European VC takes a nose dive

Don't say you weren't warned: It's back…. VC Doom and Gloom.

According to Venture Source and the NYT, European Venture has hit it's lowest point since 2000. Investment dollars declined by 35% to $1.3 billion and companies receiving investment were down by 42% to 167.

The upshot is that early stage investing isn't dead:

“Venture capitalists are being
very selective about the companies they back but they’re by no means
abandoning the European market. In the first six months of the year,
44% of venture deals in Europe were seed or first rounds—we haven’t
seen this level of early-stage interest since the first half of 2001."

Which is great, b/c these companies can grow up during the downturn and hopefully come out swinging when times are better. For portfolio companies that are long in the tooth though…Fred is rumored to be lurking in his Vadar mask.

Critical Mass London- Get out your Bike [Updated]


After further thought, I won't be attending. Possibly the most dangerous vehicle on the roads is the Irresponsible Cyclist. 

While I agree that more cycle awareness and support for cyclists is needed, I don't think breaking the law, clogging traffic and generally causing mayhem is the best way to advance cycling in metropolitan areas. 

One of the key criticisms I always hear about cyclists in London is that they "always break the law"- which is something I make a point of not doing. Responsible cycling is really the best way forward… with awareness and respect from motor vehicles- I can't see that Critical Mass promotes that type of protest, so won't be joining. Ping me or leave a comment if you know of any "positive protests" in the City…


Conditions for cyclists in London can range from pretty poor to extremely dangerous… I literally have *very* close calls on a daily basis. Luckily I haven't eaten any pavement yet, but I'm sure it won't be long, despite being pretty defensive out there.

If you'd like to join an awareness event for cycling, the next Critical Mass London is next Friday at 6pm on the South Bank under Waterloo Bridge, by the National Film Theatre. 

What's Critical Mass? Here's a recent video from the WSJ on its origins:

The Music Revolution

Wow, talk about music news this week. Muxtape got its wrist slapped by the RIAA…

…but there are new music start ups to pick up where Muxtape left off (if it’s in fact dead, and not a publicity stunt).

Some new arrivals on the scene are 8Tracks, Grooveshark Lite and Simplify Media. I’ve covered other cool music sites in the past here as well.

Music startups are not for the faint of heart or the shallow-pocketed. Spiral Frog has spent $12 Million and hasn’t even launched. They were reported to be looking for a further $25 Million. And that’s pre-launch.

8Tracks has spent about $80k to get the service to where it is today, but has a special license that they’re using currently.

I’ve been watching several guys here in Europe, but see real business model challenges to ad based music services given the royalty rates that the majors are looking for. Silicon Alley Insider has a good overview of why the current licensing model is broken. They calculate 1 ad per song to break even, we’ve run some numbers and they look higher than that to us- which means if it doesn’t work at 1 ad per song, then things just go downhill from there,

Add in the fact that WalMart is pulling/reducing its music inventory, which can’t be a good thing for the Labels either… all of which leaves me scratching my head as to where these guys plan on making money (Not online and not in store- that doesn’t leave many options.)

So what’s next, who’s going to start the Music Revolution (or has it already quietly begun)?

(thnx to datsuncog for the tape pic)