Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Loudcampus and Ventbox Launches

Half way through the week and I have already been to two website launch parties.

Sunday afternoon I made it over to the launch of Loudcampus, a new social networking site started by Yanni Hufnagel and Doug Sokolik. These two recent Cornell grads decided to combine both facebook and yelp to create a campus wide network that will allow students to find out about events, books, classes and their friends - all in one convient place.

During the next couple of weeks this company will quickly pick up steam as it rolls out its features in multiple college towns across the eastern seaboard. This week's featured campus is Hamilton College. More news to follow on this to be sure... held its launch party Tuesday night at Piano's Bar. DJ music, free booze and a young crowd heralded this new website created by Nate Westheimer and his small team of engineers.

I tested ventbox about two weeks ago. The concept is simple, you can write items, either anonymously or not, about things that piss you off or make you happy. I wrote a posting about my friend Ben. Nate mentioned that a good idea for today would be a Valentine's Day vent. Because, afterall who really likes V-Day anway?

Market News

Monday evening I attended the NYSIA monthly meetup. Situated at 270 Park Avenue, in the JP Morgan Chase building, its topic du jour was Predictions for 2007 in technology. Its four "Wise Guy" panelists included Andrew Brust, of 26New York, Erik Grimmelmann of Send Word Now Communications, Elizabeth Montalbano of IDG News Service and Aron Trauring of Zoteca.

It really appeared that Elizabeth and Andrew did not get along. It was pretty comical at times how their ideas about the future of the internet and user capabilities clashed. At one point Elizabeth mentioned that she would like to see free internet for everyone - while Andrew commented that "somebodies got to pay for it". Further complications arose as they discussed Vista, its operating systems and shortcomings.

Predictions about Google were level.
Asked about Google and their share prices, Erik Grimmelmann mentioned that their success has become a hard act to follow and noted that "megalomaniac projects" , like Google's project to digitize all books, would ultimately make it impossible for them to sustain such growth.

Tuesday morning: VC Outlook 2007 hosted by was a great success.
About 100 people showed up to Heller Ehrman LLP Venture Law Group at 7 Times Square to listen to Charles Scott, Intel Capital's Investment Manager, speak about the trends of 2006 and the future of investing for 2007.

Scott showed that investments in Industrial applications/Energy (like Cleantech) and Media/Entertainment had made the highest gains during the last year. This trend will continue as investments in internet infrustructure and telecommunications related industries are predicted to settle down.

  1. Hedge Funds will move downstream to PE and Late Stage VC
  2. VC's moving to tech buyouts
  3. M & A in software associations
Good technology related websites as relayed by Charles:
Following Charle's closing remarks a panel composed of Stephen Brotman, Ned Carlson, Andrew Lipsher, Joseph Gitto, Todd Pietri and Maria Gotsch commented investment philosophies, start-up helpful hints and structuring a company.

Brief comments:

Information services have seen a rise in investment from $61M in 2005 to $200M last year in NYC alone.

Alexander Developers will be building 1M square feet of Biotech space in NYC during the next two-three years to attract more research into the city.

Start up companies need to provide internal due-diligence before submitting proposals to VC's. Revenue models should be tested, recurring revenue models (subscription) provide most value.

Charles River has moved towards a Milestone based funding model, whereby a company upon reaching certain goals will receive further funding.


Tim said...

Wow... I was surprised to see Hamilton (my tiny alma mater) in that list especially since none of the members seem to have any affiliation. I guess they're focusing on central NY where there's not much to do :)