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Archive for September, 2007


Using Trackbacks to tag Jeremy’s post

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

This is one of the most popular topics on my blog, so seeing Jeremy post again on raising capital is something I have to talk about. The one thing that I have discussed in my earlier posts is that you also have to consider what the exit might look like.

It’s one thing for Marc to talk about raising all the money he can. Every shot he takes is swing for the fences. Also, when he thinks about projecting down to a more typical entrepreneur, he probably, correctly, imagines that it is harder for them to raise money. What he doesn’t consider is the possibility of much smaller exits. Cogmap Application

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

The first alpha of our drop-dead easy “Cogmap for Salesforce” application is complete.  How basic is it?  It adds a button to all of your account pages that opens that accounts organization chart in Cogmap.

We desperately need alpha testers to give it a whirl and tell us what you think.  What are the next exciting features that we should add?  Let us know so we can get crackin’!

Send email to brent at cogmap dot com with your feedback.  If all goes well, we will transition this to a publicly-available managed package and add capability like adding your contacts into maps systematically.

Pretty cool!

I heart XTR3D

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

What a cool demo I just saw.  They hook a camera up to a laptop and have defined an API to let actions that the camera sees affect an application.  So he is able to make a fist and move it around in front of the camera and use that to control Google Earth and other applications like Powerpoint or boxing video games.

It’s totally “Minority Report” technology.  I love it.

Day 2 TechCrunch: Better start!

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

First company to present is Xobni, the best presentation I have seen so far. I instantly went and downloaded their product. They are a First Round company, so more proof that those guys are smart. Still, I wonder how a business like that builds a revenue model and/or exits? What company buys a Microsoft Outlook plug-in?

It really sucked to be Orgoo and have to follow them with a product that didn’t seem nearly as sexy.

Mint was also this morning and was cool (another First Round company!). I am going to make my wife, the manager of the family budget, try Cake Financial and Mint (and Wesabe, I guess) and see if either one makes our lives better.

Once again, First Round hijacks a conference by renting another room at the Palace Hotel for throwing parties. Jason Calcanis bitches about it, but you can’t deny it works. First Round demonstrates that they have some unique strategies to add real value to their businesses. And Josh is the supreme idea guy/marketer.

I also think you see Josh’s influence in the demo’s that his companies give.  Very similar in style, they are super-rehearsed, they are movies (ie not live pointing and clicking), and extremely tight and well-scripted but still tangible demos of the platform.  I assume a key part of this strategy is to take the murphy’s law out of the demo and ensure that the companies put their best foot forward.  This is a great example of “the little things” that they add value in and allow their portfolio companies to be super successful.

Is the smart money still confined to Silicon Valley?

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

When it rains, it pours. Here I am, blogging TechCrunch40 after not having anything good to blog for two weeks, and VentureBeat publishes an article that raises my eyebrows!

VentureBeat wonders if it is all down-hill from here based on the fact that KPCB and Benchmark have slowed their investment in Web 2.0 “stuff”.

Couple of thoughts, and there is more stuff, but I want to get back to blogging the conference:

1) As has been well-documented, the investment structure for Web 2.0 companies has changed. It is hard for big funds like these to put money to work in Web 2.0 businesses. They are probably having to look at different kinds of deals to put money to work efficiently.

2) Sequioa is mentioned, but not Accel, First Round, or Union Square. First Round and Union Square are investors that have shown a willingness and ability to invest in Web 2.0 companies in a structure that makes sense for everyone. I just wonder why we still assume that Benchmark and KPCB are the smart money. There is a lot of smart money out there and today, if a non-silicon valley Web 2.0 company was offered a choice between a term sheet from KPCB and Union Square, I think it would actually be kind of a tough choice. Frankly, for Cogmap, I think Union Square has probably built (recently) more businesses like the kind of business I imagine Cogmap will become. KPCB is such a big fund, they would put in more money and look for swinging for the fences. That’s not always the way to execute.

3) All this being said, I don’t want to talk too much out of both sides of my mouth.  As I blogged yesterday, I feel like innovation isn’t where it was.  Where are the crazy ideas?  Markets are still growing super fast, but we seem to be in the tornado (ie the drive to standardize) rather than crossing the chasm.

4)  And finally, I think everyone feels like there is a bit of a bubble right now.  It’s part of the reason we haven’t raised capital and it’s something that even smart money pushing hard in the industry is talking about.

Anyway, back to TechCrunch.

TechCrunch – Ongoing Demonstrations

Monday, September 17th, 2007

Maybe I am kind of biased by reading Valleywag, but this is not as good as the Web 2.0 conference last year, even though I am sitting in the exact same seat!  Here is my theory for why: Web 2.0 – invitation only, 600 of the best and brightest.  TechCrunch – 140 Start-ups, so that’s 250 or so people from very very small companies.  During session breaks, I have only recognized a few people that are not on panels or presenting: Seth Goldstein and Chris Fralic being the most notable.  At Web 2.0, I sat next to Mary Meeker.  That is kinda the bomb!

Highlights so far: Loved MusicShake and Flock.  Loved Cake Financial.  DocStoc is interesting.  A repository for document sharing, which reminds me of Cogmap, but they make the cardinal mistake of requiring login to see documents available to share.  That will kill traffic faster than anything.

AOL has awesome t-shirts they are giving away.  It is crazy how great their schwag is.  Best schwag here.

Mark Zuckerberg just started the Facebook Venture Fund.  Haha, this isn’t a fund, it just gives away money.  How great is that.  I love it.  So aggressive!  $10m they just hand out to people they like.

Liveblog from TechCrunch40

Monday, September 17th, 2007

The first morning session was “Search”.  Everyone agrees that CastTV seems like good video search, but frankly, I realize that search is not that big a deal to me.  I guess the moral of the story is that search does not currently feel like a problem to me.

For that matter, I have to say that my time walking the DemoPit made me cry.  Do we need 35 more photo sharing sites?  This is another area where I feel no pain.  As they tried to explain to me how great this product was, I thought: “Instead of coming here and talking to geeks, go down to the Ferry Building and sell this to consumers.”  The differences between most of these products and the products with marketshare seem so small it feels unlikely that they are exploiting a sufficiently large pain point to cause people to shift.

I remember at the first Internet World, how cool everything seemed.  Am I jaded now or are start-up ideas not as cool?

The mobile session seems better.  I like the Cubic Telecom guys and Yap, but not so much that I would quit my job to do it.

Some of these companies are really early, but the stuff either seems like it won’t quite work well enough to hit an inflection point or it doesn’t work so well/isn’t quite so differentiated that I will stop doing what I do now to go use it.  Demos that blow up, which has happened twice, have left Calcanis scrambling to cover them.

Yahoo demoed a “concept that is not live yet” that provides social networking tools for teachers.  I think it would have been better received if it was live or if we were teachers.

More after lunch.

Google – not an ad industry company?

Thursday, September 6th, 2007

paidContent dares to say that Google is a non-ad industry company. How do they make their money?

Update: Rafat says they meant “Google isn’t an ad agency”.  We shall see!  I heart paidContent.

Blue Lithium bought by Yahoo – Does it matter?

Thursday, September 6th, 2007

Yardley, a blogger lots of people follow for stuff like this because he is a Yahoo/Right Media employee, doesn’t comment on the Blue Lithium conversation, but he points to a blogger that he aligns himself with. Marcus implies that Google is cooked now that Yahoo has acquired a network.

I disagree. Here is the deal: Google’s strong advertiser network drives higher payouts. That advertiser network is driven by the awesome inventory that Google offers advertisers: Search results pages – the best performing inventory on the Internet. Just because Yahoo bought some network, they still don’t have that inventory or that mindshare.

Furthermore…. Blue Lithium can’t be that big an ad network. Look at the prices companies are going for now. I have no knowledge of any of this, but any reasonable person would assume that they are doing less than $100 million per year. I am sure Yahoo can supplement that, but it isn’t like they have this enormous advertiser base today.

This is not that different than saying that when AOL bought it was game over for Google. Err wait, it was!