Archive for ‘Seed Round’

December 17, 2010

InsightSquared

talentGraphzgrzrlogo Record: InsightSquared

Funding Status: Seed?

Founders Backgrounds: Hubspot, Bessemer VP

Investors: ?

Industry: B2B, SMB business analytics, Sales pipeline tool

Offering Description: Customizable, intuitive and actionable business/sales intelligence data.


October 29, 2010

Boston Web Startups Q4 2010, Launching Soon?

Every quarter we publish a list of the newest web startups in the area that are working towards launching publicly.

Masschallenge surfaced a great many new companies over the summer and I think had an impact on the amount of new companies making themselves known publicly early on.

So, this list is shorter than usual. As always, sign up for the betas and help these new companies with valuable user feedback so they can hone their value proposition and build something people want.

http://www.smoopa.com/

http://www.applicationville.com/

http://www.penmia.com/

http://noderabbit.com/

http://www.foodfeedia.com/

http://pre.nusage.com/

http://gospotly.com/

http://socmetrics.com/

September 10, 2010

A Boston Angel You Should Know

Yes, we have  already heard about the dearth of Consumer Web Angel Investors here in Boston. So you might be interested to find out about a local Angel that has a pretty impressive track record in both quantity and quality of deals.

The fund Lead Dog Ventures is  run by John Landry and has been active locally since 1994. He has been a fixture around Boston since the inception of the enterprise software industry as CTO of companies like Cullinet , McCormack and Dodge and Lotus.

Here is a photo I pinched from his blog (hope he doesn’t mind) to show you that the guy has gravitas.

jobs and Landry photo

As you can see the portfolio is not completely Consumer Web, but the recent fundings of oneforty, Daily Grommet, Ayeah Games and Blueleaf demonstrate the trend towards web oriented businesses.

Take a look at John’s talk at the Angel Boot Camp to get a good feel for how he invests.

So it is not all gloom for Web companies seeking angel funding here in Boston. Some of the traditional enterprise oriented angels will be able to make the transition as John did, and we need more coming from operational experience in web companies to make up the slack for those that don’t, but there are good  angels are out when you’re looking.

August 31, 2010

Moontoast

moontoast logotalentGraphzgrzrlogo Record: Moontoast

Funding Status:  Series A?

Exec Team’s Background: my.emma.com, Myperfectgig, Schematic, North American Membership Group

Investors: TBD

Industry: Consumer Web, eCommerce

Offering Description:  Branded Community Part social. Part commerce. All Yours. – Embedded Store Sell Your Products on Your Website and Everyone Else’s. – Private Sales Club Make Your E-Commerce as Prestigious as Your Brand


August 24, 2010

Bloson

talentGraphzgrzrlogo Record: Blosonlogo bloson

Funding Status:  Seed

Founders Backgrounds: Sedo.com, Raytheon

Investors: ?

Industry: Consumer Web, Social Cause

Offering Description: Bloson gives you the social content you want, and the social action the world needs.


August 17, 2010

Mowbi

talentGraphzgrzrlogo Record: Mowbi mowbi logo

Funding Status: Bootstrapped, Seed

Founders Backgrounds: T-ShirtKing.com, Shipyard Brewing Company

Investors: Seeking investment

Industry: Mobile Application

Offering Description:

Mowbi is a mobile commerce platform for everybody.

Mowbi includes a mobile store, mobile billing and invoicing system, a mobile credit card terminal and text marketing tools. Because of Mowbi’s modular design, it is being integrated with enterprise applications while at the same time it is the perfect tool for your next garage sale. Just put your garage sale items in to a mobile store and publish the link in your classified ad. People can see, and buy, your items before they arrive plus you can accept credit cards, PayPal and Google Checkout at your garage sale.

Adding the ability for remote sales teams to buy and sell from their phones has a lot of potential to increase income and cut expenses for many businesses. Mowbi is modular so it can be integrated in to enterprise systems affordably.


August 16, 2010

Paul Graham is a Brilliant Recruiter

I am sure the epithet recruiter is not something PG will lay claim to, but the facts speak for themselves. Their recruiting program may have developed organically but the new application that lets would be aspirants apply to all of the YC companies at once, makes it clear that recruiting hackers is one of the factors that drives the YC startup creation engine.

For an example of  a world class technical recruiting program, look no further than Y Combinator.

Sequoia Capital calls Y Combinator “The startup scouting system”. It could just as easily be called “the hacker scouting system”.

Yes, I have written about this topic before.  In Paul Graham is Seilling the Children I described (a bit tongue in cheek) how PG cannot go wrong in making money from the YCombinator investments.

The premise was simple. Pay about $ 6,000 for an  engineer that will be worth between $ 500k to $ 1 M+ at acquisition. The product doesn’t matter that much. Maybe they make something that generates revenue, but even if they don’t, a talent acquisition can still make a good return. (Parakey, Divvyshot, reMail)

Take a look at this recent interview where he states  “the founder is a lot more important than the idea” about 42 seconds in ( a bit out of context, sure, but the point is, YC has more of a recruiting bias than a business idea bias).

A highly successful recruitment program consists of the following components;

Sell your Dream: Why work for the Man when you can start a company, make something people want and possibly get rich.

Build and Nurture a Talent Pool:  The YC alumni network alone is probably approaching 1,000 hackers. Add that to the participants on HackerNews,  the potentially thousands of companies that apply every year, and it is clear that YCombinator has amassed the largest affinity network of hackers, startup founders and would be start up teams in the world. They also host their version of a Job Fair where the portfolio companies present to groups of vetted candidates.

The latest creation of http://ycommonapp.com/ further increases the reach of the Y Combinator recruiting effort and helps them build an even larger talent pool with the promise of  introducing you to 30 startups for 10 minutes of effort .

Source candidates from the Professional Graph: YC companies have been known to acquire each other, presumably these are hackquisitions, (acquiring company for the hackers) “hey I think I coined a phrase”. They regularly hire from other YC companies.  They also promote YC through the growing professional network of portfolio companies, their employees, mentors/advisors and investors.

Utilize Social Media: http://paulgraham.com/articles.html and   http://news.ycombinator.com/ PG’s series of essays is widely read and each new entry is propigated around the web. NewsYC is a highly engaged community of startup enthusiasts, hackers and has probably the best discussions of all things technical on the web.

Generate Media Buzz: YC companies probably get a dis proportionate quantity of  ink on TechCrunch.

Other media:   MixergyIncMotley FoolTimeBWNYTNewsweekUSA Today

Stay on Message:   Hackers good:Suits Bad.  Read any of these articles and you will see the recurring theme….  http://www.paulgraham.com/future.html or http://paulgraham.com/yahoo.html or   http://www.paulgraham.com/boss.html

Conclusion:

With a  pool worth over a $ Billion dollars (acquiring value) of engineering talent to draw upon, it is clear that the YC recruiting effort is paying off. This fact,  I’m sure is not lost on Sequoia Capital and well worth a $ 10 million investment, to tap into.

What does this have to do with Your Company?

First of all, realize that recruiting is a form of direct marketing. Then notice that the marketing YC is doing is permission based.

Your company should; know the audience that will be receptive to the message and focus on that group. Craft a story that will be attractive and draw candidates into the talent pool. Then promote the opportunities on multiple fronts using traditional media, social media and professional networking.

One can only hope to be as effective as Y Combinator at recruiting. What you can do is take these concepts and adapt them to your program to attract and build your talent pool.

What do you think your company can take from the YC recruiting playbook to improve your results?

August 12, 2010

When Will These Web Sites Launch Q3 2010

Every quarter we compile a list of new web properties that are in private beta or “coming soon” stage. We hope to give them a bit of exposure and help with early customer sign up.

The other goal is to encourage them to come out to the public and start to get feedback from the user community. We are rooting for you, so launch that leaky boat or take your first steps on the water.

We think  Reid Hoffman (founder of LinkedIn) was giving good advice when he  said this.

‘If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.’

First let’s recap the list from last quarter to see what progress has been made.

http://www.fashionstake.com/ Still private beta.

http://localot.com/ Still splash page.

http://www.universalmetaphor.com Still splash page that says  “Stop by again later this year.”

http://www.jumpseewow.com/ currently under construction

http://www.blogcastr.com/ looked like it was live, but when we tried to sign up, it says “oops, requires an invite token”

http://tutorialtab.com/ not public yet. Says “apply for Alpha”

http://mogoterra.com/ has launched and recently transitioned to a paid service.  If you are building a web app you need to know how well it supports cross browser functionality. Give Mogotest a try.


https://alpha.wattzy.com/ has launched and is free to sign up. Give Wattzy a try if you want to save on energy bills.


http://www.waysavvy.com/ Looked like it was live, but clicking on Sign Me Up, asks you a few anonymous questions and then gives you this message.  “Enter your email to get notified when we launch”

http://www.fanzanimal.com/ not launched. We set up a mailing list for people who want to be a “Friend of FanZanimal, Inc.”

Score: Only two out of the ten have launched. Wattzy and Mogotest. Congratulations to both and go visit and spend some time or money with both.

When Will These Web Sites  Launch Q3 2010

Now let’s take a look at the list for next quarter. Pay them a visit and sign up for their beta tests if you’re interested. These new creations need your support and input to find their way and make something you want to use.

http://reper.com/get_access.php

http://swarmplistic.com/

http://www.aislebuyer.com/

http://www.wingu.com/

http://www.giftily.com/

http://www.skinnytrip.com/

http://g2gconnect.com/

http://sparksense.com/splash/

http://www.bucketboo.com/

http://savinz.com/


August 11, 2010

TurningArt

talentGraphzgrzrlogo Record: TurningArt turningart logo

Funding Status: Seed

Founders Backgrounds: Bankfox

Investors: ?

Industry: Consumer Web

Offering Description: It’s like Netflix for Art Prints. Browse the work of our hand-selected artists and build a queue of artwork that you’d like to explore.


July 6, 2010

Abine

talentGraphz grzrlogo Record: Abine Abine logo

Funding Status: Seed

Founders Backgrounds: Datapower, LRN, Security Metrics

Investors: Self Funded?

Industry: Consumer Web Security

Offering Description: provides Internet privacy solutions for consumers. Abine’s products and services allow regular people to regain control over their personal information while continuing to browse, interact and shop online.