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Stunning returns for Google VCs

In one of his landmark posts, Bill Burnham dissected SEC filings and other publicly available information to tell us Just How Much Did VCs Pocket On Google?

I recommend the reading to anyone interested in understanding VC exits, and to some extent, how profits are split in VC partnerships – unequally so.

As a reminder, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital invested $12.5M each in Google in 1999, for about 24M shares. Both funds have distributed a majority of these shares to their own investors, otherwise their investment would be worth $7.1B (at today’s closing price).

Because of the distributions of shares at "lower prices", Bill estimated the value of KP’s investment at $4.3B, i.e a multiple of 344x in 6 years. This is the number that will be used to calculate the performance of their $500M fund IX (?), which was returned multiple times with just … Read more »


TypePad adds ads – Why Pro ?

Just got an email from Six Apart announcing that as a TypePad user, I now had the option of displaying ads on my blog in a custom typelist. It is actually not a surprise since the deal was sealed and announced last November.

Bloggers have been using Google or Yahoo ads on their blog for the longest time, and the most heavily read have been making some money. So what I am missing here is why would I need to upgrade to the Pro version of TypePad in order to use that functionality which is otherwise available to me "for free" ?

The ad revenue is credited against the monthly cost of the TypePad Pro subscription ($15). Which means basically that one needs to have roughly 20,000 page views (at a 50c CPM) in order to make up the difference between a Plus and a Pro subscription, or 30,000 page views between … Read more »


The “Build It/Flip It” Bubble Discussion

Great post from Ross re  A Flip/Flop Bubble of Microventures? in which he "attacks" the concept of  startups launched and bankrolled by former "bubble entrepreneurs" for the sole purpose of flipping them to large established players.

[…] there are a ton of former entrepreneurs getting back in the game these days. The lure isn’t just that markets are opening again. A mindset is developing in the valley that you can and should develop startups for quick flips. If you have your own cash, you can seed a play like this yourself, filling a targeted niche — both in product, market and engineering expertise. I even heard of a major portal getting into seed funding to encourage it. Perhaps this whole thing was started by Google’s micro-acquisitions. I don’t have any data on this trend, as it is the most private part of equity, but it is the talk of many … Read more »


AdSense For Feeds: Creepy – in some Sense.

Tim Bray has published a piece AdSense For Feeds, Say What? that summarizes my own experience.

Upon learning about the availability of AdSense for Feeds ("AFF"), I was keen to try it out. So I went to the registration page, and started reading the Terms and Conditions (yes, I try and read these things).

Whilst I was happy to give a shot to estimate the number of subscribers of my RSS feeds, the "T&C" language related to  "Responsibility for Feed Users" felt downright creepy:

[…] You agree you will be responsible and liable for any and all use of the AFF Ads by any feed user and will indemnify Google for any lawsuit or proceeding (a) relating to or arising from any feed user’s use of AFF; (b) relating to or arising from Your failure to ensure any feed user’s compliance with the terms of the amended Agreement; and/or (c) brought by a … Read more »


Jeff Jarvis Moving On

Jeff "BuzzMachine" Jarvis has just announced in his post "Onward" that he had left his job at Advance.net to do *a lot* of new things, "all related to changing news and to citizens’ media".

So what will Jeff (who I know from his board involvement at Moreover Technologies) do in his new incarnation, as Buzzmachine LLC ? Check this out:

Work on content development About.com, working with Martin Nisenholtz at The New York Times Company Act as editor in chief of a new (stealth) news start-up Work with the new City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism as the school launches Hanging out my consulting shingle to take on a few good projects Write a book And of course, blog, blog, blog, and blog.

Most of these tasks would be close to full time for most of us, but the man is not like… most of us. So best of luck Jeff, and see you around.

Read more »


Trends in Venture Financing – Q105 Data

The law firm Fenwick & West compiles every quarter the financing terms received by Bay Area technology companies. I just found out that this report I used to receive by email from Bill Schreiber (a corporate partner I have been working with for a few years) was available on the web.This is a very useful indicator as to the evolution of typical terms recently offered by VCs. Key terms of a venture financing are: average round size, pre-money, type of liquidation preference (seniority, multiple, participating,…), dividends, provisions, etc. For a clear definition of all these terms, I recommend checking Brad Feld’s excellent series on financing terms, or the short version from Fenwick. Whilst the report does not give absolute terms (what is the typical pre-money for a Series A), it tells you about price evolutions over the past few quarters.

What were the key trends in Q1’05 ?

The quarter showed an increase in the number … Read more »


Panels are dead ? – Not quite – Just prepare them better

Mary Hodder has a go at the panel format when attending Les Blogs last week: Panels are Dead.

For me that is. 

I’m sitting here at a conference that I flew all the way to Paris for.. for two days, and damned if it isn’t full of panels, broadcast mode all the way, telling the audience how it is. And well.. it’s so freaking undynamic. Because it’s not a discussion. These are bloggers. They know a lot. They know what it is. These 300 people make media every day on their blogs and yet, panels are here giving us time to email the office, our cats or the mailman about a critical lost postcard.

This audience is creative, bright, thoughtful and our brains are being numbed to death by one-way talk about how blogs are about losing legacy control and we’re all taking it back. Somewhere there is a tragi-comedy in here. It’s time for a … Read more »


New VC blogger: Seeing Both Sides

Jeff Bussang, a General Partner with IDG Ventures in Boston, recently started a blog. Jeff is a former entrepreneur, and therefore can provide a point of view encompassing…both sides. His objectives:

I was inspired to start this blog for many reasons, but the most important one is to help entrepreneurs.  During my ten years as an executive at start-ups (such as Upromise and Open Market), I often viewed the venture capital business as a black art.  Now that I’ve had a few years to practice that black art, I hope to help demystify it for other entrepreneurs.

Like most experiments, I will start this one off small and see where it leads.  If this blog can help both educate and entertain, it will have served its purpose.

In a few posts, he has provided useful answers to a few questions that many entrepreneurs tend to wonder about:

Should I go with a small angel round or a VC … Read more »


Re: Newsgator Marketing Problem

I was commenting on Scoble’s piece re NewsGator’s marketing problem, and thought that I might as well post it here.

I have been using NewsGator for a while (and blogged about it), and am happy with it. This is mainly because I spend all my time in Outlook, and use LookOut extensively. If I was not using NewsGator, I would use FeedDemon, which has developed some interesting podcasting support, but falls short of automating the transfer of MP3 files to my phone – mainly because of the lack of folder replication in ActiveSync for SmartPhone (whereas it is exists for PocketPCs).

I also use Bloglines, mainly as an aggregator on the phone or on the go. I have tried NewsGator Mobile – thanks to Greg – but I prefer the way Bloglines organizes feeds and posts, and the user experience that it offers. I actually believe that many people using a application-based aggregator also use … Read more »


“Dream Mergers” Candidates

Ross has made a call for participation in an interesting Dream Mergers contest of sorts. Since the wiki’s "recent changes" do not list the name of who added each contribution, I thought I would go on the record with mine, just to be able to look (now and/or later).

So here we go, note that this is pure imagination, and not the result of anything "I would have heard". And let’s not get too serious on this one, OK ?

Google hires Jimmy Wales to run Wikimedia "from within" (or at least tries to) SixApart acquires FeedBurner Sun acquires SocialText and WordPress, Inc and bundles them with Solaris 10 as a ready-to-deploy publishing solution Sun acquires JBoss and MySQL, and becomes the professional Open Source company Google picks up Kayak.com IBM acquires JotSpot, connects its back-end to Lotus Notes, and makes it its entry level collaboration platform Yahoo brings in Eric Rice (AudioBlog), Google … Read more »


Feeds: Managed or Not ?

Tony Gentile over at buzzhit asked a few questions re Do you read or run a managed feed?. I thought I might as well share these answers through a post. Here we go:

My questions to readers of managed Feeds are:

A) Does the fact that a Feed is being managed effect your willingness to subscribe to it?Not really, except if being managed leads to the feed to be easy to subscribe to. If I am interested in a blog, I will try to find a way to add it to my rssreader (NewsGator). My OPML file will then make its way into Bloglines so that I can read my feeds on the road, or on my phone.

B) Does the fact that a Feed is managed impact your reading experience? If so, how?Splicing of del.icio.us or flickr pictures in a blog feed can be annoying, depending on the relative number of posts. I would always suggest to … Read more »


Why privacy matters: Challenges and Opportunities

Microsoft hosted today a Valley Speakers Series, on "Why privacy matters: Challenges and Opportunities". It was moderated by Moira Gunn, host of NPR’s "Tech Nation" (now podcasted on ITConversations), and featured Scott Shipman, privacy counsel at eBay Inc.; Barbara Lawler, chief privacy officer at HP; Peter Cullen, chief privacy strategist at Microsoft; and Fran Maier, executive director and president of TRUSTe.

I thought that, with such a set of panelists, we would be able to get quite a bit of perspective on what is being developed around both privacy, identity protection and federated identity. Unfortunately, and it might been a case of over-expectations, a lot of time was spent on current issues and current, limited, solutions. Interesting, but I had a sense of a missed opportunity.

I noted the following points:

G8 countries have decided to enforce data retention by ISPs in order to make sure that hacker intrusions, path, data changes,… could be traced through the multiple hops … Read more »