Category Archives: Enterprise

iWonder Pro – enterprise level surveillance and control software for iPhone, iPad and iPod

Schools and businesses that issue iPad, iPhone or other iOS devices to their students or staff now have a way to control where those devices can go on the internet, monitor where they have been, and lock them down to only appropriate sites.

Life Record Technologies, creators of the consumer based iWonder Pro application to control and monitor children on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices, releases the first enterprise level surveillance and control software for schools, hospitals and businesses.

“With the release of iBooks 2 featuring text book support by Apple Inc. its inevitable that schools will now start issuing iPads to students and staff as regularly as they issue text books today.”, says Michael Pike, Chief Software Architect of Life Record Technologies. “We’ve also noticed a lot of healthcare facilities deploying iPads to their staff, and our software allows all of the devices to be managed, observed and secured with ease.”

iWonder Pro Enterprise allows schools and businesses with as little as one iOS device, with up to 10,000 devices to manage them all in one place, including profiles to let certain types of users go to certain types of sites while restricting the others while using any Wifi or cellular network. iWonder Pro Enterprise is the first and only enterprise level surveillance system designed specifically for iOS.

iWonder Pro Enterprise is available now in the Apple App Store starting at $99.99.

More information can be obtained from the iWonder Pro Enterprise website at http://www.iwonderpro.com.

Via EPR Network

Revel Systems was officially announced as the winner of the Business iPad App of the Year Award

On January 31, 2012 Revel Systems was officially announced as the winner of the Business iPad App of the Year Award. This weekend at Macworld | iWorld, it was clear early on that the Best Business iPad App awards came down to two remarkable companies: Square, led by Jack Dorsey, and Revel Systems, led by female entrepreneur Lisa Falzone. Both of the nominees were a hit with the crowd, and both were in the payment industry, which is the fastest-moving market for iPad apps. Even though voters were presented with an impressive field of nominees, the battle was clearly dominated by these two competitors.

While competition was fierce between Square and Revel, here’s a breakdown of the vote: First of all, users chose Revel Systems as the most useful business iPad app. Revel was also found to help with a wider array of business functions, with seven to Square’s four. Square was found to have over 100,000 users, while Revel Systems has fewer than 100,000. As far as which offers the simplest user interface, both companies were tied. Finally, users chose Revel Systems as the company with the best customer support.

In the end, Macworld users declared Revel Systems iPad POS the winner. Lisa Falzone, CEO and co-founder of Revel Systems, told iPad Biz Apps today that “Revel is honored to have won such an award, and thanks all of the voters at Macworld | iWorld for voting for them.” A wide range of powerful apps were represented, but Revel’s sophisticated level of functionality and wide range of applications led to its selection as the best iPad business app.

Even though Square has been nominated for a Crunchies award, and has over 100,000 customers, users found that it only supplies a payment app. On the other hand, Revel Systems offers a fully functional Point of Sale system to manage every task that store owners encounter on a daily basis. This can explain why Revel has landed deals with many heavy-hitters like Popeye’s Chicken in Georgia (popeyes.com), Illy Coffee in San Francisco (illy.com), U-sushi in San Francisco (u-sushi.com), Camille’s Sidewalk Café in Oklahoma (www.camillescafe.com), and other big franchises. On the other hand, Square’s clientele is largely restricted to businesses that only require a few simple operations, including farmers’ markets, taxi cabs, and street vendors.

Now that the competition is over, Ms. Falzone is back to leading Revel Systems to the top of the Point of Sale marketplace. She has raised $3.7 million in her “A” round of funding last year and is gearing up for her “B” round. The recent victory of Revel Systems has cemented Ms. Falzone’s place among today’s top women entrepreneurs, and she looks forward to the future of what Revel Systems will accomplish. Moving forward, the company hopes to facilitate growth through its open API, which allows all companies to integrate into Revel—creating new opportunities for local commerce to thrive into the future.

Via EPR Network

Business iPad App Of The Year Award

Business iPad Apps are in high demand fueling the future of American businesses. Now BiziPadapps.com has brought you a contest to see which Business iPad apps are the best for 2011. Vote today for your chance to be the winner for Business iPad App of the Year Award. Voting stops Jan 15th 2011. Winner will be announced Jan 31st 2012.

Much like the crunchies award but we are focused on just businesses that are leading the way into the future using the Apple iPad apps which can help businesses excel into the future. Apple iPad Apps like Drop Box, Docusign, Square and others are among the few that were nominated.

List of iPad Business Apps of the year Nominees that made it to the TOP TEN BUSINESS APPS OF THE YEAR:

In alpha order:

DocuSign
Drop Box
GoCal for Google Calendar
Highrise HQ
iTookOff Paid Leave Tracker
Revel Systems iPad POS
Mint for iPad
Instapaper
SpeakEasy Voice Recorder
Square Payment

With over 500,000 thousand votes so far find out who the winners are for this years contest of Business iPad App of the Year Award. Criteria for this year: which iPad app contributes to businesses and helps them excel.

Via EPR Network


Intelligent Intranet Software Supplier and an On-Line Mind Mapping Software Provider Announce a Strategic Technology Partnership

Interact, a leading supplier in intelligent intranet software and MindMeister, providers of on-line mind mapping software, are pleased to announce a strategic technology partnership. The agreement allows the two companies to combine their industry leading software solutions.

MindMeister is the market leading and multiple award-winning web-based collaboration solution that uses proven mind mapping concepts to facilitate multi-user planning, brainstorming, and project management sessions all from within a standard web browser.

Interact Intranet is an easy to use, collaborative turnkey solution trusted by over 250,000 users. It is an intelligent intranet solution that learns as people use it, adapts and automatically connects relevant information to people. Powerful enterprise networking tools actively promote internal communication, collaboration, idea sharing and cross-organisation participation. It is modular in its architecture allowing organisations to add the components, resources, and services that are required as the business evolves and grows.

As a result of the new integration, Interact Intranet users will be able to access the MindMeister mind maps via the intranet to brainstorm or plan new projects. They will be able to simultaneously work with colleagues on the same map and see changes as they happen within the intuitive and familiar intranet interface.

Commenting on the partnership Scott Hitchins, Global Partner Manager at Interact said: “At Interact we are continually looking to establish new strategic alliances to build-upon and reinforce our intranet platform and we are very excited about the partnership with MindMeister.”

“We constantly seek to innovate and develop Interact Intranet to add value for our users. Creativity and collaboration are the basis of every successful business and the MindMeister mind mapping and visual thinking application is a natural extension to our existing collaborative capabilities. Like Interact Intranet, MindMeister has an intuitive user interface so the integration offers the best solution for functionality and ease of use.”

Interact Intranet is an ideal platform for forming strategic relationships. With over 250,000 users worldwide and an ever-expanding list of high-profile customers, opportunities are consistently being produced to cross-promote new solutions for the end-user via the Interact Intranet Partner Program.

Via EPR Network

Bitrix’s all new Intranet Portal 8.0 – Collaborate, Communicate and Socialize

Bitrix Inc., an enterprise 2.0 software company that develops portal solutions for businesses, announced the all new Bitrix Intranet Portal 8.0 – designed to revolutionize online collaboration.

“The new version of the product embodies the principles of Enterprise 2.0. We call them “Three Cs” – Collaboration, Communication and Corporate Culture. The perfect integration with MS Office Outlook, built-in instant messaging server, collaboration tools and personal dashboard – they all allow companies to improve business efficiency and enhance decision making.” said Sergey Rizhikov, CEO of Bitrix, Inc.

The Bitrix Intranet Portal 8.0 is a real breakthrough in Enterprise 2.0 solutions. For the first time in IT history, the unique instant messaging server, XMPP/JABBER, has been built right into an Intranet Portal. All you need is to install one of widespread clients for JABBER – Miranda IM, Trillian Pro, Adium or any other, depending on your operating system (Windows, MAC, or UNIX). Connecting through your mobile device also just got easier. Any handset will get along and all you need to do it to synchronize your handset with the portal. Once you are logged in you can see who all are online, chat with colleagues, share files with them and even set your mood status.

Two-way integration with MS Office Outlook – Bitrix Intranet Portal has complete, two-way synchronization with Microsoft Outlook contacts, calendar (appointments) and tasks. Now you don’t need to flip between screens to keep track of your meetings. You can add events to the Outlook calendar and your personal portal calendar will be automatically u p d a t e d.

Booking a meeting room – Bitrix Intranet Portal 8.0 allows you to see which rooms are available and when, streamline and manage scheduling processes in real-time, request equipment or setup services at the time of booking. It’s a dream come true for anyone who schedules meetings — and anyone who has to attend them.

Personal dashboard – Bitrix Intranet Portal 8.0 allows you to customize the layout of the main and personal user page according to your personal preferences. You can modify the look and feel of the portal page by including different columns such as events, working groups, company news and RSS-feed information about weather, traffic, etc. A few clicks and your personal portal is ready!

Proactive Protection – build in Proactive Protection Module is a robust combination of proactive filter (Web Application Firewall), disposable passwords, fast and effective anti-malware, protection of authorized sessions, activity control, intrusion log, Control Panel page access blocking by IP, Stop List and integrity control tools to defend against the majority of Internet risks.

Check out the Bitrix Intranet Portal 8.0 today with a 30 day trial offer: http://www.bitrixsoft.com/products/intranet/demo.php#tab-trial-link 

You can even test a live system – just visit our virtual lab: http://www.bitrixsoft.com/products/intranet/demo.php 

Bitrix Intranet Portal 8.0: http://www.bitrixsoft.com/products/intranet/index.php#tab-ver8-link 

Proactive Protection Module: http://www.bitrixsoft.com/products/cms/features/proactive.php

 

About Bitrix

Bitrix, Inc. specializes in the development of content management systems and portal solutions formanaging web projects and multifunctional information systems on the Internet. Bitrix specialists, by their considerable efforts and skill, developed the Bitrix Site Manager software—a standalone application that provides complex web solutions. This software tech-corp was established in 1998 by a group of IT specialists. Bitrix continues to hold a leading position in the web development market, always offering high-standard solutions to its clients and partners.

Via EPR Network

LOTO’s bilingual engine goes to work for China’s media

LOTO Online, a Beijing-based Internet technology company, is expanding to provide bilingual web platform services to China’s major media outlets, such as People’s Daily Online and CCTV.com. LOTO‘s proprietary and unique patented technologies help its clients achieve 3 main goals: (1) increase the amount of original content the clients are able to provide; (2) allow the clients to be the first to publish in English, content that was previously available only in Chinese; and (3) enlarge their circulation amongst foreign readers at home and abroad. Utilizing LOTO’s platform, China’s media can now be originator of its news in English and be the first to publish in English, breaking news which was previously reported only in Chinese. This boost in foreign circulation allows readers all over the world to now get first-hand news, printed in English, from the original Chinese sources.

Recently, People’s Daily Online was swift to report first-hand on the incident related to Microsoft Windows Genuine Advantage, also referred to as the “Black Screen.” People’s Daily Online published a series of English articles that were cited by over 30 English media providers and English content websites. The New York Times Online published an article referencing the original piece published by People’s Daily Online, providing links to the article and also a Chinese blog covering the incident. The People’s Daily articles were also cited by Australian news blog, Bigblog, the Malaysian online media, Daylife.com, the US news website, Congoo.com and the US online news community, Topix.com.

“Now, with this rapid dissemination of news, the viewpoints of China’s netizens and authorities are able to be reflected in foreign Internet circulations almost immediately,” Johnson Jiang, LOTO founder and CEO, said.

LOTO increases translated content and information available to English readers all over the world. This results in greater access to original sources of information that come from different perspectives. A whole new path has emerged for Chinese ideas, opinions, and news to reach the rest of the world. Following the 2008 Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games and the upcoming Shanghai World Expo and Guangzhou Asian Games (both in 2010), LOTO’s bilingual engine stands to be a powerful online resource for netizens all over the world. It will offer a new perspective on China’s news, culture, traditions and history.

LOTO’s emergence onto the news scene has revolutionized global searching. Previously, news searches using popular engines such as Google and Yahoo would often return only a few search results originating from China’s media. The bulk of results are usually translated articles published by foreign media. LOTO bypasses this step.

“The issue was that much of the searching was, and still is, done using English keywords, while news reported by China’s media, for the most part, was in Chinese. This created a huge gap between information sought after and information actually accessed. But now, with LOTO’s platform, emerges a solution to the problem of worldwide access to information,” Jiang said.

LOTO’s unique technology has removed language barriers between people across the globe. The first and only one of its kind, LOTO’s bilingual engine is based on a human-machine interactive translation system, dynamic translation memory technology and vast, continuously growing databases of keywords, including one dedicated to Chinese news. For the first time ever, netizens are given the ability to search for news outside their native country using only English keywords to return dozens of relevant news reports that have been published by original media outlets such as People’s Daily Online and CCTV.com.

Via EPR Network

More Internet press releases

Push-To-Talk Over Wi-Fi for Motorola Warehouse Devices

Radicomm, Inc., a Motorola PartnerSelect ISV (Independent Software Vendor), has released QuickTalk, a voice communication system for rugged mobile scanning devices like the Motorola MC9090 and MC70. Using QuickTalk, stockroom managers and other supervisors can talk to any worker in their warehouse, factory, or distribution center with the push of a button. All voice communication takes place over the worker’s scanning device, but because of QuickTalk‘s seamless design the worker never has to leave his current application to talk back.

“Other vendors tend to only target supervisor PDAs like the MC70. Of course we support those devices too, but running QuickTalk seamlessly on an MC9090 is where Radicomm really separates itself from the competition,” explains Brad Radaker, founder and CEO of Radicomm.

QuickTalk is a complete warehouse communication system that not only allows supervisors to call out to their workers, but also allows workers to directly contact their supervisors if that’s what the company desires. Using the QuickTalk Administrator program, organizations can create Role Visibility Relationships to define who is allowed to contact whom within each site. Site Trust Relationships may also be created to enable managers in one site to contact their counterparts in another site.

A fully functional 30 day trial of QuickTalk is available from the Radicomm web site at www.radicomm.com. For more information please call 1-888-919-9931 or email sales@radicomm.com.

About Radicomm
Radicomm creates user-friendly software for the warehouse environment. Our mission is to provide straightforward, cost effective solutions for organizations looking to unlock the true potential of the automated warehouse. For more information please call 1-888-919-9931, or visit our website at www.radicomm.com.

via EPR Network

More telcos news

Amazon Web Services on its way to surpass $500M in sales this year

In a recent conference call Amazon has announced that it has reached over $131M in sales during the fourth-quarter of 2007 from its Web Services, which much or less means more than $500M in revenues for the entire fiscal 2008 for Amazon coming solely from its Web Services. When compared to the $5.7B for the same quarter coming in from its core business activates that amount looks tiny and small, but it is symbolic for the major transition undertaken at Amazon to shift the focus from simply an online retailer to a broader Internet company and mostly an innovator in the web space. We are also sure that the margins are surely greater in the web services field for Amazon than the profits derived from its traditional retail business. Standing alone the Amazon Web Services’ revenues are certainly huge and newsworthy. Amazon Web Services turn out to be a very successful strategy for Bezos’ globe-spanning empire to drive sales and profits up. The company claims as well there are over 60,000 different customers across the various Amazon Web Services.

What is also interesting and noteworthy from the information that recently became publicly available online is the fact that the biggest users of Amazon Web Services are not the army of web 2.0 start-ups but large-scale corporations from the banking and the pharmaceutical sectors.

More about Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services provides developers with direct access to Amazon’s robust technology platform. Build on Amazon’s suite of web services to enable and enhance your applications. We innovate for you, so that you can innovate for your customers.

Amazon WS include Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, Amazon SimpleDB, Amazon Simple Storage Service and Amazon Simple Queue Service.

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) – Beta

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make web-scale computing easier for developers. Amazon EC2’s simple web service interface allows you to obtain and configure capacity with minimal friction. It provides you with complete control of your computing resources and lets you run on Amazon’s proven computing environment. Amazon EC2 reduces the time required to obtain and boot new server instances to minutes, allowing you to quickly scale capacity, both up and down, as your computing requirements change. Amazon EC2 changes the economics of computing by allowing you to pay only for capacity that you actually use.  Amazon EC2 provides developers the tools to build failure resilient applications and isolate themselves from common failure scenarios.

Amazon SimpleDB™- Limited Beta

Amazon SimpleDB is a web service for running queries on structured data in real time. This service works in close conjunction with Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), collectively providing the ability to store, process and query data sets in the cloud. These services are designed to make web-scale computing easier and more cost-effective for developers. Traditionally, this type of functionality has been accomplished with a clustered relational database that requires a sizable upfront investment, brings more complexity than is typically needed, and often requires a DBA to maintain and administer. In contrast, Amazon SimpleDB is easy to use and provides the core functionality of a database – real-time lookup and simple querying of structured data – without the operational complexity.  Amazon SimpleDB requires no schema, automatically indexes your data and provides a simple API for storage and access.  This eliminates the administrative burden of data modeling, index maintenance, and performance tuning. Developers gain access to this functionality within Amazon’s proven computing environment, are able to scale instantly, and pay only for what they use.

Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3)

Amazon S3 is storage for the Internet. It is designed to make web-scale computing easier for developers. Amazon S3 provides a simple web services interface that can be used to store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web. It gives any developer access to the same highly scalable, reliable, fast, inexpensive data storage infrastructure that Amazon uses to run its own global network of web sites. The service aims to maximize benefits of scale and to pass those benefits on to developers.

Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS)

Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS) offers a reliable, highly scalable, hosted queue for storing messages as they travel between computers. By using Amazon SQS, developers can simply move data between distributed components of their applications that perform different tasks, without losing messages or requiring each component to be always available. Amazon SQS makes it easy to build an automated workflow, working in close conjunction with the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) and the other AWS infrastructure web services. Amazon SQS works by exposing Amazon’s web-scale messaging infrastructure as a web service. Any computer on the Internet can add or read messages without any installed software or special firewall configurations. Components of applications using Amazon SQS can run independently, and do not need to be on the same network, developed with the same technologies, or running at the same time.

There are many other companies in the sector and among others are Nirvanix (recently received funding from European Founders Fund) and RackSpace’s Mosso.

More

http://www.amazon.com/gp/browse.html?node=3435361
http://www.wired.com/techbiz/it/magazine/16-05/mf_amazon
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/04/21/who-are-the-biggest-users-of-amazon-web-services-its-not-startups/
http://aws.amazon.com/ec2
http://aws.amazon.com/s3
http://www.amazon.com/SimpleDB-AWS-Service-Pricing/b?ie=UTF8&node=342335011
http://www.amazon.com/Simple-Queue-Service-home-page/b?ie=UTF8&node=13584001
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/01/30/amazon-earnings-call-details-web-services-use-up-more-bandwidth-than-amazoncom-the-kindle-is-a-hit/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/03/14/amazon-grid-storage-web-service-launches/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/03/14/amazon-grid-storage-web-service-launches/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/12/14/amazon-takes-on-oracle-and-ibm-with-simple-db-beta/
http://www.fabianschonholz.com/2008/03/11/a-hybrid-solution/
http://open.nytimes.com/2007/11/01/self-service-prorated-super-computing-fun/
http://www.nirvanix.com/
https://www.mosso.com/

Website Optimization company and CMS leader joined forces

An interesting deal happened a few months ago, announced in October 2007 and closed in November the same year. Interwoven, a public company traded on NASDAQ, has acquired the said website optimization pioneer Optimost.

The both companies then said that combination of Interwoven’s Content Management Solutions with Optimost’s Multivariable Testing and Optimization Solution will help organizations maximize online business performance.

Under the terms of the agreement between Optimost and Interwoven, Interwoven will pay approximately $52 million in cash for all outstanding shares of Optimost and assume certain existing employee stock options. From what we were able to dig up, Optimost is probably having less than $8M in revenues per year, which translates into multiple around 6X the revenues, which is not that impressive number after all. Interwoven is based in San Jose, Calif, and is making itself over $200M in revenues enjoying a market capitalization of 539.57M (March 17 2008).

As businesses continue to spend unprecedented amounts to drive traffic to their Websites through search engine marketing, pay-per-click ads, banner ads, e-mail, and other tactics, they face a significant challenge in converting traffic into revenue-generating customers. The combination of Interwoven’s content management solutions and Optimost’s optimization solution helps businesses address this challenge by providing marketers with the industry’s most complete set of capabilities for creating, deploying, testing, analyzing, and optimizing targeted content to Website visitors.

“This acquisition supports our strategy to power our customers’ online presence, and we believe it puts Interwoven at the top of the short list of a company’s must-have partners for online business,” said Joe Cowan, chief executive officer at Interwoven. “Companies today understand that maximizing their online business performance is the key to accelerating growth and profits, and that content is at the core of their online strategy. By acquiring Optimost, we are providing customers with a powerful solution for optimizing their content – which creates the connection point between the visitor and the Web – to provide the most compelling experience, faster, more efficiently, and more effectively than ever before.”

Founded in 2001, Optimost is a privately-held company headquartered in New York City, whose customers include Ask.com, Auto Trader, Delta Air Lines, FAO Schwarz, Lenovo, and MGM Mirage. Optimost has a proven track record in helping its clients achieve double-digit increases in conversion rates and online sales. For example, Delta Air Lines made changes to Delta.com based on the results of its multivariable optimization initiative, which has added up to approximately $15 million in additional revenue so far this year.

“Today’s announcement is wonderful news for Optimost’s customers,” said Mark Wachen, chief executive officer at Optimost. “When we founded Optimost, our vision was to deliver technology that allows marketers to increase the effectiveness of their online presence to drive measurable business results. Clearly, Interwoven shares the same vision and by combining forces we will be able to extend our innovative technology to a much larger market and provide Optimost customers with a more complete solution for maximizing their marketing investments. We look forward to joining the team at Interwoven.”
In just matter of couple of weeks the deal was closed on November 1st, 2007.

All Optimost employees, including the founders, Mark Wachen and Lance Lovette, have joined Interwoven and will focus on product innovation, customer support, and the continued acceleration of Interwoven’s business in the online marketing arena.

The Optimost solutions are now available through Interwoven as a standalone offering as well as in conjunction with the solutions in Interwoven’s portfolio.

Interwoven expects the Optimost acquisition to contribute in the range of $1.5 million to $2.0 million to total revenue during the fourth quarter of 2007, subsequent to the acquisition date and before considering purchase accounting adjustments to revenues of approximately $1.0 million.

More about Optimost

New York-based Optimost is a technology and services company specializing in comprehensive real-time testing and conversion rate marketing. Pioneers in the field of multivariable testing, the firm is able to create and test virtually limitless permutations of copy, offers and layouts in the time it takes to conduct a standard A/B page comparison test. By combining real-life response data with information about which variables were displayed in the test, Optimost clients are able to determine how much each individual website element contributes to the overall response rate. Client web pages can then be optimized further based on the combinations of most positive individual site elements. Optimost clients include: InterActiveCorp, Lillian Vernon, Delta Air Lines, Time Warner, QVC, and EarthLink.

More about Interwoven

Interwoven is a global leader in content management solutions. Interwoven’s software and services enable organizations to maximize online business performance and organize, find, and govern business content. Interwoven solutions unlock the value of content by delivering the right content to the right person in the right context at the right time. Over 4,200 of the world’s leading companies, professional services firms, and governments have chosen Interwoven, including adidas, Airbus, Avaya, BT, Cisco, Citi, Delta Air Lines, DLA Piper, the Federal Reserve Bank, FedEx, Grant Thornton, Hilton Hotels, Hong Kong Trade and Development Council, HSBC, LexisNexis, MasterCard, Microsoft, Samsung, Shell, Qantas Airways, Tesco, Virgin Mobile, and White & Case. Over 20,000 developers and over 300 partners enrich and extend Interwoven’s offerings.

More

http://www.interwoven.com/
http://finance.google.com/finance?q=NASDAQ:IWOV
http://www.optimost.com/
http://www.interwoven.com/components/page.jsp?topic=MAIN::NEWS&dcr=components/optimost.jsp
http://www.interwoven.com/components/page.jsp?topic=NEWS::RELEASES&dcr=templatedata/announcement/press-release/data/2007/dcr-2007-10-17-optimost.xml
http://www.centernetworks.com/interwoven-acquires-optimost-social-news http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/10/18/interwoven-acquires-optimost-for-52-million/
http://www.optimost.com/press/2007-11-interwoven-announces-close.php
 

Pluck acquired by Demand Media

Demand Media, a major buyer and operator of Internet domain name companies, has announced just a few days ago it has acquired the Austin-based social media company Pluck after about reportedly two months of negotiations. The price is $75M in all cash deal. Pluck revenues are around $10 million/year and the company has raised $17 million in three rounds of funding, which makes the deal a nice exit for Pluck’s investors among which are Austin Ventures, Mayfield Fund, and Reuters. Michael Arrington from Techcrunch however does not seem to agree with that constatation and calls it that way: VCs who aim for 3x their money tend to go out of business.

Pluck, a provider of social media tools and technologies, is serving more than 200 media websites, which are reaching over 100M users, and serving over 1.5 billion interactions per month. The acquisition expands Demand Media’s social media platform beyond its owned network of web sites to power leading media properties and brands worldwide including Gannett/USA TODAY, Guardian Unlimited, Hearst Corporation, Fox, The Washington Post, Scotts and Circuit City.

“We founded the company with a vision for expanding social media beyond the traditional social networking portals. To that end, we have acquired and developed the components necessary to create, distribute and monetize web sites and content,” said Richard Rosenblatt, co-founder, CEO and chairman of Demand Media. “Now, we are ready to expand the platform and model beyond our proprietary network. Pluck provides the technologies, people and partners to accomplish this vision.”

Demand Media’s social media platform currently supports more than 64 million unique visitors per month according to the company’s own Google Analytics data from January 2008. The platform features multiple social media applications such as social Q&A and a vast wholly-owned and rights-cleared content library of Pro Amateur text and video. All this will be enhanced by Pluck’s widget and API-based social media technologies.

“This combination will allow us to provide our customers with an even broader suite of social media products and monetizable content,” said Dave Panos, CEO of Pluck and executive vice president for Demand Media. “The combined expertise of our two companies in platform technology development, content creation and community management is truly un-matched.”

Since its inception in May 2006, Demand Media has raised over $350 million in equity capital and pioneered a new formula for building an interactive media company. Through its social media platform, Demand Media has grown its vertical network into one of the Internet’s largest.

Pluck was founded in 2003 and built a world-class social media platform that enables leading publishers, brands, and retailers to grow their audiences by seamlessly integrating content, community and social media technologies directly into their existing web properties.

More about Pluck

A leader in social media software solutions, Pluck helps transform how publishers, retailers and major brands engage their audiences and customers to discover, create and distribute information online. Providing the technologies for content generation, syndication, social networking and news personalization, Pluck helps its customers more easily consume and leverage the new open content model that has emerged as the cornerstone of Web 2.0.

Products
If your goal is to drive brand recognition and revenue by leveraging the power of user contributions and interaction on your web site, Pluck offers a complete suite of rich Social Media products called SiteLife. Ready for embedding into any web site, SiteLife helps build vibrant communities of active bloggers, citizen journalists and consumers while driving the creation of new content, traffic and repeat visits.

For bloggers and publishers, Pluck offers BlogBurst, a syndication service that places blogs on top-tier online destinations. With BlogBurst, publishers weave the rich and diverse fabric of the blogosphere into their sites to drive site traffic, while bloggers gain visibility and grow their audience and reach.

Management Team

Pluck was co-founded in 2003 by Dave Panos and Andrew Busey, two executives with entrepreneurial experience in some of the industry’s earliest efforts in instant messaging, real-time collaboration, e-commerce, and e-learning. Meet the Pluck management team.

Dave Panos – Chief Executive Officer, Co-founder
 
A software industry veteran with more than 16 years of start-up experience, Dave has helped define new markets across a range of Internet and Enterprise sectors. He co-founded Pluck as a Venture Partner at Austin Ventures. Previously, he was a co-founder and executive vice president for B2B eCRM provider Question Technologies (sold to Motive). For seven years, he was vice president of marketing and business development at web collaboration pioneer DataBeam before their successful sale to Lotus/IBM. Previously, Mr. Panos ran product management at Easel Corporation, a popular software development tool company that went public. He earned his MBA from Harvard Business School and his undergraduate degree from Furman University.

Will Ballard – Vice President and CTO
 
In his role as Chief Technical Officer at Pluck, Will oversees a team of 20 engineers responsible for the company’s software architecture, design, development and quality assurance. He is also responsible for the design and operation of the growing data center that runs key aspects of site services for Pluck customers, including Hearst Magazines, WashingtonPost.com, TheStreet.com and Cox Newspapers. Prior to joining Pluck, Will served in a variety of software development leadership roles where he designed and managed the development of massively scalable, high-velocity software platforms at NetSpeed (now Cisco), the outsourced network management and security provider for more than 10,000 businesses; NetSpend, high availability provider of credit card transaction services for leading financial institutions; and Works.com (now Bank of America), the automated corporate purchasing solution for corporate treasury operations.

Ken Nicolson – Chief Marketing Officer
 
As Chief Marketing Officer, Ken leads market and product expansion for Pluck social media platforms to further serve the audience engagement and analytics needs of digital publishers and advertisers around the globe. Prior to joining Pluck, Ken served as president and CEO at Veridiem, a software firm that helped global brands plan, measure and optimize their return on marketing investments. Before joining Veridiem, Ken served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Alphablox Corporation, a leading provider of Web-based analytics applications. He has also served in executive marketing positions at Kiva Software, Red Brick Systems, Informix and IBM. Ken received an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Duke University.

Rachel Brush – Vice President of Operations and Content Services
 
As vice president of Operations and Content Services, Rachel oversees finance, legal and human resource operations for Pluck in the U.S. and Europe. She also leads the editorial and account management teams for the BlogBurst™ syndication network, which serves content from more than 4,000 top bloggers to leading media sites around the world. Before joining Pluck, Rachel spent eight years in leadership roles at Hoover’s, Inc., where she held various senior management positions, including serving as vice president of Content and vice president of Customer Operations and Quality. Previously Rachel worked in retail operations for industry giants, including Ann Taylor, LensCrafters and The Limited. Rachel holds a BA in English from The University of Texas at Austin and is pursuing an MBA in Operations and Business Management at St. Edward’s University. Rachel is also an Advisory Board Member of The Periwinkle Foundation, which provides summer camps and other activities for children with cancer.

Eric Newman – General Manager
 
Eric has a history of delivering successful embedded solutions for leading Internet and software companies. Prior to joining Pluck, Eric ran product management for data integration provider Pervasive (PVSW). He previously served as vice president of marketing at Powered, a provider of embedded internet marketing solutions. He was also director of portal solutions at AskJeeves (ASKJ) and served in various management roles at Lotus/DataBeam and Convergys. Eric earned his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and his undergraduate degree in Marketing and Management Information Systems from the University of Cincinnati.

Steve Semelsberger – Vice President, Sales & Business Development
 
Steve manages the team responsible for global revenue and partnerships. Prior to Pluck, he spent nearly six years with Motive (MOTV) in Director roles over Alliances, EMEA and Segment Marketing, helping the firm grow to ~$100M in revenue and complete an IPO in 2004. Previous experience in Steve’s 15-year career includes product management, marketing and sales positions with iChat, NetRatings and several media and services companies. He holds an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and Spain’s IESE, along with a BS in management from Binghamton University.

Stephanie Himoff – Vice President of UK Sales and Business Development
 
As vice president of UK sales and business development, Stephanie will direct UK and European sales operations. Stephanie brings to Pluck over a decade of experience spearheading the growth of Internet businesses in Europe. Most recently she worked with US-based travel search site, SideStep, on its expansion in the UK. Previously Stephanie served in executive management positions for European operations at DirectoryM, a premier online advertising network used by top publishers, including Newsweek and ZDNet. Stephanie also served as Managing Director in the UK and France for AltaVista, a web search company now owned by Overture, a division of Yahoo. She holds an MBA and a BA from the University of San Francisco as well as a masters in French from IESEG.

Adam Weinroth – Director of Product Marketing
 
Leading product marketing for Pluck, Adam plays a central role in formulating the vision, definition and delivery of the company’s syndication and publisher software services including the groundbreaking BlogBurst syndication network and SiteLife Social Media Suite. Adam joined the company in 2005 when Pluck acquired Easyjournal, a community blog publishing platform which Adam founded and grew to more than 100,000 registered users. Prior to creating Easyjournal in 2002, Adam held leadership roles in new product development and technology marketing with Mediatruck and IntelliQuest. Adam has a BBA in Marketing and an MBA focusing on Technology Marketing Strategy from The University of Texas at Austin.

Pluck is headquartered in Austin, Texas, and has received funding from Austin Ventures, Mayfield Fund, and Reuters. Company was more known as rss software focused one when they started back in 2003.

More about Demand Media, Inc.

Demand Media™ is a leading social media company that provides an interactive, personalized and vertically-focused media experience for over 64 million unique users. By using its proprietary social media tools and the unique distribution platform of the world’s second largest domain registrar, the company connects content creators and audiences to grow its network of vertical media web properties. The privately held company was founded in May 2006 and is based in Santa Monica, CA, with offices in Bellevue, WA, Austin, TX and San Francisco, CA.

Demand Media was founded by former MySpace CEO Richard Rosenblatt. The company has been buying content sites and is rumored to be in preparations for a possible 2009 IPO, if and when the economy recovers. Their last round, $100M, was announced in September 2007. They’ve raised a total of more than $350M to date.

More

http://www.demandmedia.com/
http://www.pluck.com/
http://www.pluck.com/press/PluckPR-030408-Acquisition.html
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/03/04/demand-media-buys-pluck-for-50-million-to-60-million/
http://www.quantcast.com/pluck.com
http://siteanalytics.compete.com/pluck.com/?metric=uv
http://www.austinventures.com/
http://www.mayfield.com/
http://www.reuters.com/
http://riverace.statesmanblogs.com/
http://www.crunchbase.com/company/pluck
http://www.demandmedia.com/demand-media-executives.asp
http://www.richard.tv/
http://www.reuters.com/article/internetNews/idUSWEN431620080305

It seems eXpresso is having more competition than we thought

A couple of days ago when we wrote about a tiny start-up that raised venture capital for an online collaboration tool built around Microsoft Excel we did not fully realize how crowded the market is. Today Mashable has put up a very nice and comprehensive list of all things spreadsheet – or in other words 14 online spreadsheet applications, eXpresso among them. Nice thumbnails are taken on any of the sites below and can be seen on Mashable

BadBlue.com – Features free personal accounts or paid enterprise class services for sharing Excel spreadsheets over the web.

Blist.com – Still in private beta, and here is the Mashable’s detailed write-up on what you can expect from this new spreadsheet app.

EditGrid.com – You can upload your existing spreadsheets, start new ones, and share & collaborate with friends and colleague.

Google Docs – No list of online spreadsheet apps would be complete without the ubiquitous mention of Google Docs. It feels, and looks, a lot like Microsoft Excel and is easily shareable with others.

InputWebWizard.com – Works your spreadsheets with a database so all of your data is stored in a SQL database. System is set to help you develop web apps, but still seems a bit pricey at $499 a month.

JotSpot – Import and Export with Excel, copy-and-paste from Excel, share the documents, even use hyperlinks and attach files.

Numbler.com – A plain, straightforward, collaborative spreadsheet application.

NumSum.com – A more social spreadsheet app where you can leave your work totally open if you choose and allow others to comment on it.

Peepel.com – Import your Excel spreadsheets, work with multiple documents in the same browser window, get an RSS feed of the latest changes to collaborative documents and more.

Sheetster.com – Has the normal online spreadsheet features such as collaboration, but also offers blog embedding options.

Simple Spreadsheet – An open source project that is part of the Simple Groupware Solutions project. Free to use and 100% web based.

ThinkFreeDocs.com – For now, you can not edit uploaded spreadsheets via the site, but they are working on it. Upload what you have and share it.

Zoho Sheet – Part of the Zoho suite of online office applications, Sheet will allow you to import and export with Excel, collaborate with others, and even do quick “throwaway” sheets if you just need to scratch something out.
 

An online collaboration tool built around Microsoft Excel took $2M, plans for $2M more

eXpresso, an online collaboration tool around Excel spreadsheets, has raised $2M round of financing from Novus and Rocket Ventures. This is on top of another couple of millions they’ve made off the sale of their original product, Smart DB, to Rocket Software (no relation to the VC firm). The money will be put towards expanding their current Excel product and building an online Powerpoint application due out next summer as well. The company has also announced they have plans to raise $2M more at the near future.

Expresso Corp is bringing new capabilities to Microsoft Excel. Using their software users can manage, compare and collaborate on Excel documents – features that Microsoft surprisingly hasn’t added on their own.

eXpresso is built upon AJAX functionality and combines a series of collaboration tools and back-end database wrapped around Microsoft’s own online spreadsheet editor, Microsoft Excel Web Component. The company seems oddly positioned by leaning heavily on Microsoft’s technology, but CEO George Langan points out that they can continue to develop the component without Microsoft’s support, or disturbance, and have a great deal of patented intellectual properties in the database system they run on. On the other side Microsoft has abandoned the technology themselves, announcing an end to development of the Office Web Components. Instead, they are focusing on developing new technologies around Microsoft Sharepoint. So, will Microsoft consider buying them or will just copy/cat their features and functionalities or is Microsoft heading towards different direction and will leave eXpresso behind? Let’s put it that way it has never been good to have your business model built upon and relying on third party company’s technology, service or solution.

However, the spreadsheet editor works smoothly, provides a familiar interface, and brings most of the Excel’s desktop functionality online. You can edit cells, add formulas, sort, filter, and format. Google and Zoho have been aggressively adding a lot of these features themselves, but support auto-fill and charts as well. eXpresso also offers more applications. You can create a new file from within the program or sync one directly from Excel using their plug-in. eXpresso also offers file permissions (down to cell ranges), enables real time chat, and file management (version control, spreadsheet comparison). It’s currently free in beta, but will cost $10 or less per user when it’s finally released.

More about eXpresso

eXpresso is led by an experienced team with decades of collective experience in data management, and enterprise software applications. eXpresso’s team comprises Founders and Corporate Executives who have successfully developed and delivered award-winning business solutions for Fortune 500 companies.

About eXpresso Spreadsheet Communities
Microsoft’s Excel spreadsheet application is one of the most popular on the planet. Millions of people use Excel on a weekly – or even daily – basis for simple personal tasks as well as for enterprise-critical functions such as managing supply chains, reporting corporate finance, or complying with regulatory requirements. eXpresso is a hosted workspace for real-time Excel collaboration in secure, structured communities. eXpresso brings sophisticated spreadsheet version management, comparison and collaboration capabilities to the world’s standard data interchange solution.

What can you do with eXpresso Spreadsheet Communities?

  • Upload, securely store and organize your Excel spreadsheets online
  • Authorize colleagues to view or edit your spreadsheets anytime from anywhere
  • Have a virtual meeting where invitees simultaneously view or edit Excel
  • Take advantage of powerful eXpresso features like group chat, email, alerts, and audit trails
  • Visually compare two or more spreadsheets for cell or formula changes.

eXpresso does compete with other services such as Google Spreadsheets, Zoho Sheet and XCellery. Investors include Individuals Venture Fund, Novus Ventures and Rocket Ventures. As we learned Xcellery has joined eXpresso and here is what the press releases said: “As a startup, Xcellery was committed to finding a better way for people to share and use Excel spreadsheets online. eXpresso has taken that idea to a new level of power and convenience, which is why we can wholeheartedly recommend that Xcellery users adopt eXpresso.”

eXpresso has won a number of industry awards and recognitions. 

eXpresso was honored with InfoWorld’s 2008 Technology of the Year Award: “These Technology of the Year award winners represent the best business process management system, best enterprise service bus, best database middleware, and the best SaaS collaboration and community platforms we tested in 2007.” eXpresso was also among The 2008 PC World 25 Most Innovative Products.
More

http://www.expressocorp.com/
http://blog.expressocorp.com/
http://www.expressocorp.com/download/eXpresso_Second_Round_Funding.pdf
http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/expresso_web_office.php
http://www.infoworld.com/slideshow/2008/01/144-2008_technology-5.html
http://blogs.msdn.com/excel/archive/2006/07/17/668544.aspx
http://blog.expressocorp.com/2008/01/28/expresso-and-microsoft-office-web-components/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/10/12/expresso-gets-2-million-to-grow-an-online-office-suite/
http://www.crunchbase.com/company/expresso
http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,140663-c,technology/article.html
http://www.paloaltodailynews.com/article/2008-1-7-expresso
http://www.sltrib.com/technology/ci_7907885
http://blogs.computerworld.com/share_excel_files_saas_style
http://www.expressocorp.com/download/XcelleryPressRelease.pdf

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/

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
 

Can Google lead amid its ever growing infrastructure and computation expenditures?

While reading our daily dose of news, stories and events from the web sector we came across an interesting fact worth reading and mentioning further. Google seems to be processing huge amounts of data per day in their daily routines – 20 Petabytes per day (20,000 Terabytes, 20M GBs).

The average MapReduce job is said to run across a $1 million hardware cluster, not including bandwidth fees, datacenter costs, or staffing. The January 2008 MapReduce paper provides new insights into Google’s hardware and software crunching processing tens of petabytes of data per day.

In September 2007, for example, the white paper document shows Googlers have made 2217 MapReduce jobs crunching approximately 11,000 machine years in a single month. Breaking these numbers further down shows that 11,081 machine years / (2217 job.s x 395 sec = .0278 years) implies 399,000 machines. Since this is believed to double about every 6 months one may guess Google are up to about 600,000 machines by now.

Google converted its search indexing systems to the MapReduce system in 2003, and currently processes over 20 terabytes of raw web data.

Google is known to run on hundreds of thousands of servers – by one estimate, in excess of 450,000 (data as of 2006, today more likely 600,000) – racked up in thousands of clusters in dozens of data centers around the world. It has data centers in Dublin, Ireland; in Virginia; and in California, where it just acquired the million-square-foot headquarters it had been leasing. It recently opened a new center in Atlanta, and is currently building two football-field-sized centers in The Dalles, Ore.

Microsoft, by contrast, made about a $1.5 billion capital investment in server and data structure infrastructure in 2006. Google is known to have spent at least as much to maintain its lead, following a $838 million investment in 2005. We estimate 2008’s Google IT expenditures to be in the $2B range. 

Google buys, rather than leases, computer equipment for maximum control over its infrastructure. Google chief executive officer Eric Schmidt defended that strategy once in a call conference with financial analysts. “We believe we get tremendous competitive advantage by essentially building our own infrastructures,” he said.

In general, Google has a split personality when it comes to questions about its back-end systems. To the media, its answer is, “Sorry, we don’t talk about our infrastructure.” Yet, Google engineers crack the door open wider when addressing computer science audiences, such as rooms full of graduate students whom it is interested in recruiting.

Among other things, Google has developed the capability to rapidly deploy prefabricated data centers anywhere in the world by packing them into standard 20- or 40-foot shipping containers.

Interesting fact from the Google’s history can be found back in 2003 when, in a paper, Google noted that power requirements of a densely packed server rack could range from 400 to 700 watts per square foot, yet most commercial data centers could support no more than 150 watts per square foot. In response, Google was investigating more power-efficient hardware, and reportedly switched from Intel to AMD processors for this reason. Google has not confirmed the choice of AMD, which was reported two years later by Morgan Stanley analyst Mark Edelstone.

Basically Google is mainly relying on its own internally developed software for data and network management and has a reputation for being skeptical of “not invented here” technologies, so relatively few vendors can claim it as a customer.

Google is being rumored that they would eventually start to build their own servers, storage systems, Internet switches and perhaps, sometime in the future, even optical transport systems.

Other rumors claim Google to be a big buyer of dark fiber to connect its data centers, which helps explain why the company spent nearly $3.8 billion over the past seven quarters on capital expenditures.

That’s tremendous amount of information and IT operations and based on our basic calculations, as far as we are correct in our human computation, it turns out that Google is facing IT expenditures in the $2B range per year, including for their data centers and the people.

Even though Google’s completive advantage is not only because of its infrastructure but also employees (Google has what is arguable the brightest group of people ever assembled for a publicly held company), proprietary software, global brand awareness, huge market capitalization and revenues of more than $10B per year, we think $2B burn rate per year on computing needs alone is “walking on thin ice” strategy at breakneck pace. Companies like Guill, who are claiming to have invented a technology 10 times cheaper than Google’s in terms of indexing and storing the information, Powerset working in hadoop/hbase environment, IBM, Microsoft and Yahoo! could potentially take an advantage over Google as Web grows further, so the Google’s computing expenses too.

Btw, we have also found on Web that Google processes its data on a standard machine cluster node consisting two 2 GHz Intel Xeon processors with Hyper-Threading enabled, 4 GB of memory, two 160 GB IDE hard drives and a gigabit Ethernet link.

Yahoo! and Powerset are known to use Hadoop while Microsoft’s equivalent is called Dryad. Dryad and Hadoop are the competing equivalent to Google’s GFS, MapReduce and the BigTable.

More about MapReduce

MapReduce is a programming model and an associated implementation for processing and generating large data sets. Users specify a map function that processes a key/value pair to generate a set of intermediate key/value pairs, and a reduce function that merges all intermediate values associated with the same intermediate key.

Programs written in this functional style are automatically parallelized and executed on a large cluster of commodity machines. The run-time system takes care of the details of partitioning the input data, scheduling the program’s execution across a set of machines, handling machine failures, and managing the required inter-machine communication. This allows programmers without any experience with parallel and distributed systems to easily utilize the resources of a large distributed system.

Google’s implementation of MapReduce runs on a large cluster of commodity machines and is highly scalable: a typical MapReduce computation processes many terabytes of data on thousands of machines. Programmers find the system easy to use: hundreds of MapReduce programs have been implemented and upwards of one thousand MapReduce jobs are executed on Google’s clusters every day.

More about Hadoop

Hadoop is an interesting software platform that lets one easily write and run applications that process vast amounts of data. Here’s what makes Hadoop especially useful:

Scalable: Hadoop can reliably store and process petabytes.

Economical: It distributes the data and processing across clusters of commonly available computers. These clusters can number into the thousands of nodes.

Efficient: By distributing the data, Hadoop can process it in parallel on the nodes where the data is located. This makes it extremely rapid.

Reliable: Hadoop automatically maintains multiple copies of data and automatically redeploys computing tasks based on failures.

Hadoop implements MapReduce, using the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS). MapReduce divides applications into many small blocks of work. HDFS creates multiple replicas of data blocks for reliability, placing them on compute nodes around the cluster. MapReduce can then process the data where it is located. Hadoop has been demonstrated on clusters with 2000 nodes. The current design target is 10,000 node clusters. Hadoop is a Lucene sub-project that contains the distributed computing platform that was formerly a part of Nutch.

More about Dryad

Dryad is an infrastructure which allows a programmer to use the resources of a computer cluster or a data center for running data parallel programs. A Dryad programmer can use thousands of machines, each of them with multiple processors or cores, without knowing anything about concurrent programming.

The Structure of Dryad Jobs
 
A Dryad programmer writes several sequential programs and connects them using one-way channels. The computation is structured as a directed graph: programs are graph vertices, while the channels are graph edges. A Dryad job is a graph generator which can synthesize any directed acyclic graph. These graphs can even change during execution, in response to important events in the computation.

Dryad is quite expressive. It completely subsumes other computation frameworks, such as Google’s map-reduce, or the relational algebra. Moreover, Dryad handles job creation and management, resource management, job monitoring and visualization, fault tolerance, re-execution, scheduling, and accounting.

More

http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1327452.1327492
http://www.niallkennedy.com/blog/2008/01/google-mapreduce-stats.html
http://labs.google.com/papers/mapreduce.html
http://research.google.com/people/jeff/
http://research.google.com/people/sanjay/
http://research.microsoft.com/research/sv/dryad/
http://lucene.apache.org/hadoop/
http://labs.google.com/papers/gfs.html
http://labs.google.com/papers/bigtable.html
http://research.microsoft.com/research/sv/dryad/
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/01/09/google-processing-20000-terabytes-a-day-and-growing/
http://feedblog.org/2008/01/06/mapreduce-simplified-data-processing-on-large-clusters/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MapReduce#Uses
http://open.blogs.nytimes.com/tag/hadoop/
http://www.baselinemag.com/print_article2/0,1217,a=182560,00.asp
http://www.stanford.edu/services/websearch/Google/
http://gigaom.com/2007/12/04/google-infrastructure/
http://gigaom.com/2005/09/19/google-asks-for-googlenet-bids/

Microsoft bets on enterprise search, offers to buy Fast.no for $1.2B

In what’s Microsoft’s second largest deal for the past 12 months the company offered to buy Fast Search & Transfer ASA, a leading provider of enterprise search solutions based in Norway. Details are as follows: Microsoft Corp. today announced that it will make an offer to acquire Fast Search & Transfer ASA (OSE: “FAST”), a leading provider of enterprise search solutions, through a cash tender offer for 19.00 Norwegian kroner (NOK) per share. This offer represents a 42 percent premium to the closing share price on Jan. 4, 2008 (the last trading day prior to this announcement), and values the fully diluted equity of FAST at 6.6 billion NOK (or approximately $1.2 billion U.S.).

FAST’s board of directors has unanimously recommended that its shareholders accept the offer. In addition, shareholders representing in aggregate 35 percent of the outstanding shares, including FAST’s two largest institutional shareholders, Orkla ASA and Hermes Focus Asset Management Europe, have irrevocably undertaken to accept the offer. The transaction is expected to be completed in the second quarter of calendar year 2008.

FAST has over 3500 enterprise clients, including heavyweights like Disney, The Washington Post, AutoTrader.com, and LexisNexis. According to Mary-Jo Foley from ZDNet, we should pay attention to how Microsoft will integrate FAST into their SharePoint Server. “Remember what Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said about SharePoint last year: He characterized SharePoint as the next big operating system from Microsoft,” she writes. “More and more, it’s looking like enterprise search functionality is one of the biggest reasons why.”

“Enterprise search is becoming an indispensable tool to businesses of all sizes, helping people find, use and share critical business information quickly,” said Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business Division. “Until now organizations have been forced to choose between powerful, high-end search technologies or more mainstream, infrastructure solutions. The combination of Microsoft and FAST gives customers a new choice: a single vendor with solutions that span the full range of customer needs.”

The companies possess a number of complementary strengths that advance a shared vision for helping businesses deliver information worker productivity and improved business results. FAST has a deep talent pool and is respected throughout the technology industry for its expertise in best-in-class, high-end search solutions. Microsoft offers worldwide customer reach and an extensive partner network, and is the recognized leader in business productivity with the popular Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, which combines search with best-in-class collaboration, business intelligence, portal and content management capabilities.

“This acquisition gives FAST an exciting way to spread our cutting-edge search technologies and innovations to more and more organizations across the world,” said John Lervik, CEO of FAST. “By joining Microsoft, we can benefit from the momentum behind the SharePoint business productivity platform to really empower a broader set of users through Microsoft’s strong sales and marketing network. It validates FAST’s momentum and leadership in enterprise search.”

In addition to bolstering Microsoft’s enterprise search efforts, this acquisition increases Microsoft’s research and development presence in Europe, complementing existing research teams in Cambridge, England, and Copenhagen, Denmark, with new and significant capabilities in Norway.

The offer will be subject to customary terms and conditions, including receipt of acceptances representing more than 90 percent of FAST shares and voting power on a fully diluted basis, and receipt of all necessary regulatory approvals on terms acceptable to Microsoft. The complete details of the offer, including all terms and conditions, will be contained in the offer document, which is expected to be sent to FAST shareholders during the week of Jan. 14, 2008. The offer will not be made in any jurisdiction in which the making of the offer would not be in compliance with the laws of such jurisdiction.

Larry Dignan, also from ZDNet, thinks this will lead the rest of the industry to consolidate the same way the advertising industry has been. “Until now organizations have been forced to choose between powerful, high-end search technologies or more mainstream, infrastructure solutions. The combination of Microsoft and FAST gives customers a new choice: a single vendor with solutions that span the full range of customer needs,” said Jeff Raikes, president of Microsoft’s Business Division.

More about FAST

FAST, which was founded in 1997, creates the real-time search and business intelligence solutions that are behind the scenes at the world’s best-known companies with the most demanding information challenges. FAST’s flexible and scalable integrated technology platform and personalized portal connects users, regardless of medium, to the relevant information they need.

FAST is headquartered in Norway and is publicly traded under the ticker symbol ‘FAST’ on the Oslo Stock Exchange. The FAST Group operates globally with presence in Europe, the United States, Asia, Australia, the Americas, and the Middle East. For further information about FAST, please visit http://www.fast.no/.

FAST’s Business is Enterprise Search. Since they have set up their company in Norway back in 1997, they have grown rapidly to become a global organization with offices across six continents. FAST is said to be the forefront of search technology and it knows how to do the heavy lifting, as they claim. 
 
Execution excellence
With over 3500 installations, many at Fortune 500 and Global 2000 companies, we have an illustrious pedigree. These blue-chip companies rely on us to help them achieve their business goals and they are loyal. If you ask our customers why they remain loyal, they will probably tell you how we exceed their expectations, provide an unparalleled level of service and show a demonstrable return on their investment. In many cases we have fundamentally contributed to their success.

In 2005 independent evaluations of our support organization gave us a 98% satisfaction rating. We get tested quarterly. In 2005 we delivered more than 300 successful customer projects on schedule and within budget. We also ran over 100 Search Best Practices workshops across the world with extremely positive feedback. It helps that more than 60% of our work force are engineers and that close to 50 of our engineers have PhDs in relevant fields. They enable us to meet complex needs by delivering simplicity.

Financial strength
We are the market leader in Enterprise Search and number one in revenue growth. We have no debt. We have been profitable, exceeding our projections, for every quarter during the last 4 years. And we have made these profits while investing a quarter of our income back into R&D. Performance like this gives us the freedom to invest in innovation and win on value and financial return.

Partner power
Partners give us the ability to deliver total solutions and our FAST X 10 partner program plays a major role in our success. We have over 90 Systems Integrators and VARs on board, and over 30 OEMs embedding our search technology. We have also certified close to 1000 developers in FAST University, drawing on our best-of-breed approach to partnering. Quantity is less important than quality, of course. We only pursue a partnership if there is a mutually beneficial, lasting opportunity.

Global presence
We have been a globally minded company, with a global outlook, since our inception. Maybe it is because of our Norwegian roots. In fact, soon after we opened our doors we established an office in the United States. We now have offices in 6 continents and development centers in 4 of them. Our products support close to 80 different languages.

John M. Lervik, Ph.D., serves as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and is a co-founder of FAST. Dr. Lervik served as the Company’s Chief Technology Officer from 1997 to September 2001 overlooking all of the company research and product development activities. Dr. Lervik holds a Ph.D. from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and was awarded the best overall PhD at NTNU in 1996/97.

Other co-founders of FAST are Mr. Thomas Joseph Fussell, who was a co-founder of Fast Search & Transfer ASA and has served as Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors since June 1997 and was Managing Director in 2000 and Mr. Robert Napier Keith, co-founded Fast Search & Transfer ASA and has served as Executive Director since June 1997.

Some people think this is a brilliant acquisition for Microsoft. Gartner says that Microsoft is struggling in this (already crowded) market. FAST is recognized as an industry-leader, along with Autonomy, Endeca, ZyLab, among others. 

The other thing to keep in mind is Microsoft’s biggest bet, which is its DYNAMICS (ERP/CRM) division. Because Business Objects was acquired by SAP, Microsoft possibly became more compelled to make an acquisition. Enterprise Search is going to be an absolutely massive component of ERP in the coming years, and this is a market that is strategic for Microsoft.

Fast.no seems to have some issues with its Board of Directors. More information enclosed below.

The conduct of Fast’s directors has been the subject of much comment in Norway. In Jan 2006 a article ran in the Norwegian IT paper that claimed that one of FAST’s directors Tomas Fussel had made a 2000% markup for himself by buying a loss making company Hercules communications and selling it to the public company Fast 3 weeks later for a massive mark up.

More recently there has been controversy at the board level with one director resigning and another making public statements about other directors and major shareholders. Fast’s board member Robert Keith said in a newspaper interview, “I ought to have seen the problems in Fast earlier. And I ought to have understood that Hans Gude Gudesen is a crazy liar. Also, I ought to have shot Oystein Stray Spetalen the first time I met him. That would have helped a lot of people, says the controversial Brit to the paper [Finansavisen].” Spetalen and Hans Gude Gudesen are both major shareholders in Fast. Furthermore directors Keith and Fussel are allegedly being pursued by the Norwegian tax authorities for $50M in unpaid taxes the government says it is owed by them. In the event of non payment liability may fall on the company. I should have shot Spetalen.

The ongoing turmoil has seen 3 directors resign from the board in the last month, the latest being Johan Fredrik Odfjell who is quoted in the company’s release as saying `FAST faces many challenges and opportunities going forward’

On December the 22nd Orka FAST’s largest shareholder demanded an EGM to force Fussel and Keith off the board

Need to Restate Accounts for 2006 and 2007

On the 12th of December 2007 Oslo Bors suspended trading of FAST shares. The next morning the company announced it was reviewing the accounting utilized for the 2006 and 2007 reports with a likely outcome that this would be changed. In an article titled “Fast restates its accounts” http://www.dagensit.no stated that Fasts results for 2006 and 2007 may be restated in what it called ”another clean up round.” It also stated “The Search technology vendor Fast Search & Transfer have had several rounds with restating of accounts. Also after CFO Joseph Lacson some months ago declared that “everything is cleaned up” one has found skeletons in the closet. Wednesday afternoon trading was suspended, after what the stock exchange called “certain conditions”.

Earlier last year FAST has acquired AgentArts, a San Francisco-based technology company with a personalization and recommendation engine for music, video, games and mobile entertainment. AgentArts clients include Infospace Mobile, Telstra Big Pond, Telstra Mobile, and Unipier. FAST said will add the technology to its enterprise search products, which will allow users to see the relationships between content and get recommendations for similar content based on their search patterns. It also includes a social recommendation feature, which helps users discover similar content based on patterns of other users with similar interests.

Although Fast Search & Transfer’s core business is widely known to be enterprise search, in 2007 the company seems to have sharply turned towards online advertising and search monetization, which seems the Web’s 2007 trend anyways, everybody is trying to become an ad company, platform or network. 

Also late last year (2007) FAST, which may be a company best known for specializing in site search, has launched a product platform that is looking to socialize the ecommerce storefront search function. It’s called FAST Recommendations and it is based on offering product recommendations similar to those of Amazon.com, but with a social twist.

If some of the information above proves to be true then this is a major, and in time, exit for the FAST’s shareholders.

More

http://www.fastsearch.com/
http://www.fast.no 
http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2008/jan08/01-08FastSearchPR.mspx
http://www.forbes.com/prnewswire/feeds/prnewswire/2008/01/08/prnewswire200801080443PR_NEWS_USPR_____AQTU104.html
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/01/08/microsoft-has-announced-a-takeover-bid-for-fast-search-transfer-priced-at-12-billion/
http://mashable.com/2008/01/08/microsoft-to-acquire-fast-search-transfer/
http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/microsoft_fast_takeover.php
http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=1085
http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=7518
http://www.microsoft.com/enterprisesearch/serverproducts/searchserverexpress/default.aspx