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Posts Tagged ‘new technology investments’

Article from AboveTheCrowd by Bill Gurley.

“Back in October, Techcrunch announced that Dropbox had raised $250mmat a seemingly absurd valuation. Many firms, including my firm Benchmark Capital, participated. When this happened, many people asked us why this was a special company that would cause us to break our standard investment paradigm. They didn’t quite understand why this was a company that deserved once-in-a-generation special attention.

The first answer to this question is rather straightforward, but not earth shattering. Drew Houston and his team had taken a hard problem — file synchronization — and made it brain dead simple. Anyone that had used previous file synchronization programs, including Apple’s own iDisk, constantly encountered state problems. Modifications in one location would get out of synch with those in another, ruining the  entire premise of seamless synchronization. It wasn’t that these other companies did not understand the problem, it was just that they could not execute on the solution. The Dropbox team solved this, which was a critical innovation.

Although this was critical, nailing technical synchronization would not necessarily warrant outsized valuations. In order to be worth $40B one day (which is 10X the $4B reported round, the objective return of a VC investment), the company would need to hold a place in the ecosystem that is far more strategic than that of a simple high-tech problem solver. So what is it Dropbox does that is so special?

This evening, TechCrunch reported that Dropbox would automatically synch your Android photos. Once again, someone could suggest “so what, how hard is it to do that?, and why is that worth billions?”

Here is why. Once you begin using Dropbox, you become more and more indifferent to the hardware you are using, as well as the operating system on that device. Dropbox commoditizes your devices and their OS, by being your “state” system in the sky. Storing credentials and configurations of devices, and even applications are natural next steps for this company. And the further they take it, the less dependent any user becomes of the physical machine (HW and SW) that is accessing that data (and state). Imagine the number of companies, as well as the previous paradigms, this threatens.

That is a major, major deal. And it comes at a time where there are many competing platforms on both desktop and mobile. This “unsure” market backdrop ensures the need for a cross-platform solution and plays right into Dropbox’s hand. You can lose your desktop computer, you can lose your smartphone. It doesn’t matter, because all you really care about is in the Dropbox cloud.”

To read the blog, and reach Bill Gurley, please click here.

 

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Here is some cleantech news from Cleantech.

“An Azusa, Calif.-based advanced battery company looks to close $27M, ClearEdge Power brings in $15M and stealthy Khosla-backed Seeo raises $8.6M.

CFX Battery expects to have $27 million in the bank in the next 60 days, but the company is still keeping specifics of what it is doing on the quiet side.

The Azusa, Calif.-based advanced battery company’s CEO Joe Fisher told the Cleantech Group today that his company has secured $5 million of its $27 million Series B round, without disclosing investors.

The announcement was among at least three cleantech companies that secured venture capital financing today, according to regulatory filings. CFX would be the largest if it brings in the $27 million, which Fisher is confident it should be able to do quickly. He said the company is also open to new investors.

The company plans to use the funds to continue to advance its research and development, for manufacturing equipment as it scales up to production, for working capital related to the equipment, and potential acquisitions in the battery space, Fisher said.

“We’re looking for niche-type smaller companies that have good intellectual property and potential to fit into our portfolio,” he said.

Other funding announcements today included fuel cell micro-combined heat and power (CHP) generation system developer ClearEdge Power raising $15 million in its fifth round of financing. And Berkeley, Calif.-based Seeo, a Khosla Ventures-backed company, raised more than $8.6 million in new venture capital financing (see Khosla-backed Coskata, EcoMotors come out of stealth and Stealthy Khosla-backed battery startup driving economic makeover?).

ClearEdge Power, which has locations in California and Oregon, manufactures what it said it are highly efficient CHP systems for residential and small commercial buildings, based on its expertise in fuel cells, fuel processing and systems integration.”

Read the full article here.

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