Monthly Archives: June 2005

RSS focused Venture Fund Announced

Jeff Clavier, venture consultant and angel investor, brought a new RSS fund to our attention. Partners John Palfrey and Jim Moore, from the Berkman Center, announced a new venture capital fund focused on investments in “tagging, RSS, OPML, search, social software, and realted next-gen standards.” Moore indicates that they have already raised $20MM from Ritchie Capital and plan to raise another $80MM.

[via Software Only]

Start-ups are cheaper and easier to start…

Great post from an entrepreneurship blog titled: It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur.

Reasoning: 1. Hardware is 100x cheaper than the late 90s. 2. Infrastructure software is free. 3. Access to global labor markets. 4. SEM marketing.

What does this mean? More innovation because more people can and will be entrepreneurs than at any other time in history. It took $3MM to get Excite.com from idea to launch. JotSpot took only $100K. It is much easier for a budding entrepreneur to save $100K than raise $3MM from a venture capital firm. When you do need outside capital – after you prove out the model – you will get much better valuations.

Slingbox Update…

Slingbox is available today (not sure if I will pick one up as the player only works on Windows XP – no MAC support) at CompUSA. PC Magazine reviewed the product here.

Previous Slingbox Posts:
What is broken about your living room
TIVO=Time Shifting, Slingbox=Place Shifting

Completely useless post – but intriguing nonetheless.

So I saw this site for a glue company. Basically, they took an old monitor and used superglue to attach it to the wall. Then they connected a realtime webcam to the wall aimed at the monitor. Finally, they created a web interface so you could type comments and see them in realtime on the monitor. I sat for 5 minutes or so reading the messages from around the world. Lots of people writing… Here is the Link.

What is broken about your living room?

I was listening to NPR and Steve Rubel was being interviewed (is that guy everywhere these days or what?) about various new technologies and how they are being sold.

Steve had a great perspective on XM and Sirius Satellite radio. Both companies have spent billions trying to sell us an alternative to radio, but for most of us “radio is not broken”. The reason TIVO has been a (modest) hit is that it is fixing television by allowing you to remove ads and timeshift content. He explained that Sirius is trying (and succeeding) to break radio. For example, Howard Stern fans will no longer be able to tune into over-the-air radio to hear their favorite show – he will only be available on Sirius. This is an effective strategy.

Previously I posted about a new product called Slingbox that allows for placeshifting (i.e. I can watch my TIVO and home TV anywhere with a high speed internet connection). What is Slingbox fixing? Do I really need to watch CSI at the office? TIVO fixed my problem – i.e. I can watch CSI when I have time – when I get back home.

I am sort of geek so I will be stopping by CompUSA this weekend to pick one up – imagine – TIVO has a hard enough time selling their product… Good luck Dixon!

Interesting Dallas Real Estate Project.

Many of our Dallas readers are familiar with new home builder Diane Cheatham and her forward thinking development practices. She discovered a 12-acre parcel just inside the loop South of Forest East of 75 and West of Greenville and announced the development of 53 modern homes there. The City Council approved the project called Urban Reserve.

What I think is interesting about the project was Diane’s idea to conduct a ‘Design Competition‘ to design the ‘innovative, sustainable modernist houses for Urban Reserve’. She had over 65 architects compete for the prize. So basically, she got the best of the best to work on her project for free (or for very little cost). Great idea!

Winners in the professional category are:

1st Place – Calvin Chen of the Bercy Chen Studio, Austin TX;
2nd Place – Glenn Wilcox of Area Architecture, Eugene OR;
3rd Place – John Munn of the Munn/Stewart Studio, Dallas TX.

Student winners are:

1st Place – Gabriel Andres Cuellar of Carnegie-Mellon University
2nd Place – Won Jin Park of the University of Pennsylvania
3rd Place – Jesus Rodriguez and Alexis Flores from the University of Texas at Arlington
Citation – Gabriel Fuentes, a student at Florida International University in Miami.

The winners will receive cash awards as well as the possibility of seeing their designs constructed at Urban Reserve.

Google Print is out (Beta).

http://print.google.com/

Apple’s Podcasting iTunes 4.9 was released this morning! What happens to Odeo?

If you run the system update on your Mac iTunes 4.9 will show up. I have not tried it yet.

TIVO=Time Shifting, Slingbox=Place Shifting

Dixon Doll and the guys at Mobius funded a neat start-up called Sling Media last year (Series A was $11.5MM). The technology is very cool and my understanding is that it will be availble in stores this summer (maybe June 30 from CompUSA).

Basically Slingbox allows you to stream TV content from your cable, satellite or DVR to any computer with a high-speed internet connection. From the site: “The SlingboxTM Personal Broadcaster by Sling Media, Inc. is a breakthrough consumer electronics device that transforms today’s television viewing experience. The SlingboxTM enables consumers to watch their TV programming from wherever they are by turning virtually any laptop or Internet-connected device into a personal TV. The SlingboxTM redirects, or “placeshifts,” the TV signal from any cable box, satellite receiver, or personal video recorder to a viewer’s location and device of choice – whether in another room in the home or anywhere in the world with a high-speed Internet connection.”

Meriton Networks Closes Series C (oversubscribed $54MM)

I served on the board of advisors for Meriton and have a small interest in the company. WTG Mike Pascoe (new CEO)! The funding came from new investors VantagePoint (Cynthia Ringo) and Nomura International (Andrew Healey) as well as from all previous investors including: Desjardins Venture Capital Group, Newbury Ventures, Primaxis Technology Ventures, RBC Capital Partners (Telecommunications Fund), Sierra Ventures, VenGrowth and Venture Coaches/Skypoint Capital.