September 27, 2005
VV Show #15 - Launching Companies at DEMO Conference
You might expect that if you launched your pride and joy -- your startup company -- at a conference, it would automatically be the center of attention. At DEMO, the leading technology product launch conference, you're hatching your business alongside 64 other companies with cool new technologies. You've got to deliver an awe-inspiring six-minute presentation, schmooze for many hours on end at a packed product pavilion, and be charming during the cocktail hours to make your mark. We continue our coverage of the DEMO conference by following VideoEgg's experience while grabbing audio clips from all over. Hear from Wall Street Journal columnist Walt Mossberg, August Capital partner David Hornik, Six Apart co-founder and president Mena Trott, U3 CEO and founding team member of Palm Kate Purmal, Jingle Network senior vice president Tom Latinovich and DEMO executive producer Chris Shipley.
3:45 VideoEgg co-founder and director of product and technology David Lerman
- VideoEgg is powering the video blog for DEMO.
- 'Woke up with a bit of a hangover, I won't lie.'
- 'Really, when the doors open and press started coming in, we just had no idea if it was going to work or not. Phenomenally, it's all worked.'
6:00 PR person
- 'My client, poor guy, is sweating buckets right now.'
6:30 David Hornik of August Capital, VentureBlog and VentureCast
- 'I think for sure [VideoEgg] will get funded.'
- 'If people aren't showing up at your booth you need to be proactive.'
8:50 Tom Latinovich of Jingle Networks, Inc.
- 'The bar is certainly the most fun.'
- 'The best value is not up on stage.'
10:20 Kate Purmal, CEO of U3
- 'We've been giving away U3 smart drives to everybody here, so we've been mobbed.'
12:40 Walt Mossberg, the author and creator of the Personal Technology column in The Wall Street Journal
- 'I've been coming to DEMO for probably 12 or 13 years.'
- 'I have always taken pains to try to find stuff from new companies.'
- 'Don't even try to show me PowerPoint.'
15:30 The beach
- David Hornik: 'I wake up in the morning, look out at the ocean, say 'Wow, look, there's the ocean' -- then I go into the conference room.'
16:55 Mena Trott, the president and co-founder of Six Apart
- 'Why do we think our moms are so stupid?'
18:40 VideoEgg co-founders CEO Matt Sanchez and director of business development Kevin Slavek
- 'There's always pressure.'
19:10 VideoEgg demo at DEMO
25:50 Debrief with Kevin and Matt
- 'It was a total blur.'
- 'We've heard it went very well.'
26:35 Unrecorded DEMO moments
September 19, 2005
VV Show #14 - VideoEgg Preparing for DEMO Conference
New businesses usually start small and work slowly and steadily to build their reputation. But that's not true of startups that choose to launch their product at DEMO, the most prestigious conference dedicated to launching new technologies. Presenters have to agree to be radio silent about the cool technology they've been working on night and day for the past several months, if not years, of their lives. Then they have six minutes on stage to show it off to everyone, and a couple of days at a beach resort in Huntington Beach to network like crazy and deploy their freshly printed business cards. VideoEgg, a new company founded by three Yale graduates from the class of '04, chose to hatch itself at DEMO after months of quiet incubation. In today's show, we're chronicling what it's like to present at DEMO by telling the story of VideoEgg. We'll interview VideoEgg's founding team, DEMO executive producer Chris Shipley and DEMO groupie David Hornik of August Capital. We'll post a show after the conference with VideoEgg's presentation and the crowd's reaction.
1:55 Talking with Chris Shipley
2:20 Most famous DEMO presenters
3:50 Who attends DEMO
- 25% investors
- 50% business development people
- Rest of the attendees from media, etc.
5:00 DEMO stats
- Expects 500 people to attend.
- It costs $16,500 to present at DEMO.
6:25 Worst DEMO presentation
- 'There are some really great technologists and really great CEOs who are really terrible actors.'
7:30 Format of the show
- Based in New Haven, CT.
11:30 Talk with VideoEgg's founding team: CEO Matt Sanchez, director of business development Kevin Slavek and director of product and technology David Lerman
13:00 What is VideoEgg?
- 'Video should be as easy to put up as photos, and it's not.'
16:00 Deciding to become entrepreneurs
19:05 Raising funding for VideoEgg
- 'We really didn't use PowerPoint.'
- Got first seed funds from CVT Ventures.
- 'It's easier to find them than you think.'
- Met with Howard Morgan and he backed the company.
- 'We have interns that sleep for us.'
24:00 Deciding to go to DEMO
- First Round Capital suggested going to DEMO.
26:40 Most important person to meet at DEMO
30:00 Naming VideoEgg
32:40 The fate of VideoEgg
35:00 Thoughts before DEMO
35:35 Conference call with Kevin and Matt before leaving for DEMO
- VideoEgg contracted Renee Blodgett to do PR.
- VideoEgg partnered with iUpload to make the an interactive booth at DEMO.
- Giving out iPod nanos for best blog entries.
42:00 Kevin and Matt's reactions on a Venture Voice interview with David Hornik of August Capital and Venture Blog
46:30 Last thoughts before DEMO
- 'DEMO is a watershed moment.'
September 13, 2005
VV Show #13 - Drew Clark of IBM Venture Capital Group
Entrepreneurs who were doing business in the eighties might still remember IBM for its suits and corporate ways. Now Drew Clark, the co-founder of the IBM Venture Capital Group, has shed his tie and is changing that image. His group is opening up IBM's vast resources to startups. Unlike some of its competitors, IBM has embraced open source software which makes it easer and cheaper to deploy technology. While IBM offers all types of help to entrepreneurs, Drew stresses the IB more than the M: being international and helping with business development over just assisting with the machines.
1:10 Starting at IBM
- Joined in 1982.
- Was the IBM 'Search Czar.'
- Started Venture Capital Group in fall of 2000.
4:40 IBM's history
- 'I'd put these times up against those times [mid-80s] any day.'
6:00 Advantages of open standards
- Joe Kraus also mentioned in a previous show how easy it is to start a business based on open source.
10:20 Why work with IBM?
- 'Business life is very difficult, technology is relatively easy.'
- Mentions IBM's developerWorks and alphaWorks.
13:40 Startups IBM is working with
- Working with Yeepay in China and Laszlo Systems to name a few.
- 'Chances are, if it's a top-tier venture-backed startup, we've worked with them.'
16:05 IBM Virtual Innovation Center
21:45 Measuring success
- IBM has 850 partners.
- 'We're hungry for partners.'
26:25 IBM's venture team
- About 25 people in Menlo Park.
- Virtual team around the world.
- Mentions sister organization, IBM's PartnerWorld.
29:20 Other big tech firms
- 'It's becoming harder to get some of those top people because Google is famous for fighting for them.'
32:25 The I in IBM: international
34:50 Just launched a VC Advisory Council
- Walden International, Lip-bu Tan, Chairman
- U.S. Venture Partners, David Liddle, General Partner
- 3i, Jo Taylor, Head of Venture Capital
- Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, Ann Winblad, Co-Founder and Partner
- Accel Partners, Peter Fenton, Partner
- Darby Overseas Investments, Ltd, Richard Frank, CEO
- Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Timothy Draper, Founder and Managing Director
36:50 Pitching to IBM
- Visit the IBM Venture Capital Group.
Drew Clark is responsible for driving external innovation into IBM business units and identifying and developing new business opportunities. A member of the corporate strategy team, his focus is on emerging markets. A 20-year IBM veteran, Clark has held a variety of key positions in software development and technology, product marketing and emerging-business development and strategy. He has led several intrepreneurial initiatives,including the formation of IBM's Internet Division. Before working withIBM's Venture Group, Drew led IBM's search, text mining and knowledge-management initiatives for IBM Software. Drew has been awarded two patents in software testing and Artificial Intelligence, holds a BS in physics from Western Carolina University and has completed all coursework toward a PhD in plasma physics at University of Texas at Austin.
September 1, 2005
VV Show #12 - Deborah Farrington of Starvest Partners
Statistically speaking, Starvest Partners shouldn't be in business: Few venture capital funds raised in 1998 survived the dot com bust, first-time partners are a huge bet, and no other venture capital firms are run by women. But don't tell that to Deborah Farrington, the founder and co-chairman of Starvest. Her firm's performance has excelled in the past several years and is headed into the top quartile of its field. Debby's got a number of big hits under her belt now, but she's not about to stop taking risks.
1:45 Career start
- Went to Harvard Business School.
- Worked at Merrill Lynch doing corporate finance for 10 years in New York, Hong Kong and Tokyo.
- 'They [the investment firm Debby where used to work] kept saying 'Why don't you do it like this.' Like many entrepreneurs, I said no no no no no. I had a vision I wanted to pursue.'
- In 1998, four partners who'd never worked together before raised a $150 million fund. Starvest Partners, L.P. was born.
7:45 Cold calls and building relationships
- 'Being able to set forth an idea in a succinct fashion and not wasting the other person's time was important.'
11:50 Raising a venture fund
- 'We knew in order to get in the game we had to give up something. We don't have to do that today.'
- Strategy was focusing on investing in business services, which was not traditionally a hot industry for venture investing.
- 'And also, let's face it, luck generally plays a role as well. It was a super time for fund raising.'
- 'We made one investment in 1999 because we could not find anything that met our criteria' Often we asked ourselves, 'What's wrong with us?'' That discipline paid off big in the long run.
- 'The largest companies definitely require 5 to 6 to 7 years to build, and there's really nothing to get around that.'
19:45 NetSuite investment
- Made an investment in NetSuite, founded by Larry Ellison of Oracle fame.
- When asked if she wanted to invest: 'I, with stars in my eyes, said absolutely.'
- 'When he approached us, he said, 'Debby, you're about the only venture capitalist that I know that I think is really smart but also nice, so I'd like to work with you.'
- Starvest committed $6.7 million to NetSuite before it had any revenues and couldn't get any West Coast venture capitalists to back it. Now NetSuite has $40 million in revenue going on $100 million and is going public soon.
22:50 Be nice?
24:35 Board involvement
- 'The majority of our companies have CEOs they did not start with.'
29:00 CEO's abilities to scale
- 'If we've had a failure as a firm, it's been not changing out CEOs soon enough.'
36:00 Giving up control by taking on investors
- 'If you had 10% of a billion dollars, that's not too shabby.'
42:10 Pitching to Debby
- 'We're funding someone now who had a prior company that failed, but we think it's terrific because he learned on somebody else's nickel.'
49:40 Women in venture capital
- While Debby attended Harvard Business School, women accounted for only 10% of the class.
- 'I've always liked being a pioneer.'
- 'I think there definitely will be more women venture partners.'
- 'This is a very tough business. I've always gravitated toward things that I thought were difficult to do. Perhaps something perverse in my personality.'
54:35 Women in the firm
- 'Politics completely leaves the room. Testosterone completely leaves the room.'
- 'Three attractive women walk in and nobody forgets you.'
- 'All of our portfolios are headed by men except one. It's [gender] really not an issue.'
58:40 Harvard PresidentLarry Summers controversy
- 'My advice to Larry is remember you're never off the record.'
- 'I think the whole gender argument is overdone.'
63:03 The title 'Chairman'
63:20 Starvest's promising portfolio companies and future
- NetSuite: planning on going public in mid-2006.
- Newgistics: planning on going public in mid-2007.
- ComparisonMarket: owns insurance.com, largest insurance operation on the web, planning to go public in mid-2007.
- Starvest expects to raise a second fund in 2006. The goal for next fund is $200 million.
- Required reading for the Starvest team's off-site retreat: Tom Friedman's The World Is Flat and Malcolm Gladwell's Blink.
Deborah Farrington is a Founder and Co-Chairman of StarVest Partners, L.P., a $150 million New York City based venture capital fund formed in 1999 to invest in e- business services and software.
Ms. Farrington's 25-year career in financial services encompasses private equity investing, investment and merchant banking, both in the U.S. and abroad, and securities analysis. Her focus during the past several years has been on investing in business services companies; she has significant experience in business services, e-Business and application service providers. She has worked with many private and public companies as a director, officer, investor and advisor and has special expertise in financial strategy, analysis of growing companies and corporate governance. She has operational and management experience having served as Chairman of the Board and COO of both public and private companies.
On behalf of StarVest, Ms. Farrington is currently a director of NetSuite, Inc., a San Mateo, California based company that provides an integrated web based accounting and other business services to small businesses and of which Larry Ellison is founder and former Chairman; ComparisonMarket Inc., a Cleveland, Ohio company that provides comparative insurance quotes over the Internet and is the largest independent insurance agent in the U.S.; and Fieldglass Inc., a Chicago based software company that provides spend management services to large enterprises. She is also a director of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLCT) the largest grader and authenticator of high-end collectibles, including coins, stamps, sports cards and autographs.
From 1993 to1997, Ms. Farrington was President and CEO of Victory Ventures, LLC, a New York-based private equity investment firm. During her tenure with Victory, she was a founding investor and Chairman of the Board of Staffing Resources, Inc., a diversified staffing company, when it grew from $17 million to $250 million in revenues.
From 1987 to 1993, Debby was managing director with Asian Oceanic Group and its affiliates, a Hong Kong-based merchant bank, which invested side by side with its Asian entrepreneur clients. From 1991 to 1993, she was Executive Vice President and a Director of Tigera Group, Inc., a NASDAQ listed public company affiliated with Asian Oceanic and she also served as a director of VideoTech.
From 1976 to 1987, Debby was with Merrill Lynch & Co. where she had a variety of international and domestic assignments in investment banking, securities analysis and management, while based in New York, Hong Kong and Tokyo. At Merrill Lynch, she worked on numerous public and private offerings and mergers & acquisitions for U.S. and international clients. She also held positions with responsibility for international planning, strategy and human resources.
Ms. Farrington is a 1972 graduate of Smith College and received an MBA in 1976 from the Harvard Business School. She has been active in fund raising and alumni affairs for both Smith and Harvard, and currently serves as on the Board of Directors of the Harvard Business School Alumnae Association. She is a member of the Committee of 200 and is President of her New York City Co-op.