Kim White/Bloomberg Reid Hoffman, technology entrepreneur and investor. Reid Hoffman is one of the most successful tech innovators and investors of the last decade. He has co-founded numerous Silicon Valley success-stories such as LinkedIn and PayPal. He will be speaking at the Silicon Valley Comes to Oxford forum in the U.K., and he has written this exclusive guest blog post for Tech Europe.
Hackers at the famous MIT Media Lab have built an open-source Chrome browser extension that uses the Microsoft gesture-based controller Kinect to navigate around tabs and Web pages. The group says the end result is like the movie Minority Report and that seems like a fair comparison. Called DepthJS , the software is on GitHub and open for collaboration. Check out the video above. It looks pretty good.
En rendant les contenus du web lisibles par les machines, le web sémantique bouleverse notre univers informationnel et ouvre de nouvelles opportunités propres à redéfinir la nature du Web : d’un web de document à un web de données. (ce billet est issue d’une note de synthèse, réalisée dans le cadre de mes activités universitaires. Il s’agit d’un bilan de lecture autour du web de données. Il m’a semblé intéressant de le republier ici pour solliciter l’avis des connaisseurs de ce sujet, et ouvrir le débat) 1.
Google has just purchased Groupon for $2.5 billion, according to an unnamed insider who spoke with VatorNews. Neither Google nor Groupon could be reached for comment to confirm the report, but Vator’s source is reliable and the report falls in line with the recent string of Groupon acquisition rumors. Talk about a possible acquisition by Google has been bubbling since November 19, when rumors first emerged that Google had made an offer of some $2 billion to $3 billion. The rumors were first reported by Kara Swisher of All Things D, who claimed that Google and Groupon were already in acquisitions discussions. Groupon has been quite the hot topic these days. Earlier this month, Groupon was rumored to be considering raising funds that would value the company at $3 billion .
This post provides SaaS entrepreneurs with an Excel spreadsheet model and graphs that show the cash flow trough that happens to SaaS, or other subscription/recurring revenue businesses that use a sales organization. These kinds of SaaS businesses face a cash flow problem in the early days, because they have to invest up front in sales and marketing expenses to acquire customers, and only get payments from those customers over a delayed period of time. I refer to this phenomenon as the the SaaS Cash Flow Trough. The model also compares the cash flows of businesses that charge monthly to those that are able to charge their customers for a year’s payment in advance.
Content curation and mapping service Pearltrees has decided to focus on the fact that people want to do things in groups and has as of today upgraded its core product with a groups functionality, called Pearltrees Team. Now accesible just by logging in, Pearltrees Team allows you to hook up with other people in order to create a Pearltree collaboratively in realtime. Ideally this goes down as such: You really care about fashion so you search for fashion in the Pearltrees search box and are confronted with really elaborate visual cluster displays of fashion blogs, each blog its own “pearl.” You decide that anyone who likes The Sartorialist is probably a good egg and click on the puzzle piece in the Pearltrees detail window in order to ask if you can join the team. If the team leader accepts, you then can see all the Pearltree curation happening as it happens as well as as comment on individual Pearltree decisions.
There is no bigger name in venture capital right now than Digital Sky Technologies, the Russian Internet conglomerate run by Yuri Milner. It is one of the largest outside shareholders in Facebook, and also holds big pieces of companies like Zynga (both of which it bought at massive, late-stage valuations). There also are reports that it just lost out on a big new round for Twitter. The group so far has been bankrolled by a few global investors – including Goldman Sachs and Tiger Global Management – plus a Russian oligarch. Now I'm told that DST is looking to broaden its capital base, with plans to raise approximately $1 billion for a new fund from "traditional" limited partners like pension funds and endowments. No books are out yet, but multiple sources tell me that a road show is expected to begin within weeks.
I've been cringing a lot lately when hearing the words "founder friendly" uttered by VC's. It's become a trend which I believe was kicked off by the new wave of angels and superangels hitting the scene. One of their strongest pitches for taking their money was that they, and more specifically, their contracts were more "founder friendly". It's crept now though into general discussion of venture deals.
Twitter caught some undeserved flack over the holiday weekend, after CEO Dick Costolo told a reporter for the U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper he is “working on clarity” around Twitter’s ultimate purpose. The story garnered the unfortunate headline: “Twitter lacks ‘clear long term vision’ admits new CEO.” The full Costolo quote was more reasonable and simply defined his job: “I am working on clarity around that at the moment. I am currently trying to define what Twitter’s purpose is in the long term. We will be able to be more specific on that answer in the near future.”
I write The Digital Life , a monthly tech column in our sister Conde Nast magazine, GQ . This is my column from last month's issue (dated December). Subscribe to GQ . Maria Popova calls herself an "interestingness curator". On average 55 times a day, the 35,000 followers of her @brainpicker account are sent links to "stuff that inspires, revolutionises, or simply makes us think". It might be vintage photos she's discovered of Soviet schools in the LIFE Magazine archives, "21 films to inspire entrepreneurs", or a fascinating new book about sex and consumer behaviour.
People love a good story, no matter what form of content it is they're consuming. Journalists, especially those who cover the technology industry, like to apply the same elements that make up an attractive narrative to their writing, so what most people get today is a tale of two or three competitors, the hurdles they have to overcome to deliver the solution they've envisioned and marketed, and then the demise of the one who couldn't execute properly. No matter how enticing it may be to remove the complexity of the battle for consumer's hearts, minds and wallets in order to make the story easily digestible, reality is often quite different. Take for instance the current obsession with mobile applications and how they're going to eclipse the internet as the delivery platform of choice for services and software.
Editor’s Note: Today’s guest column comes from Jeff Bussgang, a general partner at Flybridge Capital Partners. It is the second installment of a two-part series. IPO Check-up: New York Yesterday, inspired by Bill Gurley’s piece looking at the IPO market in Silicon Valley, I took a closer look at the Massachusetts IPO scene.
Skype is hiring a whole lot of engineers. Many of them will work on the company’s mobile applications, as we reported earlier this week , and many will work on cloud-based implementations of Skype that would include working with third parties such as LinkedIn. This hiring binge is part of Skype’s big expansion in Silicon Valley, something I wrote about in July 2010 . The company has leased 90,000 square feet of office space in the Stanford Research Park at 3210 Porter Drive in Palo Alto, with Jonathan Christensen, Skype’s media platform chief, heading company’s operations in Silicon Valley.
Was Groupon crazy to turn down Google’s $6 billion offer , or will it be worth several times that amount a few years from now? Of course, it is impossible to know right now. But if the recent acquisition dance between Google and Groupon tells us anything, it is that local advertising is going to drive a huge amount of growth on the Web—and that it is not going to look like other forms of online advertising.
December 2010 Someone we funded is talking to VCs now, and asked me how common it was for a startup's founders to retain control of the board after a series A round. He said VCs told him this almost never happened.