Posts Tagged ‘boic’

They say all revolutions start out small. Jack Dorsey’s Square is no different.

It started off with a modest card reader, turned into a little app and now the company has developed and launched Square Stand, a point of sale system that reinvents the idea of cash register with help from Apple’s iPad and Square’s software, allowing the San Francisco-based company to further spread its wings in the payments business. And if there were any doubts that the company was going after payments incumbents such as NCR and Verifone, Square Stand puts it to an end.


The company announced the Square Stand at an event in a coffee shop near its offices this morning. Square Stand, simply put, is a point of sale system that allows merchants (big and small) to plug in their iPads (2 or 3, but not the 4th generation) into a stand that comes with a swivel base (so they can turn it around for you to sign for your purchase), a credit card reader and a USB hub that can in turn allow merchants to plug in everything from a scanner to a printer (for printing receipts), a cash register (the Square Stand doesn’t hold cash, just works with other devices) and even the backend ordering system into the stand. In February this year, Square introduced its Business-in-a-Box package, but this is a much simpler and is targeted at larger establishments including restaurants.

When asked why the company was making the initial device with support for only the iPad 2 and iPad 3, Dorsey pointed out that a majority of their customers were using these two devices and as a result they had to make sure they provided the biggest support. The support for iPad 4 (the newest model available, sold as just “iPad”) will come in subsequent models. The company had launched Square Register for iPad app in March 2012 and has made subsequent upgrades to the app.

Sexy cash registers?


“We have taken something that is ugly and mechanical and made it look like a consumer product that is very sexy,” said Dorsey, chief executive of the four-year-old Square, which is based in San Francisco and has raised $340 million in funding from the likes of Khosla Ventures, Citi Ventures, Starbucks, Visa and Chase. The company is part of a growing number of players including eBay and GroupOn that are looking to reinvent the offline retail business.

Square showed off its grander ambitions when it hinted at its desire to take on the likes of Foursquare and Yelp. Square said that as of today it is processing over $15 billion in payments on an annualized basis, excluding Starbucks, up from processing $5 billion on annualized basis a year ago.

Weighing in at about five pounds, the stunningly beautiful device is pristine white and is made of moulded plastic. The USB and other accessories (called the Toolkit) are perfectly matched to the stand. It will used by 13 merchants in 30 locations. The package is going to cost $299 and and is available for pre-order.

When I first saw the Square Stand, it elicited an involuntary gasp. From packaging to the final product, it is something one would expect from the Apple dream factory; but in saying so, I don’t do justice to Dorsey and his design team. While there are many companies who are following the Apple aesthetic, to me Square Stand represents a perfect harmony of hardware, software and service. (For more on beautiful design of connected devices make sure to check out our RoadMap event in November in San Francisco; to get early access to tickets that will go on sale this Summer go here).

Digital receipts and mobile payments are the way of the future, but Square also recognizes that people pay with cash and credit cards, the company said at the press conference Tuesday morning. The support for third party peripherals will make this into an ecosystem. It will be on sale in July at Best Buy and other retailers.

Do small merchants care enought about how their point-of-sale devices look and will they spend money to replace their existing systems? “More important than how it looks is how it works. It is about making it work simply,” Dorsey said Tuesday.

Completing the sale

The Stand has been under development at Square for quite sometime. Dorsey said that reinventing the register and rethinking the whole retail experience has been part of company’s thinking from its earliest days. If the Square’s original card reader made it possible for mom-and-pop businesses to access the credit card payment infrastructure, with the launch of this device, Square can start to look at tapping into the big brick-and-mortar commerce ecosystem.

“Whenever people got Square (Register) on iPad, the first thing they needed was a stand. So we made one, and one that works seamlessly in a way that allows merchants to move people through the queue really quickly,” Dorsey said. “We wanted to build hardware that was high quality.” The speed of processing payments has been a key driving force behind the design of this device, Dorsey explained.

Square is one of the handful of companies that understands that there is a lot of money to be made in building this new kind of retail system. And it might have started out small, but now it doesn’t have much choice to get real big, real fast. After all it has to live up to is massive $3.25 billion valuation.


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Article from Techcrunch.


OK, so maybe we said it would be hard for an app to break out at SXSW this year. But that isn’t stopping several startups from trying.

One startup called Hangtime, from serial entrepreneur Karl Jacob, is looking to be the comprehensive Rolodex of events at SXSW and beyond.

It pulls in events from Facebook that you have permission to see, ranks them by overall popularity, popularity among your friends and distance among other factors.

When you open the app, you can use Facebook to find friends and pull in hundreds of events. You can say you’re “interested” in going to them by clicking a button in the app. The idea is to get people to interact without necessarily committing to going to something.

“People don’t necessarily know what they are going to. Nobody likes to commit,” he said. “So we had to make it lightweight and make it super easy for people to share things with each other, but not commit.”

In Hangtime, there’s a way to say you’re publicly interested in an event, and then there’s a way to privately share an event with a friend.

hangtime-3“That creates this bifurcation,” he said. “It’s a lightweight way of saying that you’re interested in something — but behind the scenes.”

Hangtime follows a long line of events-related startups like the now-defunct Plancast and another startup Sosh that try to help people figure out what to do on nights and weekends.

Jacob says that other events startups might have just been too early on the market.

“The biggest mistake in the past in the core event discovery space was that we had a data problem,” he said. But he said now that social platforms like Facebook have solidified, it’s become a nicely centralized source of data.

In fact, the issue now is that there’s too much data and there needs to be better personalization and recommendations, he argues.

“A hallmark of these mobile applications is that they shouldn’t require work,” Jacob said. “They shouldn’t require you to enter in things. You have to give people a good experience out of the box.”

To get that, Jacob used a pretty ingenious seeding and testing strategy.

The company bought ads on Facebook targeted at colleges in the Midwest, such as the University of Missouri-Columbia and others in Arizona, Nebraska and Alabama. They want to see if they could remotely seed an app on a college campus and have it grow organically.

So they bought Facebook ads targeted at freshmen who wanted to find out what was going on on campus. Once a few people joined, they could pull in publicly shared events on Facebook and offer a better first-time experience to others who joined. When they felt the retention metrics were good and that they could predictably make the app popular on college campus after college campus, they decided to launch it publicly.

hangtimeThe app has an Open Graph integration that puts a box on your Timeline of events you’ve been invited to and publicly expressed interest in. Whenever you interact with a Hangtime post on Facebook and like it, the person who submitted it will get a notification.

That early testing helped set up a good base for SXSW this week. As of Friday, Hangtime already had 2 million invitations for at least 1,700 SXSW events with 285,000 RSVPs.

Next on the roadmap is improving personalization. Currently, Hangtime ranks events by overall popularity and timing by the hour, which means events that are more socially relevant but later in the day can show up lower in the feed.

“We’re in the process of building machine learning systems that literally take what you’re seeing and present new events that are more to your liking,” he said.

The 10-person company has $3.5 million in funding from investors, including SV Angel, Charles River Ventures, Greylock, Intel Capital, Interwest, 500 Startups, Crosslink Capital, Freestyle Capital, Ignition Venture Partners, Science Inc., Disney’s Tugboat Ventures and Webb Investment Network along with angels like Path CEO Dave Morin, Facebook alum and Pinterest monetization head Tim Kendall, Zynga’s Mark Pincus, One Kings Lane’s Ali Pincus and Data Collective’s Matt Ocko.

Jacob previously founded Keen, which was sold to AT&T in 2007 under the name Ingenio, and Dimension X, which was acquired by Microsoft. He was also CEO of Wallop, a social-networking company that eventually pivoted into making covers for smartphones and BlackBerrys under the name Coveroo.

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Article from NYTimes.

With Andrew Mason’s forced resignation from Groupon on Thursday, the career of one of the most unusual corporate chieftains has ended.

And what an eclectic journey it has been for the onetime darling of Silicon Valley, which ascended with blinding speed, then crashed just as quickly.

Though Mr. Mason’s departure from the four-year-old company he founded had been speculated about for some time — certainly in light of Groupon’s poor financial performance since its initial public offering — the exit was finalized only on Thursday morning, according to people briefed on the matter.

It was little surprise, coming after yet another disappointing quarter, in which the company missed analyst estimates and posted revenue guidance that also fell short of expectations. The company’s stock slid 24.3 percent on Thursday, to $4.53.

That valued Groupon at just $3 billion — after the company went public in late 2011 at a $12.7 billion valuation.

After meeting Thursday morning, Groupon’s board requested that Mr. Mason resign. He agreed.

Mr. Mason will be replaced on an interim basis by an “office of the chief executive” formed Thursday morning, made up of Eric Lefkofsky, Groupon’s chairman and co-founder, and Ted Leonsis, the board’s vice chairman.

Mr. Mason will still have some presence at the company: He currently owns about 7 percent of Groupon’s stock, and controls a much larger percentage of its voting power.

Mr. Lefkofsky bid Mr. Mason farewell in a fairly standard corporate statement: “On behalf of the entire Groupon board, I want to thank Andrew for his leadership, his creativity and his deep loyalty to Groupon. As a founder, Andrew helped invent the daily deals space, leading Groupon to become one of the fastest growing companies in history.”

In typical fashion, Mr. Mason described the circumstances a bit more trenchantly. Here’s an excerpt from a letter he sent to company employees on Thursday, which he posted online “since it will leak anyway”:

After four and a half intense and wonderful years as C.E.O. of Groupon, I’ve decided that I’d like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding – I was fired today.

He also references “Battletoads,” a cult video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System that a small minority of DealBook remembers as being sometimes absurdly difficult.

A Pittsburgh native who graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in music, Mr. Mason rarely ever seemed like the corporate type. He originally created Groupon as part of a bigger Web venture, focusing on daily deals as the most commercially viable part of that start-up.

Even then, he was known for his quirky humor. Three years ago, Mr. Mason made a video for a fictional “Monkey for a Week” lending service.

As Groupon grew, Mr. Mason’s peculiar demeanor sense of humor continued to garner attention. His grooming came up at least once, as Silicon Valley denizens pondered whether he’d hit a tanning salon before appearing at a TechCrunch conference in 2010 with a prominent bronze glow.

And in 2011, Mr. Mason had an unusual way of not responding to a question by All Things D’s Kara Swisher that he didn’t want to answer: with a “death stare.”

Groupon's I.P.O. roadshow video presentation.Groupon’s I.P.O. roadshow video presentation.

By that fall, as the daily deals giant was preparing to go public, Mr. Mason took on a more professional cast. In a video to prospective investors, the Groupon chief executive looked a bit more professional, complete with slicked-back hair and a dark suit and tie.

It was a persona he settled into post-I.P.O., usually delivering sober financial information in his public appearances.

But other parts of the run-up to Groupon’s I.P.O. in late 2011 were hardly laughing matters. The company took fire for introducing controversial accounting measures in its prospectus, which critics contended masked losses and unfairly diminished a need to spend heavily on marketing.

The Securities and Exchange Commission queried the company over its financial information in a series of letters that were eventually made public.

In August of 2011, Groupon announced that it was dropping the metric.

Two months later, the company revised its prospectus again to further clarify additional financial reporting measures, as well as to include an internal e-mail from Mr. Mason that was subsequently leaked to the press.

Even after going public, Groupon still ran into the occasional issue. It restated quarterly results last year after disclosing a “material weakness” in its internal accounting controls.

For all those troubles, Mr. Mason accepted responsibility.

“From controversial metrics in our S1 to our material weakness to two quarters of missing our own expectations and a stock price that’s hovering around one quarter of our listing price, the events of the last year and a half speak for themselves. As CEO, I am accountable,” he wrote in his letter…

Read more here.

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Gerbsman Partners has been involved with numerous national and international equity sponsors, senior/junior lenders, investment banks and equipment lessors in the restructuring or termination of various Balance Sheet issues for their technology, life science, medical device, solar and cleantech portfolio companies.
These companies were not necessarily in Crisis, had CASH (in some cases significant CASH) and/or investor groups that were about to provide additional funding. In order stabilize their go forward plan and maximize CASH resources for future growth, there was a specific need to address the Balance Sheet and Contingent Liability issues as soon as possible.

Some of the areas in which Gerbsman Partners has assisted these companies have been in the termination, restructuring and/or reduction of:

Prohibitive executory real estate leases, computer and hardware related leases and senior/sub-debt obligations – Gerbsman Partners was the “Innovator” in creating strategies to terminate or restructure prohibitive real estate leases, computer and hardware related leases and senior and sub-debt obligations. To date, Gerbsman Partners has terminated or restructured over $810 million of such obligations. These were a mixture of both public and private companies, and allowed the restructured company to return to a path of financial viability.

Accounts/Trade payable obligations – Companies in a crisis, turnaround or restructuring situation typically have accounts and trade payable obligations that become prohibitive for the viability of the company on a go forward basis. Gerbsman Partners has successfully negotiated mutually beneficial restructurings that allowed all parties to maximize enterprise value based on the reality and practicality of the situation.
Software and technology related licenses – As per the above, software and technology related licenses need to be restructured/terminated in order for additional capital to be invested in restructured companies. Gerbsman Partners has a significant track record in this area.

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 76 Technology, Life Science and Medical Device companies and their Intellectual Property,, through its proprietary “Date Certain M&A Process” and has restructured/terminated over $810 million of real estate executory contracts and equipment lease/sub-debt obligations. Since inception, 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 Boston, New York, Washington, DC, San Francisco, Orange County, Europe and Israel. For additional information please visit www.gerbsmanpartners.com.

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Dear Friends,

In my most recent update I mentioned that I would be making a special announcement.

It is with great pleasure I not only present of our latest, delightful App, Wubbzy’s Fire Engine Adventure, but also announce the start of our partnership with the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA).
You may learn more about the App and to view the it’s trailer by visiting:


This partnership includes:
·      A paid sponsorship of the Wubbzy’s Fire Engine Adventure App itself during National Fire Prevention Week (Sunday, 10/6 – Saturday, 10/13); and,
·      A commission for Cupcake to produce an App dedicated to fire safety featuring Sparky the Fire Dog.

To read the first in a series of press releases about our partnership please visit:

To highlight this association, Wubbzy’s Fire Engine Adventure includes a special learning section providing children and caregivers with important fire safety information. It is a strong proof point of our belief in “the power of play” and its ability to drive awareness and educate children about very important causes such as fire prevention.

sparkyThis content is a further enhancement to our mission of incorporating educational opportunities and Common Core State Standards into all our Apps.

In the months to come we will be making other exciting partnership announcements regarding additional licenses we will be “on boarding” and cause-related sponsorships.

I would encourage you to download the application by visiting http://www.cupcakedigital.com/apps/wubbzys-fire-engine-adventure/
and click on the store icon of your choice (iTunes, Amazon, Google Play or Nook).

Give it a test drive, and write a review about it.

As this is a special partnership for us, please do take a moment to post or write about it on your social networks, blogs etc., and encourage your friends, family and loved ones to do the same.

Thank you again for your continued support.

Sincerely yours,

Brad Powers

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Article from Silicon Valley Business Journal.

Institutional Venture Partners’ Steve Harrick sees a lot of opportunity in the enterprise and B2B startup space and has a $1 billion fund that was raised last year to work with.

His Menlo Park firm focuses on later-stage venture and growth equity investments, so it’s not the small fry they have their eyes on.

IVP is looking for startups that already have $20 million to $30 million in revenue and the potential to grow that by tenfold or more.

The firm had several big exits last year, including the $223 million IPO of CafePress and the $745 million sale of Buddy Media to Salesforce.

Harrick took some time to speak to me this week about the startups that are exciting him today and why IVP often remains an investor long after a startup has gone public.

Here are excerpts from that conversation:

There has been a lot said about a shift away from social and consumer-focused startups since Facebook’s IPO last year. What does that mean at Instiutional Venture Partners?

IVP has always invested in enterprise companies and we’ve been investing since 1980. We’re on our 14th fund, IVP-14. It’s a billion-dollar fund and we’re just beginning to invest that.

But enterprise has always been a mainstay of our investment effort. It ebbs and flows with budgets and where we see growth. But right now we’re seeing a lot of good activity in the enterprise space, a lot of innovation being brought to bear and the opportunity for new high-growth companies. So we’re actively investing there.

Can you tell me a little bit about the companies that are exciting to you right now from your portfolio?

There are a number of them. The most recent investment was AppDynamics. AppDynamics does application performance management. It’s really a very exciting area. The company allows anybody that’s creating an application to bug test it, to test it for security, to see if it can support high volume loads, all while they are designing the application.

The reason that this is such an interesting space is that every enterprise has applications that reach out to customers that they use internally and that they connect to partners with. It’s a real competitive edge for companies that do it correctly.

All the old stuff doesn’t support mobile. It doesn’t support the latest programming techniques. It’s long in the tooth. The market has been desperate for a more modern solution and AppDynamics really delivers that. We were really impressed with the growth the company has shown and just the massive demand for the product offering.

A lot of our portfolio companies were already using AppDynamics. That’s how we found out about the company and it’s a space that right now is at about $ 2 billion market size. It’s growing and it’s a very good management team. So we’re excited to be part of it.

Another one I understand you invested in last year is Aerohive.

Oh, yeah. David Flynn is the CEO over there. It’s a great company to watch in Sunnyvale. It’s a next generation Wi-Fi company. What Aerohive did very early on is it realized that a controller can be costly and also is a choke point for an enterprise deployment. If your controller goes down, you can’t change configurations. A lot of the old vendors had built a lot of cost around the controllers, which increased the cost of deployment for a customer.

Aerohive took that controller and put it in the cloud. You can manage your Wi-Fi deployments remotely from any computer. It doesn’t go down and their Wi-Fi deployments are enormously successful at scale. They’ve got a lot of enterprise and education and government customers. It’s a business that more than doubled last year and really one to watch going forward.

Are you finding a lot more company these days looking at the enterprise and B2B space than there were a couple of years ago?

Enterprise budgets have come back. People are recognizing that they have to refresh their technologies. They’ve got a lot of new demands in terms of supporting new trends in the enterprise.

Take another one of our companies for example, MobileIron. It is a software company that solves the bring-your-own-device problem for businesses. People are bringing iPhones and Android phones into the enterprise and they’re viewing enterprise information. They’re putting things in a Dropbox account and they’re leaving with it.

IT can’t control that and that is a big problem, particularly when you want to maintain rights and provisioning and state-of-the-art security and be able to track confidential information.

So MobileIron’s products allow you to do all that. It allows you to push out patches, security, rules and provisioning. It allows you to take control of a mobile environment in the enterprise.

Five, six, seven years ago, this wasn’t a problem. It just wasn’t happening. Now, it is and it is being driven by consumer behavior that has flown over to the enterprise.

So people are saying, I have a budget for this. I have to spend. We have to be on top of these issues or it’s going to be a big problem for us.

You know those kinds of trends are really unstoppable.

Are there other trends you are watching?

Another is Wi-Fi, which is being kind of taken for granted, how to be able to connect if I’m visiting your company or I’m in your auditorium or I’m having lunch in your corporate cafeteria. These are all things you need to have infrastructure for. You need to do it cost effectively. So these fund-smart entrepreneurs are seeing an opportunity and people are spending for it.

As a venture capitalist, we look for those tailwinds in terms of budget because that allows you to grow. It accelerates the sale cycle. It becomes less of a missionary sale and that’s how you have rapid growth in businesses. It is different from five or six years ago. There are a lot of people paying attention to it.

There is a lot said about the consumerization of IT, the trend where shifts in consumer technology is requiring IT departments and enterprises to change how they do things.

It’s a massive change in behavior. Enterprises are organizations that are comprised of employees that have jobs to do. Their behaviors change and the enterprises have to change with them.

There is also a lot of talks about what is being described as Network 2.0, involving things like software-controlled networking and flash storage. Are you guys involved in that at all?

On the network side, a lot of that is cloud computing and services around the data center. We are involved in that.

We invest in a company called Eucalyptus Systems, which is the leader in hybrid cloud deployment. They allow you to manage and test software on your own premises and switch seamlessly back and forth between Eucalyptus and the Amazon Cloud.

Cloud computing is still an area where people are trying to figure out exactly what their needs and specs are. It’s still early in the market. But there have been some large successes that have kind of changed behavior.

Salesforce is one of those. Salesforce is widely deployed. It really took customer relationship management and managing your sales force to the cloud. They’ve offered additional cloud applications and people have gotten used to paying by subscription.

That’s also a change from seven or eight years ago, when everything was license dominated. The old world was you paid for licensing and maintenance, 80-20. That was what you paid.

Those are perpetual licenses and they were often expensive. Sometimes, they were underutilized or never deployed and the world gradually shifted to paying on subscription.

Customers like it because they say, hey, if I’m not using it, I can turn it off. I don’t have to renew.

The vendors like it because it’s a more predictable revenue stream. You’re no longer biting your nails at the end of each quarter to figure out if you’re going to get those two or three deals that are going to make or break your quarter.

You get a lot of smaller deals that recognize revenue monthly and that provide a more predictable business and that have been a reward in the public markets. Networking and application functionality is being delivered that way now. The economics have changed and I think that is a very exciting trend. I think it leads to more sane management for software businesses.

How about the security? Are you into that at all?

We are. We were investors in ArcSight, which Hewlett-Packard bought. That was an example of a dashboard for enterprise security.

We’ve been involved with a number of other security companies. I think two to watch are Palo Alto Networks and FireEye. We aren’t investors in either of those, but they’re both very good companies. We’re looking at a lot of security companies currently.

The challenge with security is that it can often be a point solution and a small market. To be a standalone security company, you really have to have a differentiated broad horizontal functionality that could stand on its own.

You can’t have customers saying, I want that, but it’s a feature and should be delivered with a bunch of other things. A lot of small companies fall into that trap in security.

So we’re on the lookout for the broader security places that you know really can get the $50 million, $75 million or $100 million revenue.

Have there been any companies that you passed on that you wished maybe in retrospect you hadn’t? The ones that got away?

Yeah, you know, there always are. That would be the anti-portfolio. You run into those things and you try to see what you learn from it. Sometimes, they’re very hard to anticipate.

We passed on Fusion-io, the Salt Lake, Utah, flash drive memory company. They have done well, but I think they have fallen off recently in the public markets. That one would be in the anti-portfolio.

We also looked at Meraki. Cisco bought them for $1.2 billion, more than 10 times revenue. It’s hard to predict when somebody’s going to buy a company at that kind of multiple. We believe Aerohive is the superior company. That’s why we invested in Aerohive instead of Meraki. You can’t really invest in both. They’re competitors.

Then there was Yammer, which was acquired for $1.2 billion. That was also a company we were familiar with, good technology acquired for huge multiple of sales and it was hard to predict that happening, too. So I wish all those guys well. Sometimes you miss on big returns like thoses, but we like the investments that we have made.

What is it that you’re looking for at the top of your list when you’re considering a company that you might invest in?

Well, you know, the old adages in venture capital have some merit in them. But things change and you can’t rely too much on just pattern recognition. There’s always seismic shifts in technology where old assumptions have been disproven. You have to adapt to those.

But the adages that do hold are quality of management. We really look for companies and management teams that can take a company to $50 million to $500 million in revenue.

That’s a very mature skill set. They have to show the ability to hire, the ability to supplement the businesses, to attract great board members and to build a company that can be public.

There are a lot of demands on being public today. The industry is still dominated by mergers and acquisitions, as it always has been, for exits. Probably about 80 percent of the exits happen from M&A.

But we really look to exceptional management teams that we can be in business with for many, many years.

How does being a later stage investor change what you are looking for?

We have a long-time horizon for investment. We often hold after a company goes public and even invest in the company after it’s gone public. That’s in our charter.

So we really look for these management teams that are really exceptional and deep.

As a late stage investor, you can’t really invest in small market opportunities. The early stage can do that, and they can exit nicely. You know they can invest $10 million valuation, the company sells for $60 million and they do great.

When you’re investing at a later stage, you know looking for companies that have $20 million or $30 million of revenue so the valuation is higher and you have to get these companies to a higher exit value to get a great return.

So you have to able to identify large market opportunities and AppDynamics, Aerohive, MobileIron, Spiceworks, all have really large market opportunities. That’s why we’re excited about them.

Interviewer: Tell me a little bit more about the philosophy of holding on to companies after they’ve gone public.

Our perspective is that going public is a financing event. It’s also a branding event for a company. It raises awareness. It creates liquidity in the stock.

But valuations fluctuate with market conditions. We say this is just the beginning of growth. That valuation that it’s at now may not be the right place to exit .

If you look back historically, venture capitalism left a lot of money on the table by exiting companies prematurely. You know if you exited when Microsoft or Apple or Cisco went public, you probably left a 10X, 20X, or 50X return on the table by doing so.

Obviously, that requires a lot of judgment. Not every company is going to be an Apple or a Cisco.

So that’s a judgment call and when we make the judgment that there’s a lot of growth ahead and the current valuation doesn’t reflect that, we’re happy holders. We establish price targets for exit and when it reaches that price target, we make a new assessment.

We do have to exit eventually, but we raise 10-year funds and our holding period is typically 3 to 5 years and then oftentimes its 5, 7, 8 years.

Is there a specific example to illustrate this from your portfolio?

Sure. One would be HomeAway. HomeAway is a remarkable business. People list homes on the website. If you’re traveling with your two kids, you get a home for 800 bucks for the week and you would’ve paid 500 bucks a night for a hotel. It’s a great service. It’s public. We invested, my gosh, about five years ago and we’re still holding that stock.

Read more here.

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Article from GigaOm.

Not all venture firms are joining the cleantech exodus. Lux Capital, which invests in a lot of science-based, hardware and infrastructure innovations, has closed its third fund of $245 million, and Lux Capital partner Peter Hebert told me that the firm will continue its current model of investing about a third of its funds into energy tech, a third in information technology and a third in health and biotechnology.

A few of Lux’s portfolio companies appear to be doing pretty well. Kurion, a startup developing nuclear waste cleanup tech, scored a breakthrough deal to help clean waste water for Japan’s Fukushima nuclear meltdown. About a year ago I called them “the most successful greentech startup you haven’t heard of.” Portfolio company Shapeways has become synonymous with the emerging industry of 3D printing, and smart grid startup Gridco just launched to build a next-gen power grid using solid state transformers. Portfolio firms that have been acquired include skin company Magen Biosciences, LED tech company Crystal IS, and chip companies SiBeam and Silicon Clock.

“There’s definitely been negative sentiment towards cleantech in the market,” said Hebert, but it really “depends on the individual Limited Partners” (the groups that put money into venture firms). Our LPs still see substantial innovation ahead around energy and resources, said Hebert. Going forward in 2013 “we remain disciplined and selective,” said Hebert.

While Lux says it remains committed to energy tech investing, other firms have been unable to raise new cleantech funds, and some have dialed back or transformed their energy and cleantech focused divisions to make them more capital efficient. VantagePoint Capital Partners shut down its efforts to raise a $1.25 billion cleantech fund recently, and firms like Mohr Davidow and Draper Fisher Jurvetson have reduced their commitments and turned to backing IT-based cleantech, or cleanweb companies only. In 2012, venture capital firms put a third less money into cleantech companies compared to 2011.

Still some investors like Lux Capital still see the potential of energy and resources technology innovation. Canadian firm Chrysalix says its energy focused portfolio is doing well. NEA says its still committed to energy investing, though its scaled back a bit. Khosla Ventures still continues to make aggressive and many bets across sustainability from energy to agriculture to smart grid to biofuels.

Read more here.

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