Thursday, July 31, 2014

CNET Green Tech

  • Cisco hit with $70M verdict for 'fraud by concealment'

    Cisco Systems Inc. was on the short end of a $70 million verdict by a federal jury in Delaware that said the California-based tech giant was guilty of "fraud by concealment" in a short-lived partnership with New York-based XpertUniverse Inc.

    Cisco, which has a large campus in Richardson, also violated two of XpertUniverse's patents, the jury said in awarding additional damages of about $34,000.

    A Cisco spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal that the verdict surprised the company and said Cisco…

  • Second act for the unorthodox Steve Case

    His AOL heyday now well behind him, Case has major interests in some 20 companies, including LivingSocial and Hello Wallet, and has become an Internet elder statesman. Originally posted at News - Business Tech

  • Windows Blue leak shows changes large and small

    In an alleged newly leaked build, the Windows 8 Start screen appears with both bigger and smaller Live Tile setups, an additional snap view, and new personalization options. It also shows a hint of IE 11. Originally posted at News - Microsoft

  • ViSalus Appoints Senior Executive to Manage UK Operations

    LOS ANGELES, March 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of its ongoing commitment to fight the global obesity epidemic, ViSalus, the company known for the Body by Vi™ 90-Day Challenge, today announced the appointment of Ros Simmons as Managing Director of Vi (UK)....

  • A $299 high-end USB digital converter from England

    Meridian Audio, known for its ultra-high-end components dips its toe into the affordable market with the Explorer USB digital-to-analog converter. Originally posted at The Audiophiliac

  • 3SBio Inc. Announces Extraordinary General Meeting of Shareholders

    SHENYANG, China, March 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- 3SBio Inc. (NASDAQ: SSRX) ("3SBio" or the "Company"), a leading China-based biotechnology company focused on researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing biopharmaceutical products, today announced that it has called an extraordinary...

  • 'Playing' Crave with nifty Chrome World Wide Maze

    A cool new experiment uses HTML5 to turn any Web site into a 3D labyrinth and any smartphone running Chrome into a game controller. Originally posted at Crave

  • Milanoo.com Spring Discount Strikes

    CHENGDU, China, March 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- April Fools' Day and Easter arrive one after another and in order to bring you more surprises, Milanoo.com presents a wonderful spring discount event. This event consists of three parts, i.e. "Happy Easter Day" discount, 2013 new...

  • Vendors bingeing on Broadway

    On a recent Sunday, Peter Davis counted 70 street carts—from cupcake vendors to sellers of cellphone cases—lining the seven blocks of Broadway between Canal and Houston streets. During the summer months, he has seen that number more than double, resulting in overcrowded sidewalks, overpowering food smells and a constant din."This is one of the highest-priced areas in the city, and it looks like crap," said the artist and ceramics teacher, who has lived in the neighborhood for 35 years. "We've reached the tipping point."Increasingly, others in the area are rallying to his cause. In January, local Community Board 2 sent a letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, urging him to examine the street-vendor congestion issue on Broadway and to resurrect a long-dormant regulatory panel to crack down on scofflaws.In recent weeks, some City Council members have also stepped up and persuaded the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to stage raids to fine or weed out food vendors who flagrantly break the law. Meanwhile, activists are proposing control measures ranging from painting slots on the sidewalks to deal with overcrowding to implementing a lottery to ration scarce space."These folks are like bees in a hive," said David Gruber, chair of the community board. "We are not anti-vendor, but we are saying we need sensible regulations."For openers, he wants to bring back the Street Vendor Review Panel, a committee formed by Mayor Rudy Giuliani in 1995 to review and restrict the growing number of street vendors, which currently number 13,000 across the city. In the dozen years that the panel has been dormant, there has been little policing of vendors, Mr. Gruber noted.

  • Yes, she's one smart cookie

    Olivia Crenshaw, 11, doesn't shy away from the hard sell. Sometimes after class at the all-girls Chapin School on the Upper East Side, the fifth-grader will head to the boardroom at real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle. There, she presents to potential clients and, with her winning smile, closes the deal for the Girl Scouts. "I say, 'Five boxes only cost $20. Can I help you pick out your five boxes?' My dad calls that a presumptive close."This year, Olivia is the top cookie-selling Girl Scout in New York City. Even health-conscious New Yorkers can't say no: The Scouts will gladly send cookies to troops overseas, she helpfully suggests.Being the best isn't easy in New York, where 26,500 girls ages 5 through 17 sold 1.2 million boxes of cookies last year. That's an average of 45 boxes per Girl Scout. Olivia sold 1,812. Her success is no fluke. She was the cookie queen in 2011, too: 1,651 boxes. Olivia has become a fixture in her father's financial services firm during the cookie-selling month of December. She drops boxes at her mixed-martial-arts class, sells to restaurants, cold-calls cleaners and, dressed in her green vest and sash, pitches parents in Central Park on the cookies delivered worldwide each March."It's hard to go door-to-door in my neighborhood because there's doormen," she said.Her biggest client this year was Mitti Liebersohn, a real estate broker who purchased 155 boxes. "A lot of people like to buy from a successful seller," Olivia explained. "That helps me. They know I'm serious and that I'm the one to trust."Over the years, she has won two iPads, season tickets to Six Flags and a Wii. But it's the thrill of victory that feeds the fire in her belly. "It's not about the prizes," she said. "I feel more that I just want to be the top seller."

  • Getting into the act

    On a Saturday afternoon this month, more than 150 ticket holders decked out in 1930s costumes lined up outside a "hidden" club off Delancey Street. To gain entry, the revelers had to utter a secret password—"cannoli." Once inside, they followed actors through a number of rooms trying to figure out the mysterious storyline. The attraction? A show called Speakeasy Dollhouse, one of Manhattan's newest interactive theater experiences."Why watch a performance when you can be part of it?" said Cynthia Von Buhler, the creator, producer and director of Dollhouse, which is based on the murder of her grandfather Frank Spano, who was killed outside a onetime Manhattan speakeasy in 1935. Speakeasy Dollhouse, which was recently extended because of high demand, is one of a growing number of off-off-Broadway productions popping up around the city in which the audience doesn't sit down and watch the action onstage. Instead, theatergoers are part of the play like the real actors, allowing them to experience the show on a higher level.The shows, which usually take place in offbeat venues replete with secret hallways and hidden stairwells, are fairly inexpensive and quick to produce. And there seems to be no end to the number of willing participants who want to dress up and take part in these productions. Many come back multiple times. All these elements are making multisensory theater a new trend, though one that follows in the footsteps of 1980s pioneer Tony n' Tina's Wedding. During the past year, productions such as Sleep No More, Speakeasy Dollhouse, Then She Fell and Totally Tubular Time Machine have opened and are filling their venues to capacity."People don't want to sit in a seat anymore," said Robert Watman, a producer and co-creator of Totally Tubular Time Machine, which bills itself as an "interactive, intergalactic pop-music experience." "Here they can do a sing-along, hang out with 'Lady Gaga' wearing a meat dress and watch dancers perform 'Thriller,' " he said.At Totally Tubular, music fans are given a pair of intergalactic glasses and transported to a 1989 Madonna after-party, thanks to a three-minute ride in a "time machine." The rest of the evening is an interactive MTV rock-a-thon where guests mingle with look-alikes of Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Michael Jackson and double Madonnas—both the '80s and '90s versions.

  • Introducing the 2013 class of 40 Under 40

    It feels like just yesterday that the newsroom was pulling together an ambitious project, the celebration of 25 years of 40 Under 40, which was published in October. And what an impressive gathering of New York business leaders we have honored over the years, from then-American Express Executive Vice President Kenneth Chenault in 1988 to New York Times political blogger Nate Silver in 2012.Now we're at it again. In the Class of 2013 40 Under 40, readers will meet the overachievers who will shape New York for the next 25 years. They are a group of talented individuals who represent the city's diverse business community, from ambitious entrepreneurs and prize-winning artists to financial gurus and tech wizards. They are passionate about their careers and the city they call home.We received more than 500 nominations for this year's list. Choosing the winners is a process that takes more than three months of careful review and in-depth reporting. We believe that we have once again honored 40 of the most deserving individuals. After reading their profiles, we hope you will agree.

  • Ntiedo Etuk, DimensionU and The Etuk Cos.

    Ntiedo Etuk's DimensionU has already raised more than $20 million and put games in some 200 New York City schools.

  • Ben Kaufman, Quirky

    Ben Kaufman's startup Quirky fields ideas from innovators, uses a global community to refine the most promising ideas and then usher some of them into big-time retail. It's already brought 75 products to market.

  • Delek Group Announces Consolidated Results for 2012

    TEL AVIV, Israel, March 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Delek Group Ltd. (TASE: DLEKG, OTCQX: DGRLY) (hereinafter: "Delek Group" or "The Group") announced today its results for the fourth quarter and full year period ended December 31, 2012. The full financial statements are available in...

  • The Crowd's Money Can Dominate Early-Stage Investing, But Only If The VCs Get Their Cut

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    Editor’s note: This is the second part of a two-part guest column by Zach Noorani. Part one examined whether equity crowdfunding is a threat to VCs. Zach is a former VC and current second-year MBA student at MIT Sloan. Follow him on Twitter @znoorani.
    Is angel capital an attractive asset class? Is the crowd capable of being good investors, willing to spend 20-40 hours doing due diligence per investment? These are critical questions to help determine just how big equity crowdfunding will become, right? I say no.
    Successful startup investing is way too hard, and the wisdom of the crowd is way too useless if not destructive (in this case at least). For equity crowdfunding to become a mainstream activity, these questions don’t need to be answered, they need to be removed from the equation.
    That’s why the crowdfunding platforms themselves prospect the deals, decide whether they’re attractive, and negotiate the terms. The crowd only sees investment in committee-approved, neatly packaged and pre-negotiated deals.

    • FundersClub advertises that fewer than 5 percent of applicant companies get listed on its site.
    • CircleUp’s acceptance rate is less than 2 percent.
    • AngelList’s approval rate barely registers given that just 15 companies can be invested in online out of the 15K or so they have access to.

    You can call that simple curation, but it’s the same process with largely the same ratios that institutional VCs undertake. In essence, crowdfunding platforms are the general partner venture capitalist and have made the crowd their limited partner investors. Their economic models might differ from normal VCs, but their path to success is the same: Build an investment portfolio that makes their LPs an attractive return.
    In terms of what constitutes an attractive return, crowdfunding has some advantages over traditional VCs.
    In many cases, investors aren’t charged management fees or carried interest, and the “2 and 20” fee structure of most VC funds is expensive as hell. Rather than trust my math, Fred Wilson calculated the difference between gross (what the crowd gets) and net (what regular VC LPs get) returns on a fund that nominally did a 4x: 39.2 percent (gross) vs. 28.6 percent (net). Big difference.
    Another advantage is that crowd investors get to pick and choose when to participate. While hard to quantify, there should be some economic value associated with this option.
    Taken together, returns as low as break-even (per annual vintage) could be enough to entice the masses. Either by luck or successful cherry-picking, a large portion of the crowd would then be able to make money. But how feasible are break-even returns and at what level of scale? To answer, let’s examine the three models of equity crowdfunding: VC pledge funds; online private placement; and loss leaders.
    Venture Capital Pledge Funds
    Think FundersClub and OurCrowd. Much like traditional asset managers, the model requires a combination of management fee on capital invested and carried interest on profits. But rather than having committed capital, investors come in on a deal-by-deal basis.
    fee structures matter but not nearly as much as deal quality.
    FundersClub, for example, charges a one-time fee ($300 for a $2.5K investment) to cover transaction costs and will eventually institute a carried interest fee – meaning they make money when investors do, aligning them well with investors generally.
    One disconnect, however, is that crowdfunding carry on good investments won’t be affected by the bad, which implies little direct incentive to avoid them. Depending on the return profile, this can also make VC pledge funds quite expensive. Take a very simple example (ignoring management fees):

    • A $50 million VC fund (with 20 percent carry) makes 10 $5 million investments in year one
    • In year five: Five deals return nothing, three return principal, and two return 3.5x principal
    • Fund return: 1.0x gross, $0 in carry, 1.0x net
    • Identical performance from a crowdfunding business (with 20 percent carry) nets 0.86x to the crowd
    • For the crowd to get 1.0x principal, the portfolio must gross 1.18x (4 percent IRR over the five years)

    Certainly fee structures matter but not nearly as much as deal quality. While some might view crowd capital with a stigma, to entrepreneurs VC pledge funds are just very public angel groups with perhaps fewer voting rights – overall, not a huge handicap in deal sourcing. And to find deals they use exactly the same tactics as every other professional investor. Therefore success here requires the same caliber of deal sourcing ingenuity and investment acumen as it does for all VCs.
    As a result, the sector should develop in some predictable ways:
    1.  To raise a devoted VC fund, you actually have to convince relatively sophisticated investors to bet on you based on your experience and capabilities. Since the crowd largely thinks they’re the general partner, crowdfunding managers face no such scrutiny. Resulting performance should therefore be markedly worse.  Expect most VC pledge fund managers – hundreds maybe – to fall far short of returning investor capital.
    2.  Some portion will do well by accident.
    3.  A few will actually prove to be exceptional fund managers.
    4.  It’ll be hard to tell which is which at least for the first couple of years and there’ll be many bad companies funded and money lost in the process.
    5.  Given all this uncertainty, the crowd will favor the few that successfully build brands.  But if those players are also good investment managers, their deal volume won’t expand much to meet investor demand.  So the more enthusiasm the Crowd has for the asset class, the more they’ll be pushed to less credible platforms.
    6.  Speaking of, anyone want to start a Morningstar-like evaluation and performance measurement service for equity crowdfunding platforms? The industry will desperately need one.
    7.  All this will happen no matter how stringent the SEC’s crowdfunding guidelines end up being. It’s just a tricky asset class.

    How This Affects Venture Capitalists
    We’re basically just talking about a bunch of new angel groups. The more the merrier as far as VCs are concerned. Their money would help more startups get further along before needing a $5 million – $10 million round. To VCs that means more and less risky investment opportunities to choose from. Maybe Sequoia should send FundersClub some flowers?
    But what will happen to the few successful VC pledge fund managers? Undoubtedly they’ll be tempted to move beyond seed rounds and invest larger amounts in later-stage companies, take board seats and invest in stealth companies and follow-on rounds. Perhaps they’ll find a way to do all that through crowdfunding.
    And if they do, you can be sure that established VCs would follow suit (500 Startups is already trying). They won’t actually renounce their existing limited partners so this would mean billions of incremental dollars from the crowd gushing into the market. Could this over-capitalize the industry and hurt everyone’s return?  Sure, but so long as the VCs get to manage that capital, they’re happy to take that risk.
    More likely, however, is that successful crowdfunding managers raise capital from traditional limited partners themselves or get poached by established VC funds with their famous brands, rich fee structures, and steady streams of committed capital.
    Online Private Placement
    Private placement agents, deal brokers, bankers, etc. have always played a large offline role in the startup ecosystem. They help companies raise money in exchange for some combination of retainer, percentage of the capital raised, and equity.
    With online platforms, deal brokers are extending their services down market, now able to represent many more businesses to many more investors. But at some point “more” investors means the crowd and then their model has to change. To compensate for the crowd’s naiveté and laziness, the placement agent himself has to assume responsibility for maintaining high-deal selection standards. Some dynamics unique to brokers make this problematic:
    1. Success Fee-Based Compensation – Your real estate agent doesn’t care what house you buy, just that you buy one and that it’s expensive so that he gets a fee and it’s big. If a broker’s thinking is too short-term, what keeps him from offering whatever deals he thinks he can get the crowd to invest in (regardless of objective quality) so as to earn a fee?
    2. Adverse Selection – In a market filled with active and competitive investors, why is it necessary for companies to hire bankers and pay them ~5 percent to 10 percent of the amount raised? Sometimes the decision bears no reflection on the quality of the company for reasons like transaction complexity, geographic remoteness, or esoteric industry focus.  But sometimes it means something is amiss and you’d do well to pass on the opportunity.
    Given these distorting incentives, it’ll be even harder for private placement platforms to build break-even portfolios than VC pledge funds. But not impossible.
    CircleUp provides an interesting example. They focus on consumer businesses, which CEO Ryan Caldbeck explains are “20 percent of the economy but just 4 percent of angel capital.” Further, consumer startups with annual sales <$20 million are subscale for private equity and not technology-driven enough for most VCs.  That focus perhaps alleviates the negative selection risk.
    But are their long-term incentives compelling enough to enforce maniacal deal screening? Here’s my back of the envelope for CircleUp’s model:
    most startups will fail no matter how much capital they raise.
    There are 1.4 million consumer businesses in the U.S. with <$20 million in annual sales. If you buy that the sector’s truly underserved, then it’s not crazy to assume 2 percent are attractive investments. If 10 percent of those companies raise $300K annually through CircleUp, that yields the company $70 million in revenue (assuming 5 percent broker fee). And there are lots of acquirers who’d pay attractive multiples for a value-add transaction processing business (just wait and see what Eventbrite trades at once it goes public). Interesting, right?
    VCs are reluctant to admit it, but they regularly work with private placement agents. There’s no reason they wouldn’t patronize the online version for the right deal. In fact, the more effective deal screening and packaging that brokers provide the more of VC analysts’ jobs they’re doing. Not much threat here.
    Loss Leaders
    By this I mean AngelList.
    AngelList’s primary goal is to connect startups with investors. Think of them as a private placement platform without the fees – CEO Naval Ravikant has repeatedly said that AngelList will never attempt to monetize fundraising-related activities. Any company can make a listing, most can get introductions, some get recommended to investors, and now a choice few are made available to invest in online.
    AngelList wants to help make building companies easier. It’s also a social network, and fulfilling that mission expands the user base and increases engagement, which they’ll eventually monetize through premium services. But most startups will fail no matter how much capital they raise. AngelList’s essential value, therefore, is not as an indiscriminate fundraising service for private companies, but as a platform that helps discern which companies might actually succeed and make investors money. And to build the type of long-term usage they need, they must be good at this discernment.
    Consequently, AngelList is in a unique position to dominate equity crowdfunding. Investors receive full gross returns and are unaffected by perverse deal quality incentives facing pledge funds and brokers. Furthermore, AngelList doesn’t need to deal source; they see the vast majority of early-stage deals automatically – tens of thousands at any given time. If they can just crack the formula of deal selection and demonstrate consistent break-even returns, the volume of online investments they facilitate could become enormous.
    The first few billion dollars of crowd capital will do nothing but de-risk the deals VCs were going to do anyway.
    Who needs VCs then, right?  Some of AngelList’s most predictive data has to be which investors have committed to participating in a particular round. Said differently, a VC’s vetting process is likely a critical input to AngelList’s approval engine so the crowd could never actually replace professional investors in this model. Not to mention that someone still needs to structure and lead the transactions as well as represent the security’s voting rights.
    In that sense, the crowd’s money would only complement professional investor dollars, producing many more and less risky Series A investment opportunities. Perhaps a whole lot of them. Maybe the NVCA should throw a banquet in AngelList’s honor?
    In an end-state where AngelList’s crowdfunding service has proven viable, perhaps they’ll find ways to broaden the Crowd’s investment capabilities to handle larger amounts, follow-on commitments, etc. But the need for VCs to both vet the deal and facilitate the transaction remains unchanged.
    One thought, however: The VC’s value in AngelList crowdfunding is likely not correlated with investment amount, meaning that $2 million from the right $50 million fund can mean the same as $20 million from a $500 million fund. Perhaps the crowd would be interested in making up the $18 million difference.
    So What’s The Damn Answer?
    VCs are the Br’er Rabbit of the startup ecosystem. They can appear vulnerable and don’t mind playing the woeful underdog. But they invented the rules for the game that I’ve discussed. Any sort of change is rarely more than an opportunity to outcompete one another.
    The first few billion dollars of crowd capital will do nothing but de-risk the deals VCs were going to do anyway. In the meantime, all that crowd activity will fund development of deal-screening services that VCs will use to improve their coverage and slim down their teams.
    If the crowd is ever going to approach a 40 bps allocation to startups (as discussed in part one), it’ll be because the VCs engineered it and profited handsomely in the process. Their revenue models and fund structures might shift, but they’ll continue to control where the capital goes.
    [Images: Willy and shadow crowd]

  • Cypriot president flies to Brussels

    BBC News - Business

    Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades travels to Brussels for talks amid a looming deadline to secure an EU bailout aimed at staving off bankruptcy.

  • Behind The Brand: A.G. Lafley Defines 'Playing To Win'

    A.G. Lafley's name for years has been synonymous with Procter & Gamble, the consumer goods behemoth for which he served as chairman and CEO until 2010.

  • Tips from a social media one-night stand

    Some thoughts and advice from the latest in a series of advanced social media workshops around the country. Some say the classes have a memorable name. Originally posted at SreeTips

  • Rep. Dana Rohrabacher Screens "Hating Breitbart"

    California Lawmaker Brings Film to an Enthusiastic Crowd In His District

    LOS ANGELES, March 24, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pixel and Verse Entertainment issued the following:

    Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) screened "Hating Breitbart" last night for an enthusiastic crowd of 200...

  • "Fountain of Youth" Pill SeroVital™-hgh Huge Draw at D.C. Women's Health Conference

    WASHINGTON, March 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite the fact that human growth hormone (hGH) is highly controversial, an hGH boosting product called SeroVital™-hgh is causing a stir at The Academy of Women's Health's prestigious 21st Annual Congress in Washington, D.C. Why? Because...

  • Banks Now Able to Enrich their Consumer Banking Offerings with New Online and Mobile Banking Range of Products from Misys

    DUBAI, UAE, March 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

    Misys BankFusion Digital Channels enables banks to stay ahead of competitors by improving products and services across all channels

    At the 'Misys MENA Market Forum 2013' today Misys is announcing its new innovative range of online and mobile...

  • A Luxury Voyage From Singapore To Hong Kong With Crystal Cruises

    As with every trip, the conclusion of my 16-day cruise on the Crystal Symphony was accompanied by thoughts of what I did right and what I’d do differently next time.

  • To Grow Or Die In The Cloud

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    Editor’s note: Byron Deeter is the lead cloud specialist at Bessemer Venture Partners. Follow him on Twitter @bdeeter.
    A few years ago, most people couldn’t tell you what the cloud was. They certainly couldn’t foresee a market in which the sexy, highly anticipated consumer Internet IPOs would be flops while the seemingly nerdy sectors of cloud and enterprise computing would end up driving returns within the technology markets. For entrepreneurs and investors in cloud computing, market valuations are skyrocketing as acquisition activity heats up, the IPO markets are open, and venture dollars are finally flooding into the segment. Simply put, for participants in the cloud computing market, our time has finally come.
    Businesses are moving toward cloud-based operations in a permanent way, and the fundamental business metrics of the category leaders are enjoying staggering growth as a result. A few minutes of scrolling through a few pages here gives a clear sense of the scope and potential of the market.
    The IPOs of companies like WorkDay and Eloqua (then acquired), are further evidence of market support for these compelling business models. And private companies such as ClearslideBizo and Twilio all announced significant (even market-moving) news that signaled further growth and opportunity not only for them but also for the industry at large.
    Best-of-breed cloud applications will lead the next wave of innovation.
    How will this play out in 2013 and beyond? Best-of-breed cloud applications will lead the next wave of innovation. The momentum in the enterprise segment and the continued hyper-growth of cloud computing will force legacy suite vendors to attempt to buy their way more deeply into the cloud markets. The leading “next-generation” SaaS vendors, including Salesforce.com, Workday, LinkedIn, NetSuite and Concur, are finding it necessary to aggressively expand into adjacent product offerings or risk being disrupted by newer  applications that are challenging them from all sides.
    Laws Of Cloud Computing
    As a former founder of a cloud-computing startup (and now an investor in the space), I’ve tried to leverage the lessons learned throughout my efforts, as well as those of my partners, our portfolio company executives, and other leading cloud entrepreneurs, to create some best practices with which to thrive in this market. So starting in 2008, the cloud investment team at BVP developed Bessemer’s 10 Laws of Cloud Computing.
    One very notable addition is the recent inclusion of a new law: “Grow or Die.” There is currently a land-grab market opportunity around cloud that is a once-in-a-decade (or more) phenomenon. Growth and innovation are critically important to capture the long-term leadership position, because aggressive challengers are lurking close behind the leaders in many cases.
    Grow Or Die Investor-Style
    From an investment standpoint, Grow or Die means recognizing that there are market and company windows of opportunity in which to be aggressive. Aggressive doesn’t mean investing blindly in sales capacity when a product and/or the market isn’t ready. But if there are compelling business economics, then it is actually irresponsible not to invest in growth to capture the full market potential — because if you don’t, someone else will.
    Grow Or Die Entrepreneur-Style
    From an entrepreneurial perspective, Grow or Die means that you need to be extremely proactive in thinking through the right rate and pace of investments, and when to really go “all in” on the business. Box CEO Aaron Levie is a great example of this mentality and is an extremely popular speaker on this topic. Box has visibly raised a significant amount of capital and is extremely aggressive at capturing market share – essentially striving to dominate the Microsoft SharePoint ecosystem.
    Numerous alternatives existed for them, including organically growing the business at a much slower rate from existing cash flow, raising modest amounts of venture capital to grow at a more measured rate, and/or selling out along the way. Instead they believe (as do the rest of us as investors!) that the opportunity is sufficiently large and the unit economics are sufficiently compelling, that the additional dilution from additional financing is less than the long-term value creation that comes from growing the business at an even faster rate.
    Given the tremendous tailwind in the cloud market, the re-platforming opportunity of software overall, and the unique window of time in which startups are actually advantaged relative to the incumbents, many companies have real opportunities to build category-defining products that achieve true market dominance. These factors (along with the huge valuations!) combine to make it a great time to be a cloud entrepreneur, and a really fun time to be a cloud investor.
    [Images: Washers and windows.]

  • Seven Cirque du Soleil Shows Came Together For Extraordinary Original Performance to Raise Global Awareness and Funds for Water-Related Issues

    LAS VEGAS, March 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- For one extraordinary night, and in an unprecedented manner, seven Cirque du Soleil Las Vegas resident productions became one for ONE DROP, the non-profit organization established by Cirque du Soleil Founder Guy Laliberte.

    To view the multimedia...