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Turning to page 40

It took me a few minutes to start writing something after putting in this title “Turning to page 40”. I re-read the many emails, Facebook private and wall messages, skype IMs, SMSs, twitter messages and greeting e-cards I received over the past 24 hours. I am grateful for all of these, a big Thank You to you all. One of my journalist friends nailed it: “Just wanted to chime in and wish you a great year … and decade, I suppose!”. A great decade is what I am wishing myself today, I guess for the first time. I only have a vague souvenir of my turning 20, I remember the 30 transition because of the great wines (and the headaches) we had, but for some reason I find that turning 40 is a bigger deal. Sort of not being old yet, but not being young any more. My good friend Reid Hoffman took the same turn a few weeks ago, … Read more »


The iPhone mania: Robert Scoble and Patrick first in line

  Robert and Patrick first in front of the Apple store in Palo Alto    Originally uploaded by jeffclavier

Robert has said that he was going to do it: well here he is with Patrick camping in front of the Apple store in Palo Alto since this morning 9:30am. For the short period of time I was there, a crew from CNBC and a   reporter from the Red Herring showed up to interview them.

It is going to be a zoo over there tonight, but it should be fun. I am not planning to stay overnight, but I might do my meetings tomorrow afternoon in the queue if there aren’t gazillions of people waiting.

Apple has released information about tomorrow’s "stampede": they will close the stores for 4 hours before the 6pm opening, and will sell a maximum of 2 iPhones per person.


Experimenting with a few services on this blog

I have always tested a number of tools and services on this blog, to the point of sometimes making the page load time untolerably long (apologies for that – obviously not intended). One of the areas of experimentation is advertising, and you might have noticed sponsored links, banners, both on the blog and on the feed. My motivation is not to make money that way (I would not go very far with the amounts generated), but to figure out how mainstream consumer advertising programs "work" on social media content. The last one – that replaced AdSense – is , Amazon’s new advertising program called Omacaze Links. Initial results aren’t too convincing yet – but we’ll see how that automatic contextual matching combined with behavioral targeting performs. To date, I have received the best results from the FeedBurner advertising network inserting ads in my feeds.

I have also added a pretty cool community building feature called MyBlogLog. My … Read more »


Trends in Venture Financing – 2Q06 Data

The 2Q06 compilation produced by Fenwick and West regarding vc financing trends in Silcon Valley has just been released, and it continues to show strength in activity and valuation. The most notable point, which needs to be confirmed in the next couple of quarters to really be meaningful, is that valuations have grown by a lower factor than in Q106 and Q405. Other data points listed in the report (statistics are provided by Dow Jones VentureOne):

The Fenwick & West Venture Capital Barometer™ showed a 34% average price increase for Silicon Valley companies receiving venture capital in 2Q06 compared to such companies’ previous financing round. Although this was a significant increase, it was less of an increase than in the prior four quarters. The amount invested by venture capitalists in the U.S. in 2Q06 was approximately $6.7 billion, an increase over $6.4 billion in 2Q05 and $6.2 billion in 1Q06. The combined total of $12.9 billion for … Read more »


The revolution of the blog peasants – or who gives a hoot about the A-listers anyway ?

I am not too fond of blogging about blogging, but I could not help noticing (courtesy of this TechMeme’s thread) that Nick Carr was ranting The Great Unread, in which he complains how tough it is for the loneliness of the mundane blogger (the blog peasants, that’s us) and how they struggle to get attention from A-listers (aka the blogging elite – them). That part of Nick’s piece made me smile (I was attending the conference he is referring to):

The best way, by far, to get a link from an A List blogger is to provide a link to the A List blogger. As the blogosphere has become more rigidly hierarchical, not by design but as a natural consequence of hyperlinking patterns, filtering algorithms, aggregation engines, and subscription and syndication technologies, not to mention human nature, it has turned into a grand system of patronage operated – with the best of intentions, mind you – by a … Read more »


Congratulations to Netvibes on their $15M raise

I am late to it (been busy with the aftermath of my own news) but I have to congratulate my friends Tariq Krim, Pierre Chappaz and Freddy Mini for closing Netvibes’ Series B of 12M EUR (or $15M). Per TechCrunch:

NetVibes, a Paris/London based company, will announce a $15 million round of financing on Monday. Existing investor Index Ventures joined new investor Accel to lead the investment, which is one of the largest this year for a European company. The valuation was not disclosed.

I missed the angel financing round that involved Index Ventures, Pierre, Marc Andreessen and Martin Varsavsky but Tariq has since asked me to join his advisory board. The growth of Netvibes in users and traffic has been stunning, and I am delighted to be involved in helping build the company.

Actually, Freddy – the COO and future expat in the Valley to build the co’s business in the US –  is … Read more »


AOL acquires Userplane to expand AIM network

A brief interruption of my holiday schedule to announce a great news: portfolio co Userplane has been acquired by AOL LLC a couple of weeks ago, and I just heard that the official press release is now up there. I started working with the three founders of the company, Mike Jones, Nate Thelen and Jave Hall, over a year ago, and it is really with delight that I am congratulating them, and the whole team, for such a great outcome (that I will not give any detail about, as AOL has elected not to disclose any financial information about the deal). So let’s just say: a great outcome for all involved.

Userplane is in the business of powering online communities with a suite of communication tools: Instant Messaging, Chat rooms, A/V Recorder – on a white label basis. The original model was to license these tools to very large social networking and dating sites (MySpace, Friendster, Date.com,…), … Read more »


Typepad gets a few useful feature additions

Typepad New Features Originally uploaded by jeffclavier.

Six Apart just announced a few new additions to TypePad that are worth noting:

The most important one – by far – was the ability to link your TypePad feeds to your FeedBurner managed feed, which I blogged about upon release. For the first time, bloggers know exactly how many subscribers they have across their numerous feed incarnations – and that is important to their ego . I like the ability to feature a post temporarily. This one (related to the World Cup) will be up until Sunday. And then I stop blogging about sports – I swear. It would however be great to somehow mark the post as “Featured” since the current implementation does not make it explicit. Finally, the ability to edit multiple posts in one go, like closing comments or trackbacks, is pretty useful.

Next requirement: getting some of the Read more »


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 »