Good morning, All,
Once in a generation, a true visionary comes along and it is our privilege to witness genius. These people are brash, stubborn and because they march to the beat of their own drum with their eyes ever on the prize – a future or a product that we ourselves cannot envision – they are inevitably excoriated/vilified/ dismissed – the test of the hero – and they rise from the ashes, undeterred and undaunted, and maybe a bit humbled by the ordeal. And forward they go. This is not Mark Zuckerberg. The Facebook IPO took place on Friday – which we personally refer to as Black (Eye) Friday – and we saw no great spike from the opening price. True, it didn’t end the day far from where it started, thanks to the many underwriters determined to keep the stock stable. Many reasons can be cited: the half hour delay; GM pulling its advertising; the economy at large; the decrease in company’s revenues from its previous quarter; concerns about the company’s future revenue model; the dog ate their homework. And yesterday saw no great rally. Au contraire (Inside Job: Facebook I.P.O. Shows the System Is Broken : http://nyr.kr/LeQUbb; 7 Reasons Why Facebook IPO Was A Bust: http://onforb.es/KD3jDx). Facebook does have an impressive 800+ million members, and Zuck now has shareholders to answer to, too. But wait! He’s still the majority shareholder (nearly 30% of the stock) so public company or not, it’s still more or less the Mark Zuckerberg show, and therein lies the problem. Credit where credit is due: he’s now the 29th wealthiest person on the planet – at 28. Brash and stubborn he is, but he does not possess that one quality that breeds loyalty to his product and that will carry him – and facebook – through whatever challenges and dark days may lie ahead: neither inspire passion. Facebook has not distinguished itself as a product we cannot live without. Yes, the stock will no doubt go up again at some point, but the fact remains: there is no ‘wow’ factor. That takes genius, and arrogance does not trump nor is it a substitute for vision. Are we breathlessly awaiting what the company will do next? If the answer is, ‘no,’ then you know why the stock price failed to go through the roof. For all we know, Facebook may still manage to astonish us but frankly, given their attitude towards privacy, we see them more in the Google mold: remember ‘do no evil?,’ a noble sentiment which GOOG abandoned long ago, along with the desire to innovate – but take heed, entrepreneurs. Money and power do not necessarily mean that you must compromise your principles, your vision, and your desire to do something that manages to push the human race forward. There are exceptions and that is the mark of true genius. If you want to know how to get there and stay there, while staying on the high road and still managing to inspire passion and keep your shareholders happy, it has been done. It can be done. We leave you with the words of someone who did it and who narrated this 1997 spot which never aired: http://youtu.be/8rwsuXHA7RA Listen and learn. Onward and forward.
NEW Angel Pitch, deadline to pitch: May 23rd. If you’re a interested in pitching, please send a quick 5 minute pitch with a description of the company to email@example.com. Preference will be given to companies with a prototype and user traction. May 23rd is the deadline, so get the pitches in before then! The earlier you apply, the better your chances. The winner of the pitch event will also be given a chance to pitch direct to the NY Angels, one of the most active Angel Groups in the country.
New York Venture Summit Call for Top Innovators. If you are a Startup seeking capital and/or partnerships submit your plan for the opportunity to present at The 2012 New York Venture Summit, the premier venue connecting emerging growth companies with active Venture capitalists, Angel investors, Corporate VCs and Investment Firms. Presented by youngStartup Ventures, The 2012 New York Venture Summit provides an unparalleled opportunity for startups to meet, network and showcase their innovative investment opportunities to a leading group of investors. To Apply to Present.please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for an application. TechStars Seattle, deadline May 25th. You know the drill: a 3-month program; $18k + $100k convertible debt note, with 6% equity taken. TS provides seed funding from over 75 top venture capital firms and angel investors who are vested in the success of your startup, as well as intense mentorship from hundreds of the best entrepreneurs in the world. To apply: http://apply.techstars.com/
New York Digital Health Accelerator, deadline June 1st. The program will provide up to $300,000 of funding per company from a syndicate of leading venture capital and strategic investors. In addition, winners will have the opportunity to meet other leading digital and tech entrepreneurs in the New York community. For more information and to apply: http://digitalhealthaccelerator.com/
Blueprint Health: Transform health & wellnesswith your startup, deadline June 8th. Blueprint Health is a startup accelerator based in New York City that helps entrepreneurs improve the health and wellness industry. We offer an intensive three-month program and provide $20,000 of seed capital, extensive mentorship and a shared work environment to help entrepreneurs go from idea to prototype and provide access to angel and venture capital investors. For more information and to apply: http://www.blueprinthealth.org/ powered by Movable Ink For you edification this week:
Ok, so yes, we do need the token FB recap – 6 Reasons Why the Facebook IPO Fell Flat. Facebook worth more than McDonald’s? Seriously? Mickey Dee’s, with restaurants all over the globe, close to 100% brand recognition and a proven business model, posted $27 billion in revenues last year and a $5.5 billion profit. Facebook made $1 billion on $3.7 billion in revenues. I’m lovin’ it: http://on.mash.to/JpAvwI And, just for the fun of it: Famous IPOs: Where Are They Now? [INFOGRAPHIC] Remember theglobe.com? Uh-huh. http://bit.ly/KyxUSy
Diaspora Says It’s Back on Track, Joins Y Combinator Program. The anti-facebook, which allows users to own – and customize – their own data/photos/text, is back in the game, following the suicide of one of their founders. It begins… http://dthin.gs/KRKcIO For more on Diaspora: On Diaspora’s Social Network, You Own Your Data: http://buswk.co/Kf8XiU
For the Brits on the list – 10 Angels You Should Know: http://bit.ly/K2S2O0
7 Hot Startup Tips for Raising a Killer Seed Round. There are many stories of hot startups raising killer seed rounds, and it can feel like money is flowing everywhere. Times might be good right now, but raising external capital is a complicated process. Here are tips that can help you achieve your goals as quickly and pain-free as possible. http://on.mash.to/LnQLFn To Be Successful You’ll Need to Shake Hands and Kiss Babies. Business is built on personal relationships. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – get out there and press some flesh: http://bit.ly/KpaXDp The Seven Forces Disrupting Venture Capital. Here are the forces that have altered – and are altering – the landscape for traditional venture capital in software.http://tcrn.ch/IC6ABK
Silicon Valley’s Hottest New Start-Up Idea: Nothing. Seriously. In fact, Y Combinator is introducing a program this summer “targeting groups that don’t have an idea yet.” And down the rabbit hole we go: http://onforb.es/IUzOwL
Just one last thing on the subject of all things FB…as for co-founder Eduardo Saverin and the Congressional blow-back/media storm surrounding his surrendering of his US citizenship to avoid taxes: Eduardo is Brazilian-born and at the end of the day, helped to create quite a few jobs here in the US. A simple “thank you” will do. Yes, you can still submit your decks for our next SOS 1-on-1. Again, apologies for the delay, and it will be in early June. Do feel free to send your deck to email@example.com and we will pass it to investors’ rep. Have a safe and wonderful Memorial Day Weekend, and if you happen to be in town for the holiday, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org: there’s a good chance we’ll be doing a bbq on Sunday evening, weather permitting. Until then, as always, help is on the way…