Demo 2004

BeyondVC

I am at Demo 2004, and it is great to feel the positive buzz in the room. The post Demo 2004 appeared first on BeyondVC. There are lots of VCs and press in attendance, and it is clear that entrepreneurship is alive and kicking. In fact, it never went away as a number of companies that presented in the morning have been around for a few years.

VOIP/Messaging in 2004

BeyondVC

While the penetration of VOIP is still quite modest compared to the traditional phone system, it really got me thinking that 2004 could be the breakout year for the technology. Until then, my office will be one of many that take the plunge into the world of VOIP in 2004. The post VOIP/Messaging in 2004 appeared first on BeyondVC.

Web-based businesses circa 2004

BeyondVC

Rather than go into the software (which I really like btw, combination RSS reader, bookmark manager, and simple collaboration tool), I wanted to share some of our thoughts about consumer-based web businesses circa 2004. The post Web-based businesses circa 2004 appeared first on BeyondVC. I met with Dave Panos and Andrew Busey of Pluck yesterday to learn more about their product and their company.

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Report: Best Year for IPOs Since 2004

Inc Startups

According to an Ernst & Young report , released Tuesday, it was the best year for IPOs since 2004, as businesses overcame obstacles like the fourth quarter government shutdown and filed for a nearly decade-high record of IPOs.

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Running an efficient board meeting

BeyondVC

Board meetings can be a gigantic waste of time if not run appropriately. On the flipside, they can be a valuable source of input and guidance for a management team in the pursuit of maximizing shareholder value. While there are a number of different ways to approach and run a board meeting, I thought I would outline a few of my philosophies on them, and what I expect from my portfolio companies in terms of content. Be prepared: Board meetings are like theater.

It takes time to build value

BeyondVC

This week’s Plugged In column from Barrons has some great data on M&A in 2004 and how many of the companies that went public or were acquired were the very ones left for dead over the past few years.

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Stop Selling Like It's 2004 (Infographic)

Inc Startups

Content marketing is a good substitute for old-fashioned ads, if you know how to do it right

Reading the tea leaves-correlation between employment growth and IT capital spending

BeyondVC

It is clear that given the current market, people are quite excited about the prospects of IT spending growth in 2004. As you know, I like to stay abreast of the economy and IT spending, searching for leading indicators of how the markets and my companies may perform in the future.

The Street Does Not Forgive

BeyondVC

I was with a banker today talking about the influx of new IPO filings and the end result of our discussion was the following: 1. Filing does not mean anything, the companies may never go public 2. Performance is key-revenue visibility is of utmost importance because the street does not forgive.

The A-Player Domino Effect

BeyondVC

Like any active, early stage venture investor, I have spent a fair amount of time helping my portfolio companies build a management team. And like any venture investor, I wish I could boil hiring down to a more scientific method to make sure that each person we bring on to a company is better than the next. However, that does not always happen.

Take the Friction Out - VCball

VCball

December 16, 2004 in Entrepreneurship and VC | Permalink. Tracked on December 16, 2004 at 11:57 PM. Tracked on December 17, 2004 at 12:02 PM. Tracked on December 17, 2004 at 06:14 PM. Tracked on December 19, 2004 at 02:49 PM. VCball. A New York based VCs quixotic search for new knowledge in early stage venture capital and entrepreneurship. Become a Fan. Subscribe via Email. Subscribe via Feeds. Subscribe in a reader. Twitter Updates. follow me on Twitter.

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Your Founder Got Strategy? - VCball

VCball

November 13, 2004 in Books , Entrepreneurship and VC , Venture Capital , Web/Tech | Permalink. Tracked on December 01, 2004 at 11:39 AM. Tracked on December 17, 2004 at 01:26 PM. VCball. A New York based VCs quixotic search for new knowledge in early stage venture capital and entrepreneurship. Become a Fan. Subscribe via Email. Subscribe via Feeds. Subscribe in a reader. Twitter Updates. follow me on Twitter. Books Worth the Reading.

The future of television advertising

BeyondVC

In addition, via deals with cable companies like Comcast, Visible World will be able to reach 30 million households by the end of 2004. Fred Wilson and John Battelle have some interesting posts on the future of television and advertising. Fred and John both seem to believe that the concept of paid search will eventually work its way into television advertising.

1990s Redux? Nope, just Free Telephone Conferencing - VCball

VCball

October 05, 2004 in Cool Technology | Permalink. VCball. A New York based VCs quixotic search for new knowledge in early stage venture capital and entrepreneurship. Become a Fan. Subscribe via Email. Subscribe via Feeds. Subscribe in a reader. Twitter Updates. follow me on Twitter. Books Worth the Reading. Pamela Redmond Satran: How Not to Act Old: 185 Ways to Pass for Phat, Sick, Hot, Dope, Awesome, or at Least Not Totally Lame Old dude, get this book.

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Skype and a headset for every CEO!

BeyondVC

As I prepare for my trip to Israel this weekend for a board meeting, one piece of equipment I am sure to bring is my Plantronics DSP 400 headset so I can Skype with the CEOs in my portfolio companies. I have been using Skype for the last 6 months and can honestly say that it not only saves a ton of money but more importantly allows me to end the phone-tag game with my porfolio company CEOs and easily communicate with them.

Best VC Blogs

BeyondVC

A number of my readers alerted me to the fact that Fast Company has a survey on the best VC blogs. Considering that VCs can be quite competitive and my cohorts Brad and Jeff are already stuffing the ballot box, please take a moment and cast your vote for me. All kidding aside, since this is not a zero-sum game and if you haven’t already, I suggest getting to know some of the other VC blogs that I enjoy reading.

Consumer growth and globalization

BeyondVC

I was catching up on my Barron’s this week and a quote from Ajay Kapur of Citigroup caught my attention. When discussing his macro investment themes Ajay said, "The world is driven by Asian exporters and U.S. consumers. In the future, it will be Asian consumers and U.S. exporters."

Some thoughts on building your team

BeyondVC

I was recently advising a friend of mine who wanted to expand his team and hire some senior executives, and it occured to me that others could benefit from some of my thoughts on recruiting. As you know, hiring is a critical component in the success of any company. People and their ability to execute are what separates the winners from the losers in any industry. Hiring the wrong person, particularly in an early stage company, can cost you dearly.

NYC 2.0 (continued…)

BeyondVC

In the past, I have written about a number of first generation NYC entrepreneurs coming out of the woodwork to launch new ideas. Sure, the market may not be great right now but in my opinion it is the best time to build a business. As an entrepreneur you have time to develop your product, refine and test it, and get it ready for when the market turns. The most recent addition to this list of second generation entrepreneurs is Andrew Erlichson, former CEO and cofounder of Flashbase.

Open source and software licensing

BeyondVC

It seems that SCO is making another attempt to hurt the open source movement by claiming that the GPL is unconstitutional and violates federal patent and copyright laws. While many are not concerned and call this a publicity stunt by SCO, the discussion of open source software licenses does remind me of a panel that I recently saw at the Goldman Sachs Software Retreat 2 weeks ago.

The train is leaving the station

BeyondVC

Early stage companies have to be nimble and disciplined when creating and releasing product. One of the important decisions a startup can make is how it chooses to manage its product releases. In a software company a product release affects everyone. A mistimed release can severely impact sales, cash flow, and the company. We had a thorough discussion in a board meeting this week on this very topic.

Bad customers can kill your business

BeyondVC

It has been awhile since my last post as I have been busy with a number of board meetings. It is so hard to find time. Anyway, one thought I wanted to share with you is a discussion we had in one of the meetings about the balance between closing large deals and adding new features. More often than not, you will hear a sales person complain about their product and tell corporate that if they had these 5 features, they could sell more.

Delivering software as a service

BeyondVC

Adam Bosworth has an interesting post on the evolution of software and why software delivered as a service will be the business model of the future. As you know, I have always been interested in this trend since my first post in October 2003 and since I invested in a number of companies in 1998 and 1999 like LivePerson and Expertcity (GoToMyPC) that subscribed to the ASP business model.

What commoditization means for IT spending

BeyondVC

The numbers are coming out, and it is clear we are moving to a low growth environment for corporate IT spending in terms of dollars spent. Companies spent too much in the 90s and are being cautious about how they spend their hard-earned cash. Total cash and savings for companies in the S&P 500 have doubled since 1999 and is equal to half a trillion dollars which means companies have added almost 300 billion dollars to their balance sheet in the last 5 years.

Jamdat Mobile files for IPO

BeyondVC

Just look at Jamdat’s numbers: $90k revenue in 2001 with a $5mm loss and $7mm revenue in Q1 2004 with $740k profit which is an annualized revenue runrate of $28mm-not too bad in a few years. Russell Beattie has a thorough post on Jamdat Mobile’s IPO filing. This is significant because this is the first so-called “wireless application” play to hit the market.

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Microsoft in a service oriented world…

BeyondVC

Here is an interesting article from Business Week about why Microsoft is not so scary anymore. While I do not necessarily buy the argument that a company with billions of dollars of cash on its balance sheet is not scary, the article does raise some interesting questions about Microsoft’s growth, particularly on the enterprise side.

Strike while the iron is hot

BeyondVC

I was speaking with a friend of mine today who mentioned that his term sheet for his Series A round fell through. Things looked great for the last 6 weeks and then the deal process went into a stall regarding intellectual property rights. To make a long story short, one of the co-founders of the company built the company’s software in his spare time. However, he also had a full time job and decided ultimately to stay there rather than join the startup.

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Vortex and Web 2.0

BeyondVC

Unfortunately I could not make it to the west coast for the Vortex or Web 2.0 conferences. However, I have been following Vortex via Jeff Nolan and Web 2.0 through a variety of bloggers. As I read through Jeff Nolan’s notes on the enterprise and thoughts from the gorillas in the market, Cisco, Microsoft, Oracle, HP, etc.,

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The web-based platform

BeyondVC

There has been lots of discussion about the web as the new platform so none of what I am saying is new. However, I recently came across Adam Bosworth’s take on this which is quite interesting given his experience at Microsoft, BEA, and now Google. The platform of this decade isn’t going to be around controlling hardware resources and rich UI. Nor do I think you’re going to be able to charge for the platform per se.

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Opportunties for Enterprise Software Investments

BeyondVC

I had the opportunity to spend a few hours today at an Intel Capital event for their portfolio companies and VC friends. While a great way to network with fellow investors and meet new companies, I particularly enjoyed a talk given by Chris Thomas, Intel’s EStrategist, on the future of software in the enterprise. While none of the ideas were new, I liked how he laid out the major themes in computing and software in a well-thought out presentation.

Thoughts on picking your VC

BeyondVC

Jeff Nolan has a comprehensive post on choosing your VC. I totally agree with Jeff’s view that not only should entrepreneurs do their diligence when choosing a VC to invest in their company, but VCs should also do reference checks on their new partners. This includes understanding potential board dynamics and making sure investor interests are aligned. Put it this way, a bad board with bad dynamics rife with egos and competing interests can bring a company down quickly.

Our broadband future

BeyondVC

During the Internet boom, all eyes were on the United States as we were the first to leverage this new medium and create some amazing companies and uses of the Internet from ecommerce to search to online dating. Many of these companies did not know how they were going to make money except that they would figure it out. Over time the business models evolved, some became profitable and some simply went away.

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Ready-Fire-Aim

BeyondVC

Whether you know it or not, this seems to be the way that alot of early stage companies make strategic and tactical decisions. People run around the halls and manage by crisis, moving from one deal or issue to the next without any overarching goals and process in place. Solving this not only requires better planning but also staying disciplined, holding you and your team accountable, and executing on those goals.

Moving up the food chain

BeyondVC

Normally I do not read too much into press releases on industry hires but I found this one interesting on many levels. Intel, a tremendous brand in its own right, hired a marketing executive from Samsung, a Korean company. Most people assume that the US’ competitive advantage over the rest of the world lies in design, innovation, and branding. We can outsource manufacturing and development to countries like China, Korea, and India to create great products at lower prices.

Getting the real dirt

BeyondVC

Jeff Nolan has an interesting post about how a US General views blogs as an excellent source for unfiltered information. Jeff goes on to postulate that CEOs could also get unbiased information from their field as well. In the private sector it’s only a matter of time before CEO’s, at least the better ones, start figuring out that the best way to get the straight scoop on a topic is to drill down to the field by reading the blogs that exist within the company.

Post mortem

BeyondVC

I recently had a board meeting for one of my portfolio companies and was upset because during the sales pipeline review we only heard great things about the pipeline, new closed deals, and the possibility of beating our quarter yet again. What bothered me, however, was that we did not spend enough time discussing the big losses or missed opportunities. Evaluating losses is a great leading indicator for health in a business.

Has the individual investor learned a lesson?

BeyondVC

Mr. Robertson has advanced us funds under the line of credit since July 2002, including advances of $5,600,000 during 2004. There have been a number of IPO fillings recently, but the one that intrigues me most is the filing by Lindows. As many of you have read, Lindows/Linspire just filed an S-1 to raise $57 million in an IPO. WR Hambrecht is the lead underwriter and will utilize its dutch auction methodology to raise money from individual investors.

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Innovation is not dead

BeyondVC

Here is another example of why commoditization is not killing innovation. In fact, it can and has given a number of companies a leg up in terms of developing and deploying new products in record time and at low costs. Using so-called commodity software and hardware actually does not kill innovation but speeds it up.

Global expansion

BeyondVC

We are truly living in a global world these days. Many startups I meet with today are either taking advantage of offshore development or have pushed up plans to expand sales internationally. Given the broader scope of this trend, I have changed the category name Offshore Resources to represent a broader theme, Globalization. While taking advantage of a global economy is a great idea, it certainly can be disastrous for some companies.

We don’t like surprises

BeyondVC

One of the recurring themes of dealing with VCs and boards is that we do not like surprises. In addition, tell us the facts, and if there are any negative surprises give us action steps on how you are going to remedy the situation. I have written about the VC/Entrepreneur relationship before and due to its importance will continue to write about it in this blog.

How startups succeed

BeyondVC

If you ever wondered what it takes for a startup to succeed, please read the email below sent from the CEO of one of our portfolio companies to his whole staff. Sure, startups don’t have the cash, the people, the distribution channel, and brand to compete with the established players but passion, drive, and an insanely great product can take you a long way.

Influencing the influencers

BeyondVC

If I were a startup, one great and cheap way to build buzz and excitement is through the blog community. I call this “influencing the influencers.” ” Think about it – many of the more well known bloggers are also well known tech journalists, industry pundits, VCs, and technology executives.

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Subscription accounting

BeyondVC

Ok, now for some boring accounting stuff. Red Hat (RHAT) recently restated its financials. Its auditor, PWC, suggested that it change its revenue recognition policy. According to a CBS Marketwatch article : Under the accounting method used in the past, the company would recognize a full month’s revenue from a subscription agreement, even if a deal was sealed in the middle of the month, for example.