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Archive for March, 2011

Steven R. Gerbsman, Principal of Gerbsman Partners, Kenneth Hardesty and James Skelton, members of Gerbsman Partners Board of Intellectual Capital, announced today their success in maximizing stakeholder value for a venture capital backed, medical device company. The company was in the cardiac rhythm management (CRM) space.

Gerbsman Partners provided Crisis Management and Investment Banking leadership, facilitated the sale of the business unit’s assets and its associated Intellectual Property. Due to market conditions, the board of directors made the strategic decision to maximize the value of the business unit and Intellectual Property. Gerbsman Partners provided leadership to the company with:
Crisis Management and medical device domain expertise in developing the strategic action plans for maximizing value of the business unit, Intellectual Property and assets;

  • Proven domain expertise in maximizing the value of the business unit and Intellectual Property through a Gerbsman Partners targeted and proprietary “Date Certain M&A Process”;
  • The ability to “Manage the Process” among potential Acquirers, Lawyers, Creditors Management and Advisors;
  • The proven ability to “Drive” toward successful closure for all parties at interest.

About Gerbsman Partners
Gerbsman Partners focuses on maximizing enterprise value for stakeholders and shareholders in under-performing, under-capitalized and under-valued companies and their Intellectual Property. Since 2001, Gerbsman Partners has been involved in maximizing value for 68 Technology, Life Science and Medical Device companies and their Intellectual Property and has restructured/terminated over $795 million of real estate executory contracts and equipment lease/sub-debt obligations. Since inception in 1980, Gerbsman Partners has been involved in over $2.3 billion of financings, restructurings and M&A transactions.
Gerbsman Partners has offices and strategic alliances in San Francisco, Boston, New York, Washington, DC, Alexandria, VA, Europe and Israel.

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Article from TechCrunch.

“$41 million. From Sequoia Capital, Bain Capital, and Silicon Valley Bank. Pre-launch.

That’s how much a brand new startup called Color has to work with. Your eyebrows should already be raised, and here’s something to keep them fixed there: this is the most money Sequoia has ever invested in a pre-launch startup. Or, as the Color team put it, “That’s more than they gave Google.”

But the founding team goes a long way toward explaining it. Headed by Bill Nguyen — who sold Lala to Apple in late 2009 — the company has attracted a wealth of talent. It has seven founders including Nguyen and company president Peter Pham, who previously founded BillShrink. And its chief of product is DJ Patil, who was previously LinkedIn’s chief scientist.

So what exactly is Color?

Update: The application is now available for the iPhone at Color.com. Android is coming.

At first glance, it looks like another mobile photo app, like Path, Instagram, or PicPlz. You take snapshots with your mobile phone (the app supports both Android and iOS at launch) and they appear in a stream of photos. And there aren’t even any of those trendy lenses to spruce up your images. Sounds pretty basic, right?

But the beauty of Color stems from what it’s doing differently. Unlike Instagram and Path, there isn’t an explicit friend or following system — you don’t browse through lists of contacts and start following their photo stream. Instead, all social connections in the application are dynamic and established on-the-fly depending on whom you’re hanging out with. And your photos are shared with everyone in the vicinity. In some senses this is the Twitter of photo apps — it’s all public, all the time (I’m ignoring Twitter’s protected tweets, since most people don’t use them). Another way to look at it: it’s almost the complete opposite of Path, which is built around sharing photos with an intimate group of friends.

It’s difficult to explain what Color does with a bullet list of features, so I’ll try painting an example that hopefully demonstrates how it works.

Say you walk into a restaurant with twenty people in it. You sit down at a table with four friends, and start chatting. Then one of your friends pulls out their phone, fires up Color, and takes a snapshot of you and your buddies.

That photo is now public to anyone within around 100 feet of the place it was taken. So if anyone else in the restaurant fires up Color, they’ll see the photograph listed in a stream alongside other photos that have recently been taken in the vicinity.

In a crowded area these streams of photos will get noisy, so Color also has some grouping features. Tell it which four people you’re eating with, and Color will create a temporal group with a stream of just the photos you and your buddies have taken. But here’s the twist: because everything on the service is public, you can also swipe to view other groups, to see what the tables next to you are snapping photos of. And you can always jump to the main stream, which shows a mishmash of photos taken by everyone.

It takes some time to wrap your head around, and my time with the app was limited, so I can’t really vouch for how well it works. But there’s some very interesting technology that’s working behind the scenes to make Color more than just a simple group photo app.

First are the social connections, called your Elastic Network. All of your contacts are presented in a list of thumbnails ordered by how strong your connection is to that user. Whenever Color detects that you’re physically near another user (in other words, that you’re hanging out), your bond on the app gets a little stronger. So when you fire up the app and jump to your list of contacts, you’ll probably see your close friends and family members listed first. But if you don’t see a friend for a long time, they’ll gradually flow down the list, and eventually their photos will fade from color to black-and-white.

These social connections are important because they’re the only way to view a stream of photos beyond those have been taken near you. If you fired up Color in that restaurant example from earlier, you’d only be able to see photos that had been taken by friends and strangers within 100 feet of that restaurant. That is, unless you jump to your social connections. Tap on your best friend’s profile photo, and you’ll then be able to see all of the photos that have recently been taken within 100 feet of them. In other words, Color is trying to give you a way to see everything that’s going on around you, and everything that’s going on around the people you care about.

The Groups feature also makes use of this elastic network. In the restaurant example above, the application would likely already know who your friends were based on your previous interactions and would automatically place them in the same group — you wouldn’t have to manually do it yourself.

Color is also making use of every phone sensor it can access. The application was demoed to me in the basement of Color’s office — where there was no cell signal or GPS reception. But the app still managed to work normally, automatically placing the people who were sitting around me in the same group. It does this using a variety of tricks: it uses the camera to check for lighting conditions, and even uses the phone’s microphone to ‘listen’ to the ambient surroundings. If two phones are capturing similar audio, then they’re probably close to each other.

So far I’ve described a compelling and unique photo app with some neat tricks. But how exactly is Color going to make “wheelbarrows of cash”, as Nguyen says?

At this point the company is still very early on, but it eventually plans to offer businesses a self-serve platform for running deals and ads as part of the Color experience (you fire up the app to see the photos being taken around you, and you also see the special of the day, for example).

But that’s just the start. Nguyen has visions of fundamentally changing some aspects of social interaction and local discovery with the app, which he considers part of the so-called Post-PC movement. Using all of the data being collected (remember, the app is taking advantage of all of your phone’s sensors), Color hopes to eventually start recommending nearby points of interest, and maybe even interesting people.

There are still plenty of questions, even about the existing service. This kind of voyeurism — you’re sharing photos with the world and looking at photos from strangers — could take a while to get used to. People may reject it entirely. Or it may be completely addictive. There’s really no way to tell until people start using the app in the wild.

The future is unclear, but promising. And with this much money in the bank and a staff of 27, Color has plenty of time to hone in on what works.”

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Article from SFGate.

“AT&T Inc.’s $39 billion deal for T-Mobile USA could improve the company’s cell service in San Francisco, but it may also mean the end to low-cost phone and data plans.

Acquiring T-Mobile’s infrastructure will increase the number of AT&T cell towers in San Francisco by 30 percent, according to spokesman John Britton.

That’s a significant increase to a network known for its dropped calls.

“We’ve got the same network, so they’re very compatible,” Britton said. “They can easily come together and be integrated. It’s going to be good news for customers.”

Both companies’ networks use a technology known as GSM. AT&T said customers of T-Mobile, which is owned by Deutsche Telekom, would be able to continue using their existing handsets if the merger is approved.

The company would not say how many cell towers it now has, or how many T-Mobile has in the Bay Area. But it said the acquisition would be crucial in helping it meet the exploding consumer demand for wireless spectrum.

In the past four years, AT&T’s mobile data traffic grew 8,000 percent, the company said. By 2015, it is expected to increase by up to 10 times more.

But AT&T’s expanded network will come at a cost to consumers, advocacy groups warned. T-Mobile’s disappearance from the marketplace would mean that three companies – AT&T, Verizon and Sprint – would own roughly three-quarters of the U.S. mobile market.

And the low-cost plans for which T-Mobile is known will probably disappear if the merger is completed, advocates said.

“This transaction would create a vastly more concentrated market,” said Andrew Jay Schwartzman, policy director at Media Access Project. “What that translates to is higher prices, less consumer choice and less innovation.”

The proposed acquisition, which would bring AT&T’s U.S. subscriber base to 130 million, is likely to take a year to complete. In a conference call with investors Monday, AT&T executives said they expected the deal would win approval from the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice.

U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo of Palo Alto, the ranking Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Communications and Technology Subcommittee, called for oversight hearings on the proposal.

“Competition is essential to promoting a vibrant wireless market, where consumers have a choice in the innovative services and devices available to them,” Eshoo said in a statement.

Customers will not notice any changes in their service until after the merger is completed, AT&T said.

A combined AT&T and T-Mobile would also make the next-generation communication standard, known as LTE, available to 95 percent of American households, or 46.5 million more than were eligible to receive it otherwise, the company said.”

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As a technology scout, I often look for new behaviors of consumers in order to predict technology evolutions. After some time looking into the GroupOn trend, I have started to form a mental understanding of sorts. The stakes are high and the social shopping trend presents a new prosperous businessmodel and most large online companies are making the move to harness the trend. Let me explain the separate parts that forms my picture and what it all means.

1. eBay – the online fleamarket.

Looking at what today is widely accepted as a stunning success and moneymachine – eBay took the private entrepreneur online. Craigslist and similar services continue to provide broad audiences for the private seller. The shift from paper to online generated a larger audience and more interest for the second-hand market.

2. Facebook – networking our life.

Through the introduction of online social networks like Friendster, MySpace, Bebo, Twitter and Facebook, personal networks got joined together online. The effects of “Faceboking” you social life is a transparency that newer been visible before. New “check in” services from GPS enabled mobile devices further expose our location and automatically connects us with unknown people on the same location.

3. iPhone – making applications smarter.

As mentioned above, “check in” services like “Places” on Facebook, Loopt, Gowalla and Brightkite brought the social context to the mobile device though their “check in” features. Together with Twitter and Facebook mobile, the social and contextual dialogue is more and more becoming a way of using the technology.

The New, New Market!

So, based on these three separate innovations,a new market is emerging – Social Shopping. Sure, not all new in its core – Amazon have for long had recommendation and 3:rd party providers of used products. But, if I look closer on the trend, and take into consideration the companies that have announced that they are testing similar products – it will be a fierce battle ahead.

GroupOn is the one stealing all the headlines right now, IPO rumors are spreading and the race is on for becoming the leader of the pack. Nr. 2 on the market – Living Social are playing catch up. Recently I was invited to sign-up for Facebook Deals, a service originally launched last year and currently going through updates similar to GroupOn and Living Social. Goggle is testing its Google Offers. Microsoft is using it´s Bing to for similar services.

What does it mean?

What does all this mean you might think. I fell it’s a contextual shopping trend that moves the web 2.0 into a truly social value experience. If you are shopping for something and have the mobile device, you will be able to utilize your location and seek out good deals close to where you are, when you want it. The technology evolution exemplified by iPhone and Android phones with location awareness embedded is the technology enabler. Facebook networks are the social context and audience for spreading the word and eBay entrepreneurs can chase deals and post them on the social shopping sites to generate a self-serving ecosystem that becomes a machine in it self.

One might think that this technology trend, contrary to social networks of relationships (which are personal and limited) like Facebook, have enough room for more than one or two major services. As the trend relies on action rather than relation, its a active usage and active user who drives the equation – on Facebook, it’s all a matter of who you know.

Implications

The biggest question for me is if Facebook will succeed in incorporating their Facebook Deals service into the private social networks as a natural extension of smaller, often local groups of a few hundred people, as seem to be the norm of the personal networks on Facebook. If they succeed, they will steal the market from the pioneers like GroupOn and Social Living and further solidify their position as the premier social destination on the net, if not Facebooks value will decline as a result and focus might shift. Google, Amazon and Microsoft will steal their fair share of the market place, as they own large audiences and often “host” a mature audience searching for little less cool and less hip offerings – with high trust and reliability.

The race is on!

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Article from NY Times.

“After getting off to a strong start in 2011, the market for initial public offerings has started to cool as a result of global uncertainty caused by the disaster in Japan.

In the last week, several companies have either tempered their expectations or delayed their offerings. On Wednesday, Lagardère, the French media conglomerate run by Arnaud Lagardère, said it would put off the initial public offering of its stake in Canal Plus France, the pay-television company.

“Due to the scale of the disaster in Japan, and thereof to the extreme volatility of the markets, the Lagardère Group has decided to postpone” the offering of Canal Plus France, the company said in a statement.

The private equity firm Apollo Global Management, which appeared to be on track to submit plans for its market debut to regulators, is “now waiting for a better time,” Reuters reported on on Tuesday.

There is also speculation that Glencore, the giant commodities trader, may delay filing its paperwork with regulators. The company had been talking with investors for several weeks about a potential offering that could value the company at $60 billion. Glencore, which has never publicly discussed an offering, declined to comment.

Any reticence is understandable, given the volatility in the stock markets. Most of the major United States indexes were down on Wednesday, with the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index dropping 1.95 percent, to 1,256.88. The S&P 500 is essentially flat for the year.

“If the nuclear problems in Japan stabilize immediately, and U.S. markets recover, the I.P.O. market will go back to the schedule it was on a week ago,” said Jay Ritter, a professor of finance at the University of Florida. “If there’s a further sell-off, a lot of deals will be postponed.”

Before the disaster in Japan, the I.P.O. market was on track for a banner year. In the United States, the volume of new offerings topped $12 billion through early March. It was the best start since 2000 and six times stronger than the same period in 2010, according to Thomson Reuters data. Much of that activity came from private-equity-backed companies like HCA, the hospital chain that raised $3.8 billion in its offering.

But new public companies are often considered riskier than well-established blue chips, making them more sensitive to market upheavals.

“I.P.O.’s tend to be perceived as high-risk investments,” Professor Ritter said, “and when there’s a flight to quality, they get hammered most. In 2007, the S.&P. was at an all-time high. At the beginning of 2008, I.P.O.’s started to dry up well before the big collapse in September.”

At least one major deal appears to be on track. The ISS Group — the Danish financial services company that is being listed in a $2.5 billion offering by its private equity owners, Goldman Sachs and EQT of Sweden — is moving forward with its planned offering.

The company is closing its offering on Thursday, said a person with knowledge of the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly, after having received orders for all of the shares. The person acknowledge that the markets were volatile right now, but said that ISS was already far along in the process before the disaster in Japan.

“Obviously, it creates some questions from people,” the person said.”

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Article from NYTimes.

“We’re here on the ground in Austin South by Southwest Interactive, the annual gathering of tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, investors and leaders in the industry.

The weeklong event is crammed with panels, parties, talks, the introduction of new apps and services, demos of said services, networking and the occasional breakfast taco.

Tech companies will be looking for support among tech-savvy festival attendees in the hopes of bubbling up above the noise of the hundreds of companies vying for attention. For a young business, the stakes can be high. South by Southwest, which attracts early technology adopters, has earned a reputation for helping propel companies like Foursquare and Twitter out of relative obscurity. And this year, the numbers of attendees is expected to swell to nearly 20,000. Last year, around 14,000 people attended.

Among the companies looking to create some buzz are Uber, which makes a mobile application that lets people avoid taxi shortages by requesting a car service to give them a ride.; it has seeded this city’s downtown with special pedicabs to lug tired pedestrians around. GroupMe, one of the mobile messaging applications I wrote about on Friday, says it will be handing out grilled cheese sandwiches with the company’s logo toasted into the bread. Breakfast, a digital agency in New York, has rigged several photo booths that will print physical photos snapped with the popular iPhone app Instagram. Eightbit.me, a service that creates cute cartoon avatars for members, has hidden several hard drives shaped like vintage Nintendo game cartridges, around downtown. To win one, users must check into various locations in the city to find and unlock the prize.

Even Apple, which rarely appears at any major technology conferences, is rumored to have a pop-up shop somewhere on the conference grounds, most likely to coincide with the release of the iPad 2, which went on sale Friday.”

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What’s ‘Hot”, what’s “Not” — Today Fashion, for professionals and corporations.  http://styleauteur.com/

au·teur

noun, an artist (as a musician or writer) whose style and practice are distinctive
–Merriam Webster Dictionary

STYLEAUTEUR is a cutting edge fashion consulting firm that translates runway, lifestyle, and pop culture trends into reality for select individuals, organizations, and the media. We are style pioneers, identifying leading cultural movements before they hit the mainstream and preparing clients to strike a perfect balance between the appropriate and the fashion forward. Our trend forecasting techniques render runway, television, and magazine trends accessible – our finely tuned services range from creating a ‘look for less’ to dressing for ‘the carpet,’ from Hollywood to Capitol Hill. Styleauteur has specific domain expertise in working with hard to fit fashionistas and creative clients facing unique physical challenges in their style search. At Styleauteur, our objective is to guide our clients in the creation of their signature style and to impart strategies that empower them to realize their style and beauty goals.

Lauren A. Rothman, founder of Styleauteur, is a fashion, style, and trend expert. At the vanguard of emerging trends, Lauren is in high demand for her unique talent of demystifying the world of fashion and discussing ‘what’s hot’ for the season on television, radio, and in print. Known as the essential style contributor, Lauren is regularly featured in segments covering all wavelengths of the style spectrum, from back to school to campaign trail fashion on networks like Fox, CBS, and ABC, as well as Washington, DC local morning show Let’s Talk Live. Her tips on wardrobe management and creating a versatile, fashion-forward closet have also been featured in Glamour, Real Simple, and Washingtonian magazines, Politico, and on NPR and XM/Sirius radio.

Greatly sought after as a public speaker and commentator, Lauren has produced events for the Washington Redskins and led in-depth discussions on style and fashion at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the American Institute of Architects. A trend spotter and fashion maven, Lauren has her finger on the pulse of fashion – from shopping closets across the country to scouting the best pieces available worldwide. She works with our servicemen and women returning from tours overseas as well as top brass at the Pentagon. Lauren’s background is built on a solid foundation with an auspicious start as a cool hunter and trend director at Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve, a trend-based marketing consultancy based in New York City, followed by a ‘master class’ experience in personal shopping and wardrobe consultation for Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue. A native speaker of both Spanish and English, Lauren’s wide-ranging experience includes placements at Elle Magazine and MTV Networks Latin America as well as in-depth fashion and pop culture research while living and traveling in major international fashion cities throughout Europe and Asia.

Contact – – To set up an appointment, seminar or to book Lauren for a tv, radio, or personal appearance
please contact info@styleauteur.com, 202.631.8878

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