A ray of light in this environment?

I did an interview with Rich Maguire of Datamation last week which he just posted yesterday.  While the markets seemed to get excited for a day about the bank bailout, attention is turning toward an even bigger problem for startups, a potential recession.  The consumer no longer has that ATM called their house and confidence and spending to boot are down.  So what's an entrepreneur to do these days and are there any pockets of opportunity?  Trust me, I am not going to give the party line that it is great to start a company now because, you know what, it really is hard to go out and do that.  However, if you are brave and bold enough to do so, I will tell you that you could be well positioned 18 months from now when the economy does get back into gear.  This market will truly separate out those who are just in it for the money, and those who are out their to build an insanely great product or service.  As for the article from yesterday, here is an excerpt and hope you enjoy.

“We know that whether it’s media consumption, content consumption or even enterprise application, that we’re going to be more and more connected. Speeds on wireless devices will get faster, networks will get faster. Devices will get better. They’ll be more and more to do out there.”

Human activity on the Web creates an explosion of consumer data – every nugget of which is worth something to someone. “Data is everywhere,” Sim says. “Every time you turn on your computer, every click you make, everything you do is a piece of data that’s logged somewhere.”

There’s profit in figuring out “How you take that data and turn it into real information, and use it to sell subscription services, target better from a profiling perspective, etc. So I think the data-driven Web is going to be another opportunity.”

His enthusiasm for the Web, however, doesn’t mean he’ll be funding such Web-centric ventures like Facebook-style sites. We don’t need another Facebook, he points out.

“I think the point is that social networking is weaved into the very existence of all the things we do. You see apps getting weaved into your email. People are getting more and more connected out there, and used to that, because of Facebook.”

This saturation will result in consumer behavior being adapted in large businesses. The potential marriage of social networking and the enterprise has piqued investor interest. “How do you take this social networking and information sharing stuff – the clip and blog and share – is there any opportunity to benefit the enterprise? On a content layer? So I’ve looked at some companies along that spectrum as well.”

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Be prudent but don't panic!

The alarm bells are ringing in Silicon Valley and start-up land today with Sequoia Capital and Ron Conway telling companies to prepare for the economic meltdown and to raise cash by cutting their burn.  This is not new news as being in New York we started to feel the real economic impact in mid-September as […]

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Delivering on Q3 forecasts!

I received some incredible news last night from two portfolio company CEOs updating me on our Q3 numbers.  They not only hit their respective forecasts set early in the year, but they beat them.  Normally I expect our portfolio companies to hit their numbers, but I am ecstatic because we delivered in the midst of […]

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Doing more with less

Being in New York, it is hard to escape the realities of the ailing financial sector.  When I took the train into the city this morning I could see the somber look in people’s eyes knowing what had just happened to Lehman Brothers and the uncertainty of the financial markets and economy.  Given this state […]

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Selling to large enterprises costs big dollars no matter how frictionless your sale is

I have written a number of times about frictionless sales and how on-demand companies have a huge opportunity to reduce their sales and marketing costs and subsequently scale their business more efficiently.  Here is an excerpt from a prior post:Frictionless sales means reducing the pain for customers to adopt and use a service/product and consequently […]

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M&A – it ain't over till it's over

The economy is clearly slowing down and the IPO market is nonexistent.  As I have always said, this is the time to hunker down and tweak your business to get your model right.  If you are interested in exiting today, M&A continues to be the only viable path along that front.  Having been through a […]

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What do I see in venture through 2010???

The Jordan Edmiston Group recently asked me and a few other VCs a few pointed questions about the future for circulation in their July Client Briefing.  As an aside, I worked with JEGI two years ago and they did a fantastic job helping us sell Moreover Technologies to Verisign.  They understand the media and online […]

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Data wars heating up – Microsoft buys DATAllegro

As I have written in previous posts, what you do with data will be one of the next battlegrounds on the web.  Knowing that they had some limitations with SQL Server, Microsoft announced its acquisition of DATAllegro (full disclosure: my fund is an investor in competitor Greenplum) to enter the data warehousing market.  Enterprise volumes […]

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Your reputation matters – how to handle reference calls

The world that we live in trades on reputation.  What that means is that eventually whether you are raising capital or landing new customers, your references will matter.  If you are an entrepreneur, a VC will want to do some deep reference checks on you and also on any major customers or partners.  If you […]

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Raising capital and meeting expectations

What I like to tell portfolio companies is that on average it will take 6 months to raise capital with some cycles being shorter and some being longer. Given that, it is imperative for a company to start thinking about its next round well ahead of time and the milestones it needs to hit to […]

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