BLOG STARTUPS, VENTURE AND THE TECH BUSINESS

May 9 2009
by Todd Hixon

Scott Derschlag, Skype COO: TLH notes from the Nantucket conference

Skype is a Ferrari that is running on 3 cylinders: [sounds like someone hyping a car company to me] huge success engaging users (400m) weak on monetization ($550m, $1.30/user) customer service is a challenge with a user base the size of the European union Fremium is a subtle strategy: different customers have different behaviors some […]

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May 9 2009
by Todd Hixon

Managing through the downturn: TLH notes from the Nantucket conference

First panel:  Managing through the downturnAron Ain, CEO, KronosJana Eggers, CEO, SpreadShirt (customized apparel), $10s m run rate, just raised growth capital (offers were shocking)Christia Lampe-Onnerud, Boston-Power, advanced lap-top batteries, H-P is lead customer, growing fastChris Zannetos, CEO, Courion, Info SW co, security business, manage provisioning of systems for employees (eg, 800 new interns at […]

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May 9 2009
by Todd Hixon

LP Panel: TLH notes from NVCA annual meeting

Title:  “The Delicate LP/GP Relationship”Moderator:  Becky Buckman, ForbesContext:   LP liqudity squeeze, mediocre VC performance [besides that, how was the play, Ms. Lincoln?]Panel:  Nick Harris, Lexington Partners (secondaries), typically buying 5-yr old funds, believe in VCRebecca Connelley, FairView:  known for great names, very conservative, raise $300m/3 year cycle, keep it right-size, 30% is emerging manager mandates (Fund I-III), […]

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May 9 2009
by Todd Hixon

Liquidity Panel: TLH notes from NVCA annual meeting

Controversial suggestion:  extend lock-ups.  Data suggests that VC selling is a major drag on price during first two years (small cap IPO performance historically is pretty flat in first year, much better in second year).  Newhall from NEA:  average hold post IPO used to be 3 years, before the bubble.Few buyers for newly minted IPO […]

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May 9 2009
by Todd Hixon

IT Panel: TLH notes from the NVCA Annual Meeting

Moderator = Chip Hazard (a VC)Panel:CIO of TransUnionPartner at Bain who does IT consultingDavid Skok, Matrix GPCIOs cutting 10-20% based on expected revenue shortfalls of 10%-40% have lost discretionary spending ability Focus is on short term savings and efficiency, not on the future 50% discount rate, need payback within a budget year variablize costs — […]

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May 9 2009
by Todd Hixon

Mobile panel: TLH Notes for NVCA Annual Meeting

Panelists:Mike Baker, Nokia/enpocket Rich Miner, Google VenturesBernie Gershon, DisneyChip Hazard (moderator)Baker:  no one yet knows what mobile media is good for we understand other kinds of new media much better Gershon:  does content deals for Disney on the web iPhone is the breakthrough platform:  experience and network is now there Revenue oppties:  subscriptions and ad model […]

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May 6 2009
by Thanasis Delistathis

Tip #1: Explain your business in simple terms

Memo to entrepreneurs: can you explain to your mother what your business does and what problem it solves?  Great.  Now explain to VCs the same way.  Here is a mythbuster for you:  VCs don’t need to hear buzzwords to think you are smart.  In fact, the more buzzwords they hear the more they think: (a) […]

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May 6 2009
by Thanasis Delistathis

Use of focus groups

There are many times in startup pitches where the entrepreneurs are trying to convince us that they have the product features figured out because they have conducted one or two focus groups and have incorporated potential “customer feedback.”   It is puzzling to me how frequently this happens.  Of course anyone who has worked in marketing […]

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May 5 2009
by Scott Johnson

Paying Attention

There is a very interesting article in the NYT today about how the brain concentrates.  (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/05/science/05tier.html?emc=eta1) There is one quote I found particularly provocative by Winifred Gallagher.“Multitasking is a myth,” Ms. Gallagher said. “You cannot do two things at once. The mechanism of attention is selection: it’s either this or it’s that.”Now, as someone who […]

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