Jason Ball's TechBytes

Technology & Venture Capital. Early stage venture capital news mixed with personal views and comments

iTunes Music Store Sells One Million Videos

“Selling one million videos in less than 20 days strongly suggests there is a market for legal video downloads,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Our next challenge is to broaden our content offerings, so that customers can enjoy watching more videos on their computers and new iPods.”

This is exactly why I downloaded the entire first season of Lost immediately: to support the format and promote its expansion. Anyone for old Seinfeld episodes?

Filed under: Apple Computer, iPod

Upcoming Venture Capital and Entrepreneur Events

Building a Business course
Date: Tuesday 1st November 2005, 5.30pm

Our free eight-week evening lecture course focusing on basic business skills, with a focus on science entrepreneurship starts on November 1st. It is a free course for all University members and the local business community. Over 1,500 people have taken this course to date. It is designed around technological enterprise but most course material is relevant to general business practice.  For more information and to register, please click here

The Oxford Forum on Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Silicon Valley comes to Oxford – Networks in the 21st Century
Date: Monday 21st November, 6.00pm

Technologies such as blogging, social network media and open source have handed power and influence to the consumer. Mass collaboration technologies are creating value in themselves, and are allowing consumers to create value in an unprecedented manner.  Pioneering Silicon Valley entrepreneurs Craig Conway, founder of Craig’s List, Evan Williams, founder of bloggers, Bob Young, founder of Red Hat, and others join Silicon Valley venture capitalists to discuss the social and economic impact of these collaboration technologies.

V-NET- MIT Enterprise Forum Networking Event
Date: Early December, date to be confirmed

V-NET is a partnership across the London-based MIT Enterprise Forum, Cambridge University Entrepreneurs, London Business School’s Entrepreneurship Club and Oxford University Science Enterprise Centre. This is a high-profile speaker event, with a focus on Bioscience.
Exclusive to members of V-Net’s partner organizations, MBA students and Oxford entrepreneurs. 

More information on each event at theOxford Science Centre

Filed under: Events, Conferences and Panels, Technology, Venture Capital

London Start-ups: Flirtomatic

Flirtomatic
Normally, I can’t post regarding companies I’ve met with. However, since this post is out in the wild on alarm:clock, I’ll make a few observations.

Flirtomatic approached London Seed Capital and London Business Angels earlier in the summer looking for a different sum than what they raised in the end from Doughty Hanson. Unfortunately, DH offered more money at a higher valuation that what we were considering, and the company made an understandable choice to go with the larger funding round. I’m not convinced they need what they raised since their marketing spend should be limited to an initial London-based splash and then feed on the viral aspect of the business and I doubt the ownership structure varies significantly from what we were proposing.

The team have an excellent skill set and represent the type of company you long to see in early stage VC: experienced management, with directly relevant skills starting a business with explosive growth potential.

The company has approached their business model in a novel way compared to previous mobile companies, and it’s one that I’m seeing more frequently: they are effectively cutting the network operators out of the value chain. Because their app runs on data transmission, and not premium SMS, they hold on to the lions share of the revenue. Plus, because it’s subscription based- there’s a nice recurring revenue stream.

Congratulations Mark and Avi on successfully launching the service.

(And a tip of the hat to Alarm:clock for covering London-based start-ups.)

Filed under: Mobile, Venture Capital

Video on iTunes

Itunesvideo
I’ve just downloaded the first season of "Lost" from the iTunes Video store. I agree completely with C.K’s comments over at tuaw. Even if the format might be considered "small" by some people, I think the format and distribution channel should be supported.

Since it’s introduction, I’ve become a real fan of the iTunes Music Store- I very rarely buy physical CDs anymore- usually only if there is a DVD included- and this is something that is going the way of the dinosaur with Videos being included along with the music.

I don’t have the new iPod with video (yet), but this will make my evening commute much more fun. Also, since American shows tend to run 1 season behind, I can download the entire season in one fell swoop- at an attractive savings per show.

Filed under: Apple Computer, iPod

Symbian Smartphone Show Recap

Venture Capital Investors

I’ve spent the better part of today at the Symbian Smartphone Show on the Investor Program. The most striking part of today was the complete lack of investor presence at the show. We run investor events every month and a half at the London Business Angel network and I attend other investor events frequently. There were 10 companies specifically presenting to raise VC funds with probably 15 investors in the room to hear their pitch. Pitiful. Also, the guest list for the general show wasn’t crowded with VCs either. That’s the kind of attitude to investing that makes me happy to be in the UK- the investors here have no initiative- they primarly want to act as banks. Very disappointing, but it leaves lots of room to select the best companies to invest in.

The "Evaluation and Valuation of Early Stage High Tech Opportunities" was a good panel session. Andrea Traversone, Partner at Amadeus Capital Partners Limited made a some good comments:

  • Regarding Corporate Venture arms: Keep corporate venturers at less than a 10% shareholding, don’t allow them to have a board seat and have multiple corporate venture investors- not just one.
  • Exits: Amadeus conduct painfully detailed exit scenario planning. On reviewing their work over 10 years, they found that 9 out of 10 predictions were entirely wrong. There’s no focus on exit planning anymore- they focus on building a solid business.

Applications

I’ve seen some interesting companies today:

ScreenshotWho: Cognima
Where: London, England
What: A phone centric approach to to managing an oline photo album or blog.
The app interfaces between your phone and flickr for easy photoblogging.

Screenshot1
Who: Macromedia
Where: USA
What: Macromedia Flash Lite
Excellent Flash-driven interfaces for phones and Flash Cast. Only one app is available in the UK currently from broadcaster ITV.

Find_see_do_collage_home
Who: Gate5
Where: Berlin, Germany
What:smart2go™ which turns your mobile phone (Symbian Series 60, Series 80,
UIQ and Microsoft Windows Mobile Smartphone), PocketPC or Palm into a
full scale navigation system.

 

Filed under: Technology, Venture Capital

Airport Express Problems

I’ve been having problems with my Airport Express hanging when I’m putting lots of traffic through it. This usually results in me resetting it to get it working again.

After a bit of research on Apple’s Disscussion pages, I came across the following tip:

Open Airport Admin Utility, select the AE and click configure. From the new window click the Network tab. Under AirPort client computers, select "Share a single IP address". From the drop down list choose "Use 172.16.1.1 addressing" (ANYTHING apart from the 10.0.1.1 option, I think this is the problem?). Next click the update button at the bottom right of the window.

If you’re having problems with your Airport Express dropping the connection, hanging, stalling, etc…you might want to try making this minor adjustment. It seems to have solved the issue for me.

Filed under: Apple Computer

The Symbian Smartphone Show

I received my confirmation today that I’ll be attending the Investor Program at the Symbian Smartphone show on October 11th. As I posted earlier, if you’re a start-up in this space, you can still apply to present your business for free.

If you’re planning on attending drop me a line @ techbytes at mac dot com and we’ll meet up there.

Filed under: Venture Capital

Vistaprint raises $120 million in IPO

Vistaprint_2dlogo_2dhorizontal_1

Congratulations to my friend Shawn Luetchens at Saffron Hill Ventures on their recent exit…and thanks to Rodrigo for pointing out their IPO. More details on Vistaprint at Rodrigo’s blog: Vistaprint raises $120m in handsome IPO.

Filed under: Venture Capital

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