BEA founder gets $12.6 mln investment for new firm

* Andreessen Horowitz invests in Magnet Systems Inc

(Reuters) – Alfred Chuang, a co-founder of software maker BEA Systems Inc that was acquired three years ago by Oracle Corp (ORCL.O), has landed a $12.6 million investment in his latest start-up.

Magnet Systems Inc said on Wednesday that venture Capital firm Andreessen Horowitz invested the money in the company which develops web-based software applications that are designed to help business people collaborate and communicate with each other in the way that Facebook and Twitter help consumers connect with each other.

Magnet has built a platform called WIN, or Workplace Interaction Network, that runs web-based software. Its first program, Sales WIN, is designed to help salespeople connect to customers using a social network.

Sales WIN runs on Amazon.com Inc’s (AMZN.O) cloud platform, which means that companies can access it via the web and do not need to download any software to access the program.

Chuang said in an interview on Wednesday that he has yet to decide whether he will develop other software programs to run on the WIN platform, or license the WIN platform to corporations and allow them to write their own programs for it. (Reporting by Jim Finkle; editing by Carol Bishopric)

 

Continue Reading: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/27/magnet-idUSN2715737220110427?feedType=RSS&feedName=companyNews&rpc=43

Venture Capital Firm Greycroft Partners Expands Team

The venture capital firm Greycroft Partners announced on Monday the addition of three senior executives.

The firm has hired Paul Bricault, a former executive vice president of the William Morris Agency, and an entrepreneur, Kirill Sheynkman, as venture partners. Alan Gould, a former co-chief executive of IAG Research, has also joined as an executive in residence.

“With these additions, the firm seeks to expand its technical, marketing, and investment capacity, identify new opportunities, and provide extra resources to its portfolio companies,” Greycroft’s founder and managing director, Alan Patricof, said in a statement.

Greycroft, which is based in New York and has made investments in several Internet companies including The Huffington Post and GlamMedia, also announced the promotion of Marissa Campise to principal. Prior to joining Greycroft last year, Ms. Campise was an associate at Lindzon Capital Partners, where she analyzed technology investment opportunities.

Greycroft’s expansion comes as several American venture capital firms have hired new employees and raised new funds. In the first quarter, venture capital firms raised more than $7.09 billion, the best annual start since 2001, according toThomson Reuters and the National Venture Capital Association.

Continue reading: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/04/25/venture-capital-firm-greycroft-partners-expands-team/?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

Visit my Entrepreneur Blog: http://matthewroszakonline.com/

PE Silver Lake Partners to buy Smart Modular for $645 million

(Reuters) – Smart Modular Technologies Inc (SMOD.O) agreed to be taken private by buyout firm Silver Lake Partners SILAK.UL in a cash deal that values the memory chipmaker at about $645 million.

“They were acquired due to their leadership for memory modules in Brazil, which remains a relatively hot market for PCs,” Avian Securities analyst Win Cramer told Reuters.

Global technology companies are picking up acquisition targets in Brazil to take advantage of explosive growth in family income and jobs as well as growing interest in online commerce and mobility solutions.

Last September, Silver Lake, a technology-focused private equity firm with investments in Internet video and telephone service Skype and online gaming group Zynga, among others, bought a minority stake in Brazilian Web hosting company Locaweb.

Smart Modular, which gets most of its revenue from Brazil and the United States, said in December that it expects its enterprise solid state storage (SSD) and Brazil flash business initiatives to drive the business.

The deal will give Smart Modular the freedom to aggressively invest in its emerging enterprise SSD business, Wedbush Securities analyst Betsy Van Hees said.

The market for SSDs, which are faster and more rugged than hard drives, is growing as data center managers look for ways to retrieve information faster, especially for applications like video streaming.

The company’s SSD platform has been gaining traction at tier one OEMs, with design wins at IBM (IBM.N) and another yet-to-be-named customer, analyst Cramer said.

Silver Lake, which has about $14 billion in assets under management, and its unit Silver Lake Sumeru will pay $9.25 for each Smart Modular share, a premium of 13 percent to the chipmaker’s Monday close.

The private equity firm declined to provide more details on the deal.

In October, Reuters reported had quoting sources that Silver Lake was one of the parties involved in the discussions with hard drive maker Seagate Technology (STX.O) for a buyout.

Smart Modular said a special committee of the board will evaluate alternative proposals through June 9.

Barclays Capital is serving as financial adviser for the deal, which is expected to close in the third quarter.

 

Continue reading: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/26/us-smartmodular-silverlake-idUSTRE73P4D320110426?feedType=RSS&feedName=innovationNews&rpc=43

Visit: http://matthewroszak.us/About.html to learn more about me!

Venture Capital Firm Greycroft Partners Expands Team

The venture capital firm Greycroft Partners announced on Monday the addition of three senior executives.

The firm has hired Paul Bricault, a former executive vice president of the William Morris Agency, and an entrepreneur, Kirill Sheynkman, as venture partners. Alan Gould, a former co-chief executive of IAG Research, has also joined as an executive in residence.

“With these additions, the firm seeks to expand its technical, marketing, and investment capacity, identify new opportunities, and provide extra resources to its portfolio companies,” Greycroft’s founder and managing director, Alan Patricof, said in a statement.

Greycroft, which is based in New York and has made investments in several Internet companies including The Huffington Post and GlamMedia, also announced the promotion of Marissa Campise to principal. Prior to joining Greycroft last year, Ms. Campise was an associate at Lindzon Capital Partners, where she analyzed technology investment opportunities.

Greycroft’s expansion comes as several American venture capital firms have hired new employees and raised new funds. In the first quarter, venture capital firms raised more than $7.09 billion, the best annual start since 2001, according toThomson Reuters and the National Venture Capital Association.

Continue reading: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/04/25/venture-capital-firm-greycroft-partners-expands-team/?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

Venture Capital Firm Greycroft Partners Expands Team

The venture capital firm Greycroft Partners announced on Monday the addition of three senior executives.

The firm has hired Paul Bricault, a former executive vice president of the William Morris Agency, and an entrepreneur, Kirill Sheynkman, as venture partners. Alan Gould, a former co-chief executive of IAG Research, has also joined as an executive in residence.

“With these additions, the firm seeks to expand its technical, marketing, and investment capacity, identify new opportunities, and provide extra resources to its portfolio companies,” Greycroft’s founder and managing director, Alan Patricof, said in a statement.

Greycroft, which is based in New York and has made investments in several Internet companies including The Huffington Post and GlamMedia, also announced the promotion of Marissa Campise to principal. Prior to joining Greycroft last year, Ms. Campise was an associate at Lindzon Capital Partners, where she analyzed technology investment opportunities.

Greycroft’s expansion comes as several American venture capital firms have hired new employees and raised new funds. In the first quarter, venture capital firms raised more than $7.09 billion, the best annual start since 2001, according toThomson Reuters and the National Venture Capital Association.

 

Continue reading: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/04/25/venture-capital-firm-greycroft-partners-expands-team/?partner=yahoofinance

Start-up Helps Local Businesses Stalk Their Customers on Social Media

Social media savvy peeps love broadcasting where they are and what they’re doing through status messages and photos. So far, local businesses have tried to tap into this location-data-love-fest by posting signs in their windows with social media logos begging customers to friend and follow them. Most of us laugh at that. No, local coffee shop, I don’t want to subscribe to your tweets; I just want my chai tea latte. No, local hair salon, I like what you do with my bangs, but I don’t want to be your Facebook fan.

A New York-based start-up wants to help businesses more effectively and organically harness the social media buzz. Newly launched Local Response, which earned high praise from the New York Times andTechCrunch, sucks up location information from lots o’ social media outlets — including photo sites by tapping into embedded geo-data in digital photos — to reveal whether a user has been to a particular business:

LocalResponse gathers data in two ways. First, it skims Twitter for public check-ins published to the site from a bevy of location-based mobile services like Foursquare, Gowalla and Yelp that can be integrated with Twitter. But those posts make up only about 5 percent of the site’s data, Mr. Mehta said. The rest is pulled from social media services like Instagram, Path, Color, Yelp, Foodspotting and the like, as well as Twitter posts that have been analyzed using natural-language processing to discern what companies and businesses people are chatting about.

via LocalResponse Taps the Social Web to Help Businesses Draw Customers – NYTimes.com.

The site’s been running in beta for six months, aggregating visitor data for 2,000 customers. You can enter a business name on the Local Response website and get a visual list of how many people have broadcast their visits there, along with thumbnail images of the visitors from their social media account.

Then the site makes it easy to harass entice those customers to return:

 

Not only does Local Response track all of this data but it allows businesses to respond to these Tweets and messages with a marketing campaign, coupon or advertisement. So Shake Shack could send a Tweet back to someone who had just snapped a photo of a burger with a link to a 10 percent off coupon on the next visit. The actual page will feature a logo of the establishment, the original Tweet sent by the consumer, the Tweet send back by the business and the promotion or coupon. Local Response has actually creates a number of canned responses which businesses can automatically send.

via Buzzd Rebrands As Local Response; Debuts Social Customer Management Tool For Businesses.

The site is free to businesses for approximately the first 100 messages sent to customers, then kicks into a monthly subscription fee for any amount over that.

I kid about the stalking. If customers are publicly broadcasting their whereabouts, it makes sense to take advantage of that in a direct way, rather than conspicuously floating location-aware ads on their phone browsers. Of course, if every business I visit starts tweeting me afterward to come back, I’m going to get annoyed by the Twitter spam fast. Realizing this, the company is capping the number of times a business can contact a customer through their service, as well as offering people the right to opt-out.

All in all, it’s a clever idea, and with $1.5 million in funding from Verizon Ventures, Charles River Ventures, and Metamorphic, it’s got a promising future ahead. As for getting non-geo-promiscuous customers to keep coming back, I guess businesses will have to keep up the ole put-your-business-card-in-the-fish-bowl-to-win-free-stuff trick.

Continue reading: http://blogs.forbes.com/kashmirhill/2011/04/19/new-start-up-helps-local-businesses-stalk-their-customers-on-social-media/?partner=yahootix

A Web Edge for Makers of Real Stuff

Plenty of people want to build a popular Web site and become the next Mark Zuckerberg. But some technology entrepreneurs have a more old-fashioned goal: they want to make something you can hold in your hand.

Like, actual stuff.

This can be risky territory, since making a physical product often requires a big upfront investment, and the smallest setback can wipe out profits. But inventors are getting around the hurdles — in part by using the Web to find backers and buyers.

They are also thinking small, as in smaller products and accessories that require less capital and are relatively easy to make and distribute.

Dave Petrillo and David Jackson, for example, friends and mechanical engineers from Pennington, N.J., had an idea for bean-shaped steel shells that go into a cup of coffee and quickly cool it to a drinkable temperature, then keep it warm longer. The shells contain a heat-absorbing gel.

The two men spent nine months fine-tuning the design for the beans, which they calledCoffee Joulies. Then they scraped together $3,000 and built 100 prototypes by hand in Mr. Petrillo’s parents’ basement.

Making the first batch “was harder than we originally thought,” Mr. Petrillo said, so they began hunting for a way to speed the process. They found one in an unlikely place: a video clip on YouTube featuring a silverware factory in upstate New York. Making the handles of knives turned out to be similar to making Joulies.

Then, like a growing number of other inventors and designers in need of capital, the men turned to Kickstarter, a start-up in New York that lets people present a sales pitch for a creative project and ask others to put cash behind it. This allowed them to gauge the appeal of the project before sinking a lot of time and money into it.

“We thought about investors and design competitions, but when we saw Kickstarter we decided to go for it,” Mr. Petrillo said. They created a three-minute video to demonstrate their product and said that anyone who gave them $40 would get five Coffee Joulies. They hoped to raise $9,500, but within a few weeks they have raised $177,000, and the total is still rising.

Yancey Strickler, one of the founders of Kickstarter, said the company originally thought the site would attract more one-time projects and experiments, like plans to record an album or make a documentary film. But he said Kickstarter had been pleasantly surprised to see homespun gadgets and inventions bubble up in popularity.

“We didn’t realize we would move in this direction, but these projects are ingenious and clever and we want all of them to work,” he said.

Mr. Strickler pointed to one of the first gadget-focused projects on Kickstarter to gain significant momentum, the TikTok, which turns an iPod Nano into a wristwatch. Its creators raised nearly $1 million.

“I think people really value having a good story to tell about how they got that watch,” he said.

Tom Gerhardt and Dan Provost, designers living in New York, came up with an accessory for the iPhone 4 called the Glif, which acts as a kind of kickstand or mount for the phone. The project was so successful on Kickstarter — more than 5,000 people placed an order — that the two decided to form a company and use the site to start a second project, the Cosmonaut, a marker-shaped stylus for the iPad. That project has attracted more than 3,000 backers.

“We didn’t have any experience with bringing a commercial product to market,” Mr. Provost said. “But we are approaching a new method of product development.”

Technology specialists say the interest in projects like these is part of a cultural shift, in which shoppers are increasingly looking for a more intimate connection to the creators and the sources of the things they buy, reflected in the surging interest in farmers’ markets and local clothing designers.

“People are becoming more cognizant about where their things are made and are starting to expect the same information transparency about where everything they buy is from,” said Rachel Botsman, co-author of the book “What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption.”

“They are looking for smaller suppliers they trust,” she added.

The makers of the Coffee Joulies and the Cosmonaut had another selling point: they could boast that their products were made in the United States. They found recession-battered American factories that were willing to work with newer producers and make products in smaller runs.

Continue reading: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/21/technology/21make.html?_r=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

Start-up Helps Local Businesses Stalk Their Customers on Social Media

Social media savvy peeps love broadcasting where they are and what they’re doing through status messages and photos. So far, local businesses have tried to tap into this location-data-love-fest by posting signs in their windows with social media logos begging customers to friend and follow them. Most of us laugh at that. No, local coffee shop, I don’t want to subscribe to your tweets; I just want my chai tea latte. No, local hair salon, I like what you do with my bangs, but I don’t want to be your Facebook fan.

A New York-based start-up wants to help businesses more effectively and organically harness the social media buzz. Newly launched Local Response, which earned high praise from the New York Times andTechCrunch, sucks up location information from lots o’ social media outlets — including photo sites by tapping into embedded geo-data in digital photos — to reveal whether a user has been to a particular business:

LocalResponse gathers data in two ways. First, it skims Twitter for public check-ins published to the site from a bevy of location-based mobile services like Foursquare, Gowalla and Yelp that can be integrated with Twitter. But those posts make up only about 5 percent of the site’s data, Mr. Mehta said. The rest is pulled from social media services like Instagram, Path, Color, Yelp, Foodspotting and the like, as well as Twitter posts that have been analyzed using natural-language processing to discern what companies and businesses people are chatting about.

via LocalResponse Taps the Social Web to Help Businesses Draw Customers – NYTimes.com.

The site’s been running in beta for six months, aggregating visitor data for 2,000 customers. You can enter a business name on the Local Response website and get a visual list of how many people have broadcast their visits there, along with thumbnail images of the visitors from their social media account.

Then the site makes it easy to harass entice those customers to return:

 

Not only does Local Response track all of this data but it allows businesses to respond to these Tweets and messages with a marketing campaign, coupon or advertisement. So Shake Shack could send a Tweet back to someone who had just snapped a photo of a burger with a link to a 10 percent off coupon on the next visit. The actual page will feature a logo of the establishment, the original Tweet sent by the consumer, the Tweet send back by the business and the promotion or coupon. Local Response has actually creates a number of canned responses which businesses can automatically send.

via Buzzd Rebrands As Local Response; Debuts Social Customer Management Tool For Businesses.

The site is free to businesses for approximately the first 100 messages sent to customers, then kicks into a monthly subscription fee for any amount over that.

I kid about the stalking. If customers are publicly broadcasting their whereabouts, it makes sense to take advantage of that in a direct way, rather than conspicuously floating location-aware ads on their phone browsers. Of course, if every business I visit starts tweeting me afterward to come back, I’m going to get annoyed by the Twitter spam fast. Realizing this, the company is capping the number of times a business can contact a customer through their service, as well as offering people the right to opt-out.

All in all, it’s a clever idea, and with $1.5 million in funding from Verizon Ventures, Charles River Ventures, and Metamorphic, it’s got a promising future ahead. As for getting non-geo-promiscuous customers to keep coming back, I guess businesses will have to keep up the ole put-your-business-card-in-the-fish-bowl-to-win-free-stuff trick.

Continue reading: http://blogs.forbes.com/kashmirhill/2011/04/19/new-start-up-helps-local-businesses-stalk-their-customers-on-social-media/?partner=yahootix

NYC TechStars startups pitch to 500 top investors

In an old East Village music hall in downtown New York, more than 500 investors from around the country crowded into a dimly lit auditorium to hear 11 startups pitch.

Those 11 startups were chosen from 600 applications for seed accelerator TechStars first New York City program. The accelerator offers up office space, intensive mentorship from some of tech industry’s top figures, and access to many of the field’s most prominent investors.

After three months of around-the-clock work — fueled by 234 pizzas — they took the stage at Webster Hall to demo their creations.

Several went straight for the jugular.

“I’m about to say what the entire media and publishing industry wants to say,” OnSwipe CEO Jason Baptiste announced as he began his pitch. “Apps are bullshit.”

Baptiste’s software makes it easier for publishers to display content and advertising on touch-enabled devices. For those that don’t want to invest in creating apps, OnSwipe gives them the opportunity to reach tablets.

Betaworks CEO John Borthwick is a believer: He was OnSwipe’s first user and is investing in the company.

“They’re very hungry, and they’re very talented HTML5 engineers, so that what they’ve done is really beautiful,” he told CNNMoney after the pitch session.”It’s ultimately going to be a big business.”

Nestio CEO Caren Maio was similarly direct: “We’re here today because moving sucks,” she declared. Her online real estate information hub aims to make apartment hunting easier.

Several founders emphasized their ventures’ leanness.

“We’re a small and nimble team, and we love Ramen,” Friendslist creator Jonathan Wegener told the crowd. His company is developing a “social classifieds” site that works within networks of friends, like a better-curated version of Craigslist.

For those that impressed, the feedback — and even funding — came quickly. Moments after Shelby.tv CEO Reece Pacheco left the stage, he got an e-mail from an audience member offering to invest $200,000 in the company. Shelby.tv integrates Twitter, Tumblr, and a host of other networks to build curated video channels for users.

Continue reading: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/NYC-TechStars-startups-pitch-cnnm-714438598.html?x=0

Venture Capitalists Are Hearing Footsteps

By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER

VENTURE capitalists are optimists by nature. They bet on start-ups that are little more than ideas and hope they have found the next Google.

But these days, even some of the sunniest venture investors are having dark moments of the soul.

Mark V. Cannice, director of the entrepreneurship program at the University of San Francisco, who polls Silicon Valley investors, said venture capitalist confidence had plummeted to its lowest point since 2004, when he began the surveys. “Right now, everybody is really worried,” he said.

Venture firms are not at the epicenter of the latest financial turmoil, yet they are increasingly concerned that Wall Street’s virus will continue to spread through Silicon Valley, pushing the industry into a crisis.

Fewer start-ups have gone public in 2008 than in any year since 1977, and companies looking to buy them have grown skittish. So venture firms have to keep putting money into companies they thought they would have cashed out of by now.

Meanwhile, the credit crunch is taking a toll on banks and insurance companies, which make up one-fifth of investors in venture funds.

Some wealthy investors and big companies that previously committed money to venture funds are now unable to supply it — leaving these investors with the option of defaulting and losing what they already had invested, finding a replacement or selling their stake at a discount to what is known as a secondary firm.

David H. de Weese, who leads the global secondary business at Paul Capital Partners in New York, said he had been getting many calls from beleaguered investors. “We’re drinking from a fire hose at the moment,” he said.

Consider FTVentures, a San Francisco firm that invests in technology companies that build services for the financial industry. Its lineup included some unlucky blue-chip investors: Lehman Brothers, Washington Mutual, American International Group, Freddie Mac andFannie Mae, all of which have failed or have been bailed out recently. FTVentures, which closed a $512 million fund in April, said it does not expect any of its investors to default on their commitments.

A few venture capital firms still continue to raise billion-dollar funds and, in turn, invest hundreds of millions in start-up companies. In September, AustinVentures closed a $900 million fund, Sequoia Capital closed two funds worth a total of $1.7 billion, and Battery Ventures raised $250 million to tack on to its eighth fund, for a total of $1 billion.

Continue reading: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/07/business/07venture.html?partner=yahoofinance