Wednesday, August 27, 2008
The past few days have been very busy for gold market traders and for employees at the gold vaults. Demand has been strong and widespread, with gold markets in the Middle East, Europe and Asia witnessing strong demand. The strongest demand continues to come from the Indian markets. This has once again reinforced the belief that there will continue to be increased demand for gold from consumers/investors in India. Gold refiners on the other hand have been literally struggling to meet the increased demand for gold.
Demand for gold in India has been so huge that despite a sharp increase in gold imports over the past fortnight, there has been acute shortage of physical gold in the market. Premiums charged by wholesale suppliers and banks have increased to abnormal levels, way beyond what has been seen in the past. What does this indicate? Is this a one-off scenario where refiners and suppliers couldn’t match the unexpected increase in gold demand i.e. they weren’t ready for it? or will there be continued supply constraints for a longer period of time?
The second scenario looks more likely.
An analysis of trends in the three main supply sources for gold (Gold Mines, Central Banks and Scrap Gold), will help to throw more light on this.
Supply of physical gold from mines has been virtually stagnant since the beginning of the decade. There has not been any major discovery of new gold reserves over the past few years. The process of exploration and opening of new mines has become even more challenging due to environmental bottlenecks, manpower, equipment and power shortages.
Historically, Central Banks have been active influencers in the gold market. There have been many instances in the past wherein Central Banks have aggressively sold physical gold, leading to depressed gold prices. However, recent trends show that the reverse seems to be happening now. According to the World Gold Council, trends indicate that gold sales by signatories to the Central Bank Gold Agreement (CBGA), could be the lowest since the CBGA was signed in 1999. With only one month to go before the year end of September 2008, only about 319 tonnes of gold have been sold so far this year by the European central banks. This is against their maximum allowable annual (September 2008 end) sale quota of 500 tonnes. Central Banks worldwide are putting increased importance on gold reserves especially in these times of global economic turmoil. The global economy is going through a pretty traumatic period, and the Central Banks believe that having gold to back up t heir currency is a good idea.
Gold Scrap (typically old jewellery and jewellery manufacturing wastage) has been a major source of supply over the past year. At the prevailing attractive price levels, consumers would be reluctant to exchange old jewellery for new and would rather buy new gold jewellery. The increased demand and higher premiums for physical gold over the past fortnight also suggests that scrap supply has virtually vanished.
The demand in gold just doesn’t seem to be waning. It is increasing every day. Buyers who adore jewellery and those preparing for the upcoming marriage season are rushing in to buy gold. Investors want to buy more gold to protect their portfolio from rising inflation, economic uncertainity and unpredictable and volatile stock markets. Investors in India, have also increasingly preferred to buy gold through Gold Exchange Traded Funds. Globally, investors who buy gold for investment purposes have preferred buying gold exchange traded funds rather than buying physical gold coins or bars. This trend is catching on rapidly in India. This is primarily due to the many benefits that Gold Exchange Traded Funds offer including lower purchase cost, purity, security, transparency and tax efficiency.
It is increasingly clear, that demand for physical gold is set to go higher in the near term especially given the current attractive price levels. Supply of physical gold does not seem sufficient enough to satisfy the needs of hungry gold consumers. The fundamental question is - "Where is the gold supply going to come from?" Gold Mines are not producing enough, Central Banks are selling lesser gold, Scrap Gold is virtually not available. We are still ahead of the peak demand season and facing a supply crunch already. What would happen when demand accelerates during the festival/marriage season that will start from mid September onwards? Where is the gold going to come from to cater to the peak demand?
Buy some gold now before the demand supply mismatch leads gold to higher levels.
Buy Gold now
okes, Humor and Satire
Video Games humor---- Very Funny Ads---- Comedy Central Joke Search---- Joke Machine---- The Onion---- Satire and Humor---- Punch---- National Lampoon---- Editorial Cartoons---- Politcal Cartoons---- Encyclopedia of Cartoons---- Funny Commericals---- College Humor---- Funny T-Shirts---- Engineering humor---- College humor---- Video Games humor----
Humor techniques, Humor formulas
Humor---- How to tell a joke---- Telling jokes---- How to be funny---- Comedy---- Jewish humor---- Comic timing---- Visual gag---- Comedy vocabulary---- Types of humor---- Finding the funny---- Humor rule of three---- Humor studies---- Humor research---- Laughter---- How jokes work---- Comedy genres---- Puns---- Punch line---- Theories of humor---- Double entendre humor---- Sarcastic humor---- Satire----
When you’re looking for new business, you don’t want anything to stand in your way. Best lay to rest in advance any objections your prospect might raise, and anything you can use to spruce up your resume has to help, right?
Many IT consultants look to technical certifications as a way to kill both birds with one stone. If you add four or five letters to your Web presence, you can just sit back and wait for the googlers to come flocking to give you their business. And any prospective client will assume that you have the goods since you passed the test(s). Let’s examine these assumptions about the benefits of getting certifications.
Certifications as a marketing tool
It’s difficult to collect data on whether certifications help IT pros land consulting gigs, but Gustavo Duarte recently analyzed job postings on Dice.com that mention specific vendor certifications. For most of the certifications he examined, less than one quarter of the relevant job postings mention certification. (The Certified Information Systems Security Professional, or CISSP, cert sticks out as an exception, but it’s still in demand less than 40% of the time.)
Even if it’s only a fraction of available business, why wouldn’t you still want to attract that portion? Well, you have to weigh the potential costs. Not only will getting a certification take time and money, but it may even cost you some business. Depending on your type of work, there are lots of ways that a certification may be viewed as a negative by potential clients. Here are a few examples of how they may interpret your certification:
- You got certified because you didn’t have enough real work to keep you busy.
- The stuff you do is so well quantified that they’ve created a test for it, so you have nothing creative to add.
- You have all these fancy abbreviations just to show clients how smart you are.
- You’ve only concentrated on this one vendor’s solution, so you probably won’t have an unbiased view toward a competitor’s offerings.
Certifications as a guarantee of knowledge
A prospective client might view your certs as a type of insurance; you must know what you’re talking about in this area because the Almighty Vendor says you do. The degree to which that is true and relevant has a lot do with the subject matter and the test. For instance, perhaps the demand for the CISSP correlates to the importance of good basic security practices. According to Duarte, the test itself isn’t hard enough to act as a good filter, and a large part of what is tested (regardless of the subject matter) is actually your ability to take standardized tests.
Even if a certification succeeds in screening for a certain base level of competency, how does that benefit a consultant? Isn’t that like asking to see someone’s high school diploma at their doctoral dissertation? If you’re a consultant and you’re not getting kicked off of every gig you take, a potential client should presume that you have a fairly thorough knowledge about your field. When you’re meeting with a prospect, I recommend that you talk about the things you’ve created rather than all the things you should know by default.
Should IT consultants bother getting certs?
I’m not suggesting that you won’t learn anything from getting certified; I always learn something from anything I study — even if it’s a children’s book. The real question is: Will certifications help you build your IT consulting business? The answer depends on the type of prospects you’re seeking.
If a prospect requires certain certifications, you should consider the motivations behind their demands and ask yourself whether this client is a good match for your business.
What’s your experience with certifications?
Certification is a hot topic among TechRepublic members, so let’s hear from you. If you have certifications, which ones do you have, and do they help you attract new business? If not, why have you opted not to get certified?
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Below is a list of notable Venture capital firms.
|Name||Location||Founding date||Managing Partners/Directors||Specialty||Capital managed|
|@Ventures||Wilmington, MA||1995||Peter Mills||Clean Technologies|
|Atlas Venture||Waltham, MA||1980||Barry Fidelman||Technology and Life Sciences||$2.0B|
|Azione Capital||Singapore||2006||Nicholas Chan, Soon Choo Teck, Lee Keh Sai||Interactive digital media, mobile communications, wireless technology, energy, maritime||$|
|Benchmark Capital||Menlo Park, CA||1995||Neel Das (executive officer)||Technology & Financial Services||$2.3B|
|Bessemer Venture Partners||Menlo Park, CA; Larchmont, NY; Boston, MA; Herzliya, Israel; Mumbai, India;||1911||David Cowan, Rob Chandra, Rob Stavis, Ed Colloton, Robert Goodman (managing partners)||Technology & Services||~$2.5B|
|Canaan Partners||Menlo Park, CA; Westport, CT; Gurgaon, India; Herzliya, Israel||1987||Eric Young, Deepak Kamra, John Balen, Maha Ibrahim, Brent Ahrens, Wende Hutton, Stephen Bloch (general partners)||Technology and Healthcare||$2.3B |
|Clearstone Venture Partners||Santa Monica, CA; Menlo Park, CA; Mumbai, India||1998||Bill Elkus, Jim Armstrong, Erik Lassila, William Quigley, Sumant Mandal (managing directors)||Internet, consumer, communications, software||$650M|
|Draper Fisher Jurvetson||Menlo Park, CA||1985||Timothy C. Draper||Technology and Technology Services||$ 3.5B|
|Enterprise Partners||San Diego, CA||1985||Jim Berglund, Bob Conn, PhD, Carl Eibl, Drew Senyei, Kleanthis Xanthopoulos, PhD (managing directors)||Technology and Life Sciences||$750M|
|Fidelity Ventures||Boston, MA||1970||Rob Ketterson||Information Technology||$1.5B|
|Insight Venture Partners||New York, NY||1995||Larry Handen, Jeff Horing, Jeff Lieberman, Ben Levin, George McCulloch, Jerry Murdock, Deven Parekh, Peter Sobiloff, Mike Triplett||Software and Internet||$3.25B|
|Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers||Menlo Park, CA||1972||Brook Byers||Alternative energy, technology & Life Sciences||$ 1.5B|
|Mayfield Fund||Menlo Park, CA||1969||James Beck, Navin Chaddha, Yogen Dalal, Kevin Fong, Raj Kapoor, David Ladd, Allen Morgan, Janice Roberts, Robin Vasan (managing directors)||Wireless, Consumer, Software, Semiconductors||$2.4B|
|New Enterprise Associates||Menlo Park, CA; Baltimore, MD & Reston, VA||1978||Peter Barris||Information Technology and Healthcare||$ 6B|
|Oak Investment Partners||Westport, CT; Palo Alto, CA; Minneapolis, MN||1978||Bandel Carano, Ed Glassmeyer, Fred Harman, Ann Lamont (managing partners)||Information Technology and Healthcare||$ 8.4B|
|Point Judith Capital||Providence, RI||2001||Sean Marsh, David Martirano, Gina Raimondo (general partners)||Communications, Internet, Healthcare and Software||$100M|
|Quicksilver Ventures||Saratoga, CA||2001||Maury Domengeaux, Randall Meals, Steve Schlossareck (Managing Directors)||Secondary Venture Capital (acquire existing corporate and venture portfolios). Investment Focus: Emerging Technologies such as Video and Imaging; Networking and Mobility; Data Management, Services and Security; Storage Components and Systems; Enterprise Applications||$ Evergreen, portfolio acquisition value from $1m - $250m|
|Sequoia Capital||Menlo Park, CA||1972||Kui Zhou (principal), Don Valentine (founder), Neil Shen (founding managing partner)||Components, Systems, Software and Services||$4B |
|Sevin Rosen Funds||Dallas, TX; Palo Alto, CA; Austin, TX; San Diego, CA||1981||Jon Bayless, Steve Domenik, Steve Dow, Dave McLean, Al Schuele, Charles Phipps, John Jaggers, Jackie Kimzey, John Oxaal, Nick Sturiale (general partners)||Technology||$1.6B|
|Sigma Partners||Boston, MA; Menlo Park, CA; San Ramon, CA||1984||Robert Davoli, Lawrence Finch, Gregory Gretsch, Clifford Haas, John Mandile, Mark Pine, Peter Solvik, Bob Spinner, Wade Woodson (managing directors)||IT: Software, Hardware, Semiconductors||$1.733B|
|Wellington Partners Venture Capital||Munich, Germany||1991||Rolf Christof Dienst, Frank Böhnke||Technology, Digital Media, Life Sciences||700 million US$ under management |
Going in that direction, a real estate developer has set his eyes on over 100 acres of land in the serene villages of Akruli and Shirse at Karjat which is a sub-district in Raigad district, Mumbai, Navi Mumbai in the Maharashtra state., and is all geared up to construct a residential township called the Tanaji Malusure city (TMC).
A home in Karjat will approximately cost you between Rs 3 lakh to 7 lakh at the rate of 999 per sq ft. A joint venture between Sterling Construction Systems (SCS) and Eredene Capital Plc, a UK-based venture capital fund, which has given Rs 100 crore to the project that will have over 10,000 flats admeasuring 300 to 500 sq ft flats at Karjat.
Separated by the River Ulhas, and just a few hundred metres away from the Karjat station, the township will house approximately 60,000 people and will have all the required amenities like schools, multiplexes, malls, and hospitals. The first phase of 2,500 flats is scheduled to be completed in January 2009.
Pravin Banavalikar, group managing director of Great Maratha Corporation, who owns the construction company, said, "It is no charity scheme. To make the project viable, we would subsidise the low-cost housing by selling the commercial component at a market rate of Rs 3,000 a sq ft."
"Only affordability is an issue. If there is a township which offers affordable housing and social amenities, they will not mind travelling one and a half hour to a home which does not have cramped interiors, but a separate living and a bed room," he said.
"I wish to show that it is possible to construct affordable housing by using innovative construction technology that minimises skilled inputs and delivers results at affordable rates. Flats would be ready for occupation within 90 to 120 days," Banavalikar added.
"We would further sell the flats only on lottery and not allotment to prevent speculators from entering the market," said Banavalikar. (mentioned in sify.com)
Saturday, August 9, 2008
(Business 2.0 Magazine) -- Asking venture capitalists for great startup ideas is a little like asking Curt Schilling what pitch he's going to throw next. When we posed the question to dozens of VCs and investors around the country, more than a few indignantly shot back, "Are you out of your mind?"
But after some friendly prodding from our reporters, a surprising number of them couldn't help but start jawing about companies they would love to build - if only the right people could be found to perfect the technologies or the business plans and make them seem possible.
The result is this list of 20 tantalizing business ideas, ranging from a host of new websites and applications to next-generation power sources and a luxury housing development. This isn't small-time thinking, either: These investors -which include some of Silicon Valley's most successful VCs as well as serial entrepreneurs like Steve Case and Howard Schultz are backing their ideas with a collective $100 million in funding to the entrepreneurs who can get them off the ground.
We don't guarantee you'll land a multimillion-dollar payday or even get your foot in the door. But with the ideas now in your hands, consider yourself halfway there.
The Ultimate iDrive
The Investors: Jonathan Fram, managing partner, and Howard Schultz, co-founder, Maveron
What they've backed: Cranium, Eos Airlines, GameLogic
What they want now: A driver's tech fantasy fully realized: an in-dash computer with a keyboard built into the steering wheel and a full-screen heads-up display projected on the windshield.
It's not fantasy at all, actually. The technology behind the system that Fram and Starbucks (Charts) founder Schultz envision - laser or cathode-ray tubes that convert pixels into projected light - was invented for jet fighters more than 30 years ago, allowing pilots to read cockpit data without taking their eyes off the sky. Commercial pilots now rely on it, and automakers have experimented with in-car displays that flash data like speed and RPM in a corner of the windshield.
Fram, a former IBM (Charts) computer design engineer, wants to invest in a startup that can take the concept to the next level, since carmakers, he says, have been too slow and risk-averse to push technology that has obvious safety implications.
A key advantage of projected displays is that they don't distract drivers' attention nearly as much as cell phones or dashboard controls. They create the illusion that they're floating 15 feet in front of the vehicle - and a GM (Charts) study has shown that eyes can refocus much faster when they're switching between the road and a projected display than when they're toggling back and forth between the road and the dashboard.
"This way," Fram says, "you can stare straight ahead with hands on the wheel to drive and check e-mail at the same time. That's vastly safer than drivers looking down and taking one or both hands off the wheel to play with their BlackBerry." Adding voice-to-text features, he adds, would also help ensure safety. It's up to a startup team, of course, to make that a convincing case.
What they'll invest: $5 million for a deeply qualified 20-person team to deliver a prototype and a plan for pitching a commercial version to automakers within three years
Send your pitch to: email@example.com. -- S.H.
A Flyweight Database
The Investor: Tim Draper, founder and managing director, Draper Fisher Jurvetson
What he's backed: Hotmail, Overture, Skype
What he wants now: A new database company. Don't yawn. Draper loves startups that can upend corporate giants with simple products and cheap technology.
Oracle (Charts), IBM, and Microsoft (Charts) have had a stranglehold on the $13.8 billion database business for more than a decade, and while newer players like MySQL are making a dent, Draper thinks there's an opening for a startup that can deliver most of the benefits of standard Big Blue products without millions of lines of code or an army of consultants and IT managers. "I'm not sure yet what this company would look like," Draper says, "but it would not have the technology baggage of the entrenched monopolists. If it can penetrate the market cleverly like we did with Hotmail and Skype, it might not take that much funding."
What he'll invest: $3 million for a working application
Send your pitch to: firstname.lastname@example.org -- M.V.C.
The New Power Play
The Investor: Elon Musk, co-founder, PayPal
What he's backed: SpaceX, Tesla Motors
What he wants now: As Musk's two most recent investments - in a space rocket and an all-electric sports car - suggest, the 35-year-old entrepreneur likes to think big. So he's intrigued by the promise of a next-generation battery called an ultracapacitor, capable of powering everything from cars to tractors. Unlike chemical batteries, ultracapacitors store energy as an electrical field between a pair of conducting plates. Theoretically, they can be charged in less than a second rather than hours, be recharged repeatedly without sacrificing performance, and far outlast anything now on the market.
"I am convinced that the long-term solution to our energy needs lies with capacitors," Musk says. "You can't beat them for power, and they kick ass on any chemical battery."
Musk would know: He was doing Ph.D. work at Stanford on high-energy capacitors before he helped get PayPal off the ground. At least one startup, EEStor in Texas, and a larger company, Maxwell Technologies in California, are working on ultracapacitors. Yet Musk believes a university-based research group has an equal shot at a commercial breakthrough, since universities are where the most promising research is bubbling up. "The challenge is one of materials science, not money," Musk says.
The team to pull this off, he says, would need expertise in materials science, applied physics, and manufacturing. Musk wants to see a prototype that can power something small, like a boom box. "Make one and show me that it works," Musk says. "Then tell me what's wrong with it and how it can be fixed."
What he'll invest: $4 million over two years for a working prototype
Send your pitch to: email@example.com. -- M.V.C.
A Better Energizer
The Investors: Samir Kaul and Vinod Khosla, partners, Khosla Ventures
What they've backed: BCI, Codon Devices, iSkoot
What they want now: Khosla, a legendary Silicon Valley VC whose winners have included Juniper Networks and Redback Networks, and Kaul are looking for an engineering team to build a lithium-ion battery with five times the life of anything found in cell phones, PDAs, or cameras. Matsushita and Sanyo are pushing the limits on lithium-ion cells, as are a couple of promising startups. But as with ultracapacitors, Khosla and Kaul think the right inventor will come from an academic lab. "We see research that proves it's attainable," Kaul says. "This is not a flying car. If it was, I'd ask for 20 times."
What they'll invest: $2 million for a 10- to 15-person team to show proof of concept
Send your pitch to: firstname.lastname@example.org. -- S.H.
Spreadsheets That Truly Excel
The Investor: Amanda Reed, partner, Palomar Ventures
What she's backed: Attensity, Edgewater Networks
What she wants now: A Web-based platform to make company spreadsheets--for revenue forecasting and other analytical chores - more easily viewed, updated, and shared by managers. Many small-business execs still rely on e-mailing Excel files around the office to share data forecasts. Software apps like NetSuite import data but not the formulas embedded in spreadsheets.
What she'll invest: $5 million for a team of five engineers to create a prototype in less than two years
Send your pitch to: email@example.com. -- S.H.
Patient Monitoring to Go
The Investor: Corey Mulloy, general partner, Highland Capital Partners
What he's backed: AccentCare, Archemix, Yoga Works
What he wants now: An engineering team to design implantable wireless devices capable of 24/7 patient and data monitoring for conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
Companies like Medtronic and Boston Scientific have multibillion-dollar R&D pipelines for medical devices but are increasingly finding it cheaper to simply acquire early-stage companies--so a startup need only get a product to an early testing stage, and can then let a bigger player worry about taking it commercial. Mulloy considers implantable hardware an ideal target market, since it can exploit recent advances in low-power wireless chipsets, materials, and microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS. A device designed to monitor a diabetic patient, for instance, might trigger a bedside alarm for spikes in blood sugar levels, send continuous data to a doctor, or both.
"HMOs are looking for ways to proactively manage individual diseases like congestive heart failure and diabetes," Mulloy says. "These kinds of devices take us toward that."
What he'll invest: $10 million over three years for a functioning prototype, software to manage wireless data, and early-stage trials
Send your pitch to: firstname.lastname@example.org. -- M.V.C.
New Tricks for Old Drugs
The Investor: Kate Mitchell, managing director, BA Venture Partners
What she's backed: Acusphere, Cogency Software, Wayport
What she wants now: A team of researchers that can identify, patent, and market new uses for prescription drugs with expiring patents. The typical drug discovery process at a large pharmaceutical company can last 15 years and cost $500 million. But "repurposed drugs"--already approved by the FDA for safety in treating specific illnesses--can be turned around quickly and cheaply and used to treat other maladies. Typically the process can occur in as little as three years, with a cost that Mitchell says tops out at about $150 million after clinical trials.
BA recently closed venture deals worth more than $25 million for three startups that are selling such repurposed drugs. One is taking drugs originally aimed at depression and using them to treat insomnia. Another has hit on a treatment for obesity with a medication traditionally prescribed for people suffering from seizures.
But Mitchell is convinced that dozens, perhaps hundreds, more drugs are waiting to be repurposed and turned into blockbusters. "These are virtual drug companies, some with as few as six people," she says. Finding the right people, of course, is key. Major drug companies typically don't bother doing further research on drugs with expiring patents. But many doctors and university researchers do. So identifying those specializing in a given therapy or condition would be a starting point. Acquiring a patent or some other type of intellectual property protection is another prerequisite for a business plan. "Without that, it's a nonstarter," Mitchell says.
What she'll invest: $10 million over two years for preclinical research and trials
Send your pitch to: email@example.com. -- M.V.C.
Search for the Small Screen
The Investor: Danny Rimer, general partner, Index Ventures
What he's backed: Last.fm, MySQL, Skype, Tellme
What he wants now: Delivery of new types of Web search to mobile phones. Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo are all taking a swipe at this, but Rimer believes they're betting on a losing strategy by simply shrinking their existing desktop features into a handheld package. He says he's willing to invest in new search applications that, for example, depend as much on voice recognition as on text input and would offer up everything from shopping and news headlines to driving directions and restaurant reviews with a few voice commands and keystrokes.
"The form factor, the battery life, the way you interact with a phone is radically different from how you use a PC," Rimer says. "The large Internet companies are simply taking their PC-centric, text-based solutions and porting them to phones. That's not the right solution, and I just don't think they come from the right context to do this the way it needs to be done."
Like many of the startups he funds at Geneva-based Index Ventures, Rimer expects this one to make heavy use of open-source software to hold down development costs. An ideal founding team, he says, would be no more than four or five people and should have a prototype ready before sending him a business plan. And don't bring up the matter of a financial exit. "That will get the door slammed on you," he says.
What he'll invest: $2 million for a working demo application
Send your pitch to: firstname.lastname@example.org. -- M.V.C.
The Investor: Jeff Crowe, general partner, Norwest Venture Partners
What he's backed: Jigsaw, Nano-Tex, Telcontar
What he wants now: GPS-enabled ads and coupons piped to your mobile phone at just the right time and place. Location-based marketing is a concept that's been bandied about for years, but only now is the required technology becoming cheap enough to implement. Companies like Yahoo and Google, meanwhile, have proven inept at building quality services for wireless carriers. Though the timing is ideal for a startup to build the technical pieces, persuading customers to sign up for a steady barrage of marketing offers may prove the bigger challenge. "The behavioral piece is the biggest uncertainty, but you've got to make your bets now," Crowe says. A startup needs experience in lightweight applications for cell phones and in location-based services.
What he'll invest: $3 million for a demo application and retail partners ready to test
Send your pitch to: email@example.com. -- M.V.C.
Text Ads on the Fly
The Investor: Charles Moldow, venture partner, Foundation Capital
What his firm's backed: CarsDirect.com, Netflix, Simply Hired
What he wants now:: Text-messaging software that allows local merchants to send offers to mobile phones. Some companies already do this in basic form; Moldow's idea would give merchants more control. "This is bringing the blue-light special to your phone," he says. Five or so people could write the code; a sales demon is also needed to enlist merchants. Prove that you can pull this off in one city and Moldow will listen to an expansion plan.
What he'll invest: $5 million for working technology
Send your pitch to: firstname.lastname@example.org. -- M.V.C.
The eBay of Product Placement
The Investor: Roger Lee, general partner, Battery Ventures
What he's backed: Peerflix, PrimeRevenue, Spot Runner
What he wants now: An online marketplace that automates the sale of product placement for Hollywood studios. Product placement in movies and TV shows has been around for decades, of course, but whether it's BMW buying into James Bond or Pottery Barn placing furniture in a sitcom, there's still no efficient way for brand managers to see what's available and buy on the spot.
Lee, a co-founder of application-hosting company Corio, is prospecting for a team to develop an online auction site that would aggregate product-placement opportunities and put them in front of advertisers the instant they emerge - often when scripts are finalized by writers and producers. To augment the service, Lee says, the startup might also measure the results by tracking viewership or box-office figures against the resulting sales of the product that was placed. "There are opportunities for dozens of product placements in every show," Lee says. "The studios and writers just need the right vehicle for selling them."
The biggest challenges for such a startup--as many failed business-to-business marketplace founders will tell you--would be seeding the site with enough inventory to get the big brand managers interested in the first place and then creating a big enough market to keep both the buyers and sellers coming back for more. That's why Lee would want to see commitments from both studios and a handful of top ad agencies before moving ahead. "The good news is that television advertising is already a $50 billion-a-year business," Lee says. "You don't need a huge share to move the needle on a startup like this."
What he'll invest: $6 million to get the auction site developed and running in 18 months
Send your pitch to: email@example.com. -- M.V.C.
Helping Vlogs to Flog
The Investor: Steve Krausz, general partner, U.S. Venture Partners
What he's backed: PodTech Network, Verity, Vontu
What he wants now: A matchmaking site that brings new forms of advertising to one of the Web's fastest-growing new phenomena, the video blog. Popular vlog Rocketboom got the concept off the ground earlier this year by auctioning off 15-second house-produced ads at the end of its Web newscasts; then-host Amanda Congdon also wore T-shirts from startups eager for exposure.
Krausz wants a startup that can offer a clearinghouse of placement opportunities from major advertisers like Apple (Charts) and Nike (Charts) - from 10-second trailers to insertion of products in the creative. Videos would be subject to screening and approval by the advertiser, but Krausz thinks that's a service that could eventually be outsourced. Payment to vloggers could be negotiated any number of ways: They could receive fees based on impressions, click-throughs, or both. The startup, of course, would take a healthy cut. "It would allow this explosion of user-generated content to get an additional revenue stream," Krausz says. "Nothing like this exists yet."
What he'll invest: $2 million for a proof-of-concept site and sign-on from a handful of top advertisers
Send your pitch to: firstname.lastname@example.org. -- S.H.
The Social Marketplace
The Investor: Jim Breyer, partner, Accel Partners
What he's backed: Brightcove, Facebook, Prosper
What he wants now: Social-networking sites may be sprouting like weeds, but none yet operates as a bona fide marketplace, with members buying and selling their own creations as much as they blog, link, and post. Breyer, who sits on Wal-Mart's board, is interested in backing an international network for indie artists, musicians, filmmakers, authors, designers, and other creative types from dozens of countries.
Ideally, the site would have the download and payment features to create what he calls a "micromarket" for members' wares. "There might be a Chinese student filmmaker with a five-minute film who wants to reach a niche of U.S. users," Breyer says. "He could find people willing to buy his films, and maybe a producer willing to bankroll more." Transaction fees would supplement ad revenue.
Breyer wants a five- to 10-person team to build a prototype using a peer-to-peer structure that would reduce bandwidth costs, and to identify core groups of users that would get traffic moving to the site.
What he'll invest: $10 million
Send your pitch to: email@example.com. -- S.H.
A Matchmaker for Mashups
The Investor: Todd Dagres, general partner, Spark Capital
What he's backed: Akamai, Qtera, Veoh Networks
What he wants now: A Web-based service that allows users to combine their own videos with a library of licensable clips and music to create video mashups online. Want to create a cameo for yourself in Glengarry Glen Ross? Have your boss stand in for Lumbergh in Office Space? That's at the core of Dagres's idea.
He sees two main tasks for a startup. First is building a video-editing program that's as easy to use with a browser as iMovie is with a Mac. Second is inking enough licensing deals to create a video library big enough to get the concept off the ground. "Digital content is starting to be treated like intellectual property exchanges," Dagres says. "Studios have all this content that they would love to monetize- this helps them do that."
What he'll invest: $4 million for a working site and editing software
Send your pitch to: firstname.lastname@example.org -- M.V.C.
Luxury Living on a Budget
The Investors: Donn Davis, president, and Steve Case, founder, Revolution
What they've backed: Exclusive Resorts, Flexcar, Miraval
What they want now: A design scheme for a community of affordable new homes, packed with luxury amenities and based on green values. This is yet another baby-boomer play, but AOL co-founder Case and partner Davis - who helped bring fractional ownership to the ultraluxury-home market with Exclusive Resorts - don't think builders like KB Home (Charts) and Pulte Homes (Charts) have all the angles covered.
Sustainable living and "wellness" lifestyles are big draws among retiring boomers. But so is price, Davis says, as more and more people worry about shrinking retirement incomes.
That's why he'd like to see a development based on more modest homes inside a community that offers an eclectic mix of perks--a spa, yoga classes, a community garden, room service, and so on. Revolution is looking for a small team to identify the developable land, map out home architecture and design, and assemble the right mix of services.
"It's about lots of services, lots of amenities, lots of convenience," Davis says. The plan ought to consider not only location options but also different sales models: Homeowners should be able to choose among full or fractional ownership and different levels of property management, perhaps even taking part in selling the community's services to outsiders.
What they'll invest: $5 million for the right plan
Send your pitch to: email@example.com. -- M.V.C.
Trip Planning 2.0
The Investor: Mike Kwatinetz, founding general partner, Azure Capital Partners
What he's backed: Knowledge Adventure, OQO, VMware
What he wants now: Concierge-grade trip planning over the Web. Imagine getting a message on your BlackBerry alerting you that your villa is booked, dinner reservations are confirmed, and a driver will pick you up in an hour for the flight to Belize. It's not live agents making that happen, but software that taps into the growing number of travel-industry databases - of hotel chains, restaurants, limo services, amusement parks - to assemble smarter, more personalized itineraries than can be found on major travel hubs like Orbitz and Travelocity.
What he'll invest: $5 million to create a working prototype within two years
Send your pitch to: firstname.lastname@example.org. -- M.V.C.
Clean, Green Office Space
The Investor: David Kirkpatrick, co-founder, SJF Ventures
What he's backed: Evco Research, Salvage Direct
What he wants now: An enviro-friendly office-maintenance service. Most businesses hire different vendors for recycling, janitorial, and supply services. Kirkpatrick thinks a startup can cobble them together in a tidy green package for clients willing to pay a premium not just for the convenience but for a stamp of eco-approval to tout to employees and customers. Buying a handful of small vendors in a specific region would be the starting point. "Roll-ups in this industry have often been good investments," Kirkpatrick says.
What he'll invest:: $1 million for a plan that spells out the acquisition strategy
Send your pitch to: email@example.com. -- S.H.
A Weapon Against Superbugs
The Investor: Bill Ericson, general partner, Mohr Davidow Ventures
What he's backed: ParAllele BioScience, Pharmix, Sabrix
What he wants now: A device that can identify new types of hospital-borne infections in just a few hours. Two decades ago hospital-acquired infections were rare, but a series of "superbugs" have since evolved that fend off most antibiotics; roughly 1.7 million Americans a year contract infections during hospital visits, and 99,000 of them die.
Standard procedure for dealing with hospital-borne infections is to order a culture and then blast the patient with antibiotics for up to a week while doctors await test results.
Ericson, who's spent a decade investing in life sciences and software, thinks a solution lies in the emerging discipline of molecular diagnostics, which uses mass spectrometry and so-called gene chips to allow infinitely more detailed views of genetic material. Ericson sees the technology leading to a kind of forensic DNA lab for hospitals, where staffers scan a sample in an hour or two and determine the strain. "I want a device that can identify the pathogen, tell me what it is resistant to, and do it in a matter of hours," he says.
Ericson is not looking for a finished prototype but expects proof of the device's potential. "Anything in biology is unpredictable," he says. "But you need to come out of a two-year period with a clear demonstration of principle."
What he'll invest: $10 million for patent-protected research
Send your pitch to: firstname.lastname@example.org. -- M.V.C.
Optimized Sales for the Little Guy
The Investor: James Slavet, partner, Greylock Partners
What his firm's backed: Digg, Evite, Facebook
What he wants now: A Web-based service that helps small online publishers choose the most profitable way to sell their ad inventory - whether that's direct sales, Google's or Yahoo's ad networks, or other channels. Large digital-media consulting firms like Aquantive already provide this service for big clients; what's lacking is a nonproprietary service that can do it for smaller players. "Unless you're one of the larger sites," Slavet says, "you've either got nothing to help you or some hacked-together system that isn't efficient at all."
Yet the capability exists, Slavet says, to monitor ad revenue across a variety of sites and recommend the right sales approach for a specific category. Slavet wants a leader from a top ad network to head up the effort and a technical team that has experience building ad-optimization systems. Since pricing would be based on a percentage of additional revenue, Slavet expects some proof that your system can generate it.
What he'll invest: $3 million over two years for an operating startup with a handful of beta clients
Send your pitch to: email@example.com -- M.V.C.
The Next Massively Entertaining Idea
The Investor: Bill Gurley, general partner, Benchmark Capital
What he's backed: Linden Lab, Shopping.com, Zillow.com
What he wants now: The next massively multiplayer online hit, whether it's built around a core game like World of Warcraft or a virtual community like Neopets. "Anything," Gurley says, "where people are entertained massively together." Benchmark has placed some big bets in the MMO sector, including Linden Lab, maker of Second Life, and Sulake, which runs Habbo Hotel, a game site geared for teens. "I think we're far from finished in this space," Gurley says. "There is a lot of room for new ideas going after different areas of interest."
Gurley will not hazard a guess on what demographic could be ripe for the next MMO hit. "These things are like catching lightning in a bottle," he says. "There's an element of game design and social curiosity that you have to get just right."
What he'll invest: $5 million for a working game or site that shows MMO growth potential. "It's so hard to predict what will take off," Gurley says, "that it's easier to pay more for something that's further along."Send your pitch to: firstname.lastname@example.org. -- M.V.
By Michael V. Copeland and Susanna Hamner, Business 2.0 Magazine.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
sometime.. i feel like running out of here and moving to some place which is peaceful where I am completely on my own and alone ! However over and above all this routine pains , I still like to thank God for every thing given to me... ! I think I handle every thing nicely..family, work and relationships..