Monthly Archives: May 2006

Trends in Venture Financing – Q106 Data

I wrote a year ago about the compilation that law firm Fenwick & West produces every quarter of the venture financing terms received by a sample of companies in the Bay Area. The Q106 data report essentially shows a strong support in financing across stages, with a total $6B invested during the quarters, and increasing valuation “”step-ups” from one round to the next:

The Fenwick & West Venture Capital Barometer showed a 64% average price increase for companies receiving venture capital in 1Q06 compared to such companies’ previous financing round.  This was also the largest increase since the survey began.

What the report does not show is an increase in valuations asked by entrepreneurs for their initial round of financing, especially in last three months. Event at seed stage, it is not uncommon these days to hear about high single digit pre-money ($5M to $8M) which is – at least in the areas in which I invest – becoming pretty expensive. 

Terms are also increasingly entrepreneur … Read more »


Auren Hoffman on the Internet “Black Hat” Tax

My friend Auren Hoffman has an interesting post on the “Black Hat” Tax on consumer Internet businesses, basically pegging the cost of dealing with all aspects of fraud, scams, phising, and related government legal requests,… to 25% of revenues. He then goes on to mention a couple of examples:

A great example is PayPal. The book PayPal Wars details an intense battle the engineering team and even the CEO fought against fraud. This was one of the consuming issues of the company. Now PayPal is a financial institution, so you would expect lots of fraud. But dating?

After surveying most of the dating sites, I have found that one of their top three issues is fraud. A frequent scam is to contact an unsuspecting middle-age man from a profile of a good looking woman saying "my husband is beating me here in Moscow, please send $2000 so I … Read more »


Two great blogs to track the enterprise software market

Even though I no longer focus on enterprise architecture and related software solutions, I try to keep an eye on developments in that market, especially as consumer applications and Web 2.0 concepts make their way into it (dubbed Enterprise 2.0 of course)

I have recently added to my “Favorites” folder the 451 CAOS Theory, a group blog written by analysts of the 451 Group, an analyst firm, and Confused of Calcutta, the blog of JP Rangaswami, the CIO of Dresdner Kleiner Wasserstein.

I have met JP a number of times, mainly during conferences in the US and in Europe, and have always enjoyed his progressist approach to the adoption of new tools and processes to Enterprise IT. His “About this Blog” section says it all:

I believe that it is only a matter of time before enterprise software consists of only four types of application: publishing, search, fulfilment and conversation. I believe that weaknesses and corruptions … Read more »


More thoughts about the “Web 2.0 service mark” controversy

Well, saying that the blogosphere has been busy “commenting” on the “Web 2.0 service mark” affair is an understatement. It has been on top of TechMeme for over 24 hours, it has been /.’ed, dugg, linked to 300 times, and commented upon thousands of times in aggregate, etc. After the initial admission of involvement from O’Reilly’s Corporate Communication, we have gathered that Tim is on a boat and therefore out of reach until after the week-end, so we all look forward to his thoughts on this mess situation.

John Battelle, O’Reilly’s partner in the organization of the Web 2.0 conference, has chimed in a few times on his blog to comment on the situation and confirm that letting the lawyers loose on an Irish non profit was a mistake:

As I said, as they said, as we all said, sending the Bigfoot letter to the non profit was a mistake. We’re SORRY. Tim and I did not … Read more »


Lightspeed-Gemini Internet Lab (LGiLab) launches with French TechCrunch Editor as General Manager

Blogging buddy Ouriel Ohayon, the Editor of the French version of TechCrunch and former ICQ Business Development director, has been appointed General Manager of a new seed stage Israeli investment vehicle, the Lightspeed-Gemini Internet Lab (LGiLab). The Lab is located in Herzliya (the Israeli equivalent of Palo Alto), and has appointed the former CEO of Shopping.com, Dan Ciporin, as Chairman.

Two well known VC firms, Gemini Israel Funds and LightSpeed Venture Partners, are funding the operations of the Lab and will be providing the capital to seed finance these companies. Their goal, I assume, is to efficiently support the development of a few projects in their initial phases, and figure out which ones make sense to invest in as VC deals. And they will be able to do so at a tiny fraction of the cost of Web 1.0 incubators that burnt through hundreds of millions of dollars.

Congratulations to Ouriel, and looking forward to hearing … Read more »


Bebo statistics explained

There has been quite a bit of confusion around the numbers I (and others) have quoted related to Bebo’s page views, uniques, etc. Jim Scheinman, Bebo’s VP of Business Development and Sales, kindly stopped by and clarified things in the comments of my original post on the company’s $15M financing:

Much of the confusion in the #s above (and frankly in many blog postings) about Bebo’s and other SN site #s come from the mashing of various data sources. So, for example, while Bebo reported 2.5 Billion monthly page views (and we’re actually just shy of 3 Billion now), we never reported the 1 million unique user #. In fact, I’m not sure where that came from, but I suspect it’s a Media Metrix/Comscore unique user # for US members only. Our internal data shows that Bebo overall has significantly higher unique user #s, and you can do the research to see what 3rd parties report our … Read more »


Conference Speakers 2.0: Swimming in a sea of laptops

Heather Green from Blogspotting fame reflects on her experience at the Syndicate conference, where she faced the same harsh situation encountered by all panels and speakers nowadays: competition for attention from other sources of information/engagements leading to the bizarre impression that you are addressing a sea of laptops.

Yesterday I was on a panel at the Syndicate Conference here in NYC and it was odd. Looking across the room, I was treated to the sight of people bathed in blue light, busily peering into their computers. It reminded me of when I was in school and I actively ignored the teacher during class.

Maybe people were blogging. Or maybe they really had no interest in anything I or the other folks on the panel were saying. But that doesn’t make sense, because why did they chose to be there then? Either way (and I know folks have been complaining about the whole conference culture) I don’t … Read more »


Comment spammers ever changing strategy: now they try jokes

After numerous attempts of comment spammers to fool us with their bogus content, I have just gotten a “next generation” one. A joke – or at least an attempt thereof:

Ok, don’t shoot me if I actually read this joke on this forum in the first place…

During a visit to the Mental Asylum, a visitor asked the Director what the criteria was which defined whether or not a patient should be institutionalised.

“Well,” said the Director, “we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the patient and ask him or her to empty the bathtub.”

“Oh, I understand,” said the visitor. “A normal person would use the bucket because it’s bigger than the spoon or the teacup.”

“No.” said the Director, “A normal person would pull the plug.” Do you want a room with or without a view?

Not even funny…

 


Steve Ballmer at the Microsoft VC Summit 2006

One of the hilights of a Microsoft VC Summit is always Steve Ballmer’s intervention and the following Q&A. I have already referred to an interesting part of his talk regarding acquisitions, but most interesting learning I got from the session is Ballmer’s clear determination to go after Google and its position of search and online advertising leader. Microsoft has the might, and the resources, to take a long term view and give Google a run for its money (and they evolve as an organization as Scoble just posted). The consumer can only benefit from such a competition.

Here are a few more tidbits he covered:

VC investment levels up – including in early stage since 2005, with resource shortages in certain places (especially where Google has a development center) Consolidation in the industry is happening, with M&A being the primary exit option Consumer markets are driving enterprise expectations, as applications and services available in the cloud … Read more »


Microsoft VC Summit 2006: On Microsoft’s startup acquisitions

During his remarks (which I will blog when I have a bit more time), Steve Ballmer made it clear that Microsoft will continue being acquisitive, at an accelerated pace, with a price sweet spot between $30M and $200M. Of particular note was the fact that 1/3 of acquired startups are not VC-backed, just bootstrapped or angel-backed.

I found Don Dodge’s very useful post in my trackback log, in which he lists Microsoft’s most recent startup acquisitions and provides some background on the strategy:

VCs are always interested in Microsoft’s acquisition activity and direction. Over the past 12 months Microsoft has made 22 acquisitions totaling nearly $1B. This compares to just 9 acquisitions the previous year. […] Acquisitions are typically made for three reasons;

People – acquiring great engineering teams and operating managers Technology – adding a technology to an existing product set Time to market – sometimes the market moves faster than Microsoft can release a product. Security is an example. Sometimes … Read more »


Microsoft VC Summit 2006: More about the CIO Panel

I already blogged about the IT scaling challenges of McDonald’s at the Microsoft VC Summit. Here are a few additional  tidbits of information I gleaned during the discussion between senior IT executives from Motorola, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse:

BPM/BAM are finally seeing enterprise deployments, with true mobile integration. Likewise SOA has now been adopted by most large enterprises. About 17% of Motorola’s IT infrastructure is now relying on Open Source software, growing at 64% per annum. On security, a point was made that there is often a total disconnect between the buzz generated by a security risk or threat, the actual impact of that problem, and the budgets allocated to solving/protecting from it. The risk to enterprises is both operational (disruption to their business) and brand impact (lose 100K credit card numbers of your customers and you’ll be very popular).


Off to NYC – might swing by Syndicate

For those of you who were expecting me in London to speak at Blogs and Social Media (and emailed to try and meet there), my sincere apologies. I had to cancel at the last minute to be in New-York for a series of meetings.

If I have time, I will swing by Syndicate, which seems to have a very interesting program over the next couple of days. Please keep me updated on the social gatherings of the conference at jeff [dot] clavier [at] gmail [dot] com .