The Washington Post Company acquired CourseAdvisor.com

The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO) has acquired the education site CourseAdvisor.com, which is an online lead generator serving the education industry. However, the financial details and terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

The Wakefield, MA.-based company matches up students with suitable degree or certificate-granting programs across 800 institutions. CourseAdvisor founder and CEO Greg Titus was formerly the head of online education firm Acadient. The Washington Post Company is also the owner of education services firm Kaplan, which is an educational prep service and hence the synergy to justify the acquisition. Kaplan is already among those institutions listed as a potential for match using CourseAdvisor’s search wizard.

The company is known to have raised $12 million investment, which was the company’s first institutional round of financing. The investment was led by ABS Capital Partners, a leading private equity firm focused on investing in established and profitable growth companies, and The Washington Post Company. The money was then said to be used to fund the Company’s continued rapid growth by increasing investment in its sales force and strengthening its balance sheet. As a result of the financing, Deric Emry, a General Partner at ABS Capital, joined CourseAdvisor’s Board of Directors. Ralph Terkowitz, also a General Partner at ABS Capital and Caroline Little, chief executive officer and publisher of Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive (WPNI), will serve as observers on the Company’s Board of Directors.

The company was founded in 2004 and is basically an online research directory for postsecondary education, career training, and professional development. We offer more than 7,000 programs through nearly 500 accredited colleges, career schools, training centers, and universities.

With over 1.5 million unique visitors per month, CourseAdvisor has become a leading online education directory (OED). The Company has significant technological advantages which enable it to manage complex search campaigns to source high quality leads. Since all site visits are generated from paid and organic search, each visitor is actively seeking information about colleges, universities and career and professional training. In addition, the Company’s advanced technology platform with superior filtering capabilities offers student profiling, geo-targeting and multi-stage data verification to maximize lead quality for CourseAdvisor’s customers.

Search CourseAdvisor for:

  • Online and Campus Degrees
  • Professional Diploma and Certificate Programs
  • Nursing and Allied Health Schools
  • IT Training
  • Business Degrees
  • Online Master’s in Education
  • Criminal Justice and Homeland Security

The CourseAdvisor Approach
CourseAdvisor’s objective is to be a useful, effective resource for furthering your education and enriching your life. We work hard to make researching higher education easy. Our guided search Wizard finds only those programs that meet your interests, requirements, and qualifications. The basic information you provide helps us connect you with the schools that can best serve you.

Our unique advantage is our team of education, technology, social sciences, and Internet experts. We continually research career fields and employment trends and actively seek out schools that offer exciting new programs in the fastest-growing fields.

We also develop our own custom search technologies to help you find the best opportunities in your chosen career. More than 2 million students visit CourseAdvisor every month! Think of CourseAdvisor as a search engine that runs in both directions… we make it easier for students and schools to find each other.

CourseAdvisor is located in Wakefield, Massachusetts and is now an independent subsidiary of The Washington Post Company since October 11, 2007.

CourseAdvisor.com claims it attracts over 1.5 million unique visitors per month, but a quick look into Quantcast reveals much better numbers – Courseadvisor.com is a top 1,000 site that reaches over 2.8 million U.S. monthly uniques.

The market

Competitors include GlobalScholar, SmartThinking, Tutor.com, and TutorVista.

GlobalScholar, by the way, has today announced a $27 million B Round from existing investors Ignition Partners and Knowledge Universe Education. This is on top of a previously undisclosed $15.5 million A Round the company raised early last year. Board members include Ignition’s Brad Silverberg and former Drugstore.com CEO Peter Neupert.

In conjunction with the investment round, GlobalScholar is also announcing that it has acquired Excelsior Software for an undisclosed amount (although it was less than half the total money raised). Excelsior makes student assessment software used by teachers in 1,000 school districts nationwide. GlobalScholar said it will be adding the Excelsior’s business to its existing Web-based tutoring platform, which it launched quietly last fall.

About ABS Capital Partners

ABS Capital Partners is a private equity firm that was founded in 1990 to invest in mid- to later-stage growth companies in order to create significant, market-leading companies. The firm’s investment strategy focuses on companies in the business services, health care, technology and media & communications sectors. ABS partners with strong management teams to help build businesses with substantial revenues, near-term profitability and solid customer bases. The firm has created long-term value for management and investors. ABS leverages over 100 years of combined investing and operating experience among its partners and provides a range of investment structures, including expansion financing, management buyouts and recapitalizations. With an extensive history and knowledge of equity and mergers & acquisitions markets, ABS Capital provides strategic guidance and helps companies to capitalize on their business opportunities. ABS has $1.5 billion under management and nine investing partners within offices in Baltimore, San Francisco and Boston. Over the past fifteen years, ABS has invested in over 70 portfolio companies, including American Public Education, Inc., DoubleClick, Inc., NeuStar, Inc., Rosetta Stone, Inc. and Vibrant Media, Inc..

About the Washington Post Company

The Washington Post Company (NYSE:WPO) is a diversified education and media company whose principal operations include educational and career services, newspaper and magazine publishing, television broadcasting, cable television systems and electronic information services. The Company owns The Washington Post; Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive (WPNI), the online publishing subsidiary whose flagship products include washingtonpost.com, Newsweek.com, Slate, BudgetTravel.com and Sprig.com; Express; El Tiempo Latino; The Gazette and Southern Maryland newspapers; The Herald (Everett, WA); Newsweek magazine; Post-Newsweek Stations (Detroit, Houston, Miami, Orlando, San Antonio and Jacksonville); Cable ONE, serving subscribers in midwestern, western and southern states; and CourseAdvisor, an online lead generation provider. The Company also owns Kaplan, Inc., a leading international provider of educational and career services for individuals, schools and businesses. The Company has an ownership interests in the Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service and Bowater Mersey Paper Company.

More

http://courseadvisor.com/
http://www.washingtonpost.com/
http://www.paidcontent.org/entry/419-washington-post-acquires-lead-generator-courseadvisorcom/
http://corporate.courseadvisor.com/archive/press_11_06.php
http://mashable.com/2007/10/11/washington-post-courseadvisor/
http://www.abscapital.com
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/01/30/globalscholar-raises-27-million-b-round-to-tackle-online-education/
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/31/fashion/31CYBER.html?ex=1359522000&en=7e55fe77d4377379&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink
http://www.washpostco.com/company-profile.htm
http://finance.google.com/finance?q=NYSE:WPO

The Founders Fund creates Founders Fund II

Founders Fund, a non-traditional investment group, has raised an institutional fund in the amount of $220 million. The new fund, Founders Fund II, will allow this team of four managing partners, who themselves are founders and entrepreneurs, to leverage their individual expertise and deliver their unique business model, which puts the entrepreneurs first. Founders Fund has developed a comprehensive package designed to create near perfect alignment of interests between founders and their investors.

Founders Fund II will be invested in approximately 15-20 innovative early-stage start-up companies. This is the first institutional money raised for the Founders Fund, representing a significant increase over the original fund of $50 million, which was raised from personal investments by the managing partners and select outside investors.

San Francisco based Founders Fund launched in 2005 with a $50 million venture fund. They’ve had two liquidity events since then, and a number of other very high profile participations like Facebook, Powerset, Ooma, Quantcast, Slide, Geni and Causes.

“We believe entrepreneurs are looking for people like themselves, people who also have taken ideas and made them a reality. This second fund allows us to invest in areas for which we have deep insight, personal experience and passion for seeing the companies succeed,” said Luke Nosek, a Founders Fund managing partner. “Our collective experience starting companies and funding innovative start-ups positions the Founders Fund as a unique, valuable resource at the early investment stage.”

The Founders Fund will continue to offer Series FF stock, which is being adopted across the industry adding to the unique approach to funding entrepreneurs. The stock is offered to start-up founders who can convert Series FF stock to preferred stock during subsequent rounds of funding. This allows Series FF stock holders to sell a portion of their stock and aligns their interests with their investors.

“The traditional venture capital model is broken,” said Sean Parker, a Founders Fund managing partner. “By offering tools like the Series FF stock, we are helping create a new model of investment and alignment of interests, confirming our commitment to the founders of our companies. This fund is truly for founders by founders.”

A couple of investments have been made out of the new fund, they say, but have not yet been disclosed.

The four managing partners have all started their own companies and between them have seen the process from inception to start up to IPO.

“Founders Fund was started to make a difference for companies looking for funding to execute on their big ideas. We believe the alignment of interests with our portfolio companies is the next step in the evolution of collaborative investments,” said Ken Howery, a Founders Fund managing partner. “Founders Fund II will give us the opportunity to continue to invest in the people and ideas that are truly bringing innovation to the Internet industry.”

Peter Thiel, one of four managing partners for The Founders Fund and an early backer and board member of the social network Facebook said, “This is one of the most innovative venture teams ever assembled. Our unique skill set, expertise and perspective support our shared desire to build and invest in great companies from the ground up.”

Parker says he learned a powerful lesson about the importance of taking time to build a business from observing the trajectories of some of the valley’s most successful businesses. What would have happened if the founders had sold those companies before fine-tuning them? PayPal started out as an encryption product that beamed money between mobile devices before hitting on the online payment business that it ultimately sold to eBay for $1.5 billion. Google didn’t strike Internet ore until the paid search market had time to fully develop.

“Largely because we were all founders ourselves, we’re inherently more interested in helping new entrepreneurs develop into successful leaders than we are in getting rich,” Parker said. “As someone who has started and run a few companies myself, my primary interest is in helping creative people build companies and run those companies over the long-term. I also happen to believe that this is the best way to create value for my limited partners, and by extension, for myself.”

However, some institutional investors were skeptical of the partners and passed on the opportunity to put in money. Parker confirmed that the fund-raising process turned out to be more time consuming than the firm had expected. But he also said limited partners had invested because their model — namely, a venture firm run by founders with experience — was needed in the industry. The firm originally sought to raise $150 million, but ended up raising $220 million.

More about The Founders Fund

Based in San Francisco, Calif. and founded in 2005, Founders Fund is a group of four proven entrepreneurs with a shared vision: to change the way venture investments are made. Founders Fund seeks to provide the capital, insights and support required to build a company from the ground up and sustain successful enterprises with a non-traditional, founder-focused approach. Their current portfolio includes Facebook, Geni, Powerset, Ooma, Quantcast, Slide and others.

The Managing Partners

Peter Thiel
Peter’s experience with venture finance began in the 1990s, when he ran Thiel Capital Management, a Menlo Park-based hedge fund that also made private equity investments. In 1998, Peter co-founded PayPal and served as its Chairman and CEO until the company’s sale to eBay in October 2002 for $1.5 billion. Peter’s experience in finance includes managing a successful hedge fund, trading derivatives at CS Financial Products, and practicing securities law at Sullivan & Cromwell. Peter sits on the Board of Directors of the Pacific Research Institute and on the Board of Visitors of Stanford Law School. Peter received his BA in Philosophy and his JD from Stanford.

Peter Thiel is a 39-year-old maverick money manager who in the past four years has turned his $60 million payout from the sale of the PayPal online payment service he co-founded into a growing financial fiefdom. He runs Clarium Capital Management LLC, one of the nation’s most successful and daring hedge funds with $3 billion in assets, and The Founders Fund, a tiny but increasingly influential venture capital firm with a laser-beam focus on consumer Internet startups.

In late 2004, Peter Thiel made a $500,000 angel investment in Facebook. Microsoft recently purchased 1.6 percent of the company for $240 million, which values Facebook at roughly $15 billion and Thiel’s stake at roughly $1 billion.

Ken Howery
Ken is a co-founder of PayPal and served as the company’s first CFO. While at PayPal, Ken helped raise over $200 million in private financing, worked on the company’s public offerings, and assisted in the company’s $1.5 billion sale to eBay. Ken has also been a member of the research and trading teams at Clarium Capital Management, a global macro hedge fund based in San Francisco with over $3 billion under management, and at Thiel Capital Management, a multistrategy investment fund, where Ken made venture investments beginning in 1998. Ken received a BA in Economics from Stanford.

Luke Nosek
Luke Nosek is a co-founder of PayPal and served as the company’s Vice President of Marketing and Strategy. While at PayPal, Luke oversaw the company’s marketing efforts at launch, growing the user base to 1 million customers in the first six months. Luke also created “Instant Transfer,” PayPal’s most profitable product. Prior to PayPal, Luke was an evangelist at Netscape. Luke has also co-founded two other consumer Internet companies, including the web’s first advertising network, and has made a number of venture investments since 2000. Luke received a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Sean Parker
Sean Parker is the co-founder and Chairman of “Project Agape,” a new network that aims to enable large-scale political and social activism on the Internet. Previously, Sean was the co-founder of the category defining Web ventures Napster, Plaxo, and Facebook. At Napster, Sean helped to design the Napster client software and led the company’s initial financing and strategy. Under Sean’s leadership, Napster became the fastest adopted client software application in history. Following Napster, Sean co-founded and served as President of Plaxo, where he pioneered the viral engineering techniques used to deploy Plaxo’s flagship smart address book product, ultimately acquiring more than 15 million users. In 2004, Sean left Plaxo to become the founding President of Facebook, one of the most rapidly growing sites on the Internet today. Sean sits on the boards of several private companies.

More

http://www.foundersfund.com/
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2006/12/13/MNGECMUMRE1.DTL
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/12/17/founders-fund-closes-220-million-second-fund/
http://www.businesswire.com/news/google/20071217006220/en
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Thiel
http://www.latimes.com/business/investing/la-fi-founders18dec18,1,6840237.story?coll=la-headlines-business-invest&ctrack=2&cset=true
http://venturebeat.com/2007/12/18/founders-fund-raises-new-fund-aims-for-more-vc-disruption/

After Internet Brands, LogMeIn, now Al Gore’s Current TV files for an IPO and plans to go public

It seems it is time for small-sized Internet and technology IPOs. After Internet Brands, Inc. went public on NASDAQ, LogMeIn, Inc. filed to do so now Al Gore’s Current is looking forward to do the same. Unlike Internet Brands Inc and LogMeIn, Inc, Current TV is purely from the web 2.0 age, so it would be of particular interest for all companies from the web 2.0 sector to see how the company goes public and what is going to happen after their IPO. The company is planning to raise $100M on $63.8M revenues for the last year with operating losses in the $6M range.

Current TV is, under no doubt, mostly popular due to its co-founder the ex Vice President Al Gore. The registrant is Current Media, Inc., which is the parent company for current.com and Current TV. It has filed to trade on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol CRTM.

Current is a global participatory media company with the goal of democratizing media by engaging, informing and enriching our young adult audience and encouraging their participation across platforms. The company operates a television network, Current TV, and a website, Current.com, where they all distribute viewer-created content as well as internally developed and acquired content that is relevant to the lives of young adults. The company believes the combination of their television and Internet platforms creates an immersive and interactive viewer experience for our growing global audience, where the audience participates in both the creation and selection of the content it engages with on both Current TV and Current.com.

The company’s primary sources of revenue are affiliate fees and advertising. Affiliate fees are derived from long-term distribution agreements with cable, satellite and telecommunications operators who pay Current Media, Inc. a monthly fee for each subscriber household that receives Current TV. In the United States, the company’s affiliate customers include DirecTV, Comcast, EchoStar, Time Warner and AT&T. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, affiliate customers include British Sky Broadcasting, or BSkyB, and Virgin Media. In the Spring of 2008, the company has plans to launch in Italy on Sky Italia. Advertising revenue is derived from advertisers who pay for sponsorships and spot advertisements. Selected advertising customers include Toyota, T-Mobile, Johnson & Johnson, General Electric, Geico and L’Oreal. Affiliate revenues accounted for 84% of the company’s total revenues for 2007.

Current TV was launched in August 2005 in approximately 19 million subscriber households in the United States and is now available in approximately 51 million subscriber households in the United States, the United Kingdom and Ireland. In 2006 and 2007, the company recorded revenue of $37.9 million and $63.8 million, respectively where the operating losses were $4.8 million in 2006 and $6.1 million in 2007.

The company intends to use a portion of the net proceeds from this offering to repay in full the principal and accrued interest on an outstanding loan from Dylan Holdings, Inc., which amounted to $30.4 million as of December 31, 2007. The loan is in the form of a senior purchase money note, has an interest rate of 9.25% and matures in May 2008. The company issued this note in May 2004 as part of the purchase price for our acquisition of the NWI television network. NWI television network was purchase in 2004 for $70.9 million, including intangible assets consisting of affiliate distribution arrangements valued at $13.7 million.

The company also intends to use a portion of the net proceeds from this offering to repay in full the principal and accrued interest on their outstanding promissory notes, which amounted to $6.1 million at December 31, 2007. The entered into a note purchase agreement in September 2006 with a consortium of lenders pursuant to which they issued the revolving promissory notes. All of these lenders are currently equity investors in the company. Under the terms of these notes, they borrowed $5M and have made no payments. These notes bear interest at a rate of 15% for the first year and 18% thereafter, which compounds quarterly. In accordance with the terms of these notes, interest is added to the principal through May 4, 2008, at which time the unpaid principal and interest become payable in full.

The company intends to use a portion of the net proceeds from this offering to repay in full the principal and accrued interest on an outstanding note payable to Oracle Credit Corporation, which amounted to $64,000 at December 31, 2007. The company entered into this note payable in May 2006 in connection with the purchase of software and support. The note bears interest at the rate of 9.83%. Under the terms of the note, interest is added to the principal balance. The note requires annual payments of $36,000 on the first day of September of each year until 2009, at which time the final payment of $36,000 is due.

The remaining net proceeds from this offering is planned to be used for working capital and other general corporate purposes. Additionally, the company might also expand their existing business through acquisitions of other complementary businesses, products, services or technologies, although no agreements are currently in place for such acquisitions at this time.

Basically Current relies on its innovative approach, although it is called in their prospectus “innovative but unproven”.

Current was founded with the goal of cost-effectively engaging young adults with news, entertainment and lifestyle programming centered on what is going on in their world. We recognized that to reach young adults it was necessary to reach them via television, where they spend a lot of time and where there is a proven business model, as well as on the Internet, a medium where they are also very active. To do this, we launched a television channel, Current TV, and more recently a website, Current.com. The two serve as distinct consumer destinations, but they are also symbiotic and form a combined platform with which Current engages its audience. Key aspects of our solution include:

Current’s new network model.
Our focus on user-generated content provides a unique connection with our young adult audience. We engage young adults by telling stories in their voices and from their perspectives. We have redefined the scope of “news” for young adults, and broadened our programming to include an array of subjects that are important to our audience.

Current’s programming.
Current has developed a programming model built on several unique content offerings, all designed to reflect the tastes and lifestyles of our target 18-34 year-old audience. Our programming is presented in short segments that we call “pods,” which are typically 2-10 minutes in length, rather than traditional half-hour or hour-long programming blocks.

Current’s innovative advertising solution. 
Our advertising model is designed to appeal to the lifestyles, tastes and needs of young adults. A key solution that we provide advertisers is the ability to let our young adult viewers create commercials that we then air on Current TV. In addition to these viewer created ad messages, or VCAMs, we offer other attractive sponsorship solutions, in which advertisements are integrated with and embedded into our content, providing advertisers a marketing forum that is free from ad-skipping.

Current’s all digital broadcast facility. 
Our TV broadcast facilities are built on an open IP architecture as opposed to traditional broadcast television legacy systems. Unlike high-cost production facilities at traditional cable networks, we have deployed a new, all-digital infrastructure that allows us to produce, acquire and distribute high quality content at a low cost.

Current.com.   
Current.com serves several purposes: it is a news, information and entertainment source for young adults online; it is a real-time connection to programming on Current TV; and it is a platform for collaborative media production. At its core, Current.com is a social news feed.

More about Current TV

Since its inception in 2005, Emmy award-winning Current TV has been the world’s leading peer-to-peer news and information network. Current is the only 24/7 cable and satellite television network and Internet site produced and programmed in collaboration with its audience. Current connects young adults with what is going on in their world, from their perspective, in their own voices.

With the launch of Current.com, the first fully integrated web and TV platform users can participate in shaping an ongoing stream of news and information that is compelling, authentic and relevant to them.

Current pioneered the television industry’s leading model of interactive viewer created content (VC2). Comprising roughly one-third of Current’s on-air broadcast, this content is submitted via short-form, non-fiction video “pods”. Viewer Created Ad Messages (VCAMs) are also open to viewer’s participation.

Current’s programming ranges from daily pop culture coverage to political satire in “SuperNews,” unprecedented music journalism in “The Current Fix,” and unique insights into global stories through Vanguard and Citizen Journalism.

Current is now viewed in the U.S. and U.K. in more than 51 million households through distribution partners Comcast (Channel 107 nationwide), Time Warner (nationwide), DirecTV (channel 366 nationwide), Dish Network (channel 196 nationwide), Sky (channel 193) and Virgin Media Cable (channel 155).

The company is headquartered in San Francisco, California and as of December 31, 2007 employed 391 full-time employees. They also have an office in London, production studios in Los Angeles and an advertising sales office in New York City. The company was initially formed as a limited liability company in Delaware in September 2002 named INdTV, LLC. On May 4, 2004, they have purchased Newsworld International, or NWI, a traditional cable and satellite network. This acquisition enabled the company to gain access to cable and satellite distribution as an independent network. In connection with that acquisition of NWI, they’ve changed their name to INdTV Holdings, LLC and concurrently formed a wholly owned subsidiary INdTV, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, and transferred all of their operations to INdTV, LLC. Since that time, they have had no operations because all operations are conducted by their subsidiaries. On April 4, 2005, they changed the name of INdTV Holdings, LLC to Current Media, LLC and INdTV, LLC to Current TV, LLC. On August 1, 2005, they terminated NWI’s existing programming and launched Current TV in the United States.

The company faces significant competition in both the cable television and online markets in which they operate. Current TV competes with other television networks that target young adults. These networks include Comedy Central, Fuse, G4, MTV, Spike TV and other major cable networks that are owned by large media conglomerates, such as Comcast, Disney, Time Warner and Viacom. Current.com faces competition from companies that are consumer destination websites, such as AOL, Google, MSN and Yahoo!, online video aggregators, such as Hulu and YouTube, and news and social network platforms, such as del.icio.us, digg.com, Facebook and MySpace.

Executive officers

Albert Gore, Jr. co-founded Current in 2002. He has served as our Executive Chairman and as a member of our board of directors since September 2002, and was elected as Chairman of our board of directors in May 2004. Mr. Gore has served as a Senior Advisor to Google, a global Internet company, since February 2001, and a member of the board of directors of Apple, a consumer electronics company, since March 2003. He has also served as Chairman of Generation Investment Management, an investment management firm, since 2004 and joined Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a venture capital firm, as a partner in November 2007. He has served as a visiting professor at Middle Tennessee State University. Mr. Gore served as the 45th Vice President of the United States from 1993 to 2001, during which time he also served as President of the United States Senate and as a member of the Cabinet and the National Security Council. Prior to 1993, he served eight years in the United States Senate and eight years in the United States House of Representatives. Mr. Gore was co-winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Mr. Gore holds an A.B. from Harvard University.

Joel Hyatt co-founded Current in 2002. He has served as a member of our board of directors and as our Chief Executive Officer since September 2002. Mr. Hyatt has served as a member of the board of directors of Hewlett-Packard Company, a computer electronics company, since May 2007 and as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Brookings Institution since May 2001. From September 1998 to June 2003, Mr. Hyatt was a Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Previously, Mr. Hyatt was the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Hyatt Legal Plans, Inc., a provider of employer-sponsored group legal plans, and of Hyatt Legal Services, a multi-state legal services firm. Mr. Hyatt holds an A.B. from Dartmouth College and a J.D. from Yale Law School.

Mark Goldman has served as our Chief Operating Officer since December 2003. From July 1999 to December 2003, Mr. Goldman served as a consultant in the media and communications industries. Prior to that time, Mr. Goldman served as Chief Operating Officer for Sky Latin America, a division of News Corp., which provides satellite television service to Latin America, and as an executive at MCA/Universal Television, where he was responsible for business development and the launch of several international cable networks. Mr. Goldman has a B.S. in Economics from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Paul Hollerbach has served as our Chief Financial Officer since October 2007. From August 1997 to January 2007, Mr. Hollerbach worked at Yahoo!, a leading global internet company, where he held a broad range of senior financial roles. At Yahoo!, Mr. Hollerbach most recently served as Vice President, Finance and Investor Relations, and previously served as Vice President, Corporate Controller. Prior to Yahoo!, Mr. Hollerbach held various finance positions at Silicon Graphics, a computer electronics company, and served at KPMG LLP and Ernst & Young LLP, managing technology clients in their assurance practices. Mr. Hollerbach holds a B.S. in Business Administration from California State University, San Luis Obispo and is a licensed CPA in California.

David Neuman has served as our President of Programming since October 2004. From October 2003 to October 2004, Mr. Neuman researched the development of several television and feature film projects and incorporated his own production company, Blackrock Productions, working on primetime television and feature film projects. From January 2001 to October 2003, Mr. Neuman was Chief Programming Officer of CNN Networks, an international television news organization. Prior to that time, Mr. Neuman served as President of Walt Disney Television and Touchstone Television, a television studio. Mr. Neuman graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1983 with an A.B. in Communication Studies.

Joanna Drake Earl joined us in September 2002 and has served as our President of New Media since October 2004. From September 2002 to October 2004, Ms. Drake Earl served as our Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships. From February 2001 to July 2002, Ms. Drake Earl was Vice President, Content Strategy, at Digeo, Inc. (formerly Moxi Digital, Inc.), which develops multi-media devices and consumer media applications. Previously, Ms. Drake Earl served as a senior media industry consultant at Booz Allen & Hamilton, an international consulting firm. Ms. Drake Earl holds a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley and an M.A. from Stanford University.

Joshua Katz has served as our President of Marketing since December 2006. From February 2006 to December 2006, Mr. Katz served as Chief Marketing Officer at TiVO, a provider of digital video equipment and services. From July 2005 to January 2006, Mr. Katz was Vice President of Marketing for Lucasfilm, a film studio. From March 1999 to June 2005, Mr. Katz was President of The Halo Effect, a marketing and brand consulting firm. Previously, Mr. Katz served as Senior Vice President of Marketing at both the Cartoon Network and VH1 cable networks. Mr. Katz has a B.A. from Tulane University.

Directors

Richard C. Blum has served as a member of our board of directors since May 2004. He is the Chairman and President of Richard C. Blum & Associates Inc., the general partner of Blum Capital Partners, L.P., a long-term strategic equity investment management firm that acts as general partner for various investment partnerships and provides investment advisory services, which he founded in 1975. He has also served as the Chairperson and a member of the board of directors of CB Richard Ellis Group, Inc. since 2001. Mr. Blum holds a B.A. and an M.B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Ronald Burkle has served as a member of our board of directors since May 2004. Mr. Burkle is managing partner and majority owner of The Yucaipa Companies, a private investment firm that he co-founded in 1986. Mr. Burkle has also served as a director of Occidental Petroleum Corp. since 2005, KB Home Corporation since 1995, and Yahoo! since 2001.

Edward Renwick has served as a member of our board of directors since May 2004. Mr. Renwick is a partner of The Yucaipa Companies, a private investment firm where he has worked since 1999. Prior to that, Mr. Renwick served as a consultant at The Boston Consulting Group, a strategic consulting firm. Mr. Renwick holds a B.A. from Stanford University and a J.D. and M.P.P. from Harvard University.

Mark Rosenthal has served as a member of our board of directors since May 2004. From June 2005 to December 2006, Mr. Rosenthal served as Chairman and CEO of Interpublic Media, the media operations organization of the the Interpublic Group of Companies. From July 1996 to July 2004, Mr. Rosenthal served as President and Chief Operating Officer of MTV Networks, a cable network. Prior to becoming President and COO of MTV Networks, Mr. Rosenthal rose through positions of increasing responsibility in the affiliate sales and marketing organization at MTV Networks and its predecessor company, Warner Amex Satellite Entertainment Company, ultimately supervising the sales, distribution and marketing for all of MTV Networks’ domestic television networks. Mr. Rosenthal joined Warner Amex Satellite Entertainment Company in 1982. He has also served as a member of the board of directors of CNET Networks since April 2007. Mr. Rosenthal has a B.A. from Kenyon College and an M.F.A. from Yale University.

Orville Schell has served as a member of our board of directors since May 2004. Since January 2007, Mr. Schell has been the Director of the Center on U.S.-China relations at the Asia Society. From January 1997 to January 2007, Mr. Schell served as the Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. Mr. Schell holds a B.A. from Harvard University and an M.A. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Major stockholders include Al Gore, entities affiliated with Blum Capital Partners, L.P., Yucaipa Corporate Initiatives Fund I, L.P., DirectTV, Inc. and Comcast CTV Holdings, LLC. Underwriters include J.P. Morgan Securities Inc., Lehman Brothers Inc. and Pacific Crest Securities Inc.

More

http://current.com
http://current.com/tv
http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1424470/000104746908000572/a2182152zs-1.htm
http://current.com/items/88827879_current_files_for_100m_ipo
http://www.paidcontent.org/entry/419-current-media-files-for-100-million-ipo/
http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/current_files_for_ipo.php
http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/current_tv.php
http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/al_gore_current_re-defining_television.php
http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=technologyNews&storyid=2007-10-16T030718Z_01_N15319230_RTRUKOC_0_US-INTERNET-TELEVISION-CURRENT.xml [the story is down]
http://web2innovations.com/money/2008/01/15/logmein-files-for-an-ipo-hoping-to-raise-86m/
http://web2innovations.com/money/2008/01/14/internet-brands-inc-went-public-on-nasdaq/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Gore
http://www.hoovers.com/yucaipa/–ID__40153–/free-co-factsheet.xhtml

A big question: is Alibaba.com overvalued or Yahoo is seriously undervalued?

Let’s put it that way Alibaba lost $13B from its market cap in just one month, yet the company’s market value is close to 50% from what Yahoo!’s current value is!

When Alibaba went public on the Honk Hong Stock Exchange a couple of months ago everything was more than perfect and the company has raised from the public sector the whopping amount of $1.49 Billion. Alibaba’s market capitalization then skyrocketed to the $25.7B range, just not too far from what Yahoo!’s market capitalization looked like by the time of the IPO of the Chinese Internet company. All those numbers made it the largest Internet IPO in Asia and the second largest globally. Yahoo! was then happy too.

Shares of Alibaba.com, the Chinese B2B marketplace, nearly tripled in their Hong Kong debut, closing at HK$39.50 (US$5.09), after its IPO priced at HK $13.50 (US$1.74). The steep rise was easy to see coming, considering the groundswell of enthusiasm for the company preceding the IPO. The company quickly reached a $25.7 billion market cap, which brings it close with Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) Japan as the largest internet company in Asia, according to online sources. 

Alibaba.com and its parent company Alibaba Group initially offered a total of 858,901,000 shares under the Global Offering, of which 227,356,500 shares were offered by the Company and 631,544,500 shares were offered by Alibaba Group. An additional 113,678,000 shares were sold by Alibaba Group upon exercise by the International Underwriters of their Over-Allotment Option.

The eight Cornerstone Investors which participated in the Global Offering included Yahoo! Inc., AIG Global Investment Corporation (Asia) Limited, Foxconn (Far East) Limited, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Asia) Limited, Cisco Systems International B.V., and entities affiliated with Mr. Peter Kwong Ching Woo (Chairman of The Wharf (Holdings) Limited), the Kwok family (controlling shareholders of Sun Hung Kai Properties Limited) and Mr. Kuok Hock Nien.

The total cornerstone investment was HK$2.1 billion (US$274 million) and all Cornerstone Investors agreed to a lock-up period of 24 months from the date of listing.

Goldman Sachs (Asia) L.L.C. and Morgan Stanley Asia Limited were the Joint Global Coordinators and Joint Sponsors, and with Deutsche Bank AG, Hong Kong Branch, Joint Bookrunners and Joint Lead Managers of the Global Offering while N M Rothschild & Sons (Hong Kong) Limited was the Financial Advisor to the Company.

Let’s take a look at how the things looked like for the US Internet giant by that time.

Yahoo! is known to own 39% in Alibaba Group. Alibaba Group holds a 75% stake in Alibaba.com, which was worth $17.4 billion. Yahoo owns 39% of Alibaba Group, which puts the value of their share at $6.8 billion. Yahoo! has also bought around 1.2% stake in Alibaba.com by paying $100M so the direct-owned 1.2% stake was worth about $278 million. That puts the total value of Yahoo’s interest in Alibaba.com at north of $7 billion. That’s about 16.7% of Yahoo’s then $42 billion valuation.

What happened next? A few days after the IPO things appeared to be worsening. Many investors took the money and ran, driving shares of Alibaba.com Ltd. down 17% a day after their debut, when they nearly tripled from their initial-public-offering price. Analysts said the flagship business-to-business unit of Alibaba Group is likely to fall further on continued profit-taking for a while, as the stock is still overvalued. The shares of Alibaba.com then fell to 32.60 Hong Kong dollars (US$4.20) from almost 41.50HKD. Aside the fears of the investors that the stock price was unsustainable the company’s stock was also hit by Yahoo!’s CEO Jerry Yang’s appearance on Capitol Hill, defending the company’s handling of Chinese censorship probe. The major support, however, for the company’s falling stock price came earlier this month when Yahoo! announced to lay off hundreds of employees. The final number of people to be laid off from Yahoo’s work force of about 14,000 is yet to be determined and is likely to be announced around the end of the month, perhaps during Yahoo’s January 29 conference call with analysts after it reports fourth-quarter financial results, but it for sure had influenced the stock performance of its smaller Chinese brother Alibaba. Over the weekend, some blogs reported that Yahoo was considering layoffs of 10 percent to 20 percent of its work force. But the people close to the company, who discussed Yahoo’s layoff plans on condition that they are yet to be identified, said the cuts would likely be in the “hundreds.” Yahoo’s stock itself declined 20 percent in the last quarter.

Alibaba’s today stock price is 20.20HKD fallen down from 40.50HKD as what the price was in its best days. The company’s market capitalization is close to $13B (US Dollars), which is a major decline from what the company’s highest value was – close to $26B. 

So, let’s now take a look at how the things look like for the US Internet giant today. Logically Yahoo!’s interest total market value in Alibaba.com is now close to $3,5B falling down from the previous $7B mark. A couple of months ago Alibaba’s value was about 16.7% of Yahoo’s then $42 billion valuation. Today Yahoo!’s market capitalization is $27.77B, which makes Alibaba’s today value close to 50% of Yahoo!’s market value.

The big question here is whether Alibaba.com is overvalued or Yahoo! is undervalued? One should take into serious consideration the fact that Yahoo! is making more than $6B in revenues per year while Alibaba.com is having, as far as we know, no more than $150M in annual revenues. A quick online research revelead that Alibaba had GAAP Revenue of around $46.3M for 2004 while the company’s revenue in the first half of 2006 was about $100 million (presumingly $200M for the entire 2006). For the first 6 months of 2007 Alibaba had revenue of RMB957.7M (~$132MM) (presuming $260M for the entire 2007). The numbers show big difference, no?

All calculations are made on the 1 HKD = 0.128087 USD and 1 CNY (RMB) = 0.138941 USD basis respectively.

More about Alibaba.com

Alibaba.com (HKSE:1688), a member of the Alibaba Group of companies, is one of the world’s premier e-commerce brands and the number one online marketplace for global and domestic China trade. We provide an efficient, trusted platform connecting small and medium-sized buyers and suppliers from around the world. Our international marketplace (www.alibaba.com) focuses on global importers and exporters and our China marketplace (www.alibaba.com.cn) focuses on suppliers and buyers trading domestically in China. Together our marketplaces form a community of more than 24 million registered users from over 200 countries and regions.

Our operational headquarters is based in Hangzhou in eastern China. We have field sales and marketing offices in more than 30 cities in China, Hong Kong, Switzerland and the United States. The company had more than 4,400 full-time employees as of June 30, 2007.

History & Milestones
Jack Ma, our lead founder and chairman, and 18 other founders launched Alibaba.com in his Hangzhou apartment in 1999. Originally, Alibaba.com operated as a bulletin board service for businesses to post buy and sell trade leads, and later became a vibrant marketplace for small and medium enterprises around the world to identify potential trading partners and interact with each other to conduct business online. Alibaba.com listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on November 6, 2007 and is the flagship business of the Alibaba Group.

  • October 2000 Gold Supplier membership launched to serve China exporters.
  • August 2001 International TrustPass membership launched to serve exporters outside of China.
  • March 2002 China TrustPass membership launched to serve SMEs engaging in domestic China trade.
  • July 2002 Keyword services launched on our international marketplace.
  • November 2003 TradeManager instant messaging software launched to enable users to communicate in real time on our marketplaces.
  • March 2005 Keyword bidding launched on our China marketplace.
  • April 2007 Gold Supplier membership launched to serve Hong Kong exporters.
  • November 2007 Alibaba.com listed on the Main Board of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited, under stock code 1688.

Below is what the Alibaba’s CEO David Wei stated at the time of their IPO.

We have just celebrated our successful listing on the Main Board of The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited and I’d like to welcome all our new investors and many thanks for your visionary investing commitment.

Alibaba.com’s mission is to make it easy to do business anywhere. Over the years, we focused on Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (“SMEs”) sector, which have been the key driving forces for China’s economic growth and playing an increasingly important role in China’s economy. Through our world’s leading B2B e-Commerce marketplaces, we have made it possible for SMEs to grow their business and reach out to the world. We will maintain such long term focus by providing the best user and customer experience.

We take our responsibility to our shareholders very seriously. We adhere to the highest levels of ethical practices and create optimal corporate governance. Our Board of Directors include a number of experienced and high caliber independent directors who chair and run our board committees.

Going public is another a milestone in Alibaba.com’s history. Our belief of being a public company is to create growing sustainable value for customers and shareholders. I look forward to the ongoing support of our shareholders as we continue to build the world’s number one online marketplace for international and China trade.

More

http://blogs.barrons.com/techtraderdaily/2007/11/06/huge-surge-in-alibabacom-stock-price-following-ipo-could-spur-tuesday-rally-in-yahoo-shares/
http://sanjose.bizjournals.com/sanjose/stories/2007/01/29/daily22.html?from_msn_money=1
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601080&sid=aLtQSTnRGzdw&refer=asia
http://www.alibaba.com/
http://www.yahoo.com/
http://ir.alibaba.com/ir/stock_information.html
http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=1688.hk
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119446125893585466.html?mod=yahoo_hs&ru=yahoo
http://www.paidcontent.org/entry/419-alibabacom-prices-at-top-of-the-range
http://www.news.com/Hundreds-of-layoffs-expected-at-Yahoo/2100-1038_3-6227041.html?tag=nefd.top
http://yhoo.client.shareholder.com/
http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=YHOO
http://www.tjacobi.com/50226711/alibabacom_revenue.php
http://money.cnn.com/2006/12/31/news/international/alibaba/index.htm
http://startuplay.com/tag/alibaba
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/fn/5491544.html
http://www.forbes.com/business/2008/01/09/china-internet-media-biz-media-cx_pm_0109notes.html
http://online.barrons.com/article/SB119931045594863115.html?mod=googlenews_barrons
http://www.hkex.com.hk/
http://www.247wallst.com/2008/01/the-coming-inte.html
http://www.hkex.com.hk/Alibaba.htm
http://www.alibaba.com/aboutalibaba/releases_071106.html

Mobivox takes $11M series A round from IDG Ventures

A couple of months ago IDG Ventures Boston led an $11 million series A round of funding for a Canadian company called Mobivox, which lets registered members make cheap or free phone calls around the world. The Montreal-based company is essentially letting members call to a number of countrieres free of charge and to other countries at around 2 cents.

IDG was joined by IDG Ventures China and IDG Ventures Vietnam. Previous investors include Brightspark Ventures of Toronto and Skypoint Capital Corp. of Ottawa. More information about all investors involved can be found below.

Earlier last year Mobivox launched the beta of its new mobile-to-Skype service. Registered Mobivox users with Skype accounts can call local access numbers to be connected via a virtual operator to their Skype contacts, for free. The service works with landlines and mobile phones, and it requires no download to your phone or PC. To use the service, just give Mobivox your telephone numbers and Skype account info.

Mobivox’s business model makes revenue from international calls. Users buy into a credit system that lets them purchase chunks of up to $100 international mobile-to-landline credit at a time, without having to buy it from Skype directly. There are no charges for using the service beyond any minutes you use up on your mobile or domestic-calling plan, and since Mobivox gives you a local number, you’re likely to avoid any long-distance charges on landlines.

Mobivox, reviewed by different testers and bloggers, was said to be a little kludgy to set up originally, probably cause its still in Alpha, but the easy part about it is it can use voice commands over a regular local phone call, so one just dials and says “my contact” and “Skype” and the service will connect you to an available Skype user — or one’s other contacts’ mobile and landline numbers. It automatically syncs with your Skype contacts after the sync is triggered by calling in to see if your Skype contacts were online or not.

The most frustrating part of trying to access Skype mobile solutions over some of the other services is downloading the client on the often select number of handsets available. It’s getting better as the startups add more handsets, but it’s still limited. Well, Mobivox also says they will have a mobile client available starting in April (2007), so we guess they’ll be jumping on that bandwagon too, for users that want a mobile interface.

Other users have checked out a number of VoIP mobile SPs and claimed they have finally found one that really knows what the users want. For example, one doesn’t want to open another account and purchase credits to use a facilitator for your existing Skype account and contacts. You don’t want to go through another operator no matter how intelligent it may be, you just want to go to your mobile and call your Skype contacts as you would a normal contact in your phone book and if you are WiFi connected, great, because that’s the way we want to go and stop being exploited by high mobile cost carriers.

The same user, we have read online about, advocated by that time that the only company he was aware of does this and that is fring.com.

Another one is asking: am I missing something about why I need a 3rd party? So I just installed Skype for Windows Smart Phones on my T-mobile Dash and it works flawlessly! Some other sources, however, explained the smart phones are in usage of no more than 1% of the mobile users worldwide.

The Management

Stéphane Marceau | President and CEO

Stéphane Marceau brings over 12 years of global experience to Mobivox in building and marketing IP communications to consumer markets. As Vice-President with Bell Canada, he built several new business lines, including the residential VoIP operating unit. Stéphane served as VP and head of many different Bell groups – consumer strategy, e-commerce, online SME markets and corporate development – and led several acquisitions and partnerships. Prior to his time at Bell Canada, he advised many of the largest wireless and telecom companies in Western Europe, the U.S. and Canada on Internet strategy and technology opportunities. Stéphane is also on the board of several web 2.0 start-ups in Montreal. He holds a Master’s degree in Management of Technology from the University of Waterloo, which he obtained in 1994 after earning a BA in Finance from the Université du Québec à Montréal in 1992.

Eric Reiher | Founder and CTO

Eric Reiher has spent the last 15 years contributing his vision to several leading-edge Research and Development projects. Since 2002, he has devoted himself to the development of MOBIVOX core technology. Prior to that, Eric acquired in-depth telecom and automatic speech recognition experience at Locus Dialogue, a fast-growing high-tech company that was ultimately acquired by Scansoft. Eric started his career at the Centre de Recherche Informatique de Montréal (CRIM), where he rapidly became a project leader and led various projects to completion, including an advanced image analysis mandate. He holds a Master’s degree in Computer Science from the Université de Montréal, which he obtained in 1990 after earning a BA in Computer Science, with a minor in mathematics, from the Université de Sherbrooke in 1988.

Mark MacLeod | Chief Financial Officer

Mark MacLeod brings 16 years of management and corporate finance experience to MOBIVOX, including over 8 years with technology start-ups. Most recently, Mark was Vice President, Finance for networked storage vendor Terrascale Technologies Inc. which was acquired by Rackable Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: RACK) in September 2006. Mark was previously Chief Financial Officer at IP networking vendor Hexago Inc. Prior to Hexago, he led Finance and Corporate Development for electronic signature software vendor Silanis Technology Inc., the market leader in its space. Mark is a seasoned operator and transaction specialist with broad experience in cross border financings, acquisitions and strategic alliances. He is a Chartered Accountant and holds an MBA in Corporate Strategy & Organizational Behavior from McGill University.

Nitzan Shaer | Chief Operating Officer

Nitzan Shaer brings to MOBIVOX more than 14 years of global business experience in the mobile and consumer software space. As Head of the Mobile Product Group at Skype, Nitzan led the development and marketing efforts focused on making Skype available on mobile phones. Prior to his tenure at Skype, Nitzan served as Senior Product Manager at Microsoft, where he managed the development of three emerging businesses in the company’s Mobile and Embedded Division. Previously, Nitzan also managed Business Development and Marketing in Europe at Brightcom Technologies, a company focused on the development of Bluetooth applications. Nitzan served as a Captain in the Israel Air Force, and graduated first in his class from the Air Force Academy. Most recently, as Entrepreneur In Residence at IDG Ventures Boston, Nitzan focused on identifying new investment opportunities in the telecommunications and consumer Internet industries. Nitzan graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering and Management from Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. He lives in Boston with his wife and son and enjoys mountain climbing in his spare time.

Maxime Julien | Senior Vice President, Research & Development

Maxime brings over 17 years of senior management and engineering excellence to Mobivox. Most recently, Maxime was COO for Electronic Arts’ Montreal Studios where he was responsible for all aspects of studio operations and grew the team from 75 to over 300 people within 12 months. In addition, he participated in development of the most advanced game development framework of the industry. Prior to EA, Maxime led operations for Ubisoft where he reorganized and revitalized 6 operating groups covering over 300 team members, introducing best practices for software development and product delivery. Maxime also held several executive and leadership roles in the management of high-tech enterprises and blue-chip companies such as Ericsson, Motorola, Teleglobe and CAE. Maxime holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering (B.Eng.) from Laval University.

The investors

The company was founded in 2005 and has raised funds before its series A, which is known to be $3 million from both Brightspark Ventures and Skypoint Capital. All investors with brief information about them are included below.

IDG Ventures Boston

IDG Ventures Boston is an independent partnership that enables entrepreneurs to grow innovative, global companies. With $280 million under management, the firm is focused on investing in early stage information technology and life sciences companies and is led by a team with more than half a century of combined experience in venture capital. IDG Ventures Boston is affiliated with the IDG Ventures network of funds, a global $2+ billion network of independently managed funds spanning Asia and North America.

BrightSpark 

Brightspark is a leading early-stage software venture capital fund. Brightspark works closely with entrepreneurs to develop and build market-leading software companies. Brightspark’s innovative investment approach focuses on working closely with early-stage companies through their development and growth phase. Brightspark’s team brings years of investment and technology expertise in creating and operating software companies in the areas of application and infrastructure software, enterprise software and communications software. Brightspark’s investments range from “concept”-stage companies, led by domain experts looking to commercialize an idea or technology, to working with experienced entrepreneurs looking to scale their existing businesses. With offices in Toronto and Montreal, Brightspark is backed by leading institutional investors who share its approach to early-stage software investing.

Skypoint 

Skypoint Capital forms and manages venture capital funds that stimulate and leverage the ever-changing telecommunications and information technology sector. The investment team begins by investing time with the entrepreneur long before committing capital. After investing, the team brings its vast operating experience and passion for growing businesses to portfolio companies. The members of the Skypoint Capital investment team have participated in more than 80 technology start-ups in the Ottawa and Montreal regions.

IDG Venture China

IDG Venture Investment China is a premier venture capital firm in China focused on helping early to growth stage companies become significant players in the IT, consumer, media and life sciences industries. The firm has demonstrated success with over 30 IPO’s and successful M&A transactions and a portfolio that includes Baidu, CTrip, Sohu, Tencents, HomeInns, and KingDee. With a 14 year history of investing in China and $1.3B under management, IDG Venture Investment China is proud to have won the trust of entrepreneurs, investors, business communities and government organizations alike.

IDG Ventures Vietnam

Established in 2004, IDG Ventures Vietnam (IDGVV) is the first and leading technology venture capital fund in Vietnam. With $100M under management, the fund invests in market leading companies in the technology, media, and telecommunications sectors in Vietnam as well as select parts of Southeast Asia. As part of the network of IDG Ventures funds worldwide, IDGVV has been at the forefront in the development of the venture capital industry in the region as well as promoting technology entrepreneurship. In addition to Mobivox, some of its current investments include VinaGame, Punch Entertainment, Clip.vn, VinaPay, and SanOTC.com.

The market

The market is extremely overcrowded and Mobivox is facing staggering competition in the mobile VoIP space. The competition seems to guarantee cheaper phone calls for the rest of us as well as more used minutes for the cell phone companies. Companies include from Google and Tellme’s free 411 services to an army of small to mid level companies. Tellme, by the way, was recently bought by Microsoft. Other players include EQO that used to have a similar PC-style Skype version, IdeaSIP (which supports video), Gizmo Project (which has a very cool client), Fring.com, Stanaphone, Sunrocket (2nd largest to Vonage), globedialer.com, which has taken an even easier route by simply letting people call internationally via the PSTN network and Barablu, which is yet another company dealing with Skype but is based in Europe. iSkoot seems like its becoming Skype’s chosen mobile solution and among other startups with Skype mobile solutions, like Mobivox itself, they are all trying to figure out the differentiators and spread the market shares among themselves. iSkoot, by contrast, is based in Massachusetts and has more than $13.2 million in financing and is backed by Charles River Ventures, Khosla Ventures, ZG Ventures, and Jesselson Capital Corp.
More

http://www.mobivox.com/
http://www.mobivox.com/rates/
http://techcfo.blogspot.com
http://news.moneycentral.msn.com/provider/providerarticle.aspx?Feed=ACBJ&Date=20071011&ID=7614418
http://gigaom.com/2007/03/19/mobivox-more-skype-on-mobile/
http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/techbeat/archives/2007/05/new_voip_player.html
http://www.webware.com/8301-1_109-9718526-2.html
http://labs.google.com/goog411/
http://www.tellme.com/products/TellmeByVoice
http://www.bspark.com/pages/default.asp?Section=1
http://www.skypointcorp.com/
http://blogs.msdn.com/maamktg/archive/2007/03/19/revolutionary.aspx
http://markevanstech.com/2007/05/10/mobile-skypefinally/
http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r19165054-Skype-Video-leak-Whos-taking-up-a-battle-with-skype
http://www.myvoipprovider.com/VoIP_Provider_Graveyard/
http://www.idgvc.com
http://www.brightspark.com
http://www.idgvb.com
http://www.skypointcorp.com

Yet another seed round, this time for MyLifeBrand

MyLifeBrand, the social network that offers private label solutions for online community-building, has received $750,000 in seed money. However, the angel investors were not disclosed. We have also read on a few blogs the company is still looking to raise more in another round, for an unspecified amount. In addition to creating online communities for established groups, the site allows users to manage their accounts at various social networking sites. Both sides of the business face plenty of competition. From what we have read below the company is brining in $300,000 in revenues and is on its way to $1M for its first year of operations. 

The site itself is very modest on what the company is doing. MyLifeBrand, the site says, is a new site offering the next generation of social networking and social media services.

Digging further one understands that it’s got a profile aggregation tool, a group-formation tool, private label options and more. In this way, it looks to appeal to individuals that already have existing profiles on other networks, those that would like to create their own network, businesses that are looking to offer an online group for networking purposes, and businesses that would like to incorporate social networking modules into their existing website.

It is also said that MyLifeBrand has teamed up with the Utah Jazz to offer a branded social network for team fans.

The company is based in Seattle, Washington but the firm is currently in the midst of moving down to Southern California. The company was in talks with local investors, and also has all of its business development folks there in Los Angeles. Here is what the firm’s Executive Vice President Daniel Scalisi has stated in an online interview with socalTECH’s Ben Kuo.

Daniel Scalisi explained MyLifeBrand was created to solve a few problems we saw in the market, and to take advantage of the opportunities. At the core, MyLifeBrand is a social browser platform. It’s a website that allows users to manage external and internal communities. That includes MySpace, Facebook, and LinkedIn. The internal communities’ pieces are being created on our platform by companies who are looking to engage their member base. It’s a single platform, where you can seamlessly navigate your external and internal sites they may want to join. What we recognize, is that people are part of multiple social networks. We are trying to create a single browsing experience for managing someone’s social life. For communities, who have recognized that their member bases are going to social networks which allow them to create their own groups around associates or companies, why shouldn’t they find a way to engage their member base in a similar form?

We launched in June of this year (2007), and were in Alpha mode until August, when we went into beta. Typically, our focus has been on building membership, where we have been partnering with communities of interest–faith based, nonprofit, sports, entertainment, and other communities by providing a free community tools platform. We’re essentially seeding our member community with their member base. That way, we are adding people thousands as a time, rather than as individuals. On the other side, we have started a search engine optimization and search engine marketing push to drive adoption from the individual user side.

That’s really what our platform does–number one, it’s a service which provides free aggregation, browsing, and syndication of all of your communities, social networking sites, and services. Number two, it’s a customizable tool to create a community; and number three, it’s a marketing platform that communities and users can leverage to market their own community and build membership.

The community is advertising based. Unlike other social networking sites, if you’re helping to drive traffic, we’re giving you a percentage of revenue. Individuals actually get rewarded in a number of ways, including converting rewards to cash, and for things like building their friends list.

The company has been in stealth mode for the past year, building out the platform. We brought in alpha testers, and have been shaping the user experience based on user feedback. We went live publicly in June (2007), announcing our platform. To date, we’ve raised three quarters of a million in seed funding, and have another quarter million committed. Since June, we’ve been producing revenues, and have accrued $300,000 in revenues so far. We expect to have more than $1M in revenues for our first year. In parallel with our bridge round of $1M, we’re now seeking a Series A. From a technology standpoint, we’re based in Seattle, but from a business development and marketing background, we’re based in Los Angeles. Jeff Jani, our CEO, is out of Disney, and he built and sold a company around some unique technology to Microsoft. I myself, have built three different startups–this is my fourth–all of them in the digital media/Internet space. Some of the rest of the team come from Kintera, which is a SoCal company, and our other folks have deep community building experience through their own prior experience as well.
More

http://mylifebrand.com/
http://www.paidcontent.org/entry/419-private-label-social-networking-service-mylifebrand-takes-in-750000-pur/
http://mashable.com/2007/10/10/mylifebrand-funded/
http://www.socaltech.com/interview_with_daniel_scalisi_mylifebrand/s-0011667.html
http://mashable.com/2007/09/21/utah-jazz-mylifebrand/

Secretive video site has raised $800,000 seed round

A couple of months ago a secretive video site has raised $800,000 seed round from Concept Ventures and its founder and managing director, Julien Nguyen, according to multiple sources on Web. The company was rumored they were in quest for its series A round of funding for some time across the Silicon Valley.

The company name is XillianTV and is based in Santa Clara, Calif. The site is said to be focused on video delivery to consumers. An interesting fact worth mentioning here is XillianTV’s chief executive and co-founder, Mitchell Berman, is a former executive from Home Box Office Inc., E! Entertainment Television Inc. and other television companies, which definitely brings in some practical hand-on experience to the start-up.

We have tried to dig something up for the company but there is basically nothing publicly available on Internet. So we leave the time to tell all us what the company is up to and does it worth the money spent on anyway.
 
The video sector is well overcrowded and was the hottest one for the entire 2007. If we need to guess work what the company is dealing with we would bet on anything but either technology or concept that helps publishers monetize their video inventory. Another possible area the company might be working on could be some vertical online video channel.

About Concept Ventures

Concept Ventures invests in early stage companies in digital media, communications, semiconductors, software and services, and healthtech.

Their Investment Focus is in early stage entrepreneurs, who sometimes only have a rough idea of what to do, and help them formulate a crisp business strategy that addresses an important problem, with a business model that will fuel the growth of the company. The explosion of consumer electronics has created large opportunities in digital media, communications, and semiconductors. Applications for consumer electronics devices are crucial to the success of these devices, and entrepreneurs are coming with new ideas of software and services.

With U.S. healthcare industry consuming $2 Trillion per year of the nation’s resources, we believe that new efficiencies can and must be applied to the healthcare sector. That is why we are investing in companies that deploy scalable technologies to increase the efficiency of healthcare, a sector we call HealthTech.

Call To Action

We work closely with entrepreneurs from as early as the seed level. Startups can benefit from our operational experience to help them define markets and business strategies. We can also help build a top tier investment syndicate for all rounds of financing.

Reading through the profile of their investors could it be that XillianTV is trying to get something worked out within the so-called by Concept Ventures HealthTech sector?

More

http://www.xilliantv.com/
http://www.bandangels.com/members/downloads/Volume13Issue6.pdf
http://venturebeat.com/2007/10/10/xilliantv-secretive-video-firm-searching-for-first-round/
http://mashable.com/2007/10/10/xilliantv-funded/
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/5/411/670
http://www.conceptvc.com/

Inform receives $15 Million investment from Spark Capital

Inform Technologies, a technology solution for established media brands, has received a $15 million investment from Spark Capital, a Boston-based venture fund focused on the intersection of the media, entertainment and technology industries.

The company said in their PR they are going to use the funds to accelerate growth. The company also claims nearly 100 media brands use Inform’s journalistic technology to enhance their sites.  

Founded in 2004, Inform currently works with nearly 100 major media brands to help them ensure that their sites are content destinations and offers editorial-quality features that keep readers engaged on their sites longer – and that increase page views and revenue potential.

Inform’s key offering is a technology solution that acts as an extra editor. It starts with a page of text, and then, with editorial precision, it automatically creates and organizes links to relevant content from the media property’s site, its archives, from affiliate sites and/or anywhere else on the Web. As a result, each page on a site becomes a richer multimedia experience.

Said James Satloff, CEO of Inform, “Media companies face significant challenges online. They need to attract new unique visitors, create an experience that compels those readers to spend more time consuming more pages, and then turn those page views and time on site into revenue. We believe that the Inform solution enables them to do exactly that.”

Longstanding Inform clients include Conde Nast, Crain Communications, IDG, The New York Sun and Washington.Post.Newsweek Interactive. In recent months, 30 additional media properties have engaged Inform – many already running Inform’s technology on their sites.

Inform uses artificial intelligence and proprietary rules and algorithms to scan millions of pages of text and read the way a journalist does – identifying key “entities,” such as people, places, companies and products, and recognizing how they connect, even in subtle and context-specific ways. The software continually teaches itself – in real time – how information is related and automatically updates links and topics as the context changes.

Santo Politi, Founder and Partner at Spark Capital, commented on the following “Established media brands need cost-effective ways to compete with each other and, importantly, with other online presences, such as search. They need depth and richness in their content so they’re true destinations and so readers spend more time on the sites and click through more pages. Inform provides a truly elegant – and so far very successful – solution for that. While allowing the publication to remain in full control of its content and editorial integrity, Inform automatically enriches a site by enabling it to leverage its own content, its archives, archives of affiliates and the web overall. In effect, it enables a publication to expand its editorial capabilities without expanding its staff. We believe the potential for Inform’s growth is substantial.”

 “We’re delighted that our new investor understands how effectively we partner with media companies and how our technology serves their business and editorial objectives. We will use the capital to expand our operations and implement our approach to accelerating our growth.” Said Joseph Einhorn, Co-Founder and CTO of Inform.

We went over Web and researched a bit over the company. It turns out the company has shifted the focus quite often over the past several years. In 2005 the company once said to be around to provide a useful news interface – both blog and non-blog – and to show the interconnectedness of all of the content. Later the same year a major re-launch and re-design struck the company and they have given up on the Ajax based pop-up and have also added vide and audio, which hardly fits into the concept of contextual connection between two content areas/texts based on their semantic textual analysis, unless they have come up to an idea how to read inside and understand image and video files. Google, by contrast, seems to have come up to technology that claims to recognize text in images. In late 2006 the company brought to the market their so called Inform Publisher Services, which was aimed at big web publishers, and was designed to help them increase page views by adding relevant links to other, hopefully related, content in their archives.

The new service was meant to automatically create links in existing articles, which link to a results page containing relevant content from the site as well as from the web, including blogs and audio/video content. Sounds like Sphere and LinkedWords. Basically their latest offering comes closer to what the Inform.com is today.

Some critics on the service have published the following doubts online over a few blogs we have checked out in regard to Inform.

Isn’t this the opposite of semantic web, since they’re sucking in unstructured data? How does their relatedness stuff compare to Sphere and how do their topic pages compare to Topix?

Marshall Kirkpatrick from RWW has put it that way when the question about standards and openness was raised.

“Inform crunches straight text and outputs HTML. I asked whether they publish content with any standards based semantic markup and they said that actual publishing is up to publishers. That’s a shame, I don’t see any reason why Inform wouldn’t participate in the larger semantic web to make its publishers’ content more discoverable. Perhaps when you’ve got 100 live clients and now $15m in the bank, it feels like there’s no reason to open up and play nice with a movement of dreamers having trouble getting other apps out of academia.”

Competition include Sphere, Proximic, Lijit, Adaptiveblue, LinkedWords, somehow NosyJoe, Jiglu, among others. Other, although remote, players in this space include Attendi, Diigo, Twine and Freebase.

More about Inform

Inform Technologies is a new technology solution for established media brands that automatically searches, organizes and links content to provide a rich, compelling experience that attracts and retains readers.

With editorial-quality precision, the technology understands textual content and recognizes subtle differences in meaning. Further, the technology automatically creates links – in articles and on instantly generated topic pages – to relevant content. This deepens a site and engages readers.

Inform’s Essential Technology platform is an artificial intelligence and natural language-based solution that serves almost as an “extra editor” using rules and algorithms to “read” millions of pages of content, identify entities, such as people, places, companies, organizations and products, and topics, to create intelligent links to other closely related information. The technology is also able to recognize subtle differences in meaning and distinguish people, places and things based on local geographies or unique identities.

Inform’s Connected Content Solution and Essential Technology Platform are used by major media brands including CNN.com, WashingtonPost, Newsweek Interactive, Conde Nast, Meredith, IDG and Crain Communications.

Founded in 2004, the company is privately held and has approximately 60 employees, including mathematicians, linguists, programmers, taxonomists, library scientists and other professionals based in New York and India.

About Spark Capital

Spark Capital is a venture capital fund focused on building businesses that transform the distribution, management and monetization of media and content, with experience in identifying and actively building market-leading companies in sectors including infrastructure (Qtera, RiverDelta, Aether Systems, Broadbus and BigBand), networks (College Sports Television, TVONE and XCOM) and services (Akamai and the Platform). Spark Capital has over $600 million under management, and is based in Boston, Massachusetts. Spark has committed to investing $20 million in CNET equity.

More

http://www.inform.com/ 
http://www.inform.com/pr.012308.html
http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/inform_funding.php
http://www.micropersuasion.com/2005/10/a_new_rss_reade.html
http://www.paidcontent.org/pc/arch/2005_10_16.shtml#051884
http://www.techcrunch.com/tag/inform.com/
http://blog.express-press-release.com/2007/10/19/a-bunch-of-intelligent-and-smart-content-tagging-engines/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/10/19/twine-launches-a-smarter-way-to-organize-your-online-life/
http://blog.nosyjoe.com/2007/09/06/nosyjoecom-is-now-searching-for-tags/
http://nextnetnews.blogspot.com/2007/09/is-nosyjoecom-next-clustycom.html
http://kalsey.com/2007/10/jiglu_tags_that_think/
http://mashable.com/2007/10/15/jiglu/
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/17/technology/17ecom.html
http://www.techcrunch.com/2005/10/16/informcom-doesnt/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2005/10/24/a-second-look-at-informcom/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2005/12/05/informcom-re-launches-with-major-feature-changes/
http://business2.blogs.com/business2blog/2006/07/scoop_inform_re.html
http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/07/30/informcoms-latest-offering/
http://www.quantcast.com/inform.com
http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/07/04/when-search-results-include-more-search-results/

More deals in the enterprise search sector

A couple of weeks after Microsoft announced its $1.2 billion acquisition of FAST Search & Transfer, enterprise search competitor Endeca is getting a $15 million cash infusion from both Intel Capital and SAP Ventures. This is on top of the $50 million Endeca has already raised in the past few years from Lehman Brothers, Granite Global Ventures, Ampersand Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Venrock Associates and DN Capital.

“In just more than seven years, Endeca went from one customer and modest revenue to 500 customers and $100M-plus in sales. The next target is the elusive $500M milestone,” said Bruce Richardson, chief research officer at AMR Research, in his January 11, 2008 report entitled Endeca Set to Lead the Information Visibility Revolution. “What makes Endeca unique is its ability to provide visibility for everyone that needs it, whether for finding a part or selling to a customer or prospect… It could be years before Endeca faces products comparable to its own.”

“Visibility into enterprise-wide information assets is a key area of interest for customers,” said Jennifer Scholze, Investment Partner at SAP Ventures. “By taking a fundamentally new approach to accessing and analyzing enterprise-wide data, Endeca is poised to disrupt multi-billion dollar markets and is uniquely suited to address the core opportunity of the information economy.”

“No company better understands the importance of enterprise data to today’s information-centric businesses than SAP. Our collaboration will open new doors and accelerate the realization of our vision to arm all knowledge workers with the critical enterprise data they need to inform daily decision making, regardless of source or format,” said Steve Papa, chief executive officer of Endeca. “As an SAP customer and now a key part of their investment portfolio, Endeca is on a favorable path to learn from — and work closely with — the most influential information applications company of our time.”

“Information access platforms play a crucial role in linking vast collections of data,” said Arvind Sodhani, president of Intel Capital. “Our investment in Endeca will further their capabilities by capitalizing on Intel’s next generation multi-core platforms in this market segment.”

“Endeca’s success to date would not have been possible without the innovations Intel has brought to market. Multi-core computing will play one of the greatest enabling roles for adoption of next generation information access technology,” said Steve Papa, CEO of Endeca. “This investment from Intel Capital has the potential to accelerate Endeca’s success in gaining adoption for information access.”

More about Endeca

The Endeca Information Access Platform is a new platform built specifically to address an emerging market that is poised to fundamentally change the way people access and interact with information. The platform is designed to help people explore, analyze, and understand information in ways not possible with search engine, database, and business intelligence solutions. Powered by Endeca’s MDEX Engine™ technology, it unites the ease of search with the analytical power of business intelligence, bringing Endeca’s trademark Guided Navigation® user experience to new classes of applications. As a result, organizations can increase revenue, decrease costs, and streamline operations by helping their customers, employees, and partners answer high-value questions with unprecedented ease and confidence.

The Endeca Information Access Platform aids information-based problem solving across a wide variety of business processes, including eCommerce, marketing-campaign analysis, product design and parts reuse, knowledge management, customer service, and more. To meet highly specific industry and application requirements, Endeca offers a range of market solutions, each designed to accelerate time-to-market and maximize return.

Discovering our name

The company name “Endeca” is derived from the German word “entdecken” meaning “to discover.” Viewed in the context of information integration and navigation, Endeca technology not only allows users to find what they are looking for, but also to discover the possibilities they never knew existed along the way.

Over 500 leading global organizations including ABN AMRO, Boeing, Cox Newspapers, The (US) Defense Intelligence Agency, Dell, Ford Motor Company, Hyatt, IBM, John Deere, The Library of Congress, Texas Instruments, and Walmart.com rely on Endeca to power business-critical applications that increase revenue, reduce costs and streamline operations.

Headquartered in Cambridge, MA, Endeca has operations in North America, Europe and Asia. It has 500 employees and over $100 in sales for the last year. The company was founded in 1999.

About SAP Ventures

Since 1996, SAP Ventures has been investing in companies that offer exciting new technologies and applications. Leveraging years of experience and drawing on a network of powerful business relationships, SAP Ventures helps entrepreneurs and management teams recruit the best people, make the right technology decisions, win new business, and build their own partner networks. The goal of SAP Ventures is to grow businesses that create shareholder value for everyone involved.

About Intel Capital

Intel Capital, Intel’s global investment organization, makes equity investments in innovative technology start-ups and companies worldwide. Intel Capital invests in a broad range of companies offering hardware, software and services targeting enterprise, home, mobility, health, consumer Internet, semiconductor manufacturing, and cleantech. Since 1991, Intel Capital has invested more than US$6 billion in approximately 1,000 companies in more than 40 countries. In that timeframe, about 157 portfolio companies have gone public on various exchanges around the world and another 187 have been acquired by other companies. In 2007, Intel Capital invested about US$639 million in 166 deals with approximately 37 percent of funds invested outside the United States.

Interesting information has popped up online while we were researching on the deal for more details. It seems that their product empowers IBM while IBM appears to be developing their own in joined forces with Yahoo!: http://omnifind.ibm.yahoo.net/  & http://omnifind.ibm.yahoo.net/productinfo.php

Other commentaries we have dug up from Web reveal some rumors that Endeca was pretty close to do an IPO last year. The same sources claimed something must be going not very well with the company since they have chosen to go in bed with bigger names in the business and raise VC money rather than going the IPO road. 

More

http://endeca.com/
http://endeca.com/corporate-info/press-room/pr/pr_2008-1-23.html
http://endeca.com/corporate-info/press-room/pr/pr_2008-1-23-SAP.html
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/01/23/intel-and-sap-put-15-million-into-enterprise-search-company-endeca/
http://endeca.com/_assets/pdf/AMR_Endeca_Revolution.pdf
http://www.sapventures.com
http://www.intelcapital.com
http://web2innovations.com/money/2008/01/08/microsoft-bets-on-enterprise-search-offers-to-buy-fastno-for-12b/

Wall Street plunged but does it affect the Web 2.0

Wall Street plunged at the opening of trading Tuesday, propelling the Dow Jones industrials down about 300 points after an interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve failed to assuage investors fearing a recession in the United States.

U.S. markets joined stock exchanges around the world that have fallen precipitously in recent days amid concerns that a downturn might spread around the world. U.S. bonds were mixed, with investors seeking safer investments as stocks plummeted. The oil price, by contrast, fell amid expectations that a downturn would depress demand for energy.

The Fed’s decision to cut its federal funds rate to 3.50% and the discount rate, the interest it charges to lend directly to banks, came a week before the central bank’s regularly scheduled meeting, a sign that the Fed recognized the seriousness of the world financial situation. But there were already fears in the markets before the Fed move that an interest rate wouldn’t be enough to prevent a recession. The cut was the biggest one-day rate move by the Fed since it lowered rates by a full percentage point in December 1991, when the country was trying to emerge from recession.

In the first hour of trading, the Dow was down 293.70, or 2.43 percent, at 11,805.60. The Dow was last below 12,000 in March 2007. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index was off 32.49, or 2.45 percent, at 1,292.70, while the Nasdaq composite index fell 66.82, or 2.86 percent, to 2,273.20.

It was the first time the Fed altered the target federal funds rate between scheduled meetings since the markets reopened after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

It’s been a black year so far for stocks. The SP 500 index, the broadest measure of the stock market, has suffered its worst annual start ever, giving up about 13 percent in just three weeks. The Dow is down about 12 percent since the beginning of the year, and the Nasdaq is down approximately 15 percent.

On the other side the government bond prices surged as stocks fell and investors fled to safer securities. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, sank to 3.53 percent from 3.63 percent late Friday.

Both Asian and European markets have also fallen seriously where the Asian market was hit harder. Japan’s Nikkei stock average closed down 5.65 percent — its biggest percentage drop in nearly a decade. The German’s DAX for instance fell to the level of mid 2007, yet higher than the levels of January 2007.

Did the crisis affect the major Internet players anyway?

Below is a quick outlook of some of the more important Internet players and how their stocks performed for today. Clearly everything was colored in red.

Company / Stock Symbol / Last Trade / Change / Mkt Cap

  • Microsoft Corporation  MSFT  32.05   -0.96 ( -2.91% )  299.84B
  • Google Inc.  GOOG  590.14   -10.11 ( -1.68% )   184.62B
  • News Corporation  NWS.A  18.59   -0.10 ( -0.54% )  58.05B
  • Time Warner Inc.  TWX  15.07   -0.47 ( -3.02% )  54.62B
  • eBay Inc.  EBAY  27.13   -1.20 ( -4.24% )  36.68B
  • Amazon.com, Inc.  AMZN  77.62   -2.14 ( -2.68% )  32.31B
  • Yahoo! Inc.  YHOO  20.02   -0.76 ( -3.66% )  26.78B
  • Baidu.com, Inc. (ADR)  BIDU  270.40   -2.64 ( -0.97% )  9.12B
  • IAC/InterActiveCorp  IACI  24.14   +0.02 ( 0.08% )  6.85B
  • SINA Corporation (USA)  SINA  38.95   -0.26 ( -0.66% )  2.13B
  • Sohu.com Inc.  SOHU  39.99   -2.06 ( -4.90% )  1.49B
  • CNET Networks, Inc.  CNET  7.78   -0.38 ( -4.66% )  1.18B 

Alibaba.com Corp., yet another major Internet player, which is traded on the Honk Kong stock market, has today lost 8.91% from its market capitalization.

From all the companies we took a look at only IAC seems to be the winner for today (at the moment we checked them out) – having its stock price colored green.

The big loser could be Answers Corporation which got its stock smashed on Friday, dropping more than 23%. Answers’ plunge jeopardizes Lexico acquisition, which they were hoping to buy for $100M, a deal we have reported a few weeks ago. It is hard to believe that answers.com is attracting more than 34M unique visitors per month and the entire company is today worth less than $30M. The company once was over $140M worth when its stock was close to $18.

The venture capital market

Reporters went public today on the venture capital market released from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association. Total venture funding for the year were up 10.8 percent to $29.4 billion, and up 11.5 percent for the fourth quarter of 2007 to $7 billion. That makes it the fourth straight quarter where VC deals were above the $7 billion mark, and the highest yearly total since 2001. 2007 was a year of steady gains for VC investing, the highest since the $40.6 billion invested in 2001 (and still well-below the $105 billion in 2000).

What about the new entrants from the web 2.0 age?

Facebook the most buzzed web 2.0 company seems to be rethinking the perfect time for their IPO and rumors are they are going to postpone it to at least 2009 or even 2010 if markets recover. Digg, yet another popular web site from the web 2.0 age, is trying to shop itself for months now at the $300M range but we hear no any news for potential acquisition of the social news site.

Despite all talks for possible recession in US and despite all huge losses the major banks in US have incurred, the web 2.0 deals appear to be more than ever before. For example only today [January 22, 2008] we have read about 10 deals at least where the average funding figures where close to $15M. Over the past 30 days, no matter we were in holiday season we have written down to report later more than 100 VC deals for web 2.0 companies, most of them start-up, and at least 20 acquisition and buy out deals with in the sector. Almost half of the deals reported on that particular day were acquisitions. Also today a major VC player has raised $577M late stage growth fund for. The web 2.0 market is going crazier from day to day and the peak seems not reached yet. Based on what we are witnessing the major credit and financial crisis in the states is not affecting the relatively small web 2.0 sector. All the VC activity within the sector gives no signals about crisis or any major slow down in the web 2.0 market, at least for now.
More

http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080122/wall_street.html
http://www.nyse.com 
http://www.nasdaq.com
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/01/21/venture-fundings-hit-294-billion-in-2007-the-year-in-charts/
http://finance.google.com/finance?q=GOOG
http://stocks.us.reuters.com/stocks/overview.asp?symbol=1688.HK
http://finance.google.com/finance?q=ANSW
http://www.bloggingstocks.com/2008/01/20/dilution-is-not-the-answers-com/
http://www.globes.co.il/serveen/globes/docview.asp?did=1000299719&fid=942

After Samwer brothers Nokia is also going to invest in Facebook

It has been deal time for Facebook over the past months, or year? After Microsoft, the Honk Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing  and the Samwer brothers Nokia is now rumored to be in talk to invest in Facebook. Let’s however first take a look at what the Samwer brothers have gotten last week for their money.

The Samwer brothers, Marc, Oliver, and Alexander, have reportedly taken a stake in the social networking site, according to online sources including Reuters. The three German Internet entrepreneurs, the Samwer brothers, have taken a stake in the social networking site Facebook, Alexander Samwer said. Mr. Samwer, who declined to reveal the size of the stake, said the brothers would now become Facebook’s strategic partners in Europe. “We are going to support the expansion of Facebook in Europe,” It has also been disclosed that the Samwer brothers have offered up less than the $240 million that Microsoft paid for a 1.6% stake in Facebook, but the Samwer brothers’ investment amount, was rumored, is still sizable. Samwer have basically given the following comment: it was a “significant” amount, and less than the $240 million Microsoft paid for a 1.6 percent stake in Facebook in October, which valued the site at $15 billion. Analysts are left to speculate on the exact numbers.

“We think Facebook is, after Google, the most innovative company to have emerged in the last few years. We think it will be the phenomenon for the Internet that Windows was for the desktop,” Samwer said. Pretty serious claim, but it has to be taking into consideration the huge amount of money being poured in Facebook on reportedly less than $200M in revenues for 2007.

More about Samwer brothers

After selling the German Internet auction site Alando.de to eBay for $50 million in shares, the brothers have made names for themselves and have become even more involved with startups since. After a brief spell working for eBay, they then set up ringtone firm Jamba, which they sold to the U.S. company Verisign for $273 million in shares and cash in 2004. Little later they have also invested in the German Twitter clone, Frazr, and a handful of other startups. Interestign fact to note is that the Samwer brothers also invested in the Facebook clone StudiVZ, which was sold about a year ago for $112 million. Taking these facts and achievements into consideration we would not be that far in our conclusions if we say the guys are successful serial entrepreneurs and they have something to do with the social networking, at least in Europe. It already comes as no surprise they are interested to bring the most popular social site into Europe and lock down exclusivity for the market.

As the Samwer brothers are becoming the strategic partners for Facebook in Europe means that Facebook is getting even more serious about its European expansion. With the Samwer brothers having a large, vested interest in the success of Facebook’s growth across Europe, this seems like a pretty good fit considering the interests for all parties involved.

Just a week later and we are seeing today Nokia is also ready to jump the bandwagon of Facebook investors. However, this deal seems to be structured/offered in a little bit different way than pure investment where Nokia is rumored to be in talk for a deal with Facebook to bring the social site on to Nokia handsets in a major way. The Facebook placement could be as prominent as the YouTube button on the main screen of iPhone, online sources indicate. In addition, the deal is said to involve giving Facebook a major slot within Nokia retail products’ displays.

Nokia purchasing a stake in the company was said on several news sites and professional blogs is something yet to be confirmed. This now makes a little more sense in the light of Facebook’s recent strategic funding by Sawmer Brothers, in an effort to expand in Europe. The Nokia-Facebook deal would probably give the social network instant big-time mobile distribution: Nokia is the world’s largest maker of mobile phones after all.

A senior Nokia executive, speaking on background, declined to go into details about the pact with Facebook: “There is talk of a partnership in the works… it’s safe to say we’re testing the waters and things still have to be worked out.”

Nokia has of late been working on a number of services for the mobile, including its mobile web service Ovi, its mobile social network Mosh, and its most recent acquisitions in the larger media applications space. In October last year, it bought digital mapping provider Navteq for $8.1 billion to eventually offer customers location-based services. Also in October, it announced a deal to provide a year’s free access to Universal’s music catalog on certain Nokia phones. Also, it bought three other smaller companies last year: Avvenu (file sharing on mobiles and between mobile-PC); Twango (media sharing service for the hefty amount of $100 million); and Enpocket (mobile advertising and marketing services). 

On the content side, the potential deal with Nokia could be seen in very positive light for Facebook to drive the site’s usage on the mobile web.

The investment side, although nothing is for sure yet, isn’t that surprising given how many companies and high profile investors have already bought stakes into the Facebook over hyped site. “The remarkable part is how many companies are willing to invest in Facebook at a $15 billion valuation. At best Facebook may be worth even more than that, particularly when you consider sites like Baidu have a market cap in excess of $9 billion.”  Said Duncan Riley, who is an author at Techcrunch.

We don’t know when Facebook may move to an IPO; in his 60 Minutes interview a week ago Mark Zuckerberg said that it might be this year, or next year, or even 2010. What we do know is that an IPO in the current market will unlikely provide a strong valuation for Facebook.

Taking into serious considerations the current stock market conditions and all the US recession talk lately Facebook is highly unlikely to IPO this year. 2009/ 2010 are spoken out as the earliest dates for the Facebook’s IPO, presuming that the market eventually recovers.

Other less optimistic people are commenting that an investment at that $15B valuation is nothing less than idiotic and give the following details in support of their claims.

  1. When MSFT made investment in FB, YHOO was trading at $25/share. That is 20% higher than todays price. No way is FB worth 55% of Yahoo’s valuation of $27B today.
  2. Yahoo has revenue of over $6.5 Billion. FB generated $150M.
  3. Yes, FB is growing. But, YHOO has a real business and FB is trying to figure out how to make money.
  4.  Competition: FB has more competition than YHOO. YHOO has to deal with GOOG, MSFT and ASK. FB has to deal with the 15+ social networking sites plus GOOG and ASK (expected soon!?). 

In opposition to these claims and comparisons, other people find it quite shocking that this isn’t apparent to most people why FB is put at such high valuation and is being chased by major companies.

A stake in FB to certain companies is a priceless gamble. They are not trying to own a stake so that if/when FB becomes a revenue source they too can share in the benefits and see an incredible ROI. What they are doing is trying to solidify a relationship (as exclusive as possible) so that as FB carves out their experimental business model these companies will be able to couple themselves to it somehow. It’s more of a bribe than an investment, sources claim.

Companies like Microsoft and Nokia are essentially saying “We will pay you a few hundred million to establish the beginnings of what will be a mutually beneficial and exclusive relationship. A small portion of your company will be an added benefit and you can use that to broadcast a large valuation to the world to further legitimize your business despite an unproven and incomplete model”.

Facebook would like to continue to own and exploit their users’ private data without sharing in these profits and simply providing a useful service. Unfortunately, consumers are quickly learning that this may be something to be concerned about. There is a fast growing demand for openness that will hurt their walled garden philosophy. At some point an open and selfless alternative will arise and Facebook will shrink in order to remain a viable player for the long run. The catch 22 will lead to the inevitable deflation of Facebook.

Facebook is hugely popular social networking site, second only to MySpace in terms of users. Other popular social networking sites are Bebo and Friendster, the second one tried to acquire Facebook in 2004 for just $10M.

The latest comScore metrics, we have seen, revealed that Facebook is actually site #16 (others claim it is #6 today) in US with nearly 70M unique visitors per month and more than 50M registered and active users.
 
Peter Thiel, cofounder of PayPal and managing partner of the Founders Fund was the first angel investor in the company. He invested $500,000 into Facebook in early 2004. Later Accel Partners poured $12.7 million more in funding, at a valuation in the $100 million range.

The next year [2006], Facebook received $25 million in funding from Greylock Partners and Meritech Capital, as well as returning investors Accel Partners and Peter Thiel. The pre-money valuation for this deal was in the $525 million range.

Facebook is reported to have turned deals down from Friendster, Yahoo, Viacom  and the mighty Google a couple of months ago when Zuckerberg has chosen Microsoft to partner with. Microsoft de-facto has invested $240 million into Facebook for just 1.6 percent of the company in October 2007. This put the company’s valuation at over $15 billion on just $150 million in annual revenues.

Total funding for the company is now exceeding $400M as this number is highly speculative given the fact no public information is available for both the Samwer brothers’ investment and the Nokia’s eventual equity purchase.

It would really be interesting to find out what’s the equity position Mr. Li Ka-shing, Samwer brothers have secured and eventually Nokia will have for their money considering what Microsoft has bought for their $240M.

More

http://www.facebook.com
http://www.nokia.com/
http://mashable.com/2008/01/15/facebook-samwer-brothers/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/01/20/nokia-to-invest-in-facebook/
http://www.paidcontent.org/entry/419-nokia-and-facebook-working-on-mobile-deal-could-involve-investment/
http://www.reuters.com/article/rbssTechMediaTelecomNews/idUSL1562367720080115
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/01/16/facebook-hits-europe_n_81730.html
http://web2innovations.com/money/2007/11/30/hong-kong-billionaire-li-ka-shing-invests-60m-in-facebook-funding-totals-33820m-to-date/
http://www.crunchbase.com/company/facebook
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/11/30/another-60-million-for-facebook
http://kara.allthingsd.com/20071130/facebook-nabs-60-million-investment-from-li-ka-shing
http://www.hutchison-whampoa.com/eng/about/chairman/chairman.htm
http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/12/03/business/brothers.php
http://venturebeat.com/2008/01/15/samwer-brothers-invest-in-facebook/
http://www.moconews.net/entry/419-nokia-to-buy-navteq-for-77-billion/
http://www.paidcontent.org/entry/419-facebook-gets-investment-from-german-online-entrepreneurs-samwer-brothe 
http://www.moconews.net/entry/419-nokia-buys-file-sharing-service-avvenu

WidgetBucks claims it served over 1B ads in just 3 months, enters behavioral targeting

A tiny start up called WidgetBucks is claiming they have served over 1 billion ads in the past three months. It is a serious claim, aside the fact they also claim to be the fastest growing ad network on web today.

WidgetBucks features pay-per-click shopping widgets that help their customers make money fast. They instantly display the most popular products based on buying trends of 100 million shoppers. Thus they are highly engaging, which means instant dollars for our customers. The company is also claiming their widgets see $3-$6 CPM – pretty good compared to traditional ad networks that deliver less than $2 CPM.

If that’s true and the company had over 1B ads served over the past 3 months and they claim they are seeing $3-$6 CPM (cost per thousand impressions) on average it then turns out the company should have its pay outs made over the last months in the $3M-$6M range.

The site offers the following features and benefits.

  • Self-service, scalable and relevant content that’s free and easy to publish.
  • Dynamic, contextual widgets act as content (vs. ads) that more effectively targets your users, not the masses.
  • Extensive reporting tools and daily updates; Payouts are monthly.
  • Complements existing programs, such as Google AdSense.
  • Over 300 configurations, 256 color schemes and formatted for major IAB standard sizes.
  • Dynamic Ad Yield Management matches the best merchant for each product while offering consumers the best price.
  • MerchSense (patent pending) contextual algorithm automatically targets the right products for your site.
  • Manual configuration also available by category.
  • Product listings from 30,000 merchants including trusted leading brands.

Bloggers can customize what kinds of consumer items they want to appear in the widget (books, movies, computers, musical instruments), then they grab some code and put it on their blog. Or they can let Mpire (Widgetbucks’s parent company) serve up contextually relevant ads based on the topics they write about. WidgetBucks scans your site and tries to match ads to the keywords it finds. The widgets tap into merchandise from 30,000 retailers, including Amazon, Shopping.com, Target, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, and the Gap. WidgetBucks shares the cost-per-click revenue with bloggers.

WidgetBucks comes to you from the folks at Mpire Corporation, the award-winning meta-shopping service. Mpire’s extensive shopping data experience, including its proprietary contextual, analytics and relevancy algorithms, power WidgetBucks. Founded in 2005, Mpire is backed by Ignition Partners and former eBay executive and Pay Pal angel investor Richard Rock.

The parent company is a shopping search engine. Not only will it give you a list of links to where to buy that 32-in. LCD TV, if you click on Show Product Details, it will display a pricing chart that shows whether the price is trending up or down, at both retail and at auction, so you can decide if it’s the right time to buy. The “shopping companion” browser plug-in, a free download, is handy to use when you are shopping at other sites; it shows what other etailers are charging for the item you’re looking at, so you can be sure to get the best deal. Soon it will also show how consumers rated the product on Epinions and Amazon. So far this site has indexed more than 150 million products offered by 55,000 online stores, from mom-and-pop Web shops to major e-tailers like Amazon.com, and it doesn’t accept payment from merchants for top placement in its search results.

The site (Mpire) has won a number of prestigious awards from TIME’s 50 Best Websites for 2007 to t the eBay’s winner of the Star Developer Award 2007.  WidgetBucks has also won the Mashable Open Web Award.

Others in the sector include Farecast that does the chart thing with airfares, TheFind.com, the old player Epinions and the new comer Proximic, which has just signed a deal with both Yahoo Shopping and eBay’s Shopping.com to contextually deliver their product ads to third party sites. There is also Google’s Gadget Ads (AdSense in a widget), AuctionAds, boobox, and even ThisNext.

Today it seems the company is up to something even bigger – the behavioral widget ads.

While WidgetBucks already had MergeSense to help you determine the best products to display on your site’s widgets, the next step was “to test ad placement within the widget,” says Matt Hulett, CEO of Widgetbucks. The new service is called YieldSense, which is quite close in title to another behavioral ad system called YieldBuild, which determines optimal placement of text ads throughout your website.

YieldSense has some basic behavioral ad techniques being applied to the widget ads. Experts claim widget makers with built in networks have a distinct advantage in the amount of data they’re able to pull, from CPM to attention data, along with the passive absorption of the experiences of ad networks that have come before them.

It seems widget builders and companies are poised to become dominant players in the behavioral ads market due to the nature of the widgets being embedded across number of third party sites gathering that way vast amount of information. WidgetBucks perhaps took that step a little sooner than others because its widget network in fact began as an advertising affiliate program.

Mpire Corporation is based in Seattle, WA.

The behavioral ads market is however not going to be a cake walk for most of the companies. Experts in the sector outline several major issues the industry is facing today. Issues like privacy, accuracy and quality, personalization and profiles are just a few of the behavioral targeting concerns today.

An alternative, being proposed, that solves the issues with both privacy and effectiveness is one centered on understanding the user’s intent, instead of their clickpath or profile, and pairing that with specific content, product, and advertising recommendations. This approach relies exclusively on the collective wisdom of like-minded peers who have demonstrated interests or engagement with similar content and context.

The concept of profiles is completely removed in this case, and instead by understanding the user’s expressed or implied intent that user will see the content that is appropriate to their current mindset.

This is the next evolution in user targeting that gets beyond clicks and analytics, and instead rests on a proven foundation of modern social science theory.  The approach is conceptually simple and mimics how we learn and act in everyday life – making choices based on what others who are in the same current mindset as us have done. More about the behavioral targeting can be read over here

The market

Behavioral advertising and behavioral targeting are both lately becoming yet another hot area in the online marketing space, with Tacoda recently acquired by AOL for an estimated amount of $200-300 million. Start ups are trying to analyze every move you do online and try to hook you up with the right ads, products and services. MyBuys is making no exception it tracks user behavior to help online retailers make better recommendations.

Competition in the field is staggering and some of the names include StyleFeeder relying on community recommendations and raised $1M so far, Wunderloop, Baynote, Matchmine, which also raised $10M recently and not last Aggregate Knowledge, which once used to be a hot start-up in the Silicon Valley. The last one that took a massive funding was MyBuys – $10M from Lightspeed Venture Partners and Palomar Ventures.

The demand among online retailers for better behavioral tracking is so high right now that MyBuys and its startup competitors are all able to gather this “low hanging fruit” — Lightspeed Venture Partner’s Peter Nieh explains further.

The market shakeout in behavioral targeting will resemble search engines startup in the 1990’s, Nieh, a Lightspeed Venture Partner, thinks: Many companies were able to search the web, but Google ended up doing it way better than the others, and captured the largest portion of the market.

More

http://www.widgetbucks.com/home.page
http://widgetbucks.blogspot.com/
http://mashable.com/2008/01/16/widgetbucks-yieldsense/
http://mashable.com/2007/10/02/widgetbucks/
http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1633488_1633458_1633489,00.html
http://blogs.mpire.com/?p=135
http://blogs.mpire.com/?p=135
http://web2innovations.com/money/2008/01/19/proximic-lands-deals-with-yahoo-and-shoppingcom-said-to-be-taking-on-adsense-which-is-bad-pr-approach/
http://widgetbucks.blogspot.com/2007/11/widgetbucks-offering-cpm-ads-for.html
http://mashable.com/2008/01/16/widgetbucks-yieldsense/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/10/02/a-widget-that-actually-makes-money/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/05/09/mpire-launches-widgets-for-ebay-and-amazon-affiliates/
http://web2innovations.com/money/2008/01/11/behavioral-targeting-is-busted-but-marketers-are-barking-up-the-wrong-tree/
http://web2innovations.com/money/2007/12/26/behavioral-recommendation-service-for-shoppers-raises-10-million-market-heats-up/

Proximic lands deals with Yahoo! and Shopping.com, said to be taking on AdSense, which is bad PR approach!

Content-delivery network Proximic, which has a unique contextual matching system, now has ads to sell that can help bloggers and others monetize their sites. The Munich Germany based start-up has signed deals to syndicate product listings from both eBay’s Shopping.com and Yahoo’s Shopping Network as contextual ads on other Websites. What other web sources claim the company is going to have more than 50 million product ad units in its data base coming in from both Yahoo! Shopping and eBay’s Shopping.com. Proximic estimates that Google, in contrast, has an inventory of about one million unique ads. Proximic’s ad network based on this massive inventory will launch at the end of January or early February 2008.

Web publishers are going to be offered with a way to place a widget on their sites, which Proximic is later going to use to serve ads on. Web site participating in the network are going to be later indexed and served up with contextually matching products as text ads along with contextually relevant content links. The ads and contextual links can also appear in a sidebar for anyone who has downloaded the Proximic Firefox add-on.

Proximic is neither matching context based on the keywords nor on the context itself. The company also says it doesn’t use semantic or statistical methodologies to understand the page’s meaning. “Semantic systems are not able to scale,” claims Proximic co-founder and CTO Thomas Nitsche. He also adds “If you hold more than one million documents, you run into a problem,”. Semantic search, he thinks, is too slow at this point for ad serving. Instead of keyword, semantic, or statistical approaches, Proximic uses proximity analysis to determine the page’s context. There is no much information publicly available as to how exactly it works, but from what we know and have read Proximic’s algorithm is translating each body of text into a pattern of characters that then becomes represented by a mathematical vector. Matches are done through traditional vector analysis. The company gives the following explanation:

We look at patterns of letters. We get a profile. The profile is a vector. We compare two vectors, and compute proximity by pattern distance. We can generate proximity between texts. The text can be one word, two words, 15 words, or a complete page.

We have read on other blogs claims of the sort Proximic is taking on Google AdSense, which has provoked us to give our 2 cents too and we think that such claims are, if anything, too boostful and not serious in any way and could be more harmful to the image of Proximic rather than brining anything like positive PR at the end of the day…

Ok, here we go with several potential problems, as we see them, Proximic is going to face and needs to deal with.

First
First off no site running Google AdSense is going to give up on its Google ads and earnings and replace them with an unknown start up that has little to no advertisers on its network. Why? Simply because Google does not allow your site or blog to run third party contextual ads (no matter what technology is used to match the context) on a page where their AdSense ad units run, which leaves little to no chance for Proximic’s contextual ads to stand off the ground any soon or at least not on sites that are currently Google AdSense publishers. There is clearly going to be a conflict of the two contextual ad units and Google is not going to be the one who will be dropped off by the web publishers.

Second
If Proximic is indexing each page, as we read above, that becomes part of its network then they would also need 600,000 servers to get any closer to what Google is today (check the link for more info about the Google’s computation expenditures).

Third
Revenue sharing with web publishers is not going to be very favorable for the web publishers who are going to participate in Proximic’s ad network after eBay, Yahoo! and Proximic itself all get their cut. We have read on Web that Proximic plans on giving participating websites 70 percent of any revenues after eBay and Yahoo! take their cut, which clearly leaves the publishers with a very small piece of the pie. On the other side, if they want to spread around Web, the way Google did, they have to pay web publishers serious money, lots of money, before even starting to think on competing with Google AdSense. Let’s put it that way: we see no way for Proximic to reach the payout Google achieved – $3.5B paid to web publishers in the first 3 quarters of 2007…

Forth
Proximic is not the first third party company to serve ad units from Yahoo! Shopping and eBay’s shopping.com. Even today you can sign up for Shopping.com or Yahoo! Shopping’s developer program and get listings up by next week. There are a number of other shopping engine syndication programs and most of them allow you to target to some extent. One of which is Shopzilla, among others, and Proximic is going to face fierce competition for the love of eBay and Yahoo!.

Fifth
In tests, Nitsche says Proximic is seeing click-through rates as high as 1.5 percent, which is much greater than the 0.25 percent or less that is typical for an AdSense campaign. That’s simply not true. We have been Google AdSense publisher since 2004 and our average click-through ratio has always been way above 1.5%, so speaking for precise targeting we’ll have to wait and see what Proximic is capable of.

Sixth
Proximic claims to be showing relevant results based on the content one is reading by gathering results from multiple sources, including Wikipedia but a weak point here is that they are not maintaining their own index massive, unlike Google. Just like with their third party sources of the information they deliver the same is with their product ads too, they are not theirs, which simply turns Proximic into an affiliate (middleman) company. Either way the company is vulnerable in case any of the third party information/ads providers leaves the game. 

Proximic is a privately funded company based in Munich, Germany and Palo Alto, California. Investors include Wellington Partners and the Holtzbrinck Group, the publisher of numerous publications including Scientific American. The company is said to have 14 employees.

Other players on the contextual arena include Amazon, LinkedWords, Turn, Tumri, Shopzilla, Vibrant Media and Kontera and BlogRovr, among others.

Amazon is also employing the same in-text contextual approach with their in-text linked words where once you mouse over them a JavaScript pop up message appears containing contextual web information and product ads from the huge data base of the shopping company.  

LinkedWords is yet another, already fairly popular, company known to deal with the contextual aspect of Web and is known to be the pioneer of the in-text linked words approach, been around even before Amazon adopted this interesting approach for spreading its products among third party web sites’ context. It runs a massive contextual platform built upon tens of millions of English words and phrases, which web publishers are using to get contextually linked to each other through their platform by using in-text linked words, as the company’s name implies itself. (Disclosure: we are using LinkedWords)

Other ad companies that are known to have tried the same are Turn and Tumri, among others.

More

http://www.proximic.com/
http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9850877-7.html?tag=nefd.blgs
http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9788569-7.html
http://web2innovations.com/money/2008/01/10/can-google-lead-amid-its-ever-growing-infrastructure-and-computation-expenditures/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/01/15/proximic-signs-deals-with-yahoo-and-ebay-to-turn-product-listings-into-contextual-ads-taking-on-adsense/
http://venturebeat.com/2008/01/16/proximic-signs-contextual-ad-deals-with-yahoo-shoppingcom-aims-for-adsense/
http://blog.express-press-release.com/2007/10/02/proximic-takes-on-google-but-overlooks-sphere-linkedwords-kontera-vibranmedia-and-others/
http://www.calacanis.com/2007/12/21/ads-as-content-or-testing-google-and-shopzilla/
 

Massive second round of funding for Freebase – $42 Million

Freebase, the open and shared database of the world’s knowledge, has raised a whopping amount of money in its Series B round of funding, $42 Million, in a round that included Benchmark Capital and Goldman Sachs. Total funding to date is $57 million.

The investment is considerable, and comes at a time when a number of experts are betting that a more powerful, “semantic” Web is about to emerge, where data about information is much more structured than it is today.

In March 2006, Freebase received $15 million in funding from investors including Benchmark Capital, Millennium Technology Ventures and Omidyar Network.

Freebase, created by Metaweb Technologies, is an open database of the world’s information. It’s built by the community and for the community – free for anyone to query, contribute to, build applications on top of, or integrate into their websites.

Already, Freebase covers millions of topics in hundreds of categories. Drawing from large open data sets like Wikipedia, MusicBrainz, and the SEC archives, it contains structured information on many popular topics, including movies, music, people and locations – all reconciled and freely available via an open API. This information is supplemented by the efforts of a passionate global community of users who are working together to add structured information on everything from philosophy to European railway stations to the chemical properties of common food ingredients.

By structuring the world’s data in this manner, the Freebase community is creating a global resource that will one day allow people and machines everywhere to access information far more easily and quickly than they can today.

Freebase  aims to “open up the silos of data and the connections between them”, according to founder Danny Hillis at the Web 2.0 Summit. Freebase is a database that has all kinds of data in it and an API. Because it’s an open database, anyone can enter new data in Freebase. An example page in the Freebase db looks pretty similar to a Wikipedia page. When you enter new data, the app can make suggestions about content. The topics in Freebase are organized by type, and you can connect pages with links, semantic tagging. So in summary, Freebase is all about shared data and what you can do with it.

Here’s a video tour of how does Freebase work. Freebase categorizes knowledge according to thousands of “types” of information, such as film, director or city. Those are the highest order of categorization. Then underneath those types you have “topics,” which are individual examples of the types — such as Annie Hall and Woody Allen. It boasts two million topics to date. This lets Freebase represent information in a structured way, to support queries from web developers wanting to build applications around them. It also solicits people to contribute their knowledge to the database, governed by a community of editors. It offers a Creative Commons license so that it can be used to power applications, on an open API.

This is one of the biggest Series B rounds for the past 12 months. And probably what Google tries to do with its Knol to Wikipedia is the same what Freebase tries to achieve too – replicate and commercialize the huge success of the non-profit Wikipedia.

Other semantic applications and projects include Powerset, Twine, AdaptiveBlue, Hakia, Talis, LinkedWords, NosyJoe, TrueKnowledge, among others.

Peter Rip, an investor in Twine has quickly reacted on the comparison between the two Freebase and Twine the VentureBeat’s Matt Marshall made.

As an investor in Twine, allow me correct you about Twine and Metaweb’s positioning. You correctly point out that Metaweb is building a database about concepts and things on the Web. Twine is not. Twine is really more of an application than a database. It is a way for persons to share information about their interests. So they are complementary, not competitive.

What’s most important is that Twine will be able to use all the structure in something like Metaweb (and other content sources) to enrich the user’s ability to track and manage information. Think of Metaweb as a content repository and Twine as as the app that uses content for specific purposes.

Twine is still in closed beta. So the confusion is understandable, especially with all the hype surrounding the category.

Nova Spivack, the founder of Twine has also commented on.

Freebase and Twine are not competitive. That should be corrected in the above article. In fact our products are very different and have different audiences. Twine is for helping people and groups share knowledge around their interests and activities. It is for managing personal and group knowledge, and ultimately for building smarter communities of interest and smarter teams.

Metaweb, by contrast, is a data source that Twine can use, but is not focused on individuals or on groups. Rather Metaweb is building a single public information database, that is similar to the Wikipedia in some respects. This is a major difference in focus and functionality. To use an analogy, Twine is more like a semantic Facebook, and Metaweb is more like a semantic Wikipedia.

Freebase is in alpha.

Freebase.com was the first Semantic App being featured by Web2Innovations in its series of planned publications where we will try to discover, highlight and feature the next generation of web-based semantic applications, engines, platforms, mash-ups, machines, products, services, mixtures, parsers, and approaches and far beyond.

The purpose of these publications is to discover and showcase today’s Semantic Web Apps and projects. We’re not going to rank them, because there is no way to rank these apps at this time – many are still in alpha and private beta.
More

http://www.metaweb.com/about/
http://freebase.com
http://roblog.freebase.com
http://venturebeat.com/2008/01/14/shared-database-metaweb-gets-42m-boost/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/01/16/freebase-takes-42-million/
http://www.dmwmedia.com/news/2008/01/15/freebase-developer-metaweb-technologies-gets-$42.4-million
http://www.crunchbase.com/company/freebase
http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/10_semantic_apps_to_watch.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danny_Hillis
http://www.metaweb.com
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaweb_Technologies
http://web2innovations.com/money/2007/11/30/freebase-open-shared-database-of-the-worlds-knowledge/
http://mashable.com/2007/07/17/freebase/
http://squio.nl/blog/2007/04/02/freebase-life-the-universe-and-everything/

NetAudioAds kicks off with… spam

A new initiative launched by V2P Communications, a San Diego company, named NetAudioAds is taking clearly wrong PR approach by spamming web site owners and administrators around Web with unsolicited emails and trying to convince them to join their network.

A small army of third party brokers or affiliate workers are sending mass mailing around Web from third party web sites with domain names not associated with or having nothing in common with the main company, and trying to get new web publishers signed up for the service.

I have no idea who is planning the PR campaign of NetAudioAds but this is totally wrong road to take. Their web sites looks and feels somehow like from the nineties with low quality images and poor design and on top of this the site uses boostful marketing language style like those get-rich-quick scheme scammers that we are all fed up with. Their official site that does rank for their official name does not even use NetAudioAds in the page title and is extremely hard to find on Web, which additionally leaves the potential web publishers with the feeling of something fishy. But this is not the worst. Apparently the marketing people at NetAudioAds came up with the genial idea to hire people from all over Web who are using third party web sites to proclaim their services by sending pure spam messages to, probably, sites that they believe are trafficked enough trying to enroll them for the service. When you decide to follow up on these emails you are given with no official site to read more who these people are after all, but you are provided with a funny brand new web site with strange name put up overnight with a page for you to sign your company up with.

To make things even worse those third party people try everything possible to cover up the original site so that you get your site signed up with their, obviously, affiliate site that is being registered just 2 days before the email hit your inbox. Wrong strategy, poor public communications and I see no way for V2P Communications, the company behind NetAudioAds, getting any positive results out of this PR mess.

The service itself is said to launch somewhere during February 2008 and the PR and marketing mess seems to be total. San Diego-based V2P Communications is planning to offer five-to-eight-second audio ads, called NetAudioAds that will automatically play when a visitor lands on a blog or Web site.

The claim is: Using V2P Communications’ coming audio ads, which will pay blog publishers a 25% commission on ad revenue, a site that gets 2,000 unique visitors a day with an advertiser paying $14 per 1,000 plays would earn $7 a day, or $49 a week.

Blog publishers get a 25% cut of the ad revenue. About 25,000 publishers have signed up so far, says Michael Knox, V2P’s co-founder, and several large companies and 2008 presidential campaigns have expressed interest in becoming advertisers through the service.

To make things look even worse, different affiliate sites around Web are claiming from completely out of sense and logic numbers of the web publishers already enrolled to the service to the ridiculous claims that their company will deliver better results than Google AdSense.

For example, and for those of you that do not know yet, Google has paid over $3.5B to web publishers just in the first three quarters of 2007 alone. 

Aside, there seems to be little to no coordination in the claims of the different web sites that try to proclaim the NetAudioAds on Web.

What self respecting web publisher takes only 25% of ad revenue to annoy all of their visitors and readers with audio ads? And how do you keep up your momentum and page views if you annoy everyone who comes across your site?

If the idea wasn’t bad enough, the company behind this ad network is talking to the media to pump their product while…

a blogspot hate site ranks #1 for their official name
their official site that does rank for their official name does not even use NetAudioAds in the page title
they bid on AdWords their core brand name but they are not even bidding on alternate version of their name like Net Audio Ads

 More About V2P Communications

V2P Communications is a Nevada C-Corporation that was established in 2005. V2P Communications Inc. is an Internet web-based company that was constructed to capture opportunities arising from new Internet technology, emerging online markets and ever-changing trends of Internet users.

V2P Communications Inc. has two main Internet audio websites; Voice2Page.com and NetAudioAds.com. The Voice2Page website’s primary purpose is to distribute and sell Record-by-Phone Internet audio monthly subscription services, while the NetAudioAds site places Internet Audio Advertising strategically across the Internet.

We are an Internet-based communications company. The Company’s primary focus is introducing innovative Internet Audio Services to the general public.

How does a network that offer advertising and marketing solutions for others do such a bad job marketing their own products?

I do not want to sound negative but this is not going to work things out for V2P Communications and unless they change their entire PR strategy the chances for them to get buzz quickly is higher but with very negative sign.
More

http://netaudioads.com/
http://www.seobook.com/netaudioads-wasting-publicity-pushing-bad-idea
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120036638439890355.html?mod=technology_featured_stories_hs
http://voice2page.com/info/v2ppage_advertising.html

Reach for the stars says a newly launched talent show site

Impersonated.com urges visitors to upload their singing videos for the chance to win fabulous prizes & Be World Famous!! The site is officially in BETA launch and in just few weeks the site claims they had over 8,000 videos played on the site.

Impersonated.com launches exciting new talent show site which allows users to upload videos of themselves singing their favorite songs for a unique opportunity to make friends, have fun and even to earn massive fame and fortune in the process. The premise of impersonated.com’s offer is simple: Submit a webcam or camcorder recorded video of yourself singing along to your favorite song in an attempt to impersonate the original artist, and other members will be allowed to vote on the video submissions. There is no limit to how many videos you can upload, and video submissions are completely free no matter how many times you participate.
 
“Join for free, upload your video for free, and tell all your friends about it so they can vote for your video. There is nothing more to it. If you want to have fun, get famous and win fabulous prizes, you need to start singing and get your videos uploaded.” Says Jessica Ford, the Maestro of Impersonated. According to Ford, the more votes your video receives, the more likely you are to win one of hundreds of fantastic prizes, including $10,000 in cash, an iPod touch, a Sony Camcorder, Celebrity Autographed goodies and many other astounding items. Winning fabulous prizes has never been easier or more fun!

Impersonated.com is clearly one of the most exciting ways on the web today to have fun, make music and possibly even to obtain the fame and fortune that average people could never usually get a chance for. Impersonated.com aspires to bring out the best in everyone.

Created to be a vibrant, exciting & fun way to showcase their talent, impersonated.com claims to be bigger than Pop Idol, American Idol & The X-Factor TV shows for thousands of hopefuls the World over.

Impersonated.com has all the fun with none of the ‘Simon Cowell’ nastiness!

The next Platinum Awards Ceremony will be held in the beautiful and exciting city of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The sector is very crowded and some of the direct rivals are Bix, which was acquired by Yahoo! anyway, SingShot, also acquired but by Electronic Arts, FameCast and mainly Yahoo! Talent Show, among others.

The original story has been picked up from EPR Network.

More

http://express-press-release.com/45/New%20Talent%20Show%20Website%20Urges%20-%20%27Reach%20For%20The%20Stars%27.php
http://www.impersonated.com/
http://mashable.com/2006/10/23/yahoos-talent-contest-is-a-sign-of-desperation/
http://mashable.com/2006/07/31/singshot-launches-the-youtube-of-karaoke/
http://talentshow.yahoo.com/
http://mashable.com/2006/07/18/bix-is-the-new-american-idol/
http://webtoys.blogspot.com/2006/12/bix-online-talent-show.html
http://bix.yahoo.com/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/07/30/singshot-enters-online-karaoke-space/
http://mashable.com/2007/02/12/singshot-acquired-by-electronic-arts/

More deals in the storage space, Fabrik acquires G-Technology

Just it was a couple of weeks ago when we reported and analyzed the two major acquisitions within the online storage sector IBM announced it has acquired XIV, an Israeli company for what is believed to be $350M and some months ago EMC Corporation has snatched up Mozy for $76M. A few days ago eSureIt, yet another online storage and backup service has raised $5 million in Series A round of funding as the money came from OpenView Venture Partners, a small Boston based investment fund. Today we have dug up yet another deal from the same industry.

Fabrik, a storage hardware and service provider, announced today that they have acquired G-Technology. Deal terms were  not disclosed. G Technology sells external drives that focus on high performance for rich media. Their products are focused on Mac users. G-Technology is also releasing a couple of new products today, including a 1 TB mini Raid USB drive that is bus powered.

Today’s storage consumers have a wide range of options, from plug-in drives to LAN-attached storage to on-demand services. At the same time, an explosion of personal content, from photos to videos to music, is driving the demand. Fabrik is perhaps trying to tie together these options, offering physical storage, on-demand storage, disaster recovery and content-sharing services. This is Fabrik’s third acquisition after previously acquiring Filmloop and SimpleTech.

In February 2007, Fabrik purchased the consumer business of SimpleTech, which now offers a leading portfolio of online services, home network solutions, storage devices and memory for the consumer and small business markets. Serving the creative professional market, G-Tech complements this offering by delivering a respected brand in the Apple Mac community, known for making professional-quality, specialized solutions with unmatched performance, reliability, compatibility and style. Specifically designed for HD video editing, 3D rendering and other demanding applications, G-Tech’s product family further expands the company’s footprint to include a wide array of USB, FireWire, eSATA, SCSI and Fibre Channel systems ideal for both small creative studios or big production houses.

Fabrik is said to be on a $200 million revenue run rate for 2008 and are profitable after raising around $50 million in capital. 90% of the revenues are coming from the U.S. Rumors are that the company is on track for a public offering or a very large acquisition. Cordono, the company’s CEO, says they won’t raise more capital for now, unless its for further acquisitions.

“Fabrik intends to not only to maintain, but accelerate the growth of the G-Tech product line, which represents a strategic part of our overall portfolio,” said Mike Cordano, Fabrik CEO and co-founder. “We are excited about the extension of our market position as G-Tech has done a phenomenal job developing solutions specifically for the Mac and content creation industry. Based on this success, we plan to keep G-Tech’s brand and identity intact, providing working capital, marketing power and resources needed to help grow the business both domestically and abroad.”

Roger Mabon, CEO of G-Tech, sees the acquisition as beneficial for his company as well.

“Fabrik represents a great opportunity for us. Combining Fabrik’s vision, financial resources, and operating team places us in a powerful strategic position. There is no better scenario for our business, the market and the employees at G-Tech,” said Mabon.

Competition / The market

Fabrik won’t be the only one going after this opportunity. The company will compete head-to-head with storage giants like Seagate (whose eVault service uses a SaaS model) and pure-play storage companies like XDrive. Computer makers like Dell are also moving in: Dell said back in November that it plans to acquire storage vendor EqualLogic for $1.4 billion in cash, and it already offers an on-demand backup solution called DataSafe.

Other online storage companies include: Amazon’s S3 (Simple Storage Service), Cnet’s All you can Upload, AllMyData, Box.neteSnips, Freepository, GoDaddy, iStorage, MofileOmnidrive, Openomy, Streamload, Strongspace, iBackup, Zingee, Xdrive and Carbonite, which is known to have raised $21 million in venture financing.

It is also rumored that Google is planning to launch gDrive. Microsoft is also jumping into the same bandwagon and more information can be found over here. Zmanda is an open source back up solution as well.

The online storage space is hugely overpopulated and crowded area. Who is next, we aksed a few weeks ago? A comparison chart over some of the companies above can be found over here: http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=93730415&size=o

More about Fabrik

Our digital content and devices play an integral role in our daily lives. We’re giving you the tools, the ‘fabrik,’ to connect it and protect it as never before.” – Mike Cordano, CEO, Fabrik Inc.

Mission
Fabrik’s mission is to simplify a user’s digital experience whether at home, on the Web or on the road by delivering a blend of online services, software and devices that help them store, access, manage, protect and share their growing collections of content.

Services and Solutions
What sets us apart is our unique approach. We are not like traditional storage players. Our core DNA is in software and Web services, giving us the talent to execute and the ability to provide integrated, end-to-end content management and backup solutions.

Store
Our broad range of solutions includes innovative portable and external storage and backup solutions, and network attached storage devices for creative professionals, consumers and small business users. By blending simplicity, style and function, Fabrik’s storage solutions have become one of the leading brands on the market today.

Share
Our unique online service, Fabrik Beta, provides revolutionary change in the way we manage, access, share, and connect with our content. With photos, music, documents and videos scattered across multiple devices, Fabrik Beta finds your content and presents it to you in a single, elegant view – no matter where it resides. Based on an innovative platform, it combines the flexibility to access content anytime, anywhere, with the power and functionality of a traditional desktop application. Just imagine the possibilities when blending it with our devices and other online services!

Backup
In the event of a fire, theft or other major loss, what good is a backup on your external drive when it’s gone? Revolutionizing the way consumers protect their digital content, Fabrik delivers both local and online backup in one solution. With multiple layers of protection, users can easily protect digital memories and content they just couldn’t do without. Fabrik Ultimate Backup works in the background, uploading important files securely, remotely and automatically.

Move
We also offers a full line of high-speed memory upgrades, including the latest DDR, DDR2, DDR3 and SDRAM technologies that support business and consumer applications including desktops, laptops, consumer electronics, servers, networking and telecommunications. With more than 2,000 memory upgrades available, our easy-to-use Upgrade Navigator ensures you get the right memory for the right solution.

The CEO

Mike Cordano is the CEO and a cofounder of Fabrik. Along with his vision for the company and his passion to provide users with simpler ways to get more out of their personal media, Mike brings proven success and expertise in delivering products and services to consumers around the globe. Prior to co-founding Fabrik, Mike served as executive vice president of Worldwide Sales and Marketing for Maxtor Corporation, a worldwide leader in data storage products. At Maxtor, Mike provided leadership to all sales, product marketing, corporate marketing, public relations, technical support, customer service and business planning organizations. In addition to his other corporate wide duties, Mike was responsible for the formation and management of the branded products business unit at Maxtor. With the creation of strong product categories such as Maxtor OneTouch, the branded products business became the leading provider of external storage expansion and data backup products for the consumer and SOHO markets. Mike’s background also includes several regional and international management assignments, which solidified his leadership skills on a local and global scale. Mike holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Colorado.

Other executives are Mike Williams and Mark McEachen. The board of directors includes Keyur Patel, Mike Cordano, Ross Levinsohn and Jim McLean.

Fabrik Inc., founded in 2005, is a privately owned company with offices in San Mateo and Santa Ana, California. Fabrik is backed by investments from Comventures, Intel Capital, and a $24.9 million Series D investment round that came in just recently and was led by 3i.

More about G-Technology

G-Technology Inc. manufactures the industry’s most comprehensive line of external disk storage solutions designed for professional content creation applications. Our USB, FireWire, eSATA, SCSI and Fibre Channel systems support all levels of audio/video production. G-Tech’s focus on technology, quality and design has resulted in disk storage solutions with unmatched performance, reliability and style… G-Tech corporate headquarters is located in the heart of the Santa Monica Studio District in sunny Southern California.

“G-Tech’s mission is to provide the creative community with quality products that incorporate superior industrial design, functionality, usability and performance at affordable prices,” said Roger S. Mabon, VP of Sales and Marketing for G-Technology, Inc. “Our first – and award winning – product, a FireWire 800 RAID solution called G-RAID, meets all of these criteria and is in a class of its own.”

G-Technology was founded by Roger Mabon four years ago and is said to be self funded company.

More

http://www.g-technology.com/News/pdf/Fabrik-G-Tech.pdf
http://www.g-technology.com/
http://www.fabrik.com/
http://www.myfabrik.com/register/press_release.php
http://www.fabrikultimatebackup.com/
http://www.myfabrik.com/
http://gigaom.com/2008/01/15/fabrik-acquires-g-tech-aims-to-consolidate-consumer-storage-offerings/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/01/15/fabrik-acquires-g-technology-expect-2008-revenues-of-200-million/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/02/12/filmloop-betrayed-by-investors/
http://www.crunchgear.com/2006/11/21/fabrik-launches-myfabrik-google-yawns-has-sandwich/
http://gigaom.com/2007/11/06/for-emc-dell-hell-in-equallogic/
http://web2innovations.com/money/2008/01/03/two-major-acquisition-deals-within-the-online-storage-space/
http://web2innovations.com/money/2008/01/05/online-storage-sector-is-hot-yet-another-player-is-entering-the-game/
http://www.g-technology.com/News/pdf/G-Tech-G-RAID-FINAL.pdf
http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/080115/aqtu065a.html?.v=2
http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=109&STORY=/www/story/01-15-2008/0004736905&EDATE=
http://www.crunchbase.com/company/fabrik

LogMeIn files for an IPO hoping to raise $86M

It seems it is time for small-sized Internet and technology IPOs. After Internet Brands, Inc. went public on NASDAQ it is now turn of yet another second-tier technology company LogMeIn, Inc. to do the same looking for pretty much the same amount to raise. It has filed to trade on the NASDAQ under the symbol LOGM.

In times when the IPO market isn’t what it was even a few months ago the remote computer access service provider LogMeIn has filed to raise up to $86.3 million through an initial public offering, according to a filing late last week with the SEC. This happens despite the fact a growing crowd of other technology companies are being forced to pull or postpone their IPOs. Some popular and web 1.0 Internet companies that have recently pulled off their IPOs include GoDaddy, Classmates and Accoona (Planned on $80.5) among others. By contrast, looking to capitalize on the Apple halo effect, three former company executives, including co-founder Steve Wozniak, took their new company, Acquicor Technology, public 2006 in an IPO raising $150 million. The money they raised is purely based on their reputation, as Acquicor Technology, is officially designated as a “blank-check” company, meaning they don’t have any principal activity or business model yet and can do whatever they want with investor money, when raised.

LogMeIn intends to use the net proceeds from this offering for working capital and other general corporate purposes, including the development of new services, sales and marketing activities and capital expenditures. They may also use a portion of the net proceeds for the acquisition of, or investment in, companies, technologies, services or assets that complement their business. They also intend to invest the net proceeds from this offering in short-term investment grade and U.S. government securities.

LogMeIn is a leading provider of on-demand, remote-connectivity solutions to small and medium-sized businesses, or SMBs, IT service providers and consumers. Businesses and IT service providers use our solutions to deliver remote, end-user support and to access and manage computers and other Internet-enabled devices more effectively and efficiently. Consumers and mobile workers use their solutions to access computer resources remotely, thereby facilitating their mobility and increasing their productivity. Their solutions, which are deployed on-demand and accessible through a Web browser, are secure, scalable and easy for the customers to try, purchase and use. The company’s customer base has grown from approximately 48,000 premium accounts in November 2006 to approximately 92,000 premium accounts in November 2007.

They believe LogMeIn Free and LogMeIn Hamachi, their popular free services, provide on-demand connectivity to more users than any other on-demand connectivity service, giving them access to a diverse group of users and increasing awareness of our premium services. Our users, they claim, have connected over 30 million computers and other Internet-enabled devices to a LogMeIn service, and during November 2007 the total number of devices connected to their services increased at an average of over 60,000 per day. They complement their free services with nine premium services, including LogMeIn Rescue and LogMeIn IT Reach, the company’s flagship remote support and management services, and LogMeIn Pro, their premium remote access service. Sales of the premium services, the company claims, are generated through word-of-mouth referrals, Web-based advertising, expiring free trials that they convert to paid subscriptions and direct marketing to new and existing customers.
 
LogMeIn delivers each of their on-demand solutions as a hosted service that runs on their proprietary platform called Gravity. Gravity establishes secure connections over the Internet between remote computers and other Internet-enabled devices and mediates the direct transmission of data. This robust and scalable platform connects over 4.2 million computers to the company’s services each day.

The company sells its services on a subscription basis at prices ranging from approximately $40 to $1,900 per year. During the nine months ended September 30, 2007, the company has completed over 159,000 transactions at an average transaction price of approximately $160. During the nine months ended September 30, 2007, LogMeIn generated revenues of $18.4 million, as compared to $7.3 million over the same period in 2006, an increase of 151%.  

Principal stockholders in the company as of December 31, 2007 are as follows:

  • Prism Venture Partners IV, L.P.- 23.98% 
  • Polaris Venture Partners – 21.16% 
  • Technologieholding Central and Eastern European Funds – 15.96%
  • Integral Capital Partners VI, L.P. – 8.98% 
  • Intel Capital – 5.47%
  • Michael K. Simon – 7.92%  
  • Marton B. Anka – 6.94%
  • Kevin K. Harrison – 1.35%

As it uses a peer-to-peer data transfer model after it makes the connection between the home computer and the remote user, LogMeIn faces less of an infrastructure burden as it grows. The company has a patent-pending service delivery platform called Gravity, which reduces their bandwidth and other infrastructure requirements, which, they believe, makes their services faster and less expensive to deliver as compared to competing services.

The company sells primarily to enterprises, so the IPO may also be an effort to gain some credibility with corporate buyers. Some of that credibility may also come from a deal LogMeIn signed with Intel in December 2007. The previously undisclosed deal involves Intel investing $10 million in LogMeIn and an agreement to tightly integrate LogMeIn’s services with Intel hardware. Based on the prospecutus filed with SEC, it turns out that Intel took only 5.47% for its $10M investment. The chipmaker will also market and sell LogMeIn’s service to its customers and share that revenue with LogMeIn. Polaris Venture Partners, Prism Venture Partners, Integral Capital Partners and Intel Capital are backing the five-year-old company.

Over the past weeks I have seen lots of online ads of LogMeIn all over the Web. I guess this is meant to fuel the company’s growth as it is approaching its IPO.

LogMeIn Hamachi, the company’s popular free services is actually a result of an acquisition done back in 2006. By that time LogMeIn has acquired the based VPN provider, Hamachi as the terms of the deal were not disclosed publicly. Hamachi has by that time about three million beta users, and the company claimed it is adding 400,000 computers a month.

A disturbing fact popped up on Web while we were researching for the company. Experts by that time gave the following explanation: “the technical side of this service establishes a VPN tunnel via a gateway server on Cocos Island. If this service were to ever embrace port hopping technology like Skype-uses, you’d have a peer to peer link established from your corporate network to foreign soil. This is problematic for many businesses.”

More about LogMeIn

LogMeIn, Inc. was established in 2003 by the creators of RemotelyAnywhere, the award-winning remote control and administration software. The company develops and markets innovative remote access, productivity, management and security products that serve mobile professionals and system administrators with a suite of SSL, TLS and SSH-encrypted products.

Based outside of Boston, Massachusetts, LogMeIn also maintains a development center in Budapest, Hungary. In February 2003, the company incorporated under the laws of Bermuda. In August 2004, they have completed a domestication in the State of Delaware under the name 3am Labs, Inc. and later changed their name to LogMeIn, Inc. in March 2006.

LogMeIn, Inc. has the following trademarks or registered trademarks: Gravity™, LogMeIn® Backup™, LogMeIn® Free®, LogMeIn® Hamachi™, LogMeIn® Ignition™, LogMeIn® Rescue®, LogMeIn® Rescue+Mobile™, LogMeIn® Pro®, LogMeIn® IT Reach® and RemotelyAnywhere®.

Some of the company’s major clients include 3M, BestBuy, AMD, DHL, HSBC, IBM, Konika Minolta, Rolls-Royce and SAP.

Management Team

Michael Simon, CEO
Simon was the founder, chairman and CEO of Uproar Inc., a Nasdaq – and Easdaq – listed company that was acquired by Vivendi Universal in March 2001. He has a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from Washington University St. Louis.

Marton Anka, CTO
Anka was the original creator and principal architect of RemotelyAnywhere. Anka has been at the forefront of Internet technology since 1995. He created the first high-volume, real-time, secure-transaction platform in Java that was commercially launched in August 1996. Anka earned his diploma in Information Technology from the Szamalk Institute (Hungary).

Jim Kelliher, CFO
Kelliher has more than 20 years experience in key financial roles in the high tech industry. Most recently, he was Chief Financial Officer of IMlogic, Inc. , a venture backed start-up in the enterprise instant messaging market. Prior to Imlogic, Jim was Sr. VP of Finance and Operations at Parametric Technology and was European Finance Director of Cullinet Software. He began his career with PricewaterhouseCoopers after receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Accountancy from Bentley College.

Kevin Bardos, VP Product Development
Bardos, a 15-year high-tech veteran, manages the development team for LogMeIn’s suite of IT support tools. He led business development efforts for ERP company Scala Business Solutions (now Epicor) and was co-founder and managing director of the Central European online media agency Red Dot. Bardos received a B.A. in Economics from Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada.

Andrew Burton, VP Product Marketing
With more than a decade of industry experience, Burton has driven product strategy, product marketing and product management for a number of market-leading technology companies. He was previously with Symantec Corporation, where he held a senior product management position. Prior to Symantec, Burton delivered new products and innovative solutions at IMlogic, Groove Networks (a Microsoft company), USinternetworking (an AT&T company), and Accenture. He earned his MBA from Boston College, a Masters in Information Systems from University College, Dublin, and a BS from Oregon State University.

Michael J. Donahue, VP and General Counsel
Donahue is responsible for all the company’s legal affairs. Previously, he was vice president and general counsel for C.P. Baker & Company, a Boston-based venture capital and management services company. Prior to that, he spent six years with Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale and Dorr LLP – leaving as a junior partner in 2005. Donahue has a BA from Boston College and received his JD from Northeastern University School of Law.

Kevin Farrell, VP and GM, Digital Living
Farrell has driven strategy and product management for several successful start ups and is responsible for extending LogMeIn’s award-winning remote connectivity service and future initiatives. He was formerly Sr. VP at Ensim Inc., a software startup in the hosted Web, VoIP, messaging and collaboration space after serving as VP, Product Management and Marketing for TeleGea—which was acquired by Ensim. He has a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a MS in Computer Science from Villanova University, and a MBA from Seton Hall University. Farrell also holds several patents.

Kevin Harrison, VP Sales
Harrison drove the worldwide sales strategy and organization, including enterprise, partner, and direct sales channels, for Ximian, a leading Linux application company. Before Ximian, Harrison had sales leadership roles with MapInfo, Netegrity, and NetCentric. Harrison received a BS in Accounting from Boston College.

Richard Redding, VP and GM, Mobile
Redding worked in strategy and business development at AT&T, and previously was at Excite@Home in international business development and operations. Excite@Home was the leading broadband Internet company offering high-speed Internet access and producing a network of web properties including the Excite portal. Redding graduated with honors from the University of California at Santa Cruz and has his MBA from the University of Santa Clara.

Conan Reidy, VP Business Development
Reidy is responsible for identifying key technology partnership opportunities for LogMeIn. He was previously with Symantec Corporation, where he held a senior business development position. Prior to Symantec, Reidy ran business development for IMlogic, Inc., an instant messaging management vendor, and was instrumental in the sale of IMlogic to Symantec in early 2006.

Board of Directors

Dave Barrett, Polaris Venture Partners
Dave joined Polaris Venture Partners after a 22-year operating career. Prior, Dave served as chief operating officer of Calico Commerce, where during his tenure, the company evolved from venture-backed startup to a $45M, publicly-held corporation, helped to pioneer the e-business market, and with market value in excess of $3 billion, was both one of the top-performing IPOs of 1999 and 6th most successful offering in the history of NASDAQ. Before that, he served as senior vice president of worldwide operations for Pure Atria Software Corporation, continuing in that role after the company was acquired by Rational Software Corporation for $1 billion in 1997. Prior to Rational, Dave spent twelve years with Lotus Development Corporation, where among many roles, he served as vice president of field sales and services, leading the build-out of the company’s global sales & services effort. He also served as general manager of worldwide federal systems, the company’s then-fastest growing division. Lotus was acquired by IBM in 1995 for $3.5 billion, the largest merger in software industry history up to that time.

Woody Benson, Prism VentureWorks
Benson is a general partner at Prism VentureWorks. He joined the firm in 2004 and primarily invests in digital living companies. He also focuses on mobile and on-demand business models. He came to Prism from Lazard Technology Partners, where he managed the firm’s Boston office. Career highlights include serving as Chairman, President and CEO of MCK Communications, which went public in 1999 and completed a secondary offering in 2000.

Kenneth Cron, Midway Games
Cron is chairman of Midway Games, a Chicago-based developer and manufacturer of home video game entertainment products. He has held key leadership roles in businesses that have been instrumental in transforming the contemporary technology, media and entertainment markets. His involvement steering both public and private companies to success includes overseeing and growing stable organizations into global enterprises, revitalizing large companies, and launching start-ups with eventual public offerings. As interim Chief Executive Officer of Computer Associates International Inc., Cron was instrumental in stabilizing the company following a challenging period. Prior to Computer Associates, Cron was Chairman and CEO of Vivendi Universal Games, Inc., a global leader in the publishing of online, PC and console-based interactive entertainment.

Irfan Salim, MarkMonitor
Salim is president and chief executive officer, of MarkMonitor, the global leader in enterprise brand protection. He brings more than 20 years of experience growing and leading world-class Internet security, fraud prevention, and domain registrar companies. Prior to MarkMonitor, he was president and chief operating officer of Internet security company Zone Labs, which was acquired by Check Point Technologies. Earlier, Salim was president and CEO of NameSecure.com, an Internet domain name registrar and services company as well as serving as president of US and European operations at security leader TrendMicro.

More

https://secure.logmein.com
http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1420302/000095013508000171/b67378lmsv1.htm#116
http://gigaom.com/2008/01/14/logmein-files-for-86m-ipo-gets-money-from-intel/
http://gigaom.com/2006/08/08/logmein-buys-hamachi/
http://ipadventures.com/?p=1124
http://gigaom.com/2006/08/08/logmein-buys-hamachi/
https://secure.logmein.com/go.asp?page=pressrelease&id=49
http://redmondmag.com/features/article.asp?editorialsid=2400#neverwas
http://www.tmcnet.com/planetpdamag/articles/16929-logme-enables-remote-tech-support-smartphones.htm
http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/columnists/story.html?id=6e9a2720-cdac-4366-bb94-3c71a728bcc8
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2704,2219740,00.asp
https://secure.logmein.com/corp/pressrelease.asp?id=99
 

Internet Brands, Inc. went public on NASDAQ

Internet Brands, Inc., the smaller brother of IAC in terms of Internet strategy, and an Internet holding company with a number of second tier e-brands went public in the last weeks of 2007. They filed for their IPO back in July 2007 and were then planning to raise $100M/$115M million.

Internet Brands, Inc. was by that time planning to sell 3,750,000 shares of Class A common stock and the selling stockholders named in this prospectus are selling 5,816,454 shares of Class A common stock. We will not receive any of the proceeds from the shares of Class A common stock sold by the selling stockholders. The company and some of the selling stockholders have granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an aggregate of 1,434,968 additional shares of Class A common stock, to cover over-allotments, if any. This was an initial public offering of our Class A common stock. They have an expectation the initial public offering price of our Class A common stock to be between $10.00 and $12.00 per share and they have applied for approval to list our Class A common stock on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol “INET.” 

The company revealed no specific plans for the use of the net proceeds of this offering. The principal reasons for the offering are to provide their stockholders liquidity in the public equity market, raise cash for general corporate purposes, which may include working capital and capital expenditures, and support the company’s general growth plan, which includes possible future acquisitions of complementary products, technologies and businesses. The timing and amount of their actual expenditures will be based on many factors, including cash flows from operations and the anticipated growth of the business. Pending these uses, Internet Brands Inc. intends to invest the net proceeds of this offering primarily in investment-grade, interest-bearing instruments.

The company was founded in 1998 as CarsDirect.com and, reflecting its growth and diversification, changed its name in 2005 to Internet Brands, Inc. and is a subsidiary of Idealab. Credit Suisse and Thomas Weisel Partners were underwriting the IPO. Investors include Idealab, the company’s largest shareholder, Foundation Capital, Clearstone Venture Partners, among others. It is interesting to note the fact that Idealab Holdings, L.L.C., through its ownership of our Class A common stock and exclusive ownership of our Class B common stock, will have control of approximately 67% of the votes represented by our Class A common stock, on an as-converted basis, and Class B common stock outstanding as of September 30, 2007. Thus, Idealab Holdings, L.L.C. will be able to influence or control matters requiring approval of our stockholders, including the election of directors and the approval of mergers, acquisitions and other significant corporate transactions.

What happened since then?

In times when the IPO market isn’t what it was even a few months ago the El Segundo, Calif.,-based operator of small, consumer-focused Web sites managed to go public, unlike a growing crowd of other technology companies being forced to pull or postpone their IPOs. Some popular and web 1.0 Internet companies that have recently pulled off their IPOs include GoDaddy, Classmates and Accoona (Planned on $80.5) among others. By contrast, looking to capitalize on the Apple halo effect, three former company executives, including co-founder Steve Wozniak, took their new company, Acquicor Technology, public 2006 in an IPO raising $150 million. The money they raised is purely based on their reputation, as Acquicor Technology, is officially designated as a “blank-check” company, meaning they don’t have any principal activity or business model yet and can do whatever they want with investor money, when raised.

Interestingly, instead of going further with its initial plans to sell 9.57 million shares between $10 and $12 a share, Internet Brands, Inc. settled for selling 6 million shares at $8 each. This put together with the fact their three quarters of 2007 resulted in a $2.5 million loss, which is not a good way to kickoff an IPO.

Second, instead of raising as much as $115 million, the company took in $48M or about 42 cents for every dollar it had hoped to raise. Internet Brands closed its first day of trading at $8, unchanged from the offer price — despite trading volume of 1 million shares, which was more than 10 times the average daily volume since then.

The company’s today (January 14, 2008) market capitalization is $260.63M where the 52Wk High was $8.87 while the 52Wk Low is $5.84. Today’s stock quote is at $6.20, way below its IPO stock price.

The company had revenues of $85 million in 2006 while the 2007’s revenues have actually declined from $65.2 million to $64.9 million. Its Q107 revenues declined to $19.1 million, compared to $21.9 million in Q106. This has been attributed to the slowing interest in the consumer Internet segment, especially for the auto industry. With 35 acquisitions during 2007, including Jelsoft Enterprises’ vBulletin, ApartmentRatings.com, DVD Talk and ePodunk, it has been looking to improve the communications technology across its growing network of commerce sites.

The acquisitions made by Internet Brands, Inc. total $84.8M as of today.

The guys behind vBulletin (JelSoft Enterprises)  have said by that time “We are pleased to announce that Jelsoft Enterprises Limited has been acquired by Internet Brands, Inc., a leading provider of automotive, travel and home-related sites and communities. As part of a larger organisation, with more than 500 employees, Jelsoft has access to additional resources, support and business expertise which will ensure that we can continue to grow and flourish. Products will continue to be actively developed and fully supported, and as time goes on you will begin to see noticeable changes and improvements that are made possible by being part of a larger organization.” The vBulletin’s co-founder, John Percival, left the company.

The company is leveraging over 27M unique visitors per month and is having agreements and relationships with the various vendors that benefit through their sites. CarsDirect does, for example, collect money from the dealers that are signed to their network. These dealers provide the vehicles to the shoppers on the site. The larger dealers clearly source more vehicles and are therefore likely to be paying more to CarsDirect. Some public sources claim the dealers pay anywhere from $35-$75/CPM, which is fairly high price and is perhaps brining in solid ad revenues to the company. More than 3,000 local car dealers have joined its nationwide network and it has alliances with Penske Automotive Group (formerly United Auto Group).

In general, Internet Brands Inc. seems to have some clear strategy problems. Their intent is to be a leading provider in community based research and transactions in the areas of automotive, real estate and travel, and they certainly own enough web properties in the respective categories to be the leader.  However, what Internet Brands Inc. has not done well is to leverage the 40+ brands they own to create an ultimate experience in any of those sectors. Online sources claim that the teams, part of the many acquired companies, were forced to integrate to their corporate structure way too quickly resulting in the opposite situation where Internet Brands Inc.’s companies seem disjoint, disintegrated with little to no ability to create game changing synergy. 

Maybe even more concerning is that Internet Brands Inc. owns many so called web 1.0 or web 1.5 brands, websites that are community driven, but are doing so with a look and feel of the past Internet decade. What makes this concerning is that Internet Brands Inc. is in a dangerous position of gradually losing its various communities to new-comers that take full advantage of web 2.0 technologies and functionality. Internet Brands Inc. should use the money they’ve raised from the IPO to either develop or acquire better positioned web properties towards the web 2.0-age if they want to retain and expand their online offerings and reach.

By contrast, Jefferies & Co initiates INET with a Buy and a $10 target saying as an owner-operator of a broad portfolio of vertically-oriented sites, INET is benefiting from the fragmentation of online audiences, and advertisers’ quest for highly targeted consumers. The investment firm says traffic growth, in part through acquisitions, and improvement in monetization should continue to drive INET’s prospects long-term.

Below are some of the recent sales of unregistered securities, including acquisitions and stock option plans. Since January 1, 2004, the company has issued the following securities that were not registered under the Securities Act of 1933:

1.  On December 31, 2004, we acquired certain assets and liabilities of LoanApp, Inc., and all of the stock of LoanApp, Inc., an affiliate of Myers Internet, Inc., for $2.4 million, including 212,563 shares of our Class A common stock. The 212,563 shares were issued to Warren H. Meyer, the controlling stockholder of Myers Internet, Inc. and the then sole stockholder of LoanApp, Inc., as follows: On December 30, 2007, January 31, 2005, February 2, 2005, and June 10, 2005, we issued 152,284, 15,863, 22,208, and 22,208 shares, respectively.

2.  On April 26, 2005, we exchanged 2,200,000 shares of Series D preferred stock for 2,000,000 shares of Class B common stock, pursuant to a Share Exchange Agreement with Idealab Holdings, L.L.C.

3.  On June 1, 2005, we acquired the assets and certain liabilities of 1-800 Communications, Inc. and Advanced Lead Generation, Inc. for $8.5 million, which consideration included 89,392 shares of our Class A common stock issued on June 1 to Jonathan Kratter and 89,392 shares of our Class A common stock issued on June 1 to Stuart Heller, the sole shareholders of the selling corporations.

4.  On July 15, 2005, in connection with the acquisition of VacationHomes.com, we issued 15,000 shares of Class A common stock to Kurt Leinbach.

5.  On February 22, 2006, we acquired certain assets and liabilities of Client Shop, Inc. In connection with this transaction, we issued 14,113 shares of Class A common stock to Client Shop, Inc.

6.  On September 13, 2006, we issued 5,000 shares of Class A common stock to Heidrick and Struggles, Inc. pursuant to a warrant exercise at $0.70 per share.

7.  On February 27, 2007, we extended the expiration date for four warrants to purchase 1,554,314 shares of Series F preferred stock, issued to Penske Motor Group, Inc. (formerly Penske Automotive Group, Inc.), Penske Automotive Group, Inc. (formerly United Automotive Group, Inc.) and Penske Corporation, to (i) as to three of the warrants, the earlier of December 31, 2008 or the termination of Roger Penske’s service as a director and (ii) as to one of the warrants, December 31, 2008.

8.  Between January 1, 2004 and the date hereof, we granted stock options to purchase 3,519,755 shares of Class A common stock at exercise prices ranging from $0.50 to $9.50 per share, with an average price per share of $3.31, to employees and consultants pursuant to our 1998 Stock Plan.

9.  Between January 1, 2004 and the date hereof, we granted stock options to purchase 95,500 shares of Class C common stock at exercise prices ranging from $0.50 to $4.70 per share, with an average price per share of $1.12, to employees and consultants pursuant to our 2000 Stock Plan.

10.  Between January 1, 2004 and the date hereof, we awarded stock options to purchase 16,750 shares of Class A common stock at an exercise price of $9.70 per share, and 386,702 shares of our restricted stock, valued at $9.70 per share, to directors, officers and employees pursuant to our 2007 Equity Plan.

11.  Between January 1, 2004 and the date hereof, we granted stock options to purchase 181,806 shares of Class A common stock at exercise prices of $1.50 per share to employees and directors outside of our 1998 and 2000 Stock Plans and 2007 Equity Plan.

12.  Between January 1, 2004 and the date hereof, we issued an aggregate of 2,293,378 shares of Class A common stock upon exercise of options under our 1998 Stock Plan, of which 532,569 shares were reacquired through repurchase of restricted (unvested) shares, promissory note repayment and exercise of right of first refusal.

13.  Between January 1, 2004 and the date hereof, we issued an aggregate of 20,641 shares of Class C common stock upon exercise of options under our 2000 Stock Plan.

14. Between January 1, 2004 and the date hereof, we issued an aggregate of 106,806 shares of Class A common stock upon exercise of options granted outside of our 1998 and 2000 Stock Plans and 2007 Equity Plan, of which 29,748 shares were reacquired through repurchase of restricted (unvested) shares.
 
15. Between January 1, 2004 and the date hereof, we issued an aggregate of 1,042,985 shares of Class A common stock upon the exercise of a warrant held by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

More about Internet Brands, Inc.

Internet Brands is a leading Internet media company that builds, acquires and enhances a rapidly growing network of branded websites in the automotive, travel and leisure, and home and home improvement categories. Utilizing a cost-efficient, proprietary operating platform, the Company operates and enhances websites that attract consumers through rich content, opportunities for participation in strong online communities, and user-friendly functionality, which enables the company to sell targeted advertising through various formats, such as cost per lead, cost per thousand impressions, cost per click, cost per action, and flat fees. Internet Brands operated 45 principal websites as of September 30, 2007, and attracted 27 million unique visitors during the month of September.

The company is based in El Segundo, CA and as of 2006 it had 559 employees. Major competitors include Autobytel, AutoNation, IAC, among others.

Some of the more popular brands of the company are:

Other web properties include:

  • Autodata
  • NewCarTestDrive.com
  • BBOnline.com
  • CruiseMates.com
  • VacationHomes.com
  • Loan.com
  • Mortgage101.com
  • RealEstateABC.com
  • AudiWorld.com
  • CorvetteForum.com
  • Ford-Trucks.com
  • FlyerTalk.com
  • TrekEarth.com
  • Wikitravel.org
  • BrokerOutpost.com
  • DoItYourself.com

And more…

Management team

Robert N. Brisco / Chief Executive Officer

Bob Brisco has been CEO, President, and Director of Internet Brands since 1999. He has led the growth of the company from an early stage to a position today of significant and rapidly growing profitability. Brisco has extensive experience in building high performing organizations and consumer brands, has led business turnarounds, and has been instrumental in the success of several Internet businesses.

Brisco joined Internet Brands from Universal Studios Hollywood and CityWalk, where he was President of one of the largest entertainment destinations in the world, hosting 10 million visitors per year. He oversaw all aspects of the business, including operations, marketing, sales, technology, finance, and entertainment. Prior to Universal, Brisco was senior vice president of advertising, marketing, and new business development for The Los Angeles Times. At The Times, he was responsible for over $1 billion of revenue. He oversaw all of The Times’ new media operations, directing the launch of LATimes.com, and leading acquisitions such as Hollywood.com. As a corporate officer of Times Mirror, Brisco was central in the company’s new media investments. He was a founding board member of Classified Ventures, which has launched Internet services in the real estate, rentals, and automotive categories. He also served as a Director of La Opinion, the largest Spanish language newspaper in the U.S. Previously, Brisco was a consultant with McKinsey & Co. and the Boston Consulting Group. As a consultant, he specialized in media and consumer products and developed winning business strategies for many clients. Brisco received an MBA from UCLA and a BA from USC (summa cum laude) in economics and journalism.

Lisa Morita / Chief Operating Officer

Lisa Morita oversees the company’s day-to-day operations including sales, customer service, pricing, and product and business strategy for the Automotive and Home Divisions. Prior to joining Internet Brands in March 2007, Morita was Senior Vice President of Customer and Content Solutions at Yahoo! Search Marketing. She was responsible for leading the customer and editorial operations that supported online advertisers who spent billions of dollars in search marketing. She led the customer operations team through the successful migration of its hundreds of thousands of online advertisers onto an entirely new platform, “Project Panama.” Morita joined GoTo.com in 2001 and scaled the operation during its rapid growth as Overture Services. Morita has extensive marketing and general management experience in companies ranging from early stage to Fortune 500 companies. She was SVP of Marketing at eMind, LLC, where she was part of the team that grew the start-up company into a leading provider of eLearning solutions. Previously, Morita was Vice President of Advertising and Marketing at The Los Angeles Times, responsible for retail ad sales and marketing. She began her career at Carnation Company/Nestle USA in brand management running brands including the most profitable in the division. Morita received an M.B.A. from Stanford University and earned a B.A. from Occidental College.

Debra Domeyer / Chief Technology Officer

As Chief Technology Officer, Debra Domeyer oversees information technology, creative services, development and architecture for Internet Brands. Prior to joining Internet Brands in 1999, she served as Vice President and Chief Information Officer at PG&E Energy Services. There, she created Web-based information products in support of a $220 billion nationwide industry initiative promoting commodity products. Prior to PG&E, she was Vice President of Information Systems for Times Mirror Company. Domeyer also has extensive experience in the mortgage industry. From 1989 to 1993, she directed information systems operations for the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation during a year of record growth, then led re-engineering improvements at Countrywide Home Loans, one of the country’s leading mortgage loan companies. From 1983 to 1988, Domeyer served in the White House, supervising development of distributed applications and secure communications for the President’s trips worldwide, including the Japan Economic Summit and the US/Russia Summit in Iceland. Domeyer has a B.A. in Business from Loras College and a master’s degree in Information Systems Technology from George Washington University.

Alexander E. Hansen / Chief Financial Officer

Alex Hansen is responsible for the controllership, operational accounting, finance, planning and treasury functions for Internet Brands. He has been a Chief Financial Officer for over 15 years, serving as the finance executive for both public and private companies ranging in size from start-ups to middle-market companies with revenues over $800 million. Companies he has served, spanning the consumer products, software development, advertising and entertainment industries, include CreativePlanet, Quisic, J. Walter Thompson and GROUPE DANONE. Hansen is a partner and board committee member of Tatum LLC, a CPA (former manager with PriceWaterhouse), a member of the AICPA and the CSCPA, and a graduate of Williams College and Princeton Theological Seminary.

B. Lynn Walsh / Executive Vice President, Corporate Development and General Counsel

Lynn Walsh is responsible for structuring and negotiating acquisitions and strategic partnerships and oversees all human resource, legal, and regulatory aspects of the company’s business. Prior to joining Internet Brands in 2000, Walsh was a partner in the Technology group at Alston & Bird LLP in Atlanta, Georgia, where she specialized in public and private offerings of securities, mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance. Previously, Walsh was a partner at Hunton & Williams in Atlanta. She received her B.A. from the University of Michigan and her J.D. from Wayne State University Law School.

Chuck Hoover / Senior Vice President, Marketing and Business Development

Chuck Hoover oversees Internet Brands’ marketing including online and offline advertising, consumer and product research, acquisition and retention strategies, and PR. He is also responsible for Internet Brands’ business development initiatives to create relationships with strategic partners and oversees advertising sales. Hoover joined Internet Brands in December 1999 from Homestore.com, operator of the nation’s largest real estate Web sites. At Homestore he was responsible for consumer marketing including management of distribution partnerships with top portals and product development. Prior to Homestore, Hoover was Vice President of Marketing for PeopleLink, the first company incubated by Idealab and the leader in providing business to business community services. Previously, Hoover worked at the Los Angeles Times in the Marketing and New Business Development group developing new advertising products for major retailers and entertainment companies, including the acquisition of Hollywood.com. Hoover received an MBA from Stanford University and a BA in economics Phi Beta Kappa from Occidental College.

Gregory T. Perrier / CEO & President, Autodata Solutions Company

As President and CEO since 1993, Greg Perrier has built Autodata Solutions into one of North America’s largest software and services boutiques focused on the automotive industry. The company, which Internet Brands acquired in mid-1999, serves every manufacturer in North America from Acura to Volvo through its diverse suite of products and services. Autodata’s products and services help auto manufacturers throughout all stages of the selling-chain from market analytics, product planning, vehicle configuration management, order placement, in-dealership retail systems, and dealership personnel training, to consumer-facing web sites. Perrier earned an honors degree in business from the Ivey School of Business in 1984 and immediately following served as a consultant with Price Waterhouse.

Board of Directors

Dr. Howard Morgan

Dr. Morgan has served as a Director of Internet Brands since February 1999 and as Chairman of our board of directors since September 1999. He is also a Director of Idealab, a creator and operator of technology companies. Since 1989, Dr. Morgan has also been President of Arca Group, Inc., a consulting and investment management firm specializing in the areas of computers and communications technologies. He serves as a director for a number of private and public companies, including Franklin Electronic Publishers, Inc., Segue Software, Inc. and Unitronix Corp. Dr. Morgan holds a B.S. in Physics from City University of New York and a Ph.D. in operations research from Cornell University.

Robert N. Brisco

Bob Brisco has been CEO, President, and Director of Internet Brands since 1999. Mr. Brisco joined Internet Brands from Universal Studios Hollywood and CityWalk, where he was President of one of the largest entertainment destinations in the world. Prior to Universal, Mr. Brisco was Senior Vice President of advertising, marketing, and new business development for The Los Angeles Times. He oversaw all of The Times’ new media operations, directing the launch of LATimes.com, and leading acquisitions such as Hollywood.com. Previously, Mr. Brisco was a consultant with McKinsey & Co. and the Boston Consulting Group, specializing in media and consumer products.

Roger S. Penske, Sr.

Mr. Penske has served as a Director of Internet Brands since May 2000. He has also been Chairman of the Board and CEO of Penske Corporation since 1969. Penske Corporation is a privately-owned diversified transportation services company that holds, through its subsidiaries, interests in a number of businesses. Mr. Penske has also been Chairman of the Board of Penske Truck Leasing Corporation since 1982 and of UnitedAuto Group since 1999. He serves as a member of the Boards of Directors of General Electric Company and Universal Technical Institute, Inc.; and is a director of Detroit Renaissance and a member of The Business Council.

Marcia Goodstein

Marcia Goodstein has been a member of the board of Internet Brands since August 2004. Ms. Goodstein founded Idealab with Bill Gross in March 1996 and serves as the company’s Chief Operating Officer and President. Prior to joining Idealab, Ms. Goodstein worked in business development and marketing for Enfish Corporation, a software development company. Ms. Goodstein was also an early employee of Gemstar Development Corporation and was responsible for media licensing for North America, as well as marketing and distribution in South America.

Gerald Greenwald

Mr. Greenwald has served as a Director of Internet Brands since September 1999. Mr. Greenwald is Chairman Emeritus of United Air Lines and served as the Chairman and CEO of United Air Lines from 1994 to 1999. From 1979 to 1990, Mr. Greenwald was employed by the Chrysler Corporation, where he worked in various positions including Corporate Controller and CFO before being promoted to Vice Chairman, a position in which he shared responsibility with the CEO for the operations of the company. From 1957 to 1979, he was employed by the Ford Motor Company, where he worked in several positions including Controller, Director of Ford’s operations in Europe and as President of Ford of Venezuela. Mr. Greenwald is one of the founders of Greenbriar Equity Group.

Bill Gross

Bill Gross has served as a Director of Internet Brands since its inception. He is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Idealab, a creator and operator of technology companies. A lifelong entrepreneur, Mr. Gross has launched a number of successful companies, including GNP Development (acquired by Lotus), Knowledge Adventure (acquired by Havas Vivendi) and Overture Services, to name a few. A well-known visionary and entrepreneur, Mr. Gross sits on the Board of Directors of Overture Services (NNM: OVER) and the Board of Trustees of the California Institute of Technology. Mr. Gross received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology.

Kenneth Gilman

Kenneth Gilman has been a member of the board of Internet Brands since January 2002. Mr. Gilman joined Asbury Automotive Group following a 25-year career with the Limited Inc. where his most recent assignment was CEO of Lane Bryant. From 1993 to 2001, Mr. Gilman served as Vice Chairman and Chief Administrative Officer of The Limited, Inc. with responsibility for finance, information technology, supply chain management, production, real estate, legal and internal audit. From 1987 to 1993, he was Executive Vice President and CFO. He joined the company’s executive committee in 1987 and was elected to the board of directors in 1990.

Martin Melone

Mr. Melone has served as a Director of Internet Brands since August 2005. Mr. Melone was a partner of Ernst & Young, LLP from 1975 to 2001, where he was responsible for global clients in a wide range of industries. He now serves on the Board of Directors of Countrywide Financial Corporation, where he is Chairman of the Audit and Ethics Committee. Mr. Melone also serves on the Boards of Directors of the California Science Center Foundation and Public Counsel Law Center. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the California Society of Certified Public Accountants.

James Ukropina

Mr. Ukropina has served as a Director of Internet Brands since February 2006. He is also a director of Lockheed Martin Corporation, Pacific Life Corp, Trust Company of the West, Central Natural Resources and the Keck Foundation, and is the CEO of Directions, LLC, a management and strategic consulting firm. Mr. Ukropina formerly served as Vice-Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Stanford University and as an advisor and board member of numerous other public, private and non-profit entities, including IndyMac Bancorp, Santa Fe International, Security Pacific Corp., Occidental College, and the California Chamber of Commerce. He has chaired various board committees, including the audit, compensation, nominating and special committees, and has authored a number of articles on corporate governance and executive compensation. He was a partner with the international law firm, O’Melveny & Myers LLP until 2000 and has served as Of Counsel since that time. Mr. Ukropina holds a B.A. and a M.B.A. from Stanford University and a LL.B from the University of Southern California.

More

http://www.internetbrands.com
http://finance.google.com/finance?q=INET
http://www.paidcontent.org/entry/419-idealab-backed-holding-firm-internet-brands-files-for-100-million-ipo
http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1080131/000104746907008138/a2179214zs-1a.htm
http://mashable.com/2007/10/31/internet-brands-ipo/
http://www.paidcontent.org/entry/419-internet-brands-to-raise-up-to-45-million-in-ipo/
http://mashable.com/2007/07/10/vbulletin-acquired-by-internet-brands/
http://www.paidcontent.org/entry/419-internet-brands-acquires-real-estate-community-site-apartmentratings
http://www.paidcontent.org/entry/419-message-board-software-vbulletin-bought-by-internet-brands
http://www.techcoastreview.com/2007/11/internet-brands-goes-public.html
http://stocks.us.reuters.com/stocks/fullDescription.asp?rpc=66&symbol=INET.O
http://www.hoovers.com/internet-brands/–ID__59923–/free-co-factsheet.xhtml
http://www.pehub.com/article/articledetail.php?articlepostid=8919
http://www.thestreet.com/s/internet-brands-ipo-suggests-return-to-normalcy/newsanalysis/techstockupdate/10391500.html
http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1080131/000104746907008138/a2179214zs-1a.htm#toc_dk79101_1
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20060808/1526256.shtml
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20060727/0843233.shtml
http://www.vbulletin.com/forum/showthread.php?p=1383883#post1383883
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Brands
http://news.moneycentral.msn.com/provider/providerarticle.aspx?feed=BCOM&date=20080111&id=8025636

Technorati’s total funding revealed – $21.6 to date in 3 rounds

Technorati, the blog search engine, has always been quite secretive about the funding it got over the years leaving people like us, always interested in the money behind the Web 2.0, speculate about the right numbers.  

Things changed the last month when we have read over multiple trusted sources on Web that the company has raised $21M so far in three rounds of financing. Those numbers are believed to be the right ones. Our attempt to dig some more information about what are the different numbers for the 3 rounds yielded some results. Who the Technorati’s investors are, anyway?

Technorati is now known to have raised $4.58M in its series A round of funding. However the particular date and who the investor both remain unknown. In September 2004 the company has already gotten its Series B round of funding, which today is known to be $6.50M from Draper Fisher Jurvetson as the only participant known to date. 2 years later, in June 2006, the company already needed to raise more capital and has closed its Series C round of funding this time raising $10.52M from August Capital, Mobius Venture Capital and the returning investor Draper Fisher Jurvetson. Total funding for Technorati to date seems to be already $21.6M.

The company is most popular with the fact that it was smart enough to be the first one to try and tap into the newly born and rapidly growing trend by 2002 — the blogging and its grown community of bloggers. It then became the first search engine for bloggers and blogs on Web. Today the company is facing huge completion by a number of companies like Google blog search, IceRocket, Feedster, Bloglines, Yahoo! Search Blog, Ask.com’s Blogs, Blogdigger and let’s put it that way – pretty much every other company out there that used to be once a search engine has now added a blog search too. You can here find a basic list of blog search engines.

The rivals were some of the leading Internet companies and it was hard for Technorati not to lose market share. And in December 2006 it happened, for the first time, Google Blogsearch surpassed Technorati in total visits. It then was said that Google Blog Search had passed 0.0025% of total internet traffic, according to Hitwise, versus 0.0023% for Technorati. The reason for the surge seemed pretty straightforward: Google linked their Blog Search product to Google News in October, which had an immediate and significant impact on traffic. Google also added a Blog Search link in the “More” section on the Google main page. It was not enough to take the lead, but a recent Technorati decline in traffic put Google’s Blog Search on top.

Allen Stern from CenterNetworks, by contrast, said by the time that Google blog search is not what Technorati should be compared to anymore. Google integrates blog searches into their main search and so therefore, if anything, the comparison should be between Google search vs. Technorati. The majority of people searching for terms are looking for the summation of all types of results: “standard” web sites, blog, video, image, etc.

Whatever the case is one thing is today for sure, the blog search is already an integrated part of the general search that hundreds of millions of people perform on daily basis on a number of search engines from Google to Ask.com, most of them done on Google, and Technorati cannot anymore claim exclusivity on blog searches, even though it was the first one in the field. That’s why Technorati was forced to evolve too and is now searching for social media too like photos, video and music, posted on online sharing sites, and a tag cloud on the home page shows you the hot topics of the day.

In early 2007 Technorati was rumored to be trying to sell itself. By that time Technorati’s CEO (and founder) Dave Sifry responded “I’ll be very clear about it – Technorati isn’t for sale.” As the practice shows when one claims his company is not for sale it always this company is for sale, but for the right buyers and price. By that time Dave has revealed some more numbers on the site’s usage. Technorati, he said, has had 9 million unique visitors over the last thirty days, up from 3.5 million two months ago. And while he did not disclose the actual page views, he said they increased 53% in March, and 141% over the last three months. Those are quite impressive numbers and are perhaps meant for the eyes/ears of some potential buyers, despite their claims of not selling themselves.

In May 2007, Technorati completely re-designed their home page to respond to their more mainstream users. They now have a single search box instead of using search types like keyword search, tag search and blog directory search. Results are returned in categories like videos, blogs and music.

In few months, in October 2007, Technorati has announced its search for a new CEO was over, with Richard Jalichandra being appointed to the role, some 6 weeks since Technorati’s founding CEO David Sifry stepped down and 5 months since it was publicly confirmed that Technorati was seeking a new CEO.

Several months later, in December 2007, Technorati re-launched again as this time trying to focus, again, on core blogging audience. The recently changed home page, just three months old, is gone. In place of the streaming blog posts is a news aggregator that, like TechMeme and the New York Times’ Blogrunner, uses linking behavior on news sites to determine headline news. In addition to the Front Page news aggregator, Technorati has made two other big additions to the site. The first is a resource page for bloggers called, fittingly, Blogger Central. The second is a new product called Today In Photos.

On the other hand Time magazine has recently named Technorati one of the 25 sites for 2007 they weren’t able to live without.

More recently, Technorati started downsizing staff (9 people have been laid off in August 2007) as the approx. $21 million raised over three rounds started to dry up. We have also discovered some technical details about the current IT infrastructure that backs Technorati up. They have more than 20TB (Terabytes) of core data in their MySQL running on over 20 machines. With replication they add 200TB and 200 machines more. No matter how you look into this, it is for sure adding up a serious burden over the company’s budget.

Well, we have seen a lot of numbers for Technorati’s site usage, from Comscore’s and Hitwise’s to Quantcast’s and Compete’s but how the numbers look like today. This is what we have discovered. According to Quantcast Technorati is presently reaching over 8M unique global visitors per month and only 2.8M of which are Americans. We can take that number for real since Technorati is quantified publisher at Quantcast. We have seen in the past numbers in the 22M/mo range reported for Technorati and if it turns out to be true the present numbers represent a serious decline in Technorati’s site usage.

Nonetheless, we think Technorati worth anything but $100M, at least, as of today.  We know the guys at Technorati won’t like that number and just like Digg (looking for over $300M) they are also thinking their business worth much more and are probably looking for much higher valuation than $100M. Technorati was definitely and unarguable the first one to define the market but is also not anymore the leader in the space. The company has strong brand awareness but everyone knows it is relatively easy (compared to traditional businesses) to make and easy to ruin an online brand. On the other hand Technorati has no strong technology and is facing huge competition and a potential buyer would eventually consider them only because of their traffic and reach. What Technorati needs to convince their future suitors is whether they will preserve and grow their traffic or not. Buyers are interested in what the site would look like in future in terms of traffic and revenues and are not really looking in the past, aside perhaps overseeing trends.

We have no idea what the Technorati’s revenues are as of today but Sifry has said in August 2007 that Technorati is now a revenue stage business – we’ve been hiring up sales folks, as well as building much more detailed roadmaps and product pipelines. Customer-driven needs, pipeline management, operational management, and expense control are now a much bigger part of our life as a company than it was when we were running on a couple of servers in my basement. 

Or in the case with Technorati we talk for valuation without revenue? Great examples from the past of high-profile acquisitions of companies with little to no revenues are both Hotmail (1998) and Skype, the second one managed to drive multi-billion dollar valuation at little to no revenues in its deal with eBay in 2005. Could the Technorati’s case be the same? Don’t forget here the YouTube’s deal.

A proven monetization model over Internet is segmentation. Technorati, especially, needs to ask itself the question: What is my segmentation strategy, around which I can offer my advertisers a compelling marketing vehicle? Technorati has clearly lost its momentum and peak traffic times and is today more declining rather than expanding. Today, Yahoo is a portfolio of haphazardly organized content and services which don’t clearly align with segments desired by advertisers. Neither, for that matter, is Google, although it managed to drive huge sales off its AdWords/AdSense strategy. Technorati, for example, is also having a pretty much generic traffic, which makes the effective monetization a hard task for the company.

We can draw a basic conclusion here. Before everything, Technorati has been a symbolic web site for the blogging world ever since and based on its present traffic of more than 8M unique visitors per month could be a great add on to the Web portfolio on each company from the big 6 Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, eBay, AOL and Amazon. We would exclude Google from the list. Other potential acquirers would include media companies like New York Times, which once btw was reported to be interested in Digg, and since there are synergies between, it is not completely out of sense. Fox Interactive, IAC (potentially merging with their Bloglines), among others could also be interested in potentially having Technorati part of their web properties. We would take the chance to predict that a potential sale of Technorati this year would command a price in the $100 / $150M range. The given price tag is only valid if Technorati preserves its current traffic of 8/10M unique visitors per month.

More about Technorati

Technorati is currently tracking 112.8 million blogs and over 250 million pieces of tagged social media.

Technorati is the recognized authority on what’s happening on the World Live Web, right now. The Live Web is the dynamic and always-updating portion of the Web. We search, surface, and organize blogs and the other forms of independent, user-generated content (photos, videos, voting, etc.) increasingly referred to as “citizen media.”

But it all started with blogs. A blog, or weblog, is a regularly updated journal published on the web. Some blogs are intended for a small audience; others vie for readership with national newspapers. Blogs are influential, personal, or both, and they reflect as many topics and opinions as there are people writing them.

Blogs are powerful because they allow millions of people to easily publish and share their ideas, and millions more to read and respond. They engage the writer and reader in an open conversation, and are shifting the Internet paradigm as we know it.

On the World Live Web, bloggers frequently link to and comment on other blogs, creating the type of immediate connection one would have in a conversation. Technorati tracks these links, and thus the relative relevance of blogs, photos, videos etc. We rapidly index tens of thousands of updates every hour, and so we monitor these live communities and the conversations they foster.

The World Live Web is incredibly active, and according to Technorati data, there are over 175,000 new blogs (that’s just blogs) every day. Bloggers update their blogs regularly to the tune of over 1.6 million posts per day, or over 18 updates a second.

Technorati. Who’s saying what. Right now

Technorati Management Team

Richard Jalichandra
President & Chief Executive Officer
Richard is a veteran Internet executive whose media experience includes leadership roles across the media spectrum: as a client, at an agency, as a publisher, and with an advertising network. Most recently, he worked as an M&A and strategy consultant for several Internet properties and investment firms, and also served as SVP of Corporate Development for Exponential Interactive, Tribal Fusion’s parent company. Previously, he was SVP of Business Development for Fox Interactive Media, and was the Vice President of Business & Corporate Development at IGN Entertainment (acquired by Fox Interactive), where he led the company’s M&A, business development and international activities. Before joining IGN, Richard led national accounts sales at Lycos, was Vice President of Business Development at Neopost Online, served as Senior Vice President/Managing Director of Answerthink, and founded K23 Creative Services in Singapore. His early career included management roles for Ford, IBM and Siemens, and he has a B.S. in business administration from the University of Southern California and an M.B.A. from the University of Washington.

Dorion Carroll
Vice President of Engineering
Dorion Carroll is a 20-year veteran engineer with deep experience developing product and services in areas including search, email processing, e-commerce, personalization, ad targeting, CRM, data warehousing, order management and financial services. Prior to joining Technorati, Dorion was director of engineering at Postini, Vice President of Engineering and General Manager of Neomeo (which was acquired by Postini), Technologist-in-Residence at Softbank Venture Capital, and Senior Director of Engineering at Excite@Home, among other roles. Dorion has a Bachelor of Arts from Pitzer College, with four years Mathematics / Computer Science at Harvey Mudd College, in Claremont, California.

Peter Hirshberg
Chairman of the Executive Committee & CMO, Technorati Inc.
Peter Hirshberg is an entrepreneur and marketing innovator who has led emerging media and technology companies at the center of disruptive change for more than 20 years. As Chairman & Chief Marketing Officer of Technorati, he oversees the company’s sales, marketing and business development activities as well as its partnerships with the media, entertainment and marketing industries. Previously Hirshberg served as president and CEO of Gloss.com, the online prestige beauty business co-owned by Estee Lauder Companies, Chanel and Clarins; he was Chairman of Interpacket Networks, the global leader in Internet-by-satellite (sold to American Tower in 2000), and was founder and CEO of Elemental Software (sold to Macromedia in 1999). Peter was at Apple Computer for nine years where he held a number of leadership positions, including Director of Enterprise Markets. He is a Trustee of The Computer History Museum and a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute. Peter earned his bachelor’s degree at Dartmouth College and his MBA at Wharton.

Joi Ito
Vice President of International Business and Mobile Devices, Technorati Inc.
Joichi Ito is in charge of international and mobility development for Technorati. He is founder and CEO of Neoteny, a venture capital firm which is the lead investor in Six Apart, and is on the board of Creative Commons. He has created numerous Internet companies including PSINet Japan, Digital Garage, and Infoseek Japan. In 1997, Time Magazine ranked him as a member of the CyberElite. In 2000 he was ranked among the “50 Stars of Asia” by Business Week and commended by the Japanese Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications for supporting the advancement of IT. In 2001 the World Economic Forum chose him as one of the 100 “Global Leaders of Tomorrow” for 2002. He was appointed as a member of Howard Dean’s Net Advisory Net during the Dean campaign.

Teresa Malo
Chief Financial Officer
Teresa is a CPA with over 17 years experience in finance and operations, and she’s responsible for Technorati’s financial, legal, and HR organizations. She has worked with technology startup companies such as Calico Commerce and Zambeel, as well as with established companies, including Arbor Software and Silicon Graphics. Teresa started her career as an accountant with Pannell, Kerr, Forster, a national public accounting firm. She holds Bachelor’s degrees in Accounting and Computer Information systems from Arizona State University and the University of Washington.

Technorati Board of Directors

David L. Sifry
Founder & Chairman of the Board, Technorati, Inc.
David Sifry is a serial entrepreneur with over 20 years of software development and industry experience. Before founding Technorati, Dave was cofounder and CTO of Sputnik, a Wi-Fi gateway company, and previously, he was cofounder of Linuxcare, where he served as CTO and VP of Engineering. Dave also served as a founding member of the board of Linux International and on the technical advisory board of the National Cybercrime Training Partnership for law enforcement. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Johns Hopkins University. Dave can often be found speaking on panels and giving lectures on a variety of technology issues, ranging from wireless spectrum policy and Wi-Fi, to Weblogs and Open Source software.

Peter Hirshberg
Chairman of the Executive Committee & CMO, Technorati Inc.

Joi Ito
Vice President of International Business and Mobile Devices, Technorati, Inc.

Ryan McIntyre
Principal, Mobius Venture Capital
Ryan McIntyre joined Mobius Venture Capital in 2000 as an Associate Partner and was promoted to Principal in 2001. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. McIntyre co-founded Excite in 1993, which went public in 1996 and later became Excite@Home (Nasdaq:ATHM) following the merger of Excite and @Home in 1999. There he held the role of Principal Engineer and was a key technological contributor to the company’s search engine and content management systems, and also led the design and implementation of Excite’s community and commerce platforms. Mr. McIntyre holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Symbolic Systems with a concentration in Artificial Intelligence from Stanford University. While at Stanford, he published research on genetic algorithms in the The First IEEE Conference on Evolutionary Computation, and studied at Stanford’s overseas campus in Berlin, Germany.

Sanford R. Robertson
Principal, Francisco Partners
Sanford R. Robertson is a principal of Francisco Partners, one of the world’s largest technology buyout funds. With a focus on structured investments in technology and technology-related businesses, Francisco Partners is a pioneer in the private equity category of Technology Buyouts. Prior to founding Francisco Partners, Mr. Robertson was the founder and chairman of Robertson, Stephens & Co., a leading technology investment bank formed in 1978, and sold to BankBoston in 1998. Mr. Robertson was also the founder of Robertson, Colman, Siebel & Weisel, later renamed Montgomery Securities, another prominent technology investment bank. He has had significant financing involvement in more than 500 growth technology companies throughout his career, including 3Com Corporation (Nasdaq: COMS), America Online, Inc., Applied Materials, Inc. (Nasdaq: AMAT), Ascend Communications Inc., Dell Computer Corporation (Nasdaq: DELL), E*Trade Securities, Inc. (Nasdaq: ETFC), Siebel Systems, Inc. and Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW). Mr. Robertson received both a B.A. and an M.B.A. with Distinction from the University of Michigan.

Andreas Stavropoulous
Managing Director, Draper Fisher Jurvetson
Mr. Stavropoulos focuses primarily on software investments (enterprise infrastructure and consumer/Internet), wireless networking, and technology-enabled services. Prior to joining DFJ, Mr. Stavropoulos was with McKinsey & Company’s San Francisco office, where he worked with senior management teams of corporate clients with an emphasis on information technology. Prior to McKinsey, he was a Senior Analyst at Cornerstone Research, a financial and economic consulting firm that helps resolve complex issues arising in high-profile business litigation. Mr. Stavropoulos holds Bachelor’s and Masters degrees in computer science from Harvard University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he was a Baker Scholar and graduated first in his class.

More

http://technorati.com/
http://technorati.com/weblog/
http://www.sifry.com/alerts/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/12/04/exclusive-technorati-relaunches-to-focus-on-core-blogging-audience/
http://www.crunchbase.com/company/technorati
http://www.niallkennedy.com/blog/2006/12/google-blog-search-technorati-market-share.html
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/11/05/technorati-drops-content-older-than-6-months-old/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/12/28/google-v-technorati-and-hitwise-v-comscore/
http://www.centernetworks.com/why-comparing-technorati-to-google-blog-search-is-not-valid
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Blog_search_engines
http://www.sifry.com/alerts/archives/000492.html
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/04/03/technoratis-mating-dance/
http://www.sifry.com/alerts/archives/000492.html
http://atomicbomb.typepad.com/
http://www.centernetworks.com/web-apps-customer-service-face-off#technorati
http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1638266_1638253_1638241,00.html
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/10/01/new-technorati-ceo-has-a-challenge-ahead/
http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=prnw.20071001.AQM180&show_article=1&lsn=1
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/08/16/watching-technorati-and-podtech-fall-apart/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/09/30/techmeme-leaderboard-to-launch-attacking-technoratis-last-stronghold/
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/0/2/9a2 (Richard Jalichandra)
http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-thu_tagsjun14,0,3843733.story?coll=chi-business-hed
http://valleywag.com/tech/rumormonger/technoratis-search-247549.php
http://markevanstech.com/2007/04/03/talking-up-technorati/
http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,,1937507,00.html
http://www.time.com/time/globalbusiness/article/0,9171,1565540,00.html
http://sramanamitra.com/2006/02/23/technorati-valuation-without-revenue/
http://www.iac.com/businesses.html
http://mysqluc.com/presentations/mysql06/carroll_dorion.ppt