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Posts Tagged ‘patric carlsson’

Article from GigaOm.

“Facebook is planning to roll out a new version of its Groupon-style Deals feature over the next few weeks, starting with a number of cities such as Atlanta, Dallas and San Diego, according to the company’s director of local. Not surprisingly, the new version of these digital coupons plays on the social nature of Facebook and its ability to influence a user’s social graph. While the social network may be late to this particular party, doing that is going to focus attention on one big hole in the Groupon model: namely, the fact that it isn’t really social.

Emily White, a former Google ad exec in charge of the effort, describes in an interview with Internet Retailer how the site will highlight in a user’s news feed if they have indicated interest in a particular deal, and also if they have actually purchased one. Presumably, users will also be able to opt out of this feature, given Facebook’s experiences in the past with ventures such as Beacon — which publicized purchases users made at other websites and was eventually shut down after a firestorm of criticism from privacy advocates. According to White:

The fact that every step of the process — from interacting with the deal, booking the deal and experiencing the deal — is tied to friends makes it more likely that you’ll have a positive experience.

Obviously, a lot of that is Facebook’s spin on why its new service is going to be competitive with Groupon, which has become the 800-pound gorilla of email marketing by expanding rapidly over the past two years into more than 500 markets. The company’s revenues are estimated to be in the $2-billion range on an annualized basis, and it’s said to be planning a public share offering that could value the company at more than $25 billion. What Facebook is to social networking, Groupon has become to email discounting.

That clearly poses some challenges for Facebook, as my colleague Ryan noted recently. But Facebook’s view of its strengths compared to Groupon isn’t just spin. It reinforces that deals from Groupon — and even from competitors such as LivingSocial, which is also valued in the billions of dollars on the private market — aren’t that social. I wrote about one of the drivers behind Google’s reported $6-billion offer for Groupon being the fact that advertising is becoming social, and that is true. And when it comes to being social, Facebook is light years ahead of Groupon or LivingSocial.

It’s true that you can see how many other people have signed up for a deal when you go to the website from the email Groupon sends you, and there are some standard web-sharing buttons that let you post to Twitter or say that you “liked” the deal on Facebook. But that’s still not terribly social. What if you could see these deals — and which of your friends signed up for them — right in your Facebook news feed? The immediacy of that, mixed in with the other social signals and activity you are already looking at, could make you more likely to click on a deal, or even to be aware that one is available. Add the ability to comment on a deal, and it becomes something much more social that anything Groupon offers.

The news feed — the same thing that made Beacon so appealing, but at the same time so disturbing to some — is Facebook’s not-so-secret weapon, and the new version of Deals is clearly going to take advantage of that in a way it hasn’t before. Competing with a $2-billion monster is not going to be easy, even for Facebook, and signing deals with retailers is one area where the size and scale of Groupon represents a fairly compelling competitive advantage. But Facebook has the news feed and the social graph, and if advertising really is becoming social, that is a very powerful force indeed.”

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Here is a good VC article from Alibaba.

“BURLINGAME, Calif. — Marc Andreessen, in a recent Forbes interview, noted there are hundreds of venture-capital outfits slogging it out right now, trying desperately to squeeze profits out of a terrible investing environment–but only a handful worth their salt.

He’s right. And this week’s news that Amazon.com ( AMZN – news – people ) would buy online-shoe retailer Zappos for $807 million in Amazon stock, plus some cash, highlights the staying power of one of those perennial Sand Hill Road stars, Sequoia Capital.

Sequoia is the notoriously tough firm that backed winners like Google ( GOOG – news – people ), Apple ( AAPL – news – people ), Cisco ( CSCO – news – people ), YouTube and PayPal. (I could go on.) It also owned a big chunk of Zappos, a company with a somewhat unlikely business model that excelled by providing unparalleled customer service and shoe selection on the Web. Sequoia recently told its investors it put about $48 million into Zappos and will get just over $169 million from the Amazon transaction. That’s not a “home run” in VC parlance. But it’s a very respectable return of about three-and-a-half times Sequoia’s original investment, particularly in these depressed times.

In the first six months of this year, there were only four tech-related M&A deals of over $100 million involving companies that took venture capital, according to Thomson Reuters and the National Venture Capital Association. (There were a few VC-backed IPOs in the first half, too, but no blockbusters.) The biggest of the tech M&A deals, Cisco Systems‘ $590 million purchase of camcorder maker Pure Digital Technologies, also involved Sequoia, which owned a small stake.

Sequoia’s profits from that deal were very small, but it still made a nice return: Sequoia told its investors in March that it invested just over $1.4 million in Pure Digital and would receive $13 million in Cisco shares and $1 million in cash after the acquisition. (The biggest VC-related deal in the first half of this year was Medtronic’s ( MDT – news – people ) $700 million purchase of CoreValve, a company with a new catheter technology to improve heart-valve replacements. Sequoia doesn’t do health care investing.) Plenty of other VCs have sold companies in fire sales this year for less than what investors put into them.”

Read the whole article here.

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Here is a good piece from FierceMobileContent

Social networking is now the most popular web activity, surpassing even email, according to a new study issued by information and media firm Nielsen. Active reach in what Nielsen defines as “member communities” now exceeds email participation by 67 percent to 65 percent, the firm reports–among all Internet users worldwide, two thirds visited a social networking site in 2008. Facebook now leads the pack: Three out of every 10 web users visit the site at least once a month, and in all, Facebook experienced a 168 percent increase in users in 2008, galvanized by growth among the 35-to-49 demographic.

Mobile social networking is most popular in the U.K., where 23 percent of mobile web users (about 2 million subscribers) now visit social networks via handsets–the U.S. follows at 19 percent, or 10.6 million subscribers. Mobile social networking usage increased 249 percent in the U.K. in 2008, and grew 156 percent in the U.S. Nielsen notes that the most popular social networks via PCs and laptops mirror the most popular services on the mobile web–Facebook is the most popular in five of the six countries where Nielsen measures mobile activity, with Xing proving most popular in Germany. In addition to the mobile web and dedicated mobile social networking applications, users are also interacting with their social networks via SMS–according to Nielsen, at the end of 2008 almost 3 million U.S. users were texting Facebook on a regular basis. For more on social networking’s growth: – read this Nielsen report

Related articles: Social networking tops mobile search queries, Facebook in mobile social networking talks with Nokia

Other blog  comments: techblips, USA Today

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WASHINGTON — In one of the bleakest assessments yet, economists at the World Bank predicted on Sunday that the global economy and the volume of global trade would both shrink this year for the first time since World War II.

The World Bank said in a new report that the crisis that began with junk mortgages in the United States was causing havoc for poorer countries that had nothing to do with the original problem.

As a result, it said, nations in Latin America, Africa and East Asia have had not only their growth stifled but their access to credit as well.

The bank’s assessment for 2009 was grimmer than those of most private forecasters. It did not provide a specific estimate, but bank officials said its economists would be publishing one in the next several weeks.

Even extremely pessimistic forecasters have predicted that the global economy would eke out a tiny expansion, on continuing if slowed growth outside the United States and Europe. In late January, the International Monetary Fund reduced its estimate for global growth this year to just 0.5 percent, the lowest level in more than 60 years.

Read the full articla by Edmund Andrews at NYTimes here.

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy continues to hemorrhage jobs at monthly rates not seen in six decades, a government report showed, signaling that there’s still no end in sight to the severe recession that has already cost the U.S. over four million jobs.

The report suggests that households, already seeing the value of their homes and investments plunge, face added headwinds from the labor market, which could put more pressure on consumer spending in coming months.

Nonfarm payrolls, which are calculated by a survey of companies, fell 651,000 in February, the U.S. Labor Department said Friday, in line with economist expectations. However, December and January were revised to show much steeper declines. In the case of December, the revision was to a drop of 681,000, the most since 1949 when a huge strike affected half a million workers. However, the labor force was smaller then than it is now.

The economy has shed 4.4 million jobs since the recession began in December 2007, with almost half of those losses occurring in the last three months alone. And unemployment is lasting much longer. As of last month, 2.9 million people were unemployed more than six months, up from just 1.3 million at the start of the recession.

“The sharp and widespread contraction in the labor market continued in February,” said Keith Hall, Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Layoffs announcements continued last month across industries including Macy’s Inc., Time Warner Cable Inc., Estee Lauder Cos., Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and General Motors Corp.

The unemployment rate, which is calculated using a survey of households, jumped 0.5 percentage point to 8.1%, the highest since December 1983 and slightly above expectations for an 8% rate. Some economists think it could hit 10% by the end of next year. For many industries including manufacturing, construction, business services and leisure, the jobless rate is already in double digits.

Read the full article by Brian Blackstone here.

Other comments can be found here: Flowing data, AFL-CIO, 8Pac

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Here is a good article by Scott Austin at WSJ Online on a subject we brought up last week.

“Start-up companies appear to be giving into investor demands of a harsher funding deal term that gained notoriety after the tech bubble burst in the early part of the decade.

According to two separate quarterly reports issued last week from law firms Fenwick & West and Cooley Godward Kronish, venture capital firms are more frequently receiving multiple liquidation preferences that protect them from losing out on investments.

Venture capital firms almost always receive preferred stock when they invest in companies, giving them certain rights over common stock holders, usually the founders and executives. One of these standard rights is a liquidation preference, which gives preferred stock holders the right to get their money back from a company before other common stock holders in an unfavorable sale or liquidation.

But with more companies in trouble, investors are inserting multiple liquidation preferences into term sheets, meaning they could get two times or more the amount of capital they invested. That can create nightmarish capital structures for companies but give them more incentive for them to become successful.”

Read the full article here.

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Here is a good article from WSJ online by Jonathan Matsey.

The Israeli life science industry was in the spotlight recently, when Medtronic Inc. agreed to pay $325 million up-front for Netanya-based Ventor Technologies Ltd., which had raised $17 million in venture financing in part from Pitango Venture Capital. While the deal was great for Ventor’s investors, Rafi Hofstein, chairman of Hadasit Bio-Holdings Ltd., a publicly traded tech-transfer company for Jerusalem’s Hadassah University Hospital, said it highlights a problem with the country’s life science industry: the inability to develop home-grown companies to fruition. And despite the global economic downturn and the re-location of many of the country’s drug and device companies overseas, Hofstein said government policy – and a possible $240 million public-sponsored biotech fund – may ultimately reignite Israel’s life science industry.

Read the full article here

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