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Posts Tagged ‘angel investments’

Article from Techcrunch.

Cisco has announced it plans to acquire Cloupia for $125 million. The software company helps customers automate their data centers.

Cisco sees Cloupia’s infrastructure management software enhancing its Unified Computing System (UCS) and Nexus switching portfolio. Cisco expects Cloupia will help better manage the automation of compute, network and storage as well as virtual machine and operating system resources.

Cisco UCS is a converged infrastructure play. Cisco has made a big bet on providing converged infrastructures that consolidates compute, storage and networking into one box. IT wants to decrease its data center dependency. Vendors like Cisco, EMC and IBM see converged infrastructures as a way to sell their hardware into the enterprise.

Investing in these systems has its costs for IT. The systems are pricey and create a lock-in with one vendor.

Cisco wrote a blog post about the acquisition today. Here’s a snippet:

Cisco’s acquisition of Cloupia benefits Cisco’s Data Center strategy by providing single “pane-of-glass” management across Cisco and partner solutions including FlexPod, VSPEX, and Vblock. Cloupia’s products will integrate into the Cisco data center portfolio through UCS Manager, UCS Central, and Nexus 1000V, strengthening Cisco’s overall ecosystem strategy by providing open APIs for integration with a broad community of developers and partners.

The post is a window into Cisco’s data center strategy. Like other big enterprise software companies, Cisco partners with companies such as NetApp and VMware to sell its solutions through its extensive sales channels.

Read more here.

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Article from TechCrunch.

Dave McClure’s 500 Startups is looking for participants to join its next incubator program, which will run from October through January. And for the first time ever, it’s going to open the process up to allow anyone to apply. To help it get through the process, 500 Startups Accelerator will be using AngelList, making it the first incubator to leverage the platform for applications.

McClure told me that historically, the program has avoided having an open application process and instead has taken on Accelerator startups only through referrals. So far, that has worked out just fine for 500 Startups: It’s had four successful incubator programs, usually with 20 to 35 startups participating.

As a result, McClure & Co. have been able to avoid the frustrating, time-consuming process of reviewing applications. That said, McClure told me that, while referrals have helped it to find a ton of interesting startups — and avoid sorting through a lot of crap — he also recognized that he’s probably missed a few that might not have been part of his network.

That’s where AngelList comes in. The professional network for startups and investors will help 500 Startups vet applicants through a mix of algorithmic ranking and curation from mentors and others. The AngelList platform will help speed up the process by weeding out unqualified applicants. It will also allow 500 Startups to scale up the application process without having to manually review all the applications by hand.

Not everyone in the next class will come from AngelList — 500 Startups expects to choose between five and 10 startups through this process. It’s already picked a few to participate and is reviewing several others. But McClure said that it was important to open up the applications process in a way that would allow it to review companies that it might not have seen. That’s especially important because so much of 500 Startups’ focus is on startups that are somewhat non-typical, for instance those that are in international markets.

In addition to opening up the application process, 500 Startups is changing the terms of its investment for companies that have already raised some funding. Typically, it provides $50,000 for 5 percent of equity, with an option for up to $200,000 in later rounds. But companies that have raised at least $250,000 will be able to join the program for only 3 to 4 percent of equity.

The fifth 500 Startups Accelerator will begin in October, with Demo Days in late January or early February. Companies interested in applying can do so on AngelList at angel.co/500startups.

Read more here.

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Article from Fenwick and West.

“In 2002, Fenwick & West began publishing its Silicon Valley Venture Capital Survey. The survey was published in response to dramatic changes in the venture capital financing environment resulting from the bursting of the “dot-com bubble”, and our belief that there was a need for an objective analysis of how the venture capital environment had changed. The survey was well received and we have continued to publish it – a copy of the most recent survey is available here.
We believe that in recent years there has been a significant change in the angel/seed financing environment primarily in the internet/digital media and software industries. We believe these changes are due to the following factors:

The nature of these industries is such that products can be developed and introduced to the market quicker and with less resources than other industries. The development of new technologies has further accelerated the speed, and reduced the resources needed, to introduce new products in these industries.

These industries have now been around for at least a decade, if not longer, and as such a generation of successful entrepreneurs having the expertise, financial resources and interest is now available to assist and finance the current generation of entrepreneurs.
Venture capital has become harder to obtain, with venture capital investment in the U.S. overall declining from $29.9 billion in 2007 to $26.2 billion in 2010, and with investment in venture funds by limited partners declining even more precipitously, with $11.6 billion invested in 2010, the lowest amount since 2003, according to Dow Jones VentureSource.

As a result of these factors we believe that there have been the following changes in the angel/seed financing environment:

  • There has been a shift in the composition of investors, from largely friends and family, wealthy individuals and a few organized groups, to a larger percentage of professional angels, seed funds and venture capital funds willing to invest smaller amounts of capital.
  • The amounts raised in angel/seed financings have increased, and can exceed $1 million. Investors in these financings also have deeper pockets with the ability to participate in later rounds.
  • The terms of these financings have become more sophisticated and arms length, as investors are more likely to be true third parties investing larger sums, with an interest in being more active in the oversight of their investment.

In light of the increasing importance of angel/seed financings, and a desire to make objective information about such financings available to the community at large, we undertook a survey of 52 internet/digital media and software industry companies that obtained angel/seed financing[1] in 2010 in the Silicon Valley and Seattle markets.”

Read more here.

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Article from GigaOm.

“If Angelgate didn’t prove it, then the following data will; there’s a tinge of mania when it come to early- and seed-stage funding. The latest data from CB Insights, a market research firm that tracks the venture capital industry, shows that seed investments — primarily in Internet startups — increased from a mere one percent of all deals during the third quarter of 2009 to a whopping 11 percent of total venture investment deals during that period in 2010.

The sharp increase in seed-stage investments is the sole reason the total number of venture investments jumped during the third quarter of 2010 even though overall funding dropped. Nearly $5.4 billion was invested in 715 deals during that time frame, CB Insights’ data reveals. All that essentially made for one hot summer.

Here is some salient data from CB Insights’ latest report covering the July – September time frame:

  • Nearly $1.253 billion was invested in 233 Internet related deals. Series A media deal size was at an all time high of $3.4 million, once again proving that early stage investing is going through a frothy phase.
  • San Francisco saw 36 Internet deals that brought in $131 million, while New York City saw 31 Internet deals garner $126 million. In comparison, Mountain View, Calif., San Mateo, Calif. and Palo Alto, Calif. saw 21 deals focused on the Internet and they brought in a total of $174 million.
  • Early-stage investing is dominating the New York area and accounted for nearly 63 percent of all deals. New York can thank folks like Chris Dixon and Fred Wilson for bringing investment dollars to area startups.
  • Massachusetts saw a year-over-year decline in amount VCs invested during the third quarter of this year: $466 million was invested in 87 deals versus 73 deals which garnered $596 million during the third quarter of 2009.”

Read the complete article here.

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Here is an interrestig article on Warren Buffet from Deal Zone.

“Following in the greatest of capitalist traditions, the Oracle of Omaha announced plans to buy up the shares he doesn’t already own in one of the country’s biggest railroads, Burlington Northern Santa Fe. And in an egalitarian, if unexpected, move, he said he would split his Class B stock to the tune of 50-to-1, making it possible for just about anyone to own Berkshire Hathaway’s traditionally lofty shares.

The railroad purchase is a bet on the future of America, Buffett said, and it’s his biggest acquisition ever. It values the railroad at $34 billion, and the price of $100 a share is a premium of nearly 32 percent. The premium vaults the railroad into the top spot by market cap, surpassing Union Pacific.

Buffett also owns stakes in other railroads, so it will be interesting to see if his move stirs any antitrust comments from Washington. Idiomatically, there is something profoundly rural in the Americana of Buffett’s latest bet; much more so than Berkshire Hathaway’s mainstay insurance business.”

Read the full article here.

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Here is an analysis by John Mauldin at InvestorInsight. It was originally published as a special series at Stratfor.

John Mauldin is president of Millennium Wave Advisors, LLC, a registered investment advisor. All material presented herein is believed to be reliable but we cannot attest to its accuracy. Investment recommendations may change and readers are urged to check with their investment counselors before making any investment decisions. Opinions expressed in these reports may change without prior notice. John Mauldin and/or the staff at Millennium Wave Advisors, LLC may or may not have investments in any funds cited above. Mauldin can be reached at 800-829-7273.

This information is not to be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities.

“Dear Friends: One of the first things you learn about analyzing a company is how to dissect a balance sheet. What assets and liabilities can be deployed by a company to create equity over time? I’ve enclosed a fascinating variant on this process. Take a look at how STRATFOR has analyzed the “geographic balance sheets” of the US, Russia, China, and Europe to understand why different countries’ economies have suffered to varying degrees from the current economic crisis.

As investors, it’s precisely this type of outside-the-box thinking that can provide us profitable opportunities, and it’s precisely this type of outside-the-box thinking that makes STRATFOR such an important part of my investment decision making. The key to investment profits is thinking differently and thinking earlier than the next guy. STRATFOR’s work exemplifies both these traits.

I’ve arranged for a special deal on a STRATFOR Membership for my readers, which you can click here to take advantage of.  Many of you are invested in alternative strategies, but I want to make sure that you also employ alternative thinking strategies. So take a look at these different “country balance sheets” as you formulate your plans.
Your Mapping It Out Analyst, John Mauldin

The Geography of Recession

The global recession is the biggest development in the global system in the year to date. In the United States, it has become almost dogma that the recession is the worst since the Great Depression. But this is only one of a wealth of misperceptions about whom the downturn is hurting most, and why.As one can see in the chart, the U.S. recession at this point is only the worst since 1982, not the 1930s, and it pales in comparison to what is occurring in the rest of the world.

(Figures for China have not been included, in part because of the unreliability of Chinese statistics, but also because the country’s financial system is so radically different from the rest of the world as to make such comparisons misleading. For more, click here.)

But didn’t the recession begin in the United States? That it did, but the American system is far more stable, durable and flexible than most of the other global economies, in large part thanks to the country’s geography. To understand how place shapes economics, we need to take a giant step back from the gloom and doom of the current moment and examine the long-term picture of why different regions follow different economic paths.

The United States and the Free Market

The most important aspect of the United States is not simply its sheer size, but the size of its usable land. Russia and China may both be similar-sized in absolute terms, but the vast majority of Russian and Chinese land is useless for agriculture, habitation or development. In contrast, courtesy of the Midwest, the United States boasts the world’s largest contiguous mass of arable land — and that mass does not include the hardly inconsequential chunks of usable territory on both the West and East coasts. Second is the American maritime transport system. The Mississippi River, linked as it is to the Red, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee rivers, comprises the largest interconnected network of navigable rivers in the world. In the San Francisco Bay, Chesapeake Bay and Long Island Sound/New York Bay, the United States has three of the world’s largest and best natural harbors. The series of barrier islands a few miles off the shores of Texas and the East Coast form a water-based highway — an Intercoastal Waterway — that shields American coastal shipping from all but the worst that the elements can throw at ships and ports.

The real beauty is that the two overlap with near perfect symmetry. The Intercoastal Waterway and most of the bays link up with agricultural regions and their own local river systems (such as the series of rivers that descend from the Appalachians to the East Coast), while the Greater Mississippi river network is the circulatory system of the Midwest. Even without the addition of canals, it is possible for ships to reach nearly any part of the Midwest from nearly any part of the Gulf or East coasts. The result is not just a massive ability to grow a massive amount of crops — and not just the ability to easily and cheaply move the crops to local, regional and global markets — but also the ability to use that same transport network for any other economic purpose without having to worry about food supplies.

The implications of such a confluence are deep and sustained. Where most countries need to scrape together capital to build roads and rail to establish the very foundation of an economy, transport capability, geography granted the United States a near-perfect system at no cost. That frees up U.S. capital for other pursuits and almost condemns the United States to be capital-rich. Any additional infrastructure the United States constructs is icing on the cake. (The cake itself is free — and, incidentally, the United States had so much free capital that it was able to go on to build one of the best road-and-rail networks anyway, resulting in even greater economic advantages over competitors.)

Third, geography has also ensured that the United States has very little local competition. To the north, Canada is both much colder and much more mountainous than the United States. Canada’s only navigable maritime network — the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway —is shared with the United States, and most of its usable land is hard by the American border. Often this makes it more economically advantageous for Canadian provinces to integrate with their neighbor to the south than with their co-nationals to the east and west.

Similarly, Mexico has only small chunks of land, separated by deserts and mountains, that are useful for much more than subsistence agriculture; most of Mexican territory is either too dry, too tropical or too mountainous. And Mexico completely lacks any meaningful river system for maritime transport. Add in a largely desert border, and Mexico as a country is not a meaningful threat to American security (which hardly means that there are not serious and ongoing concerns in the American-Mexican relationship).

With geography empowering the United States and hindering Canada and Mexico, the United States does not need to maintain a large standing military force to counter either. The Canadian border is almost completely unguarded, and the Mexican border is no more than a fence in most locations — a far cry from the sort of military standoffs that have marked more adversarial borders in human history. Not only are Canada and Mexico not major threats, but the U.S. transport network allows the United States the luxury of being able to quickly move a smaller force to deal with occasional problems rather than requiring it to station large static forces on its borders.Like the transport network, this also helps the U.S. focus its resources on other things.”

John F. Mauldin
johnmauldin@investorsinsight.com

Read more here.

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Here is a excerpt from San fernando Business Journal, that provides som good news.

“We’re seeing at least a 50 percent increase in deals choosing us over VCs for various reasons,” says John Dilts, founder and president of Maverick Angels in Westlake Village. The group has 25 members who screen and invest in companies monthly.

The economy has forced many VCs to slow their investment pace and focus on existing companies that are not able to exit their portfolios because of the shuttered IPO window and weak acquisitions market, said Mark Heesen, president of the National Venture Capital Association, in the MoneyTree Report.

While many angels remain cautious, the downturn has resulted in higher quality entrepreneurs looking for early stage capital, says Dilts. Some have raised previous rounds of capital and developed their companies to the point of generating revenue.

Company valuations have also dropped, which is an appealing point of entry for angels. “As angels we’re seeing higher quality deals and lower valuations,” says Dilts. “We fill a unique void in the emerging growth finance universe. We provide speculative capital.”

Read the full article here.

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