Monthly Archives: June 2006

Off to Seattle: Microsoft, Gnomedex and the Games

In a few hours I’ll be en route to Seattle, spending the day in Redmond for a bunch of meetings with Microsoft Research and MSN folks. Come and say hi if you see me hanging out at one of the coffee places of the campus. Then off to the Gnomedex kick-off party. Friday and Saturday will then be about juggling between the conference and the games, especially that very promising France-Brazil.

Looking forward to all that.


What if Bill Gates had turned to the dark side ?

This is essentially the theme developed by VC Bart Schachter in his guest post on PE Week Wire. It is indeed not uncommon for CEOs leaving the top spot to do a stint in VC firms as EIRs, venture partners or GPs. Bart pictures it:

Imagine that, instead of taking refuge in the pages the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Bill would have set his sights on becoming (the horror) a venture capitalist. Consider that, in a moment of blissful bridge fantasy, instead of seeking to remedy the injustices of the third world, he might have opted instead to set up shop as a budding VC. Consider the high points of the billgventures.com home page: Operating experience, Value-added Investing, an Eye to Company-Building, Unequaled Access to Global Business Leaders, and in case you missed the first bullet, CEO Experience.

Would Bill Gates have made a successful VC ? We’ll never know, but it is clear that he has been doing an … Read more »


Investment of the day: Mashery

Busy week: another of my recent investments was announced this morning. I have joined First Round Capital’s Josh Kopelman and my Search SIG co-chair Dave Mc Clure as founding investor of Mashery, Inc., a software infrastructure startup. We will actually not disclose much more than what Oren Michels, the CEO, has mentioned on his blog– but the company is essentially developing a much needed piece of functionality of the web services and mashups economy.

Our Mashery will be a resource for developers, API providers and mashup users. Over the next six months, we will release a range of services that will make it easier to develop, deploy and use mashups and other “user generated services”

I am excited to work with Oren again, who was the VP of Business Development of Feedster – of which Josh, Dave and I all were Angel investors.

Just to clarify by the way: it just so happens that four … Read more »


Two new investments: Rapleaf and Wikio

I was meant to mention it much earlier but last week went by so fast! I have joined the investors syndicate behind the Series A of Rapleaf, the startup headed by my friend Auren Hoffman. Rapleaf is looking at developing a comprehensive portable reputation system for Internet communication and commerce – a major piece of infrastructure that is yet to be built, and I am excited to be involved in that project. Matt Marshall has more about the funding, and the TechCrunch review is here.

Another investment that just closed (yes, I have done quite a few recently – more to be announced) is the initial round of financing of Wikio, a European startup that has developed a news search engine bringing together a number of functionality included in Google News, Topix.net, Digg and Memeorandum. I had written about it when the service entered a closed beta (and before I investigated a potential investment). It … Read more »


NewsGator for Windows Mobile: I like it but…

Just saw this on my friend Brad Feld’s blog: NewsGator for Windows Mobile Beta Available, and decided to give it a try.

To be honest, I am not too sure that I want to be hooked to my Cingular 8125 much more than I already am, but I might like to check a few feeds every now and then.

You can download the program through a Windows EXE file that installs a .cab on your device, or you can download the .cab directly on your phone. A few remarks about the (beta) product:

We need a bit more information as to which platform/device should be using the PPC or the smartphone version. I tried both on my phone and they both work, even though the Smartphone version seems to have more options. It is great that the Mobile version synchronizes with the NewsGator back-end, like FeedBurner and NetNewsWire. However, I don’t want to read … Read more »


Happy birthday TechCrunch!

Mike is reflecting on his first year writing TechCrunch, which is just a tremendous example of the power blogs give to individual voices. A year ago, that ex-lawyer dude started a site to review Web 2.0 companies, and wrote with passion hundreds of profiles and becoming the number one launchpad for the next generation of startups, and large Internet companies as well.

I looked back in my email archive to see when Mike and I started interacting and found our first email exchange, in which he said:

I’d like to put profiles of both up at techcrunch. We have about 500 uniques per day now after being up for only a week and a half.

Both was referring to two of my companies I recommended Mike to take a look at: Buzznet and Userplane. I then offered Mike a pass to attend VerticalLeap, the conference that Dave McClure and I organized, and then turned into … Read more »


Scoble is movin’ and the blogosphere is shakin’

I came back to my hotel room late last night from a fantastic dinner with great company (thanks again Will) and crashed before checking my feeds. What a tidal wave! The news about Robert moving to PodTech.net has completely taken over Memeorandum (and temporarily crashed PodTech’s servers because of the traffic)!

What I find almost hilarious is that Robert’s move has leaked as a rumor that the tech bloggers have immediately jumped on (“Rumor”, ”might”, ”may”, ”will”, ”is going to”, ”50%”, ”100%”), before Robert and John had actually crafted their announcement:

I looked at my cell phone and I think there was a call from Om Malik that I ignored (sorry, Om, I didn’t know you were calling about THAT). Then the email started coming in. Oh, crud. It was out.

It also means that the reasons and circumstances of Robert’s leaving were subjects to rumors and supputations, so much so that Robert had … Read more »


Vonage’s IPO quickest to be hit by a class action lawsuit ?

What a disaster: float on May 24th, lose over 30% in market capitalization, and get hit by a shareholder lawsuit less than 2 weeks after the IPO. CNET has the details:

The suit filed on Friday in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey by the Atlanta-based law firm Motley Rice asserts that the Internet telephony provider, its officers and the IPO’s underwriters misled investors.

Vonage’s stock, which debuted on the New York Stock Exchange on May 24 at $17 per share, has lost about 30 percent of its value in its first seven days of trading. The complaint filed against Vonage claims that the company’s investors were motivated to push for an IPO because the company had been losing money, and the investors were desperate for … Read more »


A couple of things to do before getting into your demo or presentation

My buddy Ed Sim has posted a piece that I recommend anyone doing a company, financing or product pitch to read: Don’t forget that vision thing. This paragraph sums it well:

As one of our marketing consultants, Richard Currier, has always told our portfolio companies, "you market the vision, and sell the product." If you get too locked into talking about a product, then your partner or customer gets stuck into thinking about who else does this and why are you different.  Getting into a feature/function battle in the first meeting is not a great way to start.  Sure enough, our prospective partner started naming several companies asking us how we differed from them.  If you start with a vision first and clearly talk about your view of the market in the future and how your product evolves from where it is today to a roadmap of the future, then it is easier to differentiate your company and … Read more »


FeedBurner’s “-blogger_feel_good” option

Ah! Check this out.

That is a bug that I am not unhappy with for once: suddenly my FeedBurner FeedCount has grown 900% to a TechCrunch-like subscriber number.

(Gee! Mike is at 62K subscribers now. Sounds like this whole re-design brouhaha did not have much impact after all, did it ?)

So I know it is a wrong number, but many thanks to my FeedBurner friends for introducing this “”-blogger_feel_good“ command line option,  or to one of the many RSS readers out therefore for reporting an (obviously outreagously) inflated number .

Update: it is now clear from the FeedBurner subscribers statistics page that ”the issue“ is NetVibes, which is reporting 51,328 users reading my feed.

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