenomenon, but in a city that lacks hard core developers willing to work for options instead of cash like the Wall Streeters, it is significant. New York has always been known as a strong new media capital and not known for development of real hard core software.

Time for Linux on the Desktop?


As everyone knows, Linux has grown dramatically in the server market capturing 20+% market share in a few years. Many of you also know that there have been a number of attempts to bring Linux to the desktop. Eazel founded in 2000 wanted to make a Linux GUI as easy to use as a Mac. While many of these attempts failed, I believe we are ready for another wave to bring Linux back to the desktop for the following reasons: 1.

NYC 2.0


I recently spoke with Richard Adams, founder of Referral Networks, which was later sold to Peopleclick. He has started a new venture, RipDigital , which does the dirty work of converting CD collections into MP3 libraries. Basically all you have to do is place an order on the website and the company ships a box to you, you pack your CDs into the box, RipDigital does the conversion, and then ships your new library on either a DVD or portable hard drive along with your CDs.

A big week for VOIP


I have been helping a friend of mine who is moving into town get access to local resources such as carpenters, painters, and restaurants. An email I received from him today had the standard list of questions on utilities but the one that surprised me most was, “Who is your cable provider and do they offer VOIP?” ” This was a surprise since he is not the most bleeding-edge technical guy.

Where are they now?


Do you remember the name Jonathan Cohen? Jonathan, who was negative on Internet stocks in the late ’90s, was replaced by none other than Henry Blodget at Merrill Lynch. Henry’s $400 call on Amazon.com put him well on his way towards equity research fame or infamy. As I was catching up on my reading and looking at top performing funds for Q3, it was great to see Johnathan Cohen’s Royce Technology Fund top the charts.

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Price isn’t everything


I had breakfast with a friend the other day, and he was in the process of a bankruptcy filing for his startup. We started talking about why his wireless company had failed and one of the main reasons he cited was that the price was too high. Many of you may ask why is that a problem. Isn’t getting a high price a great thing? The term sheet that the company signed was led by a strategic investor and contingent on finding another VC as a co-lead.

No more annoying calls at dinnertime!


Court lets ‘do-not-call’ list go forward. In this fast-paced world, I have to admit that having dinner with my family is sacred time. During dinnertime, the last thing we want is a seemingly endless, annoying barrage of telemarketing calls. We never really had a problem until we moved from the city to the suburbs and got on every credit card list known to man due to our new mortgage. Our name and phone number spread like a bad computer virus.

Is the ASP Model Back


Siebel and IBM team on hosted CRM service. It feels like 1999 again when the ASP (application service provider) business model was all the rage. Why is Siebel trying this again when their most recent foray was a complete disaster ? Bottom line: Salesforce.com is eating their lunch. Siebel’s enterprise license revenue model is coming under real pressure as large enterprises are getting tired of spending millions of dollars upfront with no real ROI. Could this be the return of the ASP model?

Deja Vu all over again

deal architect

In my travels, I got reminders of several due diligence visits I had helped clients with from 2003 to 2010. I was in India last week and visited with a couple of outsourcing firms. The Renaissance in Powai reminded me. Offshoring (TCS, Infosys, Wipro, Cognizant) Outsourcing (IBM, Accenture, EDS) Outsourcing (other vendors

No, the cloud model is not dead

deal architect

2003 was by the far the worst financial year for our The meltdown of stocks like LinkedIn, Tableau and Splunk is leading some people to say “cloud is the new dot.com”. To start with, the term dot.com brings painful memories.

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Fresh Consulting Expands to Austin


And by old, he is talking about 2003 when he landed here. Dean Kakridas remembers the old Austin tech scene. But he’s also spent time in Europe, Asia, and Silicon Valley. For the past 18 years, he’s worked in a variety of roles and has seen Austin’s technology scene mature and expand.

Sports: Big Data gets Bigger

deal architect

Michael Lewis was describing how controversial his book, Moneyball, was when it first came out in 2003. Baseball coaches and scouts didn’t need no stinkin’ analytical rigor or new metrics. A decade later, as I attend the MIT Sloan Sports. Innovative Business Uses of Technology

Billionaire AND Mechanic

deal architect

Julian Guthrie’s new book catalogs the improbable path that brought together the billionaire, Larry Ellison and the radiator mechanic, Norbert Barjurin and their runs at the 2003, 2007 and 2010 America Cup. With the amazing come from behind victory of. Industry Commentary

Welcome to The Entrepreneurial Mind 4.0

The Entrepreneurial Mind

In 2003, you could probably fit all the bloggers in the entire state of Tennessee into one of my classrooms and still have room for a few more. I first launched this blog fifteen years ago. It started quite simply as an experiment with a new medium that I knew very little about. Over time, […]. The post Welcome to The Entrepreneurial Mind 4.0 appeared first on Dr Jeff Cornwall

InnoTech Austin to Spotlight Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain Technology and More on Nov. 16th


In 2003, Austin’s tech industry looked much different than it does today. The dot com crash had led to many Internet startups failing and even established companies like Intel halted expansion plans here. But despite the upheaval in the industry, Sean Lowery, executive director of InnoTech Austin, saw the city’s potential for a rebirth of […]. The post InnoTech Austin to Spotlight Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain Technology and More on Nov. 16th appeared first on SiliconHills.

CSO Research of Austin Merges With MBA Focus


MBA Focus, founded in 2003, provides graduate business school career service software and recruitment technology. CSO Research, which makes undergraduate career service software and founded in Austin in 2001, has merged with MBA Focus, based in Dublin, Ohio. It works with more than 2,000 companies and students at 75 graduate schools. Erik Mulloy is the […] The post CSO Research of Austin Merges With MBA Focus appeared first on SiliconHills. Austin

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The Average Startup Overnight Success Takes Six Years

Startup Professionals Musings

Facebook - Mark Zuckerberg, while attending Harvard as a sophomore, concocted “Facemash” in 2003 to get a lost girlfriend off his mind. Every startup founder knows implicitly that startup success is a long hard road. Yet we always dream that we are the exception to the rule. So once in a while it’s good to look at some facts to temper our imagination.

Designing with Web Standards

Spencer Fry

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The Lean LaunchPad Online

Steve Blank

And in 2003 the Haas Business School at U.C. You may have read my previous posts about the Lean LaunchPad class taught at Stanford , Berkeley, Columbia , Caltech and for the National Science Foundation. Now you too can take this course. I’ve worked with the Udacity , the best online digital university on a mission to democratize education, to produce the course. They’ve done an awesome job. The course includes lecture videos, quizzes and homework assignments.

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If I Could Start Over As An Entrepreneur Again This Is One Thing I Would Do Differently

Entrepreneurs-Journey.com by Yaro Starak

It was the year 2003… Like most days, I started my morning lying in bed on my back, feeling a combination of excitement and stress as I stared at the ceiling, thinking about all the things I’d like to change about my life. I was 23 years old, graduated from. The post If I Could Start Over As An Entrepreneur Again This Is One Thing I Would Do Differently appeared first on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com.

Ray Dalio’s Principles of Success

Feld Thoughts

My abyss happened between 2001 and 2003 and, while I wasn’t alone in my mistakes as Dalio was in his, I related deeply to it. I became a Ray Dalio fan earlier this year when I read his book Principles. I went on my Ray Dalio journey, read a bunch about him on the web, and watched some of his videos and interviews. While on vacation last week, I watched his new 30-minute cartoon adventure Principles for Success.

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