Good morning, All,
First, this is the week to Do It In Person, and we have a 50% discount when you use the code SOS. Hope to see you there, and register here: www.doitinperson.eventbrite.com And yes, we are getting ready for our next Terrace event, although it won’t be in the usual venue. Tomorrow is Autumn after all, and we don’t want to chance it with the weather. October 18th is the date; venue TBD and register now for the early bird rate: http://bit.ly/mY5QED
The Groupon IPO is back on (for now) and Michael Arrington is really out at TechCrunch. Barry Diller had some interesting observations/opinions on the latter
(Barry Diller Skewers AOL For Firing Michael Arrington From TechCrunch http://tcrn.ch/rcE4Vh and while we’re on the subject, let us not forget that The New York Times also has holdings in technology, advertising and media companies (including GigaOm, which competes with TechCrunch), as well as a VC fund that invests in tech startups (http://bit.ly/oDPAPx).
But we digress. All of this back-and-forthing with Groupon and TechCrunch got us to thinking about valuations and the true value of a company, especially in our space, where twitter is far from profitable, yet has carved out an irreplaceable (so far) niche – and just passed 100 million subscribers. They also just raised an additional $800 million and are now valued at over $8 billion and yes, we know that Fred Wilson and Bijan Sabet just left the board (http://bit.ly/r24DvR). Which brings us back to the GOOG test. Google is about to launch a flipboard competitor (having failed in their bid to buy flipboard: Report: Google Prepping Flipboard-Esque News Reader http://bit.ly/p6Cj4N), and as we’ve said before, Google isn’t always successful in their attempts to replicate. (Speaking of which ok, google+ has circles, but anyone else notice how similar it is to diaspora? Just asking.) When last we looked, Facebook was still the 6th or 7th largest country in the world, based on population, and google+ usage has dropped precipitously – and just for the record, Facebook Places failed to make a dent in any corner of Foursquare. So if you’d like to know the true value of a company/technology, the question is: can it be easily replicated and/or killed – or at least seriously damaged – by a better mousetrap or larger company stepping handily into the fray? Groupon can be replicated; Arrington cannot. For better or for worse, Michael Arrington is TechCrunch: it was always a reflection of the force of his personality (although, we will tell you from personal experience that he’s actually a really nice guy). There are many daily deal clones. Not sure if the Groupon IPO will happen – ever – and what course TechCrunch will take without Arrington at the helm. So question for you: Is yours the voice that will rise above the din? If you’re going for the brass ring, let this not be a lesson to you, but a yardstick for you. And always carry a very big stick. Onward and forward.
BetaBeat is looking for startups to star in a new web series – $10k cash prize/$100k investment. Betabeat is launching our first web series, Elevator Pitch. We will be profiling ten NYC startups and giving each one the chance to pitch Lerer Ventures in person. There will be a $10,000 cash prize and a $100,000 (or more) investment as possible outcomes for the winners. Unlike Mr. Arrington, we don’t influence the decision, that all comes from Lerer. If you are interested in participating, please send over a brief bio of you and your team, a short summary of what your company does and a brief explanation of why it would make sense for a VC to fund. Any other assets like video/pitch deck/website are welcome. To respond: firstname.lastname@example.org and good luck!
Hack for Good, deadline September 30, 2011; we’ll give you access to all available documentation). LetGive’s first annual “Hack-for-Good” (HFG) contest! LetGive has created an API that allows anyone to include a charitable giving component within their application. Applications built on our platform are transformed into powerful fundraising vehicles for Nonprofits and Charities. Prize: $1000 for the winning app. To register: http://www.letgive.com/hackforgood/
The Dare2Dream Challenge, hosted by Glee Star Iqbal Theba (Principal Figgins), deadline October 1st: The Challenge is a response to the high percentage of unemployment in the youth today – unemployment for youth hovers at 18%, double the national average. The challenge is an opportunity for students to share their dream job and win a trip to Hollywood, an ipad2 or even homework help.Students can enter and share their dream by video (2-5 minutes long) or by a Facebook post (up to 420 characters). For more information: http://bit.ly/q5IpCV
HackNY Student Hackathon, October 1-2. For more information: http://hackny.org/a/f2011/
College students! Moverandchangers.com is all set to launch its third nationwide challenge to uncover the country’s next young entrepreneurs who want to make it big with their innovative ideas for a new business. The contest is open to 16-28 year old college students to develop and produce a compelling business proposal. Ideas must be original, feasible, scalable and practical. More information on the site, which features a video with Dennis Crowley, who, just for the record, wouldn’t qualify for the contest now, nor would he when he first started foursquare. Deadline is October. Information is here: http://bit.ly/EvBLZ
Global Amazon Web Services Start-up Challenge is on! Deadline: October 2nd. This year, AWS will select 15 regional semi-finalists: 5 each from the Americas, Asia Pacific (including Japan), and EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa), respectively, who will each receive $2,500 in AWS credits. From these, they will select a minimum of 6 finalists to be awarded a package of $10,000 in AWS credits and a trip to Palo Alto, California, to attend the final round of judging. Then, after a day of meetings with the judges, they will announce one grand prize winner at a public event for start-ups and investors. The winner will receive a package that includes $50,000 in cash and $50,000 in AWS credits. To enter: http://aws.amazon.com/startupchallenge/
Y Combinator now accepting applications for Winter 2012. Deadline: October 10th. The ideal company would have two or three founders. We’ll consider those with four or five. We’re reluctant to accept one-person companies, though we have funded a couple. For those of you interested in applying now or finding out more about the process: http://bit.ly/nUYxNY
6th Annual New England Venture Summit – Call for Top Innovators and an SOS discount! If you are a Startup seeking capital and/or partnerships, submit your plan for the opportunity to present at the premier venue connecting emerging growth companies with active Venture Capitalists, Angel Investors, Corporate VCs and Investment Firms. A select group of 50 Top Innovators from the technology, life sciences and Clean-tech sectors will be chosen to present their breakthrough investment opportunities to an exclusive audience of investors.The early deadline for presenting company applications is October 26th. E-mail email@example.com for more details and an application. To nominate a company please forward: company name, main contact at firm, contact details and why you think they should present to firstname.lastname@example.org. The event happens December 14th; 50% off if you register by November 9th: http://bit.ly/nCkYN6 For a further discount, the code is: sos.
Samsung’s $100k Challenge to Developers, deadline November 29th. Samsung is offering $225,000 in cash and prizes for the most innovative converged apps that enable an interactive home entertainment experience between Samsung TVs and other devices. The 2011 Samsung Free the TV Challenge invites software developers to create compelling converged apps that offer seamless user interaction between a Samsung Smart TV and at least one other screen, such as a phone, tablet or computer. Last year, we released the first-ever Samsung TV App SDK and launched the 2010 Free the TV Challenge to develop native apps on our line of Smart TVs and Blu-ray devices. This year we take another leap forward to free the TV with “converged apps” — multi-screen apps that offer immersive, interactive home entertainment experiences. For more information and to apply: http://www.freethetvchallenge.com/
The Appy Awards – enter once and you could win twice. Deadline March 21, 2012 but any entry you submit today may also be selected as our “Featured App of the Week“, scoring you some seriously instant gratification. And we doesn’t love that? For more information and to enter – any time – http://appyawards.net/
For your edification this week:
Where are all of the venture capital firms, angels, hedge funds and private equity firms who are doing digital investments? This chart from lumascape lays it all out for you: http://bit.ly/oHYGQI
John Sculley on Steve Jobs and the Experience of a Lifetime. No, not just another look back story. The man who decided to stop selling sugar water offers some good advice, based on hard learned experience; http://bit.ly/oLf8La
Bootstrapping a 30k profit/month company from our undergrad internship earnings. Fiplabs lays it all out for you, step-by-step in this 3-part blog about how fiplab came into existence and subsequently transformed from a small side project into a business generating $39,000 in revenues and $30,000 in profit per month. Part 1: http://bit.ly/oKitWV
Part 2: http://bit.ly/pzjklU
Part 3: http://blog.fiplab.com/
Marc Benioff’s Five Leadership Secrets. As someone who has spent most of his career selling technology to businesses, we can all learn a lot from Benioff, and not just from his business model and technology. Here are a few lessons we can all learn in terms of vision and leadership: http://onforb.es/nVATpK
Why Venture Capitalists Invest In Pigs, Not Chickens. Not easy to figure out investors and what they look for in a company and an entrepreneur, and outlines the differences between the “pig” v the “chicken” entrepreneur: http://bit.ly/nLGjPR
Why Women Don’t Get Venture Capital: The Bruised Nose Theory. There has been a lot of chatter in the blogosphere, on twitter, and at tech community events lately about why women receive only a small portion of venture money despite starting a large portion of new businesses. One oft-cited reason is that they don’t ask for it. FamiliesGo! founder, journalist, SOS member and mom Eileen Gunn thinks her daughter and the little girl’s nose can help to answer the question: http://bit.ly/qTrTI1
The 32 Dumbest Things that Real-Life Managers Have Said. Just when you thought you’ve heard it all, you read this and remember yet another reason why you decided to go off and start your own company: http://bit.ly/nPDJ9U
How Today’s Hottest Startups Got Their Names. What’s in a name? It shouldn’t surprise you that some of our favorite startups were sired by picking names out of hats, by throwing out odd proper nouns that might be cheap domain names and by haphazardly removing vowels. And most entrepreneurs do assume that the name they choose will change before their businesses really start to gain momentum. Think again: http://on.mash.to/nlUL9x
This week’s chuckle is an actual joke! A recycled oldie, but funny: One day the town florist goes to get his haircut at the town barber. When he goes to pay, the barber says, “I can’t take your money. I’m doing community service this week.” The florist is pleased and leaves the shop. The next day when the barber goes to open up, there’s a thank-you note and a dozen roses by the door. Later on, a cop comes in and gets his haircut. When he goes to pay, the barber tells him, “I can’t take your money. I’m doing community service this week.” Sure enough the next day, there’s a thank-you card and a dozen doughnuts by the door. Later that day, a Congressman comes in to get his haircut. He goes to pay, but the barber tells him he won’t take his money because he’s doing community service.
The next day there are a dozen Congressmen by the door.
Happy first day of Autumn, and now, as always, help is on the way…