Growthink Blog

3/3/08 Recap: Hollywood Teams Up With Silicon Valley


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The NYTimes broke the news that Silicon Valley has teamed up with Hollywood to launch a digital media fund. More specifically, Accel Partners and Venrock have joined the William Morris Agency -- and AT&T -- to invest in digital media start-up companies in Southern California. The fund will be capitalized with tens of millions of dollars and investments may be as small as $250,000. The focus will be on online technology including social networking, advertising and mobile games.

We’re thrilled to see Southern California venture capital investment continue to grow.


Other interesting stories from around the web:


3/2/08 Recap: Opportunity Costs, "Free" Business Models, Angel Outlook for 2008 -- and More


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This past week saw several interesting blog entries, articles, and reports from the world of entrepreneurship, management, and venture capital.

  • John Tierney of the NY Times wrote an excellent article on opportunity costs and decision making, regarding research on the risks associated with keeping too many options on the table. An interesting observation from Professor Dan Ariely of MIT: “Closing a door on an option is experienced as a loss, and people are willing to pay a price to avoid the emotion of loss.”

  • Chris Anderson wrote a fascinating article, The Rise of the “Free” Business Model. “Once a marketing gimmick, free has emerged as a full-fledged economy,” he writes, citing the success of Radiohead and Google as prime recent examples. Read the article here.

  • Thanks to Jeff Cornwall for pointing us to the Angel Capital Association’s outlook for 2008. Despite recent news about the slowdown in the U.S. economy, nearly half of angel groups expect deal flow to improve in both quantity and quality in 2008. However, angel groups’ expectations for positive exits in 2008 were not as optimistic. More information about the Angel Capital Assocation’s report can be found here and here.

  • Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures wrote about the importance of conviction and discipline -- specifically, the importance of careful, deliberate planning in order to achieve conviction in one’s strategy, plus the necessary discipline to adhere to that strategy.

  • He also provided great advice on choosing board members, including avoiding “big names” and making sure you get people who have enough time to commit to the job – it’s not a “retirement perk,” he says.

  • imagine it! is a new documentary about Stanford students building companies solely from Post-It notes (available for download here, once you fill out the form). As Anthony Ha of VentureBeat wrote: “Watching the students at work is a great illustration of an important point: even if you’re facing substantial constraints, you can still produce something valuable.” (You can listen to him interview the executive producer of the film, Richard Tavener, here).

  • Is there such a thing as a “born” entrepreneur? Scott Shane examines whether a person’s genetic makeup could affect their inclination to start a business.

  • Michael McDerment of ThinkVitamin recently posted a great article with advice on How To Name Your Company. Evan Carmichael of YoungEntrepreneur.com also provided a few business naming tips of his own.

  • Mashable introduced us to Fundability – a website that matches startups seeking seed capital with investors. While many websites also serve this general purpose, Fundability claims to match startups with investors’ preferences with an algorithm. Entrepreneurs looking to find investors can use the service for a $50 fee (though there is a 30-day free trial).

  • Last week, Mashable also polled its readers, asking “What Would You Want to Invest in Online? Mobile applications, social networking, and online advertising topped the list.

  • Inc published The Nuts and Bolts of Entrepreneurship. A key insight from the article:
    “Real entrepreneurs grab an idea and start moving—and adapt their vision of the business as they go.”

  • And finally – courtesy of VentureCyclist – we got a laugh from VCWear.com’s venture capitalist parody t-shirts.

The Business Of Ideas


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The best entrepreneurs and executives at fast-growing companies have the ability to move efficiently and profitably from ideation to execution, and then from execution back to ideation and then back to re-focused execution. And they do so regarding all aspects of their businesses -- marketing and sales, operations and finance.


Data versus Intelligence in Your Business Plan


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A business plan, in its essence, is the process of mapping out with as much accuracy as possible, what the future of an enterprise or business initiative will be. To forecast effectively, the business plan strategist must intelligently evaluate and synthesize available industry and market data into a plan of action supporting credible market and financial projections. To do so effectively, it is paramount to efficiently differentiate between business data and business intelligence.


Recurring Revenue Business in the 21st Century


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A fundamental metric in measuring the value of a business is the degree to which it can generate recurring, repeat profitable revenue from its customers. From businesses as diverse as wireless data providers to potato chip manufacturers, the ability of a business to both consistently predict its future revenue streams and retain its existing customer base on an ongoing basis have traditionally been considered "holy grail" metrics of business value.
The unique structure of business in the 21st century, however, make building recurring revenue business models uniquely challenging:


Real Estate Bust to Private Equity Boom


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If history is any guide, last week's stock market correction, driven by liquidity concerns in the real estate sector, may signal (counter-intuitively, perhaps) continued strong activity in the emerging and middle market company investment arenas. Here's why:


The Great Global Economic Boom


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A feature story in this week's Fortune Magazine presents the case that we are right now living in the greatest global economic boom ever. A few salient statistics from the article drives the point home:
  • World GDP growth averaged 4.9% from 2003 to 2007 on a total GDP of over $36 trillion (!). To put this number in perspective, right now GDP annual growth is approximately $1.8 trillion, or an amount greater than the entire annual economic output of France, the world's 8th largest economy.

Management Buyouts in Today's Environment


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Frothy private equity markets and the desperate need of financial and strategic financiers/acquirers to identify and incentive-ize quality management partners have combined to create a heightened interest in management buyouts (MBOs). An MBO is a form of leveraged buyout (LBO) used to transfer all or part of the ownership of a company to the individuals with the primary operational responsibilities for the enterprise. Both debt and equity investors are particularly interested in financing MBO because of the three "I's":

 


India as Threat and Opportunity


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According to this month's Red Herring magazine, India's software industry is growing at an average rate of 28 percent a year, with revenues for the 2006-7 fiscal year topping $47.8 billion, up nearly tenfold from 1998. Close to two-thirds of this total represents exports -- namely Indian software firms selling products and services to overseas customers.


Promises-Based Management


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An article in the April 2007 issue of the Harvard Business Review discusses one of the biggest challenges in managing and growing a 21st century business -- namely getting business stakeholders (employees, clients, partners, and vendors) -- to actually do/deliver upon what they promise.

The article has a number of incredibly salient points for the modern manager/entrepreneur, including:


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