Crowd Funding, Micro-funding, New Approach for Investors - Alternatives to Wall Street
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Video conferencing company Blue Jeans raises $76.5M

Video conferencing company Blue Jeans raises $76.5M | Crowd Funding, Micro-funding, New Approach for Investors - Alternatives to Wall Street | Scoop.it
Blue Jeans Network, a company with web and native mobile applications for video conferencing, is announcing today a $76.5 million round of funding.
Richard Platt's insight:

Blue Jeans Network, a company with web and native mobile applications for video conferencing, is announcing today a $76.5 million round of funding.  Companies have plenty of options if they want to hold a video conference for employees or partners. There’s LogMeIn’s join.me, Citrix’s GoToMeeting, Cisco’s WebEx, Logitech’s Lifesize, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Skype/Lync, and Zoom, to name a few. Blue Jeans emphasizes its interoperability with Lync, Hangouts, and other services, as well as even hardware systems from Cisco and Polycom. That way, everyone on a call doesn’t have to be logged into the same system.  Acquisitions in this market happen frequently. In April, for instance, Atlassian acquired Blue Jimp.

Blue Jeans customers include Facebook, GoPro, Pandora, and Stanford University.

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Navigating the Crowdfunding Landscape

Navigating the Crowdfunding Landscape | Crowd Funding, Micro-funding, New Approach for Investors - Alternatives to Wall Street | Scoop.it
Online peer-based fundraising tools have the potential to disrupt traditional investing models, but entrepreneurs and investors must overcome existing cultural and government barriers.
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Bottom Line: Online peer-based fundraising tools have the potential to disrupt traditional investing models, but entrepreneurs and investors must overcome existing cultural and government barriers.   In 2012, Eric Migicovsky had an idea. The recent engineering graduate had been trying to drum up investment to develop his concept of a “smartwatch,” a device that could connect to an iPhone or Android and provide athletes with real-time messages, music control, and distance calculations. But Migicovsky could raise only US$375,000 from angel investors — not enough to meet his R&D needs. So he decided to take a different approach, and turned to crowdfunding website Kickstarter. Within 24 hours, people had chipped in to raise the entirety of his $100,000 fundraising goal.  He gathered almost $10.3 million in the next three months to fund the release of the Pebble watch in 2013.  Reward-based crowdfunding is another popular approach. In this model, contributors are offered nonfinancial incentives — such as autographed merchandise, special editions of products, or early access to new offerings — in exchange for their backing. This market raked in more than $1.4 billion worldwide in 2012, or more than half of the total crowdfunding investment for that year.  Kshetri credits the helpful efforts of trade associations — such as the National Crowdfunding Association in the U.S., formed in advance of the JOBS Act — with driving legislative and policy changes, especially regarding equity- and reward-based models (though these groups probably won’t have the same luck at changing deeply held cultural beliefs or financial practices). And then there’s technology. Given the global reach of crowdfunding, its growth and usefulness to entrepreneurs depends on the compatibility of payment schemes. For example, the crowdfunding portal Ideame struggled to become the dominant player across Latin America because countries within the region use a variety of currencies and employ different systems to process Internet transactions. As a result, it’s more difficult for people to make cross-border investments, and collaboration between governments is needed to make the industry grow.  As crowdfunding projects become more sophisticated, Kshetri writes, their creators and promoters could improve their prospects by tailoring pitches to match the cultural expectations of potential contributors. For example, U.S.-based crowdfunding projects are typically product oriented, meaning investors expect to have a tangible asset as a result of their backing. Funders in South America, on the other hand, are more likely to support causes or products that benefit society as a whole.   Regardless, demand far exceeds supply in the worldwide finance industry. For example, the World Bank reports that about 2 billion adults in don’t have bank accounts. Could crowdfunding help fill this enormous gap and stimulate new activities among entrepreneurs who lack the access, experience, or cultural support to take advantage of traditional methods? Or will it simply be an alternative for those who already have other options?


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How To Be A VC Without Any Capital

How To Be A VC Without Any Capital | Crowd Funding, Micro-funding, New Approach for Investors - Alternatives to Wall Street | Scoop.it

One of the most frequent questions I get as a VC is how to become a VC.

Newly minted MBAs and startup veterans alike want to get into the investing game in increasingly large numbers. Unfortunately, there are so few VC jobs available in any given year it makes the prospect unlikely for most.

If you want to be a VC, my advice is to just get started; you can do the job of a VC without a dollar to your name. Seriously, you don’t need a specific degree, a list of specific credentials on your CV, or scads of family money to do the job of a venture capitalist. I’d wager that almost anyone reading this post has the raw cognitive capabilities to do the work. Read more: click image or title.



Create your own capital raising instruments for your own VC fund, with Financial Architect®

More here: http://www.business-funding-insider.com/RaisingCapital.html



Via Marc Kneepkens
Richard Platt's insight:
How to Be A Venture Capitalist, Minus the Capital: The job of a VC can be broken down into four distinct tasks:   (1) Sourcing Deals: Finding entrepreneurs at the earliest stages is a critical skill. It helps to have the imprimatur of a top-flight VC firm behind you, but fund affiliation isn’t a requirement.   - One way to source deals is to find meetups for emerging technologies and identify the most interesting and industrious attendees. Tim O’Reilly calls these people “Alpha geeks.” Chris Dixon has said that what hackers do in their garages for fun turns out to be what everyone does a decade later. If you can find groups of these people, you’re well on your way to your first investment. (2) Diligence: Another key aspect of the VC job is doing due diligence. This is the process where you look into the background of the founders to see if they’re credible and honest.  It also means doing a deep dive in the industry. Calling potential customers. Getting feedback from key opinion leaders. Creating a thesis for an emerging market. Working out financial models. Predicting how the market might develop.  It might be awkward to call around on individuals, but you can easily trawl for market information and craft all of this data into a compelling presentation.

(3) Negotiation: Once you’re sold on the founders and have found enough evidence to suggest the business will succeed, the next step is hammering out finances. How much money does this founder want/need? What kind of valuation would they accept? You’re not going to finalize things at this stage, but roughing out a basic set of terms is pretty straightforward.   "Money will chase opportunity."  Note: It’s absolutely critical that you remain 100 percent honest during this entire process. If you represent to startups that you work for a VC firm, or suggest any relationship that isn’t recognized by the VC, you’ll instantly be blackballed. Likewise, don’t make claims about being on the team when talking to the VCs. Clearly explain what you’re doing to all parties. When in doubt, disclose. Your reputation is in the balance.


(4) Financing: Now you might be thinking this is where my crazy notion of being an independent VC will fall apart. Unless you can bankroll the company independently, you’ll need to find some monied investors who are willing to take a risk, right?  This sounds hard, but money will chase opportunity. If you can find compelling companies, explain why the market is attractive, why this team is equipped to dominate that market and present a framework for a deal, there will be plenty of angels or firms willing to cut a check or, at least, take a meeting.  You’ll want to be on the radar of these folks before asking them to look at any of  your “deals,” but after a couple of high-quality intros, they’ll be eager to hear from you.


Much more to read and understand in the article before you attempt this being a VC without the Capital, but I can professionally tell you that it is a worthwhile read.

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Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, September 21, 2015 10:42 AM

Everyone can be a #VC. However, it's a tough job, not only do you need to know how to find the right #startups to work with, you also need to know how to attract the #investment #capital. Take a look at 'Financial Architect'. There is a free eBook download with a lot of information. http://bit.ly/1Lr9RrI


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What US VCs Require to Invest in Non-US Companies

What US VCs Require to Invest in Non-US Companies | Crowd Funding, Micro-funding, New Approach for Investors - Alternatives to Wall Street | Scoop.it

We are frequently asked by UK and other non-US companies what they need to do to attract US venture capital (VC) investment.  This post is the first of a four-part series addressing how a start-up can best prepare to pursue funding from US investors, starting with a discussion of the general requirements of US VCs considering non-US investments.

The discussion below relates only to early stage investment  


Via marcduke, Marc Kneepkens
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Venture capitalists – especially in Silicon Valley – place a high value on proximity to their early stage investments.  The reason for this is that VCs bring to the table not just cash, but also their experience, advice and networks.  Consequently, we find US VCs are reluctant to make early stage investments in non-US companies without a founder in reasonable proximity to the VC’s location.   We have seen exceptions where the VC was willing to invest in a company on the condition that it uses the funds to establish US operations.  However, in our experience this is usually where the company already has contracts with, and revenues from, significant US customers and business partners so that its further US business potential is clear.  It is also possible for a US VC to team with a non-US VC.  In this scenario, the non-US VC leads a Superseed/Series A round (with participation from the US VC) for a company located near to the non-US VC.  The US VC is then in prime position to lead the next investment round when the company sets up in the US.  While we believe this kind of cross-border teaming will increase, at present it is not particularly common. Thus, for the most part, non-US companies seeking US investment are faced with pressure to establish US operations earlier than they might otherwise prefer.  This can be done cost-effectively, but it is still expensive relative to the operating budget of a typical early stage company.  There also needs to be a founder willing to relocate to the US, and the company will need to work out an approach to cross-border management.  For UK or continental European companies, this poses particular challenges if the most likely potential VC investors are on the West Coast – that is eight or nine time zones distant, with potential flight times of 11 hours or more.

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Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, September 18, 2015 12:14 PM

#VC companies have their specific challenges, one is dealing with far away non US #startups. This article explains why.

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Google rolls out Android Pay: Here's what you should know

Google rolls out Android Pay: Here's what you should know | Crowd Funding, Micro-funding, New Approach for Investors - Alternatives to Wall Street | Scoop.it
Google's Android Pay is out in the wild, but don't leave your wallet at home just yet.
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Set up:  Android users wanting to give this a try need to be running Android 4.4 KitKat at the minimum. Phone also requires a Near Field Communication chip, which are found in most Android phones sold within the past three years. Users can make sure the chip is active by going to “Settings” and tapping “More.” The chip will be listed on that screen.  Users can add credit or debit cards to the app by taking a photo within the app or by manually entering in the card number and expiration date. The feature already works with cards issued by most popular banks and credit unions, including Bank of America, PNC, U.S. Bank, USAA and the Navy Federal Credit Union. Compatibility with Citi, Capital One and Wells Fargo is expected within days.

Using it:  Once the information is entered into the app, using it is as simple as placing it near a payment station with compatible technology, meaning a checkout stand with an NFC reader. Most compatible terminals will have an Android Pay or Google Wallet logo on them.   While Google boasts that Android Pay is available at 1 million locations, you can’t leave your wallet at home just yet. Only a few major retailers are on board and its more likely than not that you’ll have to pay the old fashioned way — with cards or cash. Some participating Android Pay retailers include Walgreens, Rite Aid, Subway, Whole Foods, Macy's, Bloomingdales, Toys’R’Us and Sports Authority.

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Why global fund bosses start out on their own

Why global fund bosses start out on their own | Crowd Funding, Micro-funding, New Approach for Investors - Alternatives to Wall Street | Scoop.it
Limited partners back investment professionals with good track record
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After being at the helm of Intel Capital's investments in India and the Asia-Pacific region for 15 years, Sudheer Kuppam decided to launch a new fund under his own firm - Epsilon Venture Partners - last month. With this, Kuppam has joined the club of global fund heads who are turning entrepreneurial by launching their own funds.  "There are no regional tech VC (venture capital) funds in Asia-Pacific. Epsilon fills that void and offers a unique value proposition to the investors and entrepreneurs," said Kuppam over phone from the US, where he has already hit the road to raise $400 million for his maiden fund. He is confident of having the first close in the next six months.   Epsilon is a regional VC and growth equity fund that will invest in the entire Asia-Pacific (except China) with a tech focus.  "You do not start your own fund solely because it is thrilling to be an entrepreneur," said Jain, co-founder, at Arpwood Capital. "The fundamental rationale is usually to serve a gap in the market, which is either unaddressed or you have a strong belief that you have a sustainable edge in that segment because of your experience."  "Many of the global funds have an implicit threshold of $100 million ticket size for investment and then at the other end, you have VCs who make sub $25-million investments. Hence, there is unfulfilled need for investing in $25-100 million ticket size," said Tamhane.  Being part of a global investments platform, one learns a lot about deal evaluation, operations, and the role of human capital thanks to the experience of the founders who have overseen investments across cycles, industries and geographies. These are all learnings that one gains by being a part of these leading global funds. So when they start on their own, this experience comes handy.

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Investments in digital health sector soar

Investments in digital health sector soar | Crowd Funding, Micro-funding, New Approach for Investors - Alternatives to Wall Street | Scoop.it
Investors are seeing the potential of digital health, with funding for startups in the area reaching billions of dollars.

Via HealthlinkNY, Lionel Reichardt / le Pharmageek
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Not really a surprise here with the aging population that we have that is only going to increase with all of the Baby Boomer's retiring

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Scrutiny of Security Start-Ups May Signal Shift in Venture Funding

Scrutiny of Security Start-Ups May Signal Shift in Venture Funding | Crowd Funding, Micro-funding, New Approach for Investors - Alternatives to Wall Street | Scoop.it

Cybersecurity companies have had an easy time raising money in Silicon Valley over the last few years. But investors are starting to ask about profit and sustainability.

SAN FRANCISCO — A funny thing happened to Orion Hindawi while he was raising $120 million for his cybersecurity start-up last month: Investors asked him about profits.

A year ago, Mr. Hindawi raised $90 million, followed by an additional $52 million this year from the Silicon Valley venture firm Andreessen Horowitz. Investors were willing to place a $900 million valuation on his company, called Tanium, without so much as a glance at revenue or profit margin.

This time, not so. As he made the rounds with investors like Institutional Venture Partners and T. Rowe Price, Mr. Hindawi said, he was asked to show sales and profit margins. “A lot of the funders we spoke with are starting to get really scared,” he said. “This time the questions were, ‘Is this a sustainable business? Do you guys actually make money?’ ”


Via Marc Kneepkens
Richard Platt's insight:

Cybersecurity companies have had an easy time raising money in Silicon Valley over the last few years. But investors are starting to ask about profit and sustainability.    A funny thing happened to Orion Hindawi while he was raising $120 million for his cybersecurity start-up last month: Investors asked him about profits.  A year ago, Mr. Hindawi raised $90 million, followed by an additional $52 million this year from the Silicon Valley venture firm Andreessen Horowitz. Investors were willing to place a $900 million valuation on his company, called Tanium, without so much as a glance at revenue or profit margin.   This time, not so. As he made the rounds with investors like Institutional Venture Partners and T. Rowe Price, Mr. Hindawi said, he was asked to show sales and profit margins. “A lot of the funders we spoke with are starting to get really scared,” he said. “This time the questions were, ‘Is this a sustainable business? Do you guys actually make money?’ ”

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Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, September 3, 2015 10:43 AM

#VC firms are slowing down and start asking questions about revenues. Money flow is getting tighter.

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The Case that Launched 10,000 Patent Law Suits

The Case that Launched 10,000 Patent Law Suits | Crowd Funding, Micro-funding, New Approach for Investors - Alternatives to Wall Street | Scoop.it
The Polaroid-Kodak dispute involved patents covering instant photography, which at the time was among the most valuable technologies. It was the case that launched 10,000 patent suits, many by non-practicing entities.

Via Kenneth Carnesi,JD
Richard Platt's insight:

For more than 200 years, the U.S. patent system has bumped along, imperfect and the subject of anger and frustration on the part of patent infringers and patent owners alike, but still capable of producing geniuses like the Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison and scores of inventions that changed the world.  Polaroid v. Kodak, concluded in 1991 after 15 years, was the first “billion dollar” patent damages award ($909 million), and, until this year, the largest satisfied judgment in a patent case awarded by a U.S. court. In current value, the award would be almost $2 billion. It was the case that launched 10,000 patent suits, many by non-practicing entities.
The Polaroid dispute involved patents covering instant photography, which at the time was among the most valuable technologies. But as one observer pointed out, by the end of the long dispute, the Polaroid-Kodak battle was “little more than two aging giants dueling on the decks of the Titanic.” Digital photography would soon eclipse instant photography, and both litigants were on the road to insolvency.
Polaroid, which once had 27,000 employees, filed for bankruptcy twice, once in 2001 and then again in 2008 (aka “Chapter 22”), and Kodak, which boasted 147,000 workers at its peak, filed in 2012. It was too little too late to save these once great businesses.
Polaroid and Kodak were the standard-bearers of quality in their respective fields — instant photography, inexpensive cameras and photographic film. Kodachrome was the go-to brand among both professional and amateur photographers for decades, unsurpassed for sharpness and color saturation. Both companies were guilty of focusing too keenly on protecting the formidable and highly profitable products they had and not on those that were to emerge.

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Samsung starts testing its Apple Pay competitor in the U.S.

Samsung starts testing its Apple Pay competitor in the U.S. | Crowd Funding, Micro-funding, New Approach for Investors - Alternatives to Wall Street | Scoop.it
Samsung Pay is now being beta-tested in the U.S. The new digital payment method will be available to select owners of Galaxy devices including the S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, and the Note 5.
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Samsung Pay is now being beta-tested in the U.S. The new digital payment method will be available to select owners of Galaxy devices including the S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, and the Note 5.   Samsung Pay allows users to upload credit card information to their phone and use it as a way to pay at credit card-accepting retailers. Samsung claims that users can pay with their phone at 90% of retail locations in the U.S.   The new payment feature is an attempt to compete with Apple, Google, and other tech companies that have recently launched phone-based payment systems. It’s worth noting that unlike Apple Pay, which allows users to make purchases in stores and within native mobile apps, Samsung Pay is only for making purchases at physical retailers.

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Wirecard Reportedly Bid $9.4B On Worldpay

Wirecard Reportedly Bid $9.4B On Worldpay | Crowd Funding, Micro-funding, New Approach for Investors - Alternatives to Wall Street | Scoop.it
The bidding war that may or may not be gong on for U.K.-based payments processor Worldpay may have gotten more interesting with the entry of rival Wirecard.

Via Kenneth Carnesi,JD
Richard Platt's insight:

The 3rd Wave of IT - in this particular case - mobile tech, is also related to IoT and thus wearables as well.  Exchanging $$ via whatever medium as a base functionality has always been rewarded by the marketplace.

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Social Finance Snags $4B Valuation

Social Finance Snags $4B Valuation | Crowd Funding, Micro-funding, New Approach for Investors - Alternatives to Wall Street | Scoop.it
Online lender Social Finance has raked in around $1 billion from its collective investors, bringing the startup's value to roughly $4 billion. The San

Via Kenneth Carnesi,JD
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FinTech just got a boost in credibility

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The Fundraising Field Guide is a self-help book for capital-seeking startups

The Fundraising Field Guide is a self-help book for capital-seeking startups | Crowd Funding, Micro-funding, New Approach for Investors - Alternatives to Wall Street | Scoop.it
Seedcamp is one of the better-known acceleration funds in Europe. Based out of London, it has backed over 180 companies since it was founded in 2007. This
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The book, titled Fundraising Field Guide, took a year to write and culminated from a series of blog posts Espinal wrote to help founders. Espinal says that he decided to really embark on the project after a conversation with Rob Fitzpatrick, author of The Mom Test.

He self-published the book using Reedsy, a platform for authors to link up with editors, designers and marketers to help with their book and also one of Seedcamps investments.  -  The key narrative throughout is how to face the challenges involved in the fundraising journey taken by almost every startup. From reaching out to investors, dealing with rejection and learning from it to preparing financials, understanding valuations and negotiating a deal, it acts as a handbook for anyone embarking on this journey.

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7 Steps of a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign in Business

7 Steps of a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign in Business | Crowd Funding, Micro-funding, New Approach for Investors - Alternatives to Wall Street | Scoop.it
7 Steps of a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign http://t.co/3mgptcFxmS

Via TechinBiz
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What are the differences between an Angel and Series A round of funding?

What are the differences between an Angel and Series A round of funding? | Crowd Funding, Micro-funding, New Approach for Investors - Alternatives to Wall Street | Scoop.it

A major chunk of investments in startups is done either by Venture capitalist firms or by Angel investors. Therefore, it becomes essential for entrepreneurs to understand the difference between them. To read more click on image or title.



$


Via Marc Kneepkens
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Read and Heed

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Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, September 21, 2015 8:51 AM

It is essential to know the difference between angel investors and venture capital. Angel investors are individuals working with their own money, venture capital works with investment funds. However, there are other ways to raise capital now thanks to the Job Act. Check out what this VC company is doing, very hopeful and empowering for startups who have always struggled with the issue of raising funds. Take a look at what CCA has created, you can either work with them directly or learn how to do the whole process yourself. http://bit.ly/1Lr9RrI


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Cisco commits $10M to fund for Asean startups

Cisco commits $10M to fund for Asean startups | Crowd Funding, Micro-funding, New Approach for Investors - Alternatives to Wall Street | Scoop.it
Cisco Investment has pledged $10 million to Monk's Hill Venture's innovation fund for Asean startups, focusing on those that provide tools in cloud, mobility, big data analytics, and the Internet of Everything.
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Cisco Systems' investment arm has unveiled plans to invest $10 million into Monk's Hill Ventures' innovation fund for Asean startups.

The fund supports early-stage startups that offer tools in cloud, the Internet of Everything (IoE), big data and analytics, mobility, and enterprise applications, said Cisco Investments in a statement on Wednesday.  Monk's Hill Ventures focuses on technology startups with operations in Southeast Asia, as well as global tech startups looking to expand into this region.  Apart from offering financial help, Cisco said it also would be looking to provide its technology and go-to-market expertise with the selected startups. The networking vendor's Asean president Saleh M. Haji Munshi said: "Asean continues to be one of the most diverse, fast-moving, and competitive regions in the world with countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.   "In addition to attracting multinationals, Asean has become a launching pad for new companies; the region now accounts for 38% of Asia's market for initial public offerings," he said, citing figures from McKinsey.

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WebAction Raises Additional $20 Million in Series B-1 Funding

WebAction Raises Additional $20 Million in Series B-1 Funding | Crowd Funding, Micro-funding, New Approach for Investors - Alternatives to Wall Street | Scoop.it
WebAction cinched an additional $20 million in Series B-1 funding this week, bringing the company's lifetime total to 31 million.
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WebAction cinched an additional $20 million in Series B-1 funding this week, bringing the company's lifetime total to $31 million. The data integration streaming analytics provider said the latest round of funding will be used to boost its technical and marketing expertise surrounding the newly rebranded Striim (pronounced Stream) data platform.  The latest round of funding was sponsored by WebAction’s returning investors, including Intel Capital, Summit Partners and others. The company said it will also use the investment to develop its sales organization and create channels so it can meet increasing customer demand. WebAction previously raised $11 million in Series B funding in 2013.  Cloud Technology Partners Raises Additional $3.5M in Funding 

Igor Taber, investment director for Big Data and Analytics at Intel Capital, will join WebAction’s board of directors as a result of the funding, according to the announcement.   “When we started WebAction, we recognized the importance of real-time data integration and streaming change data capture, as well as the opportunity for a new software offering that could introspect data while in-motion,” said Ali Kutay, founder, president and CEO of WebAction, in a statement. “Fast forward to today, we now draw on our deep experience in both data integration and application infrastructure to make streaming data integration accessible, and deliver an enterprise-strength, end-to-end streaming analytics platform.” WebAction also announced the rebranding of its software platform as Striim to reflect its use in end-to-end streaming integration and intelligence. The company said the change is in name only, with the platform itself remaining the same as its original product. While the current version of Striim is identical to previous offerings, WebAction did tease several updates for its upcoming Fall release. The latest version of Striim will include new features for streaming data integration as well as for streaming analytics and operational intelligence.

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Devops software company Chef raises $40M with HP Ventures participating

Devops software company Chef raises $40M with HP Ventures participating | Crowd Funding, Micro-funding, New Approach for Investors - Alternatives to Wall Street | Scoop.it
Chef, a startup with devops software for automating the management of the infrastructure that applications run on, announced today that it has raised $40 million in new funding.
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Chef’s software, which includes some open-source components, is widely used. Chef says it has more than 750 paying customers, including Facebook, GE, IBM, Nordstrom, and Yahoo. Now the startup is looking to become an even bigger force in enterprise software, as it continues to face competition from privately held Puppet, Ansible, and SaltStack, among others.  DFJ Growth and Millennium Technology Value Partners led the new round. Battery Ventures, Citi Ventures, DFJ, Ignition Partners, and Scale Venture Partners also participated, along with new strategic investor Hewlett-Packard Ventures. At one point, HP held a prominent role in the business of configuration management, thanks to its $1.6 billion Opsware acquisition in 2007. Now Chef and Puppet regularly get attention in the category of devops, which stands for the fusion of developers and operations in the same person or team.

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The rise of the thematic VC and what it means for founders

The rise of the thematic VC and what it means for founders | Crowd Funding, Micro-funding, New Approach for Investors - Alternatives to Wall Street | Scoop.it
Thematic venture capital funds have come into vogue over the last decade.
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Thematic venture capital funds have come into vogue over the last decade. Firms used to be generalists and VC was an artisanal craft largely organized by stage and fund size. Today there are hardware funds, B2B funds, and funds with very explicit theses around the types of companies or founders they invest in.   Corporations have funds. Incubators have funds. The venture market has come to parallel the ETF market with a proliferation of investment flavors and vehicles. Funds have even been raised to address highly specific trends, platforms (e.g. iPhone Fund, Facebook Fund, Google Glass Collective), even numerology.  Part of the reason for this proliferation is that themes are tremendously useful. They provide guideposts for the investors and help differentiate themselves to entrepreneurs. Union Square Ventures backs startups that show evidence of network effects. This operating philosophy, paired with the team’s excellent track record, has led to amazing returns. Similarly, the Foundry Group, Collaborative Fund, and IA Ventures use core themes to define their investment approach. This allows funds to truly go deep in a domain and develop an encyclopedic knowledge of the players and technologies. Additionally, because they’re explicit about their focus, it is easier for entrepreneurs and co-investors to identify whether they would consider a given investment or not.

There are also domains that require hyper-specialization. Biotech, for example, requires a deeper understanding of science than other fields given the risk, timelines, and the very different set of metrics by which they’re evaluated. VCs need to have an innate sense of the market since biotech companies rarely have revenues when they go public or get acquired.

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Healthcare Startups, Giving, and Developing New Forms

Healthcare Startups, Giving, and Developing New Forms | Crowd Funding, Micro-funding, New Approach for Investors - Alternatives to Wall Street | Scoop.it
Data could serve as the platform for many burgeoning new communities to come together to find solutions to shared problems.

Via Lionel Reichardt / le Pharmageek
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Data could serve as the platform for many burgeoning new communities to come together to find solutions to shared problems.

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Here's How Startups Actually Start Up

Here's How Startups Actually Start Up | Crowd Funding, Micro-funding, New Approach for Investors - Alternatives to Wall Street | Scoop.it
Explained in plain English

There’s a sucker born every day — or so they say. But the way startup fever has been spreading across the land, it almost feels more like there’s a Zuckerberg being born every day. And that feeling is real. According to data from the Kauffman Foundation, 2015 has marked the first year startup activity has been on the rise since the Great Recession. In fact, it’s soaring — the numbers show we’re living through the biggest upswing in new companies, products, business deals, and jobs in the past twenty years.


Via Marc Kneepkens
Richard Platt's insight:

According to data from the Kauffman Foundation, 2015 has marked the first year startup activity has been on the rise since the Great Recession. In fact, it’s soaring — the numbers show we’re living through the biggest upswing in new companies, products, business deals, and jobs in the past twenty years.  That makes it sound like now is the perfect time to bring your million dollar idea to market — but how is that even done?   -  1st off, begin by casting aside any fears that you can’t make a dent in the tech universe with little computer prowess.“We’re seeing more and more people enter the tech space because the definition of tech continues to grow,” says Michele Markey, vice president of Kauffman FastTrac, a global network of advisors helping entrepreneurs launch and grow companies. She’s seen everything from medical devices to mobile apps launch from Main Street as much as Silicon Valley, and that’s a trend many expect to continue.    1. Eying the competition:  It may not sound as exciting as a weekend-long hackathon or a giving a flashy presentation to a bunch of investors, but the reality is that most startups live and die based on early research. Scoping out the competition is vital to understanding where there’s an opportunity to make a move. This can involve everything from dissecting competing products to improve upon their designs or simply mapping out their locations to find a new way to reach underserved customers.   2. Finding and defining customers:  Markey says startup founders also conduct research by hitting the bricks and talking to would-be customers about their ideas. “A smart entrepreneur needs to figure out where their sweet spot in the marketplace is,” she says. “Who is that customer that’s going to use the product, pay the money, and maybe be the repeat user?  

3. Shoring up intellectual property:   Padlocking your product or service with an array of patents, trademarks, or copyrights can sound terribly dull, but the truth is it’s one of the most important steps to ensuring a budding company’s success. Without these protections, a competitor can swoop in and copy an idea without having to pay a dime for all the hard work done until this point.  And finally, startups are also wise to copyright their reproducible works. Whether it’s an paperback, and e-book, or even an image, if it can be duplicated, it should be protected. That may sound like a publishing industry problem rather than a startup issue, but as TechCrunch noted last year, it only took four hours for copyright law to crush one particular startup’s dreams.

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Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, August 29, 2015 9:13 AM

A great down-to-earth outline of what it takes to #startup your own #venture.

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Why Do Startups Fail?

Why Do Startups Fail? | Crowd Funding, Micro-funding, New Approach for Investors - Alternatives to Wall Street | Scoop.it
I came across a March 2015 TED talk by Bill Gross, founder of the business incubator Idealab. He set out to identify the “single biggest reason why startups succeed” (or fail). To do so, he conside...
Richard Platt's insight:

First, figuring out what consumers want and need still remains the first thing to do for any startup to succeed. Second, accelerators/incubators (such as Idealab) can help startups hone their business proposition; yet they can’t prevent them from failing for other– often unexpected–reasons. That’s why startups continue being a risky business.

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Apple Pay Wins Over Another Big Online Retailer

Apple Pay Wins Over Another Big Online Retailer | Crowd Funding, Micro-funding, New Approach for Investors - Alternatives to Wall Street | Scoop.it
Customers of online retailer zulily can now add Apple Pay to their list of available payment methods when shopping.

Via Kenneth Carnesi,JD
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Nobody can say that Apple isn't hungry for a slice of the mobile $$ exchange functionality that ApplePay provides, competition will heat up in this space, more high tech firms to join this very lucrative market.

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The Best Defense Against Activist Investors -

The Best Defense Against Activist Investors - | Crowd Funding, Micro-funding, New Approach for Investors - Alternatives to Wall Street | Scoop.it
Contractors in the aerospace and defense sector can fend off aggressive activist investors by adopting a capabilities-driven approach.
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No public company is too big and no sector too complex to be targeted. Consider that Icahn Enterprises in 2014 launched an activist campaign against Apple — the largest U.S. company by market capitalization — and ultimately convinced management to change its cash management strategy. At about US$750 billion, Apple’s market capitalization is bigger than that of the top 20 A&D companies combined. The ways that Aerospace & Defense companies (Because in the A&D sector meet their  criteria, several defense contractors have become prime targets for activist campaigns, including L-3 Communications, ITT, URS, and AeroVironment) and they are vulnerable to activists, and the choice they face now — either to proactively change strategies or to have new ones imposed on them by outsiders — provides valuable lessons.  Activist investors like Carl Icahn and Jana Partners have developed a well-tuned methodology for targeting publicly held companies they believe are underperforming. These activists buy a significant stock position, agitate for board seats, and attempt to force strategic and structural changes aimed at increasing shareholder value. Activists focus on companies that are cash-rich but whose stock prices lag the market average, have portfolios of businesses in which underperforming units might be worth more to other owners, and are in industries that are ripe for consolidation.  Companies shouldn’t be content to adopt a passive posture. It turns out that the best defense against activist investors for A&D companies — and other companies that may be similarly vulnerable to such campaigns — is a good offense. And a good offense starts with a strategy based on capabilities. Company leaders need to ask themselves whether they have the “right to win” in their current markets. It’s vital to be honest with the answer, because answering “yes” means managers are confident they have a clear strategy to significantly increase shareholder value in the short to medium term that will position the business above its peer group. Sustaining those types of returns is feasible only when a company relies on distinctive capabilities that competitors can’t match, with products and services that fit within that capabilities system.  A candid assessment of the company’s right to win will enable leaders to assess the fair value of each business, determine whether each business belongs in the company’s portfolio or would perform better within another entity, and then to optimize the overall portfolio’s value, through organic investment, acquisitions, or divestitures. Companies that pursue this kind of coherent portfolio strategy — like Disney, General Electric, Pfizer, or Raytheon — tend to achieve a “coherence premium” in the market.  By basing portfolio decisions on how well different businesses fit with a company’s capabilities system — a task where management has the advantage — leaders can proactively rationalize and optimize their business portfolios. Doing so, they will act as stewards of shareholder value, while co-opting the typical strategies that activists employ. They will both position their companies for growth and deprive activists of a key avenue of attack.

Excellent article for those industries and firms under assault from Activist Investors.

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The 14 fastest unicorns to reach $1 billion

The 14 fastest unicorns to reach $1 billion | Crowd Funding, Micro-funding, New Approach for Investors - Alternatives to Wall Street | Scoop.it
Some get there faster than others.
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Not a lot of companies get to a $1 billion valuation, or the so-called “unicorn” status.  -  And some of them manage to do it faster than others.  These are the companies that got to a $1 billion valuation faster than anyone else, based on data from research firm Pitchbook.

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