Learn how John Noel is Revolutionizing the Insurance Business - Again


In 1985, Mr. John Noel founded Travel Guard in his basement with a 0% market share. Over the next 21 years, John and his team grew the business from pure startup to a 60% U.S. market share and 1,000 global employees.

In 2006, TravelGuard was sold to American International Group for an undisclosed sum.

In 1998, Multi National Underwriters was founded by two entrepreneurs and in 2002 was purchased by the Noel Group in partnership with the original owners. The vision of the company was to provide affordable short term health insurance with a relentless focus on customer service.

The Peace Corps, national universities, as well as U.S. foreign service groups came to rely on MNUI for their health insurance needs, and within five short years the original founders and the Noel Group were able to sell MNUI for 10x its purchase price.

Two great entrepreneurial success stories.

And The Noel Group is About to Do It Again

The insurance industry, long sleepy, is undergoing a disruptive technological transformation driven by the Software - as - a Service (SaaS) revolution, by hyper-informed and demanding customers, and by extreme margin challenges caused by poor investment asset performance.

For better or for worse, the days of the mom-and-pop insurance agency, like the mom-and-pop travel agency, are fast coming to an end.

And for those that manage the consolidation wave about to sweep the industry, the rewards can be immense.

Best regards, and look forward to your attendance and feedback.

Jay Turo
Growthink, Inc


Meet Mr. Greg Rorke – CEO of America’s Next Great Technology Company


Some people talk about building disruptive technology companies – companies that are “cloud” – based, high revenue growth, and profitable.

Many more complain about how BAD their company’s customer relationship systems (CRM) are – bulky, unintuitive, not in line with how work actually gets done in a modern company. 

But there is one man who is actually doing something about it.

And in the process, he is building America’s next great technology company.

Meet Navagate CEO Mr. Greg Rorke

Greg Rorke’s resume speaks for itself. Former CEO of Kaplan Education Centers.  President of Danskin.   Harvard MBA. 
Instrumental in the development of ACT! – the #1 suite of contact and customer management software in the world, with over 2.8 million users. 

And now CEO of Navagate – a next generation cloud computing company customer that is disrupting “business as usual” in the CRM space.

Greg has graciously agreed to share with us his experiences and perspectives on, among other topics: 

  • Why CRM as done by the Salesforces and the Siebels of the world simply does not work and what to do about it.
  • How a small, fast-growing technology company in an industry dominated by giants overcomes the famed “Innovator’s Dilemma” and makes money doing so.
  • How to finance a tech. business via an “Early Exit” strategy, including how to creatively access the public markets via a merger into a public shell
  • And much, much more!

Jay Turo
Growthink, Inc

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Note to Gordon Gekko: 1985 is Gone For Good


Gordon Gekko may have a new movie coming out, but the days of the jolly old stock market he once knew are gone forever.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised as to how little known the horrific U.S. public stock market performance over the past 11 years has been.

But I was shocked by the number of people who expressed incredulity regarding the note in my column last week that all major U.S. market indices (Dow, S and P, NASDAQ) are trading lower today than they were in September 1999.

And many of them asked – does it portend a “Japan” situation for the U.S. - where we could be facing ANOTHER 11 years of similar return performance?

And if so, what to do about it?

First of all, the long-term woes of the stock market have been under-reported because there really isn’t anyone that has a vested interest in pointing it out.

Certainly not the financial services establishment. The whole mutual fund / brokerage firm/ insurance company ecosystem would much prefer the public see 20th and not 21st century stock market return statistics.

Certainly not the financial media, which has figured out that it is just a lot more fun to focus on the daily ups and downs of the market and personalities, than the more stuffy and far more ratings-unfriendly focus on return metrics.

And then there is the government. With 90 million Americans with money in the stock market, there is zero political hay in noting that 99.9% of these investors (i.e. voters) haven’t made a cent in the markets in a long, long time.

So that begs our next question – will we all be sitting here in 2021 with the Dow in the 10-11,000 range and the NASDAQ in the 2,000 – 2,500 range. Remember, the Japanese stock market is trading much lower today than it was in 1988 – 22 years ago.

The answer, of course, is that nobody really knows. Or more to the point, everyone certainly hopes this won’t be the case.

There is a factor, however, that is almost certain to continue in the next 11 years. And that is that the stock market will continue to be increasingly dominated by traders versus “buy and hold” investors.

Traders. Computer algorithm – based investor, where the short term is measured not in months but in hours and seconds.

Obviously, the smaller, individual investor can’t win this game.

And for what it is worth, given that most of them follow the “20th Century” Warren Buffet / John Templeton / Peter Lynch buy and hold approach via mutual fund holdings, very few of them even play it.

So what is the individual investor to do? Three ideas:

1.    If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them. Give up the buy and hold mutual fund ghost, especially if it involves paying management fees, and if you insist on investing in public equity, then attempt to do so via more trading – driven investment strategies. Obviously, very, very difficult, but not less difficult than seeing your retirement nest egg not grow for another 11 years.

2.    Invest Internationally. Global stock market performance has significantly out-paced the U.S. markets over the past 11 years, and the long-term GNP growth trends are very favorable for the China’s and the India’s of the world. These growth trends should continue to drive their stock markets higher.

3.    Invest in U.S. Startups. U.S. startup companies are still by far the greatest source of innovation in the world today. And from all that innovation, a lot of money is made.

And even better, the same technological trends that have made public market investing so difficult in the last 10 years have made startup (i.e. angel) investing easier. The angel market is characterized today by a far greater liquidity, transparency and portfolio approach alternatives than ever.

And it is a relatively small and fragmented market – less than $50 billion in total angel and VC investment spread over thousands of companies as compared to Apple’s market capitalization of $200 billion+, angel investing.

This small size and fragmentation make it mostly inaccessible to the global hedge fund, Wall Street speculator-types that have made it so hard for individuals to make money in the stock markets.

Whatever you do, don’t just bury your head in the sand.

And don’t be like Gordon Gekko and think it will ever be 1985 again.

Looking for Opportunities Now?

Each year, Growthink reviews hundreds of startup and emerging company investing opportunities and selects those with the best management teams, market opportunities, and financial prospects.

To learn more about opportunities we are following now, click here.

To your success,

Jay Turo

Jay Turo


Residential Real Estate - Time to Move On


For opportunities that Growthink is following now, click here.

Believe it or not, the great residential real estate crash of the last few years will turn out, in the long run, to be VERY good for the U.S. and the global economy.

Here's why:

The Fixation on Housing Prices Has Been and Is Unhealthy: The word that comes to mind when reflecting upon the government subsidies (see mortgage interest deduction, first-time home buying credits, etc.) and media attention given to housing prices is distorted.

Sure, the price of homes is important, but is it more important than educating our children? Than the health of our startups and small businesses? Than our global competitiveness?

Maybe it's me, but the America I love isn't one whose economic and social health is judged by how climate-controlled the big-screen TV room is, or how comfortable the couch.

Now I am not saying that a lot of people haven't been badly hurt by this recent (though not unprecedented) popping of the real estate bubble nor that our love of homes has turned us completely into a nation of unadmirable shut-ins and couch potatoes.

But if we must choose (and we must), I'll cast my lot with the young, highly educated, preferably immigrant software entrepreneur, working out of  their cramped garage, over the slow-to-innovate home-builder or mildly educated real estate agent.

Innovation, Not Bigger Bathrooms, Drives Wealth-Creation. As noted in my review of Matt Ridley's fantastic book, "The Rational Optimist," the source of all wealth-creation is innovation (i.e. technology).  While there have been of course many meaningful innovations in housing over the years, it is illustrative that the basic living schematic - bed, bathroom, kitchen - hasn't really changed much since Roman times.

Following up on this point and to my blog post last week let's remember that it is services not "stuff" that power the U.S. economy. And while the real estate industry creates a lot of service jobs for sure, you have to look elsewhere to find the really high value-add, high-paying ones (see software, financial services, energy, healthcare).

So what to do about it? Here are three quick ideas:

1. Eliminate the Mortgage Interest Deduction and Replace it With a Startup Business and Investment Credit.  As opposed to the government granting a $100 billion annual tax break to homeowners with the mortgage interest deduction, give it instead to the entrepreneurs - who, on average create 4 net new jobs every time they start a new business - and those that invest in them.

How transformative would this be? Remember that total venture capital and angel investing in a typical year doesn't add up to more than $50 billion, or about one-half of the mortgage interest tax break.

A tax break re-allocation of this nature would at least double the number of new businesses and investments in them every year. In addition to the millions of jobs created, the innovation gains that would result would be awe - inspiring.

2. Let Prices Fall.  It is time for all homeowners to just take their medicine (or, more accurately, even more medicine) and let prices fall to where the housing demand meets supply.

In addition to being the right thing to do in a market economy, significantly lower prices would be a huge boon to new homeowners. 

And as these new homeowners tend to be younger people, the time and money savings of lower housing costs could go to more societally beneficial pursuits than remodeled bathrooms - like perhaps going to back to school or starting or investing in a business?

3. Just Stop Talking About It.  My favorite because it is easiest and will have the quickest effect - let's just stop talking about residential real estate. Too much ink and mindshare have been wasted on it these last few years. 

This would not be all that bad if the coverage was somewhat balanced, but as it is almost universally presented in an "the end is near" tone and focus, falling home prices have been unfortunately equated with the health of our economy and our society.

Let's use better, more 21st century measures of well being - like our kids' science and math scores  or the speed of innovation in those high value-add service fields like healthcare, energy, and software.

More attention here will mean more human progress, more wealth for all of us.

And maybe this time, with all that new wealth, instead of building bigger bathrooms, we do something with it that's just a tad more...inspirational?

Looking for Opportunities Now?

Each year, Growthink reviews hundreds of startup and emerging company opportunities and selects those with the best management teams, market opportunities, and financial prospects.

To learn more about opportunities we are following now, click here.

To your success,

Jay Turo

Jay Turo


The Coming Technology M+A Boom


In my last post, I referenced Basil Peters' great book - Early Exits  - and how the technology investment of choice is "small ball":  Putting small amounts of money to work in companies with game plans of quick sales to strategic acquirers within 3 - 5 years.

Well, in response, I have been inundated with variations of one of the two queries:

1.    How does the current, sluggish deal environment affect this strategy?
2.    Where can I find companies that meet this criteria?

Let's take these one by one. 

First of all, the current deal environment - if you have an ounce of contrarian in you - should be best described as a dam ready-to burst. 

Try these numbers on for size: Mergers and acquisitions activity in the past 24 months has more than halved - with only 7,300 deals closed in 2009, representing approximately $803 billion in deal value.

Compare this to the more than 13,000 deals representing $1.38 trillion in value that got done in 2007 - the last "normal" year.

The YTD date deal numbers for 2010 are even worse. While the number of deals will, in all likelihood, show an up tick, deal values are actually significantly behind the abysmally poor 2009 numbers.

And while this has happened, an enormous stash of cash has built up in the coffers of companies and private equity funds worldwide, more than $3.4 trillion sitting on the sidelines in low to no-interest bearing cash instruments.

Now to this backdrop reflect on the following:

1.  Speed of innovation remains, as it always has, the #1 driver of competitive advantage in modern business.

2.  Large and mid-sized companies are more scared than ever of their ability to keep up.

3.  Concurrently, it is only the startup and small technology company form of business that has proven to be able to consistently innovate at positive ROIs.
The result: a desire and game plan of companies of any significant size to BUY technology, and not build it.

Put it all together and a LOT of technology M+A activity in 2011 and beyond is the almost certain future.

So how can you get in on the action? 

Well, two choices and two choices only - be a technology entrepreneur or back one.

As for which sectors to seek out, look for those with high quotients of intellectual property - think Internet, software, biotechnology, digital media, and energy. And ones characterized by high cash flowing "lumbering giants" - think consumer products, oil and gas, and financial services.

As for business plans, look for those that are built for speed and for hitting "hard singles and doubles" versus swinging for the fences.

And when hit in quantity, those singles and doubles REALLY add-up.

Webinar: Secrets of the Black Swan and The Early Exit

I encourage you to register for my webinar this Thursday - "Secrets of the Black Swan and the Early Exit" - where I will show you which early exit opportunities we are following now, and how you too can participate in the coming technology M+A boom.

To register, click here.

To your success,

Jay Turo
Chief Executive Officer
Growthink, Inc


The Talented Mr. Ridley – Part II


Last week I commented on Matt Ridley’s incredible book, “The Rational Optimist,” and how it represents an entirely new paradigm re the probabilities for economic growth and prosperity worldwide in the coming years.

A particularly revelatory component of Ridley’s analysis revolves around what the real process of innovation is and what it is NOT. 

Ridley first points to what innovation is NOT. 

It is NOT Government Research.  One of the most cited examples of the importance of government research to commercial technology is America’s successful efforts to land a man on the moon in the 1960’s. It is often said that non-stick frying pans would simply not exist were it not for the Apollo program. 

Well, given that close to $200 billion in today’s dollars was spent on the moon effort, it is just a bit underwhelming, isn’t it?  Heck, even the Wikipedia entry re the program’s scientific and engineering legacy is a scant 3 sentences.

It is NOT University Research. Buzzwords from academia like “technology transfer” and “commercialization” are, in Ridley’s analysis, just that - buzzwords.
For the tens of billions of dollars in hard costs and the monumental diversion of top-grade intellectual talent from commercial activity that academia represents, no demonstrable commercial return-on-investment has ever been proven. 

A “Renaissance lifestyle” value for young people, sure.  Civic pride and relationship values of affiliation with top-notch colleges and universities - of course.
But actual hard dollars and cents wealth-creating returns, well it just isn’t there. Probably the best that can be said about the commercial value of the university R+D is that it is normally so stilted and misaligned that it drives away the best entrepreneurial and technical talent very quickly (see Gates, Ellison et al.)

So What Does Drive Real Innovation?  Building on the seminal work of Clayton Christensen in the Innovator’s Dilemma, Ridley describes the innovation process and its economic value-add in very prosaic terms.
He points to innovations like Amazon’s ongoing transformation of the ecommerce experience – none of which would be considered breakthrough technology, but which in their aggregate have brought unprecedented consumer productivity gains.

And to eBay, whose core innovation was NOT the idea of online auctions as much as it was that a robust exchange of buyers and sellers could be attracted via pay-per-click advertising (see Google above).

Ridley’s point is that the innovation that creates wealth - versus innovation that looks good on an academic’s or a politician’s whiteboard - is simply the abiding power of Adam Smith’s invisible hand made real. 

Namely individuals and small teams tweaking the way things are done only so slightly for one purpose and one purpose only – to make a buck. Or a yuan. Or a rupee. Or a few pesos. Period. End of story. 

And you know what else?  For the first time in human history, there are now billions of people thinking and working and collaborating in real time toward this basic human desire.

And that is why - and only why - as a species we just keep getting richer every day.

Looking for Opportunities Now?

Each year, Growthink reviews hundreds of startup and emerging company opportunities and selects those with the best management teams, market opportunities, and financial prospects.

To learn more about opportunities we are following now and how to grow and profit with them, please click here.


The Early Exit

The next big technology investment idea is the “Early Exit.” The best articulation of it comes from Basil Peters, a serial technology entrepreneur, co-Founder of Nexus Engineering, former Canada Entrepreneur of the Year, and Managing Partner at 3 venture capital funds – Fundamental Technologies I and II and the BC Advantage Funds. His blog is one of the best resources on technology investing out there.

Aptly to the point, Basil is the author of a great book – “Early Exits: Exit Strategies for Entrepreneurs and Angel Investors.” His core thesis is that successful private equity investing is now driven by quickly getting to the smaller investment exit. 

Or, as he says it, "Today, the optimum financial strategy for most technology entrepreneurs is to raise money from angels and plan for an early exit to a large company in just a few years for under $30 million."

This is a realistically attainable for the individual investor. Here's why:

You, Mr. or Ms. Main Street Investor, are NOT getting a piece of the next big IPO: The 2 best known venture capital funds –Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins - because of their reputations and massive bankrolls – will continue to get the lion’s share of the deals with rockstar IPO potential. Try these names on for size – Electronic Arts, Apple, Google, NVIDIA, Rackspace, Yahoo!, Paypal, Amazon.com, America Online, Intuit, Macromedia, Netscape, Sun Microsystems.

They were all Sequoia and/or Kleiner investments that became mega-successful IPOs. To give a feel for the power of their investment model, estimates are that Kleiner’s investment in Amazon scored returns of 55,000%!

YOUR big problem – your friendly neighborhood stockbroker (if they exist anymore) isn’t getting you in on any of these deals anytime soon.  And if you don’t have a $100 million bankroll and the very right connections to become a Kleiner or Sequoia LP, you’re not joining their club.

Hit’em Where They Ain't:
The size of most modern venture capital funds has increased, with the average sized fund now having more than $160 million under management. As a result, the vast majority of professional investors simply can’t and won’t invest in smaller deals. The new VC model has, for better or for worse, become “Go big or go home.” As such, competition for smaller deals is much less and the deal pricing on them far more favorable.

Small Deals Rock:
You don’t need a lot of money anymore to build a technology startup – not with outsourcing, viral marketing, and the Software as a Service (SaaS) revolution. And if your business isn’t cash flow positive REAL FAST, you probably don’t have a very good business.

So the new technology investment model is to place small amounts (under $1 million) into companies that a) develop intellectual property and compete in markets with lots of active strategic acquirers (think Internet, software, biotechnology, digital media, and energy) and b) have management with the mindset and track records to ramp-up and exit FAST and at very attractive but not pie-in-the sky multiples. 

Not a game that big private equity or venture capitalists are interested in playing because it is just too hard to put large amounts of money to work in such a fragmented marketplace.
But if done right, an EXTREMELY lucrative one for thoughtful entrepreneurs and the investors that back them.

To Your Success,

Jay Turo
Chief Executive Officer
Growthink, Inc

The Talented Mr. Ridley


Arguably the best book ever written on the power of entrepreneurial capitalism - The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley - should be required reading by anyone interested in protecting and defending the free enterprise way of life.

In an awe-inspiring tour de force of exposition, Mr. Ridley takes the reader all the way back through human economic history. Back to the 1st entrepreneurs who discovered fire and the copper axe, through the Phoenicians, through the great trading cultures of India and China before their long (and government induced) sleeps, through the age of the Medici and the early Dutch wellsprings of modern trade, through the 19th Century Industrial Revolution in England and Scotland, to the American Century and the dawns of the computer, information, and communication ages. 

As the book title implies, it is a tale of sturdy optimism and hope.  He takes head-on the naysayers, the pessimists, and the chattering classes that earn their bread via hawking fears of impending woe and doom. Some tidbits of his refreshing wisdom:

Africa – Getting Better Slowly But Surely. Those who hold (either overtly or more quietly because of political correctness) that Africa will not emerge anytime soon from its poverty and strife are just dead wrong. He points to the inspiring example of Botswana, where a hard-earned culture of property rights and rule of law have fueled economic growth rates to rival the highest-flying Asian Tiger. And he notes the cascade of statistics pointing to standards of living increasing dramatically – as productivity has been unleashed by the mobile phone revolution across the continent.

The Climate Change Mafia.  Controversially but powerfully, Ridley defends fossil fuel use as being the key driver of modern economic growth. And he points out the vastly under reported costs of "sexy fuel" alternatives - solar, wind, bio-fuels, et al.  You may not agree with all of Ridley's points here, but if you care about this debate, you should hear him out. 

Optimism as the Intelligent Choice.  Most excitedly, Ridley takes head-on ANYONE that claims that the present time is anything but the greatest in human history. 

How can Ridley credibly claim this? Very simple – from that tale of human history with which Ridley begins his book. He makes the overwhelming case that the 2 key drivers of human prosperity since time immemorial have been innovation and trade.

And as they are both happening today faster and in greater quantity than at anytime ever, the result is more prosperity for more human beings than at any time ever. 

Now you probably know that. But here is something that I had forgotten in the face of all of the talk of recession and global financial crisis out there - that the statistical odds are overwhelmingly in favor of everything just getting better!

For all of us, for our children, and our grandchildren.  As in more prosperity, better education, more safety from premature death and disease, and yes even more happiness. 

As Mr. Ridley points out, most of our grandparents had standards of living not much greater than that of Zambians today. And by corollary, if current trends continue, the grandchildren of today's Zambians will have standard of living's equal to those of ours today.

And as for our grandchildren, well they will live in a world, like our grandparents before us, that we can only dream of.

And as Mr. Ridley prove conclusively in this wonderful book, for all of this prosperity and bounty it is the entrepreneurs and the innovators above all that we have to thank.

So thank you, Mr. and Ms. Entrepreneur. 

And thank you, talented Mr. Ridley. 

Looking for Opportunities Now?

Each year, Growthink reviews hundreds of startup and emerging company opportunities and selects those with the best management teams, market opportunities, and financial prospects.

To learn more about opportunities we are following now, please click here.


The #1 Mistake Investors Make (And What To Do About It)


How many times have you heard someone say, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket"?

When it comes to any kind of investing, this is very good advice.

But, if this is the case, why don’t investors in private equity diversify?

Unfortunately, most individual investors in private equity significantly under-diversify their portfolios -- investing in one or only a handful of companies.  By so doing, they both greatly increase their risk profile and greatly decrease their probabilities of seeing investment return.

Quite simply, investing in just one or a handful of private companies is way, way too risky for most investors and should be avoided at all costs. 

Rather, to leverage the dynamic returns in this sector – click here for a summary of 8 in-depth studies examining returns for the startup and emerging company (or "angel investing") asset class showing an average annual return reported across the studies of 27.3% - the only prudent approach is via a portfolio of positions.

Building a Portfolio - Problems With Current Solutions

Admittedly, a portfolio approach to private equity is much easier said than done for the individual investor.   The 3 traditional methods of early-stage private equity diversification all have significant drawbacks:

1.    Building a Portfolio One Company At A Time.   It is certainly possible to build a portfolio one company at a time.  Famed technology investors like Vinod Khosla and Ron Conway have taken this approach, with personal investment positions in literally dozens (if not more) of companies.  They, however, are both professional investors and technologists, and deeply networked into the core U.S. angel investor deal community - namely Silicon Valley.  And as they and other both admit in interviews, there are strong "hobbyist" and "philanthropic" aspects to their deal interests.  Vinod Khosla, in particular, has stated that he is motivated in his current investing as much by his desire to contribute to the development of eco-friendly technologies as he is to making money.

2.    Joining an Angel Group.  Increasingly in recent years, there have sprung up angel investor networking groups around the country.  Most are centered in the main entrepreneurial hubs - Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, Boston, New York, Austin, Phoenix, Salt Lake - among other locales, and generally involve groups of individual investors coming together to review and diligence deals in a group review format.   These groups have a lot of benefits - including networking and providing a forum for both less sophisticated investors and entrepreneurs to learn the basic process of private company investing.  Like Mr. Conway and Mr. Khosla, many of the angels in these groups are retired (or semi-retired) executives and businesspeople who participate in them as much from a hobbyist perspective as from a money-making one.   Not surprisingly, their general investment track records are mediocre at best, and there is a high likelihood of "negative selection bias," whereby the better companies and entrepreneurs are often loathe to approach them because of the inefficiencies of their investment processes and the somewhat "off" messaging and perspectives of many of their members.

3.    Becoming a Limited Partner Investor in a Venture Capital or Private Equity Fund.   While the biggest private equity and VC funds - the Blackstones and the Sequoias of the world - are, because of their size, off limits to all but the largest of individual investors ($50 million+), there are literally thousands of smaller venture capital and private equity funds that accept capital in smaller increments from individual investors.   Some of them have good track records of success (though relatively few in the current market), but as "portfolio plays" they have some core limitations:

o    All but the largest funds themselves only invest in a handful of deals.   It is unusual for the typical VC or private equity fund to do more than a few deals/year, and also have a tendency to concentrate their holdings in a single industry or stage of business.

o    Far more problematically, because of their traditional 2.5% (on average) management fee model, there has been a great propensity in recent years for the better funds to grow quite large.  It is unusual for a fund with quality managers with a track record of success to have less than $150 million under management.   This larger fund size, in turn, greatly defines the kinds of deals in which the fund can, for logistical purposes, invest.   It is unusual for a fund of this size to make an investment of less than $10 million into a single deal, thereby requiring them to invest mainly in later-stage technology and/or higher cash flowing middle market companies.   While there is nothing inherently wrong with these strategies, the problem is that in recent years there are have been literally more venture capital and private equity funds out there than actual operating companies in which to invest!   This reality has a) greatly driven down the number of deals that a typical fund has/can do in a particular year and is b) leading to a "dead man walking" fund phenomenon where funds sometimes go years without actually making investments.

So What To Do?

We strongly recommend that anyone evaluating earlier-stage, private company deal opportunities do so only in the context of significant advisory and diligence assistance from accounting, legal, IT services, and management consulting firms that specialize in working with startups and emerging companies.

Quite simply, as a wise old horseman once quipped - bet on the jockeys not the horses.

Jay Turo
Growthink, Inc.

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Do Movies Even Matter Anymore?


Toy Story 3? Karate Kid 3? Iron Man 2?  Sex and The City 2? The A-Team? Where are all of the NEW Ideas in Entertainment?
The movie business of today is all "pre-sold" IP.  NEW media has become the home of innovation and imagination.
Learn What Hollywood 4G Will Look Like
Nothing is more important to U.S. consumers than their entertainment choices, but are movies and broadcast TV even relevant in the new world of entertainment?

Or will the convergence of content, internet, mobile applications, games and social media be the onrushing asteroids that will soon destroy the movie dinosaurs?

Is it a 3-year fad, or will new technologies like 3-D keep going to the movies from being relegated to the dustbin of history like Vaudeville, the afternoon newspaper, the evening news, the variety show, and the compact-disc?

Has the U.S. movie box office - traditionally the holy grail of movie industry metrics -- become increasingly irrelevant?

What is the future of Pay-Per-View/Video-on-Demand (PPV and VOD)?

Video-on-demand alone is estimated to grow from a $1.1 billion dollar business this year to $5 billion by 2012, taking market share away from DVD retailers and intensifying the carriers' ambition to bid for the best (and first run) titles.

How about Internet Video?

Annual U.S. revenues from internet video services spanning user-generated content to television shows and movies will exceed $7 billion this year.

And this business is becoming LESS advertising driven -- transitioning from today's model of more than 85% of revenue being ad-based to less than 60% and trending down with the balance being generated by content payments, either for one-time viewings or via subscriptions.  

What do these these new realities mean for the content creators of new media and for traditional studios, filmmakers, producers, and distributors?

What is the future for good-old fashioned DVD rentals and sales?

Get The Answers

I am very excited to share with you the opportunity to meet the Managing Director of Growthink's new media and entertainment practice, Mr. Lee Muhl.

Lee, quite simply, has forgotten WAY more about the entertainment business than most of us will ever know (see his biography below).  
And he has graciously agreed to share the answers to the above questions, which winning business models to run with, which losers to run from, and much, much more!

Jay Turo
Growthink, Inc
Follow me on Twitter
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Biography of Mr. Lee Muhl, Managing Director, Growthink's New Media and Entertainment Practice

Lee Muhl heads Growthink's entertainment-media vertical, encompassing the making and distribution of films, television programming, games, new media content and numerous related distribution platforms, technologies and methodologies including theatrical exhibition, DVD, PPV-VOD, mobile applications, internet/IPTV, and a variety of new content modalities (digital theater conversion, advertainment, infotainment, advergaming).

To date, Lee has overseen the successful conclusion of more than 100 Growthink engagements for funding plans and sophisticated media financial models, including film projects ranging from the production of numerous independent films and major studio productions to scores of angel and seed development fundings.

Originally trained in transactional entertainment law and the representation of above-line talent, Lee worked with a number of well-known writer-director-producers in both traditional studio/network deals and in arranging non-studio financing for independent film production including such classics as Bladerunner.  In 1999, Lee joined the Silicon Valley new media content contingent as an Internet-company CEO, and has since founded two innovative Los Angeles media companies. With Growthink, Lee has continued his deep involvement with film, digital media, content delivery protocols, gaming technologies and sports initiatives.

A former partner in two leading Los Angeles media law firms, Lee holds a J.D. from the UCLA School of Law where he also served as Chief Comment Editor of the UCLA Law Review, and earned his B.A. in History from UCLA. He is a current member of the California State Bar, and the Hollywood Writers Guild.

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