Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Google misses Street targets, shares tumble: "The slide, which at one stage wiped out more than $20 billion of Google's market value, illustrated the big risks investors have taken by buying the shares after a meteoric rise their initial public offering in August 2004." —Yahoo! News

Why is the rise called 'meteoric'? Aren't meteors actually falling stars?

Monday, January 30, 2006

Sling Media raises $46.6M: "The product enables people to watch TV shows on the go, by tapping into programs they record on TiVo or other places." —SiliconBeat

So with $46M in venture money you can either develop drugs to treat blood clots, acute coronary syndrome, and atherosclerosis or let people watch TV on their phones. Weird.

The Resurgence of E-Cards: "American Greetings will not release figures for its e-commerce division, but Ms. Babcock said its profits were 'incredibly strong,' and growing." —The New York Times

I hope those profits are 'incredibly stronger' than in the first nine months of 1999, when Egreetings.com (now owned by American Greetings) recorded $22M in losses on $1.5M in revenue.


Davos 2006: Partying Like It's 1999: "Hands down, the best event at Davos was the Google party on Friday night. Never mind the glittering guest list, which included the likes of Michael Douglas and Shimon Peres (who gave an off-the-record talk). Let's talk about the wines..." —Fast Company Now

Among the favorites? Click Fraud 2004, Stupid Price Targets 2005, and Shaoxing [redacted] 2006.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

IPO Watch: On the Fast Track : "The road map to the initial public offering market has always been found in its calendar. Since the beginning of January, the calendar has been telling us the 2006 IPO traffic is moving from Wall Street's back alley to its superhighway." —Red Herring

Friday, January 27, 2006

Dog.com buys Fish.com for $1 million: "Online shopping for your pets is big business again but this time the company is focused on selling smaller items such as dog treats instead of 50 pound bags of dog food. Is the fish food market worth a $1 million domain name?" —Niall Kennedy

This is a joke, right? Right?
Don't Fear the New Boom: "Silicon Valley is buzzing again, as startups mint millionaires and web dreams start to soar. But, no, this is not another bubble. Here's why. By Chris Anderson from Wired magazine." —Wired News

I hope the new boom will be longer than The Long Boom was.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

ABIA passenger traffic breaks a record: "Austin-Bergstrom International Airport last year saw its greatest number of passengers, breaking a record set in 2000." —Austin Business Journal

This is either a good sign the economy is picking up or a side-effect of the fact that ABIA has better food than any other airport in the country.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Never Profitable Dot Com Goes Public: "Remember the days when dot coms with no history of ever earning a profit could go public? Oh wait. That's today." —Techdirt

Albeit in a WR Hambrect dutch auction IPO. Still...

WisdomArk to provide you insights on your life: "WisdomArk, a new start-up in Los Altos, has raised $6.3 million in a first round of funding for yet another social networking site." —SiliconBeat

You really don't want your first press mention to describe you as "yet another" anything.

Million dollar home sales up 47% in California: "A record number of million dollar homes were sold in California in 2005, according to a report released Tuesday." —Silicon Valley Business Journal
Boo.com dusts down website for June relaunch: "Boo.com—the high profile fashion flop that blew megabucks before going titsup within months of launching—could be about to make a dotcom comeback." —The Register

To quote They Might Be Giants, "Everything right is wrong again."

1999 Is Calling. It Wants Its Hype Back: "Once the money starts flowing (and, if you hadn't noticed, it's flowing), it seems that 'lessons learned' get tossed out in favor of doing anything possible to jump on the gravy train. The only problem is that we've seen how this train ride ends, and it's a train wreck that we'd all probably be better off avoiding." —Techdirt

Best. Headline. Evar.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Google co-founders cash in: "Google's triumvirate have made billions off stock sales since company went public, but there's still a lot more where that came from." —News.com

Sunday, January 22, 2006

IPO Watch: Back in Full Swing: "Seven initial public offerings are on tap for this week including two Internet companies." —Red Herring

To quote M. Night Shyamalan, "Swing away!"

Friday, January 20, 2006

Amp’d To Close Another $100 Million Funding: "The MVNO, which recently raised $50 million from MTV Networks, will announce another $100 million raise soon. He writes that the deal was oversubscribed and the company opened its pockets a bit wider." —MocoNews.net

Thanks again to Seth Levine for the pointer.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

New MBAs finding education pays off big time: "Salaries and signing bonuses of fresh graduates took a double-digit jump in 2005 to a record average $106,000 and signaled an end to the 'perfect storm' of sour news this decade that included the dot-com bust, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and a subsequent recession" —USA Today

Web 3.0: "But how to persuade the other sharks in the tank that this blood feast was different from the previous boom-and-bust? Easy: Dismiss everything that came before as 'Web 1.0.'" —A List Apart

Name this town: "During the week of the company's first product launch, a CEO of an angel funded mobile start-up is sitting on the floor at 8:30 at night putting together Ikea desks, not for his company, but for a venture funded wiki start-up, in exchange for free office space, when ..." —Silicon Valley Himalayan Expedition

I love reading the phrases "angel funded mobile start-up" and "venture funded wiki startup" in the same sentence. Thanks to Seth Levine for the pointer.

Domain Name Sold for Millions: "The infamous and controversial domain Sex.com has officially been sold to Boston-based Escom LLC for a reported $14 million. " —Slashdot

Naked Conversations Party at TechCrunch: "This will be our most extravagant event so far, thanks to the generosity of our sponsors: Eurekster, Flock, Kaboodle, Pandora, Pluck, Rojo, and Zazzle." —Mike Arrington (TechCrunch)

That list of startups sounds like an incantation. Maybe if you say it while waving a magic wand, it will turn a business plan into a pile of cash.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Navigating the annual earnings onslaught: "Yahoo missed its earnings estimate by a penny after Tuesday's close. Wednesday's reaction says more about the market than about Yahoo's stock." —MarketWatch

Miss The Number by a penny, lose $7B in market cap. Bubbles are not for the squeamish.

“Vince, It Looks Like Jim and Larry are Going All In! Incredible!”: "But the last headline-splashing, high-stakes takeover-poker-match I recall was RJR. And after the initial thrill of walking away from the table with all the chips, KKR spent years living it down." —Jeff Matthews

Let's hope this drama results in a book as good as Barbarians at the Gate.

August Capital Bets on VideoEgg: "There are a bevy of other financing announcements for various startups being announced over the next couple of weeks." —Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)

And so, after the long nuclear winter, it's once again springtime in the Valley.
Has the Web 2.0 Crash Arrived?: "Steve Rubel thinks so, based on the severe reaction to Yahoo's earnings miss on Tuesday." —BusinessWeek Tech Beat

When Steve Rubel talks about a crash it reminds me of a high school kid who, having taken his first sip of beer, starts talking about a hangover. Don't get ahead of yourself, Steve. We've got a whole lot more partying to do tonight if we're going to be hating life tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

VCs Invest $127M in Startups: "Some 15 startups report funding Tuesday as venture capitalists disburse some of the money raised last year." —Red Herring

Not bad for a Tuesday. Not great, but not bad.

Now Hiring: Silicon Valley: "Jobs rise in the tech-centric area for the first time in five years." —Red Herring

But is anyone yet offering BMW Z3's to all new engineering hires?

Monday, January 16, 2006

Blogger site Gather.com gets $6 mln in venture funding: "If the site continues to grow, the company could position itself for a possible IPO or other kind of transaction, Gerace said." —MarketWatch IPO Report

I know, this is the third post in a row about Gather.com, but I couldn't let pass the fact that MarketWatch is simultaneously reporting the company's seed funding and speculating about the timing of its IPO.

Gather Blather: "If Gather doesn't stumble over all the VCs on its board (c.f., the Martini Rule), it could one day blunder into selling this silly site for a high enough price to make money." —Paul Kedrosky

That's the spirit!

Gather Them Eyeballs!: "The eyeballs are back and with a vengeance. And they are being chased by VC money." —Om Malik

Oy.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Energy Trading, Post-Enron: "The industry that Enron made infamous—energy trading—is springing to life again. 'The whole market is hot right now,' said Justin Pearson, managing director of Human Capital, a search firm based in London for energy traders. 'Everybody is talking about expansion.'" —The New York Times

I bet Sun Microsystems can't wait to do another $500 million deal with another energy trading company.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Blogging Community Site Gather.com Gets $6 Million Funding: "Gather.com, the Boston-based online networking/community site, will announced a $6 million (yes!) funding round next week. The new venture is a social networking website devoted to creating an online community of public-radio listeners." —PaidContent.org

The company's website describes Gather.com as, and I'm not making this up, a place to, "connect around a Supreme Court nominee, an Umbrian chicken recipe, a new album by Aimee Mann, or your child's soccer game."

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Yahoo! Acquires Unnamed Company: "Ah, satire. If you ever wonder whether you company is getting a reputation, just wait for the blogosphere to make fun of you. Case in point: Yahoo! Announces Acquisition of Company Before Its Foundation." —Jeremy Zawodny (Yahoo)

It wouldn't be funny if it weren't almost true. (That being said, once it's actually true, it won't be funny any more. But it will be immensely profitable—for those who fail to miss the cynicism.)

1. When is the IPO? 2. Can I get some founder's stock?: "Crunch becomes the name of a network, with the launch of MobileCrunch. I had the same two questions about this as I did when I heard that Toni Schneider was joining Matt Mullenweg's new company. 1. When is the IPO? and 2. Can I get some founder's stock?" —Scripting News

These are among the axiomatic questions of The Bubble. Now just relax... surrender... give yourself up to the Flow... You're soaking in it.

Report: Austin office market improving: "The Austin office market is quickly approaching rent and occupancy levels not seen since the late 1990s, according to a new report." —Austin Business Journal

Yahoo Exec Exits For Automattic CEO Gig: "As I said in the story, build it, flip it, repeat." —Om Malik

The exec in question is Toni Schneider, former CEO of OddPost. Congratulations to Matt!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Know When To Hold 'Em, Know When To Sell Out: "Friendster has been looking for a buyer for some time, while its selling price keeps dropping and dropping. About this time last year, $200 million was being tossed around as Friendster's buyout price. Now PaidContent reports it's been offered to Viacom for just $5 million—but the media giant's even balked at that, about a month after offering $20 million for the one-time social-networking supersite." —Techdirt

Thus did Jonathan Abrams join Chris Hasset in the Crushing Regret Hall of Fame.

Video search engine company, Truveo, sold—for $50 million!: "Wow, you can launch a start-up these days, and two years sell it for a pretty nifty sum." —SiliconBeat

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

It's Not 1999 Anymore: "Skittish investors leave tech IPOs high and dry, which may not be such a bad thing." —Forbes.com

IPO, M&A, whatever. It's all about the liquidity.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Dow Crosses 11,000 for 1st Time Since 2001: "Wall Street's best-known stock indicator rose as high as 11,020.15 by midafternoon, the first time since June 13, 2001, that the index of 30 blue chip stocks traded above 11,000. It last closed above that milestone on June 7, 2001, when it stood at 11,090.74." —Yahoo! News

We're back, baby! Now let's see what we can do about that pesky NASDAQ.

Price Targets: "Ah, price targets are back in fashion. And stupid investors will fall for them again. It's what we do on Wall Street while we wait for real news." —Andy Kessler

And real money will be made.

The Times, Blodget, Safa: "The big question, again, on Big Media's mind is 'Are we in a bubble, and is Google the Soap?' I thought we settled this (OK, all I really did was toss in my two cents), but apparently not. Honestly, I think the media is terrified of screwing this story up again—of believing in it too much, or perhaps worse, of missing the boat if this time it turns out the Web really is a Super Big Deal." —John Battelle

Here's a hint. Yes, it's a Super Big Deal. Get over it.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

All primed for revival in tech stocks: "Great prospects for technology stocks—sound familiar? What makes this groundswell of support so compelling is that its adherents are confirmed value investors who scour the stock market for bargains; they are far from the cheerleading perma-bulls who talked the public into shockingly poor decisions in the past." —News.com

CA Acquires Wily Technologies for $375 Million: "Once again, the entrepreneurial mantra of ‘step back up to the plate and keep trying’ plays out nicely." —Brad Feld (Mobius)

There were three kinds of survivors from the last bubble: the winners, who sold at the top, cashed out, and retired to Aspen; the carpetbaggers, who were only in tech because they thought they could get rich quick, who are now trying to flip houses; and the rest of us, who keep stepping up to the plate and swinging for the fences. Swing, batter!

$500. $600. $2,000. Do I Hear $10,000? $0?: "Yesterday's INSANE price objective might seem quite reasonable tomorrow.  An analyst who slapped a $500 target on Google 18 months ago at the IPO would have been branded a crackpot.  Same for an analyst who in 1982 said that the Dow would rise from 1,000 to 10,000 (or, in 2000, drop from 11,000 to 7,700).  So let's not rush to dismiss as lunatics those who are calling for Dow 2,000 (down 80%), Dow 20,000 (up 80ish%), or Google $600." —Henry Blodgett

If anyone even mentions Dow 2,000 in my presence, they're going to get hit. Dow 20,000 on the other hand will get you a round of drinks.

Guy Kawasaki's New Blog: "Relentless persistence is the name of the game in my view UNLESS you happen to have a business in a 'white hot' sector that has already caught the attention of the hopelessly lemming like VC community." —Craig Barnes (Attensa)

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Nope—We're Too Gloomy: "Sure, investors were irrationally exuberant during the bubble years. And that's exactly why the shrewd market players today should be feeling confident. Look at it this way, says [Citigroup's chief U.S. equity strategist Tobias] Levkovich: 'Six years ago we could do no wrong, and everything was possible in the world. Today everything seems exceedingly challenging. We were wrong six years ago. And I think we could very well be wrong today.'" —Fortune

Friday, January 06, 2006

Do I Hear GOOG $4,000?: "Mark Stahlman has really shown people what-for with his $2,000 GOOG target today. The Caris & Co. analyst is making a real bid for attention, not too different from driving around town with cans tied to the back of your car, and the effort has been rewarded by Bloomberg and others." —Paul Kedrosky

I have nothing to add, except maybe, "Yeeee-haw!"

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Louie, fresh from CIA, joins with Alsop in new fund: "[Gilman Louie] is joining with former journalist and investor Stewart Alsop in raising a new venture capital fund." —SiliconBeat

Stewart Alsop is a journalist! He's a VC! He's both a floor wax and a desert topping! (Yes, an SNL twofer. Thank you, thank you very much.)


Browster Picks Up $5.8M: "Browster, which makes a free plug-in for web browsers, said Thursday it had secured $5.8 million in first-round funding." —Red Herring

"All the time, our customers ask us, 'How do you make money doing this?' The answer is simple: Volume. That's what we do." — First Citiwide Change Bank
Bubble Time: Tiny Company, Barely Any Revenue, Expects To IPO: "According to its latest filing it brought in about $235,000 in the third quarter (and lost well over a million dollars)—but thinks it deserves a $270 million valuation. Yes, this is a company that has barely earned over $500,000 in its entire lifetime and thinks it's fairly valued at $270 million dollars." —Techdirt

I've earned way over $500,000 in my lifetime, but the last time I checked my net worth was somewhat short of $270 million.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Analyzing Safa's $600 Google Target: "Ah, memories... So Safa Rashtchy of Piper Jaffray upped his Google price target from $445 to $600.  Is he INSANE? No." —Henry Blodgett

Safa Rashtchy is Henry Blodgett 2.0. You heard it here first.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

We're Still Too Exuberant: "It's almost irresistible to believe that after all we investors have endured—the hellish bear market, the recession, the scandals—we've emerged from the crucible sadder but wiser, finally willing to face the truth about stock values. But it isn't so. The amazing reality is that we haven't learned our lesson even yet." —CNNMoney.com

Call me Ramses, King of d'Nile.

Google gets $600 price target: "A new year, a new price target for Google." —MarketWatch

Go, go GOOG!

Fasten Your Seat Belts in '06: "Housing prices look like tech stocks at the height of the dot-com boom, so expect a nasty slump. Meanwhile, bet on tech to soar." —BusinessWeek

Monday, January 02, 2006

A Heady Job Market for MBAs: "After some lackluster years, 2005 B-school grads are fielding multiple offers&mdas;and the outlook remains upbeat, recruitment experts say." —BusinessWeek Online

All hail the return of the MBA's!