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Posts Tagged ‘venture capital’

Web 2.No More? From Web 2.0 to Web 3.0

November 16, 2008 3 comments

The recent market fiasco has everyone wondering whether Web 2.0 is alive or dead? The technology is indeed still alive (and advancing) but the focus is changing towards Web 3.0.

When the internet bubble burst in the early 2000s it acted as the dividing line between Web 1.0 (the original web) and Web 2.0. Web 2.0 didn’t commence the day after the bubble burst but rather it evolved over time with the rise of search, social networking, blogs, online videos and user generated content. Whereas Web 1.0 was about putting offline information (books, news, brochures) online, Web 2.0 is about sharing that information via social networks, blogs, online video, social messaging, etc. Web 3.0 will evolve with the integration of all this information into deeper analytical studies of online (and human) interaction, consumption behaviors & consumer data. A move more towards the semantic web.

Not only do I think that Web 3.0 will be about the quantifying of Web 2.0’s user generated data but I believe the focus (of web applications) will change.

In business, they’ll take a more active role in utilizing social networks and messaging platforms to communication with clients. This online interaction is efficient, effective and measurable, which provides corporations with analytical interaction to quantify and measure customer feedback like never before. The web has been evolving in this direction but the recent economic mess will force firms to embrace this technology now. The need to cut costs and be more accountable will propel the web towards Web 3.0 much faster than anticipated. 

The second main change from Web 2.0 to 3.0 will be about focus. This past month has seen two monumental events. The financial collapse of the world economy and a historical election that broke centuries of racial inequality in the United States. Obama’s message was all about change and not only will there be change at home but also a movement towards changing the world’s perception of us. This means instead of meaningless applications that rate whether you’re hot or not there will be a movement towards uniting the online industrial western world with developing nations. Online video has already opened up our eyes to injustice around the world but it’s only the start. The tools of Web 2.0 will evolve to help all nations be self sufficient, energy independent (via new energy technology) and environmentally friendly.

Web 2.0 gave us the technology to test the effectiveness, success and power of online interaction. Global information, worldwide interaction & third world participation opens up a world of possibilities to both developing and industrialized nations. I already see the global need for western medical information with infoMedMD. Many of our visitors come from developing nations that likely don’t have access to quality medical care. With infoMeds, developing nations (with online access) can receive Western medical advice almost as if they specifically asked a doctor for a diagnosis.

Health 2.0 applications like Sermo, infoMedMD & PatientsLikeMe are in their infancy but they’re quickly providing patients all over the world with medical research, information and patient outreach – services that previously were only available via costly doctor visits. Online medical applications were definitely slow to adapt Web 2.0 technologies, but I think they’re some of the first players in Web 3.0. Interactive medical data applications used not for online enjoyment (or making friends) but rather to educate people in an attempt to make their lives better and healthier. 

Whatever the third phase of the web is called it’s very likely that it has just begun. The current economic conditions have forced technology companies (and the venture capitalists funding them) to rethink their business models, focus their ideas and think of the next big thing. The third phase of the web will take everything that we’ve learned during Web 1.0 & 2.0 and make it better.

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Internet Earnings

November 7, 2008 Leave a comment

Below is a chart of the current (October 2008) average benchmarks for websites who contribute to Bizak. Numbers are averages for Visitors, Revenues, Revenues per Visitor (RPV), Costs, Earnings, Earnings per Visitor (RPV) and Valuation. Bizak is categorized into industry, website type and revenue source. The chart below lists the averages for website type and revenue source.   

Internet Statistics

Big Money – Recent Venture Capital Deals

October 22, 2008 1 comment

Over the last week there has been a handful of sizable rounds of VC funding in the tech space. Are startups trying to raise capital before the well goes dry? Or is this evidence that the market might not have a big impact on funding deals for companies with solid business models? 

Recent deals:

The Market & Angel Investors

October 20, 2008 Leave a comment

Over the last few weeks I’ve been talking to a handful of individuals who are interested in either investing in or acquiring infoMedMD and Bizak, respectively. To no surprise all of the conversations come back to current market conditions and how it will affect investments in technology. My assumption has always been that the markets will have more of a negative impact on angel investors than the more established VC firms. The reason being, angel investors use their own personal wealth to invest in startups – wealth that is more closely tied to the stock market and real estate industry.

For established companies with revenues of $3 Million or more there will still be venture capital available to them. It’s the early stage startups (and business plans) that will likely see the biggest investment impact. Those startups that are in need of over $50,000 to launch their application will likely have a difficult time raising that money. The stock market will remain in a volatile holding pattern for the next 12-24 months and this will make the angels very cautious. Unfortunately, some good ideas will have to wait while the market figures things out. Those entrepreneurs with successful track records will likely fare better.    

The nice thing about internet startups is that they don’t have to cost a lot of money to build and you DON’T have to use developers from overseas. By bootstrapping operations and finding the right developer, you can easily launch an impressive application for under $20,000. Bizak, infoMedMD and a soon to be released third application all cost under $20,000 to launch.  They are also 100% made in the USA – more specifically made in California and Massachusetts.

So, now is the time to hunker down, be frugal and more creative than ever!

Bootstrapped

October 13, 2008 1 comment

Well, last week was one heck of a week. Wall Street saw one of its worst weeks ever – actually the worst since 1933. After 8 consecutive days of decline the Dow lost 2,400 points, a 22.1% decrease in just 8 days.   Both the Dow 30 and the S&P 500 reached their all time high on October 9, 2007 closing at 14,164.53 and 1,565.15, respectively. The Dow is down 40% to 8451.19 and the S&P 500 is down 42.5 to 899.22, since October 9, 2007.  (Numbers as of October 10, 2008 close.)

Back in 2000 it was technology that drove the market down and this time around it’s the financials.  It will be interesting to see how much technology will be affected by this massive decline. The internet boom of the late 1990s and early 2000s was spurred by massive internet IPOs that saw stock prices skyrocket for companies with shaky foundations. Over the last 5 years there has been some massive internet valuations but most of them never went public – this could work to the internet’s advantage this time around. During the Web 2.0 era many of these startups were acquired or financed by established companies.  Of course some of these valuations were exorbitant, YouTube bought at $1.65 billion & Facebook valued at $15 billion, but they never IPOed.  Facebook has been flirting with an IPO over the last couple of years but given the current market they’re definitely not thinking about it now. One benefit of remaining in private hands is the ability to steer your company the way you see fit – not the way stockholders see fit which is often influenced by emotion.

One benefit of downturns is a startups ability (or need) to bootstrap operations, be creative and run a more efficient business model. Based on Bizak’s startup statistics over 40% of websites rely on advertising to generate revenues. Today is a good day in the markets but it will likely take years to get back to the levels we saw just weeks ago. The first department to feel this pinch will no doubt be the marketing department. Advertising across the web will decline affecting not only startups but also Google. For startups this will hopefully result in new & creative business models – hopefully more startups will generate product sales, services and subscription models. If a website can’t monetize their free content (advertising, Google Adsense) then they might be forced to charge (micro-payments maybe) for it. Adsense was already becoming worthless and these recent events will likely make it worse. 

Other startups will need to lower their burn rate to weather the uncertainty. I don’t think VC money will dry up as much as it did during the first half of the 2000s but it will probably take pause to access the trickle down effect. Right now the markets are running on a lot of emotion so we need time to pass before accessing the situation. Tough times tend to generate some of the most creative ideas – ideas that capitalize on the situation. Think of all the major web apps that you use today – Google, Myspace, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn.  All of these apps were post “internet bubble” products that were launched during a time when many thought the web was dead. They helped bring the tech sector back in force. This time around it’s the financials struggling and maybe it will be tech that pulls them out? 

All in all it’s a time to conserve and take the necessary steps to ensure the longevity of your application. According to Ron Conway, startups should heed the same advice he gave in 2000 which includes: 

  • If you are in a funding cycle, you should raise your funding as soon as possible and raise as much as possible.
  • You must aggressively examine and pursue M&A opportunities (unless you have over 12 months of cash reserves!) ro insure you have critical mass (including funding, customers, rolodex power, market
    share, cash, synergy, etc.).
  • Be realistic on valuations – they will fall so be ready and willing to co-operate.
  • Look for corporate partners to invest so you can raise more money. You should also consider a sale of your company to your corporate partners.
  • While it’s safe to say entrepreneurs have had negotiating leverage with the “down draft” in the market, the VC community will start exercising their leverage.

For me I have two startups and three more on the way. None of these applications are funded and all of my “salary” is in equity which will require me to wait another 1-3 years. During this time I’ll continue to launch new and exciting applications but I also need to prepare for the unexpected. To accomplish this I’ll likely join/partner with a well funded startup/company where we can equally benefit during this exciting time. Interested?  My resume and my bio.

It’s an exciting time because social and economic events create a snow ball of technological innovation. Innovation that can grow quickly and adapt efficiently. Whether this is the end of Web 2.0 or not doesn’t matter since no matter how you define it the next wave of innovation has just begun.

And the Winner is…?

October 3, 2008 Leave a comment

Not sure yet, but I’m assuming it’s not Bizak, which means we’re still looking for seed financing for both TOKiBiz and Bizak. Additional info:

If you don’t know what I’m talking about (in regards to winning) please read Mashable’s Startup Showdown

Investors, Financing, Venture Capital & Funding Opportunities of Startups

September 16, 2008 Leave a comment

To register please visit: https://www.bizak.com/investors/register

This evening, actually 2am this morning, we at Bizak are starting to role out the investor side of our database. This means investors and corporations can finally view and compare startups within our database.  Different from the startup side, investors can actually see specific data, web analytics and financial data for all startups who elect to have their information published.  

Right now, as of 2am Tuesday morning, investors can subscribe to our XML feed and view and compare benchmarks to startups.  All of the investor applications will be completed by Wednesday afternoon.  The features that still need to be added are the profiles (contact information, bio, links, etc.) for startups and the ability to view and sort the top ten projects according to each sort.  A sort consists of Industry, Business Type and Revenue Source.  For example, you can view the top ten startups who are in the Internet industry, operate a business network and have a subscription model.  

As for the XML feeds this allows investors, venture capital firms and corporations to integrate our data into their platform for both internal use and database access for clients.  Examples of the data included in the XML schemas can be seen below.  Both of the XML files are being modified a bit more and contact phone and URL will be integrated into the startup schemas. Each subscriber has their own unique URL which returns data in XML format using the below schemas.

To register please visit: https://www.bizak.com/investors/register

For additional information about the investor side of Bizak please view the video below the XML data.

Startups & Projects

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
<projectlist>
<project>
<startup>Startup Company Name (text)</startup>
<startupcontact>Startup Contact Name (text)</startupcontact>
<projectname>Project Name (text)</projectname>
<industry>Industry (text)</industry>
<websitetype>Website (text)</websitetype>
<revenuesource>Revenue (text)</revenuesource>
<visitors>Visitors (number)</visitors>
<revenue>Revenue (number)</revenue>
<rpv>Revenue per Visitor (number)</rpv>
<costs>Costs (number)</costs>
<cpv>Costs per Visitor (number)</cpv>
<earnings>Earnings (number)</earnings>
<epv>Earnings per Visitor (number)</epv>
<estimate>Bizak Estimate (number)</estimate>
</project>
</projectlist>
Benchmarks
<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
<benchmarks>
<benchmark>
<industry>Industry (text)</industry>
<websitetype>Website (text)</websitetype>
<revenuesource>Revenue (text)</revenuesource>
<visitors>Visitors (number)</visitors>
<revenue>Revenue (number)</revenue>
<rpv>Revenue per Visitor (number)</rpv>
<costs>Costs (number)</costs>
<cpv>Costs per Visitor (number)</cpv>
<earnings>Earnings (number)</earnings>
<epv>Earnings per Visitor (number)</epv>
<estimate>Bizak Estimate (number)</estimate>
</benchmark>
</benchmarks>