venture capital

drag2share: Flurry CEO Says IPO Is Inevitable As Its Mobile Ad Reach Overtakes Google’s

source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/businessinsider/~3/0L8Ch6ODo9k/flurry-ipo-and-ceo-simon-khalaf-2013-9

Simon Khalaf, the CEO of mobile adtech company Flurry, tells Business Insider that an IPO is inevitable in the company’s future because his business has grown so big.

There has been gossip about a possible Flurry IPO for months now. Large adtech companies are often aimed specifically at IPO “exits,” so that their venture capital funders can get a payback on their investments. Millennial Media, Tremor Video, YuMe, Criteo and Marin Software have all gone public recently. Yet when CEOs are asked directly if they want the rich rewards of floating their companies on the public markets, they usually demur or hedge.

When we asked Khalaf about an IPO exit, however, he was refreshingly direct: “I consider an IPO an entrance,” he tells us. “We don’t have a choice, our volume is too high and our scale is too big for anyone to absorb us.”

Flurry has a net revenue run-rate of about $100 million. It has 150 employees and has taken $50.5 million in funding from investors. And although that doesn’t make Flurry the biggest player in mobile adtech — InMobi and Velti still have more employees, and Millennial has greater revenues — it is one of the biggest players in big data analytics and mobile app ad reach.

Here’s a slide on the number of mobile devices — 1.1 billion — Flurry reaches with ad impressions inside apps from Khalaf’s pitch deck:

Flurry

It’s an alarming slide, because everyone knows that Google has the largest share of mobile ad revenue on the planet, which is in the billions of dollars. But the Flurry slide refers to reach on devices via ads in apps. Google’s mobile ad business is largely search. And the bulk of consumer time spent on mobile devices is in apps, not on the web, Khalaf says. Here’s the slide he uses to illustrate that point:

Flurry

Flurry offers the full mobile ad stack, including a “supply side platform” for mobile app publishers who want to offers ad space for sale, a “demand side platform” for buyers who want to place ads, an analytics suite to measure the whole thing, and most recently a “real-time bidding” platform so that buyers can place ads on a live auction basis. That RTB marketplace, launched in April, already has 30 DSPs buying in it, Khalaf says. The Guardian and The BBC both use Flurry as publishers.

There is one more thing Khalaf is unusually direct about. Flurry is not yet profitable, he says. Usually when adtech CEOs are asked whether their businesses make money, they launch into an explanation of how they’re investing for growth or scale (or they say something impenetrably complicated about EBITDA). When asked whether the company is profitable, Khalaf says, “No. In 2014 we’re profitable maybe.”

The reason: Flurry is spending $28 million a year on data centers. “The cost of analytics is huge,” Khalaf says. Flurry wants to create the largest HBase cluster in the business, he says, referring to the gigantic — and gigantically expensive — database serving devices that can handle millions of lines of tabled information.


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Friday, September 20th, 2013 news No Comments

drag2share: 500px, A Photo Sharing Site That Obeys Copyright Laws, Raises $8.8 Million From Andreessen Horowitz And Others

source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/businessinsider/~3/9vK9hnAUgaU/500px-raises-88-million-srries-a-2013-8

oleg gutsol

500px, a platform where photographers upload their own photos in hopes they’ll go viral or sell a few copies, has raised an $8.8 million Series A round of investment.

Investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Harrison Metal, Creative Artists Agency, Rugged Ventures, Dustin Plett, and ff Venture Capital.

500px was started as a hobby in the mid-2000s for its Toronto-based founders, Oleg Gutsol and Evgeny Tchebotarev. The name stems from one of the early photo upload requirements: all images had to be at least 500 pixels wide. Gutsol and Tchebotarev launched 500px as an actual business in 2009 and from there it has grown to 10 million active monthly users, according to Gutsol. It has 2.5 million registered users. Across its platform, which includes other companies that use the 500px API, it generates 1 billion monthly pageviews.

Unlike Pinterest (which Andreessen Horowitz also invested in), The Fancy, and other photo-sharing sites, the majority of photos uploaded on 500px abide by current copyright laws. Everyone who uploads an image on 500px and wants to sell it retains the copyright to it. In other words, it’s an image they should have taken or designed themselves. If it isn’t and 500px receives a complaint about it, they’ll work on a case-by-case basis to remove the image from the system.


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Wednesday, August 7th, 2013 news No Comments

Here’s The Biggest Threat To Facebook, And What Facebook Is Doing About It

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-the-biggest-threat-to-facebook-and-what-facebook-is-doing-about-it-2012-2


Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger

The biggest threat to Facebook isn’t Google or Twitter.

It’s the out-of-nowhere startup that allows people to do what they like to do on Facebook easier and faster.

What people like to do on Facebook is share and view photos of friends and family.

Facebook is popular because it is the easiest way to do that over a computer.

Where Facebook has a huge blindspot, however, is that it is not the easiest way to share photos of your friends and family over your phone.

It’s too slow. 

Already, startups backed by millions of dollars in venture capital are attacking Facebook’s weakness in this area.

The current leader of this insurgency is an iPhone app called Instagram, which grew from 1 million users in January 2011 to 15 million in December 2011.

Instagram isn’t perfect.  You can’t label your photos with your friends’ names like you can on Facebook, for example.

But what’s great about it is that it is very fast – especially compared to Facebook.

Mary Meeker chart on Mobile versus desktop

With the Facebook iPhone app, there are 6 screens a user has to go through before a user can actually take a picture. With Instagram, there is one.

This is a long term problem for Facebook. 

According to Mary Meeker, sometime in the middle of 2013, there will be more people on the Internet via their mobile devices than desktops.

If Facebook doesn’t figure this problem out, it will go the way of Friendster. Friendster lost to Facebook because users found they could do what they wanted to do on Friendster on Facebook with much more speed and simplicity.

Facebook is aware of this problem.  A source familiar with Facebook’s photos team tells us one of its top priorities is “reduce the friction to uploading content” through mobile devices.

They have a lot of work to do. 

Instagram Step 1: Tap on the Instagram app.

Instagram Step 2: Tap the camera icon in the middle bottom.

Instagram Step 3: Take a photo.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Monday, February 6th, 2012 news No Comments

There’s Only One Way To Make A Ton Of Money And Be Happy Selling Your Start Up

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/theres-only-one-way-to-male-a-ton-of-money-selling-your-start-up-2012-1


Venture Capital Ad

There is a common belief that venture capital has become a necessity to get start-ups off the ground.

The seemingly endless flow of funds is very appealing to the up-and-coming company looking to sling-shot themselves to instant growth.

While VC funding can give an important vote of confidence and is absolutely necessary for large infrastructure projects, there’s another side to VC funding— it can actually become a huge hindrance. As I’ve discussed before, skipping venture capital can leave your company with the freedom to grow in a sustainable way, creating more value for all stakeholders.

This means when you do sell – as my company AdoTube did recently— you are able to reap all the rewards of selling a healthy profitable company while being a big part of its future. Read below for the 5 reasons why skipping the VC can leave you with more money and probably more importantly a better company legacy.

1.       VCs just want their return

Venture capitalists have a portfolio of investments consisting of multiple start-ups, and therefore only care about average portfolio results. On the other hand, founders have all their eggs in one basket. Not only is this company their brainchild, but it is also their savings on the line. While founders are interested in the eventual payout, providing a product or service that consumers are excited about can be even more important. This focus on the long-term can lead to a greater eventual pay-out as well as a better company legacy.

2.       It’s easy to waste VC money, diminishing overall value

It is easy to overspend when it is not your money. When a small company comes across millions of venture capital, a lot of that cash can get thrown out with the bath water. Keeping the company small and growing it with your own sweat, blood and hard earned cash can lead you to be thriftier in your decisions. When AdoTube started, we made sure every purchase would earn us back revenue, otherwise why waste the money? Ultimately, this allowed us more value for our investment and helped us get a better return.

3.       VCs go big or go bust

Multiple rounds of VC can put founders in a situation where the company either becomes extremely successful or goes bust. Venture Capitalists’ are looking for the big payday, and if the instant pay-out is not immediately apparent, the company can come to a screeching halt. Founders, on the other hand, can take their time building the company up growing it organically. Without venture capitalists looking for their end return, there is still a lot of middle ground available to time a company’s growth spurt with the market.

4.       VCs don’t care about company culture

VCs aren’t incentivized to make deals that are best for the company and the founders. They are incentivized to sell for the most money. The problem is that while every founder dreams of retiring to the Caribbean after they sell, the reality is that their role with the company is often far from over. Founders are often needed to stay on board to steer transitions or integrations are also often the best person to run the newly acquired company. Culture is paramount in making sure all of this happens smoothly and benefits everyone.

5.       VCs don’t know what’s best for the company

Venture Capitalists don’t understand your business like you do. They study revenues and look for synergies with other companies. VCs can even value companies differently depending on how they might merge with another. Valuing a company based on this can take away from the goals of founders, forcing companies to work more like a widget factory than a company. A simple sale could also mean the instant death of your company, destroying all the value that you created (just talk with the guys at Foursquare). While the VCs walk away with a pay-day the company that you spent years creating is gone in an instant.

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Thursday, January 12th, 2012 news No Comments

Google Quietly Invests Over $100 Million in Zynga, Readying Google Games

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5584118/google-quietly-invests-over-100-million-in-zynga-readying-google-games

Google Quietly Invests Over 0 Million in Zynga, Readying Google GamesWhoa. TechCrunch reports that Google has invested between $100 and $200 million in Zynga, the social gaming behemoth behind Farmville, Mafia Wars, and others, in preparation for the launch of Google Games later this year.

TechCrunch’s “multiple sources” say that Google itself, not its venture capital division Google Ventures, has invested between $100 and $200 million in Zynga, a huge power play presumably with the aim of eroding Facebook’s social media dominance.

It seems that Google sees Zynga as the best way to hit the ground running with Google Games, a social gaming service from the search company that’s set to launch later this year. TechCrunch points to this job opening for “Product Management Leader, Games” at their Mountain View campus as proof that we’ll be seeing a lot more about Google’s move into gaming in the near future.

With Google Me, the company’s purported Facebook killer, continuing to take shape, this major investment in Zynga is just further proof that Google is making a very serious effort to hit Facebook where it hurt, namely, the farms. [TechCrunch]

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Monday, July 12th, 2010 news No Comments

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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