Wired Up

I picked up the May copy of Wired’s UK edition this week. I’ve always preferred the US version since I’m not in the US- it keeps me up to speed on what’s happening there- but it hit me how powerful the UK version is for the European start-up scene.

Enter the Wired 100 People.

Everyone knows the legends in the Valley, and everyone goes on and on about the Valley (it *is* a special place afterall). I’ve been here for 10 years and Europe has always had problems gaining start-up momentum – there’s no epicenter, there’s no critical mass- and there are no Heros.

Wired is creating local Heros, and I applaud them for it. Singling out successful entrepreneurs, investors, inventors- and holding them up – is something Europe desperately needs. It’s not going to instantly make a scene- but the Wired 100 + the Silicon Alley map they produced last year + …. starts to create a sense of community. And that’s just what Europe needs.

(Also, special congratulations to you Reshma for coming in at number 12. Reshma Sohoni is CEO of  Seedcamp- another group that’s doing a great job building a strong European start-up scene. If you’re just starting out, and you don’t know about Seedcamp- you need to get to one of their mini seedcamps as soon as you can.)

The Next Web

Good post over at Genuine VC yesterday covering the History of the Web:

…a transition among three distinct phases of consumers’ primary activity online from receiving, to hunting, and now doing…

Receiving, Hunting, Doing is a good indication of what we’ve seen so far- and I think we’re going full circle to "Receiving" again- only this time from intelligent sources.

Two examples are Kwiry or Tripit. With Tripit, you email them your travel itneratry and they scour the web in the background and send you a nice package of maps, directions, thoughtful suggestions, etc.

I’ve posted many times about "intelligence inside" which lives in the same neighborhood as the Semantic Web:

…I also think there’s a huge opportunity to get to data sooner via the sensor revolution. When phones report location, when phones listen to ambient sound, when credit cards report spending patterns, when cars report their miles traveled, when we’re increasingly turning every device into a sensor for the global brain, there will be more and more sources of data to be mined…

All of which means the process is reversing: doing by machines, hunting by spiders and receiving by users- remix and repeat.

Intelligence Inside

I’m always on the look out for smart new apps that save me time.

Feeds2.0 is one of my stand-bys for RSS readers. It ranks incoming articles based on your previous reading patterns and tends to border on clairvoyance. Pretty amazing stuff.

That said, I’m up for trying new services. A few new ones I’ve come across this week are:
silobreaker (thanks Rob)

All of them are slightly different, but very useful. I’m trying out feedhub sent through Google Reader. We’ll see if their results can top Feeds 2.0. Pipes is just so hackable, it begs to be loved and silobreaker is a news-junkie’s best friend. Enjoy.

San Fran Brightoncisco

03I’d missed this post over at Blognation while I was away on vacation earlier this month.

The post highlights the high levels of cool things happening in Brighton and Sussex comparing the area to San Francisco. A quick review of Wiredsussex (one of the cooler recruitment sites around. Picture to the left from their site) will give you an idea of start-up activity.

Universities are also highlighted, but it doesn’t mention that the Sussex University has some of the best natural language processing experts around. We invested into Magpie– a Brighton based company search company- about 14 months ago and I’ve seen the number of startups in the region really ramp up.

Glad to see the area getting some coverage alongside Oxford and Cambridge. (Bristol is another hot spot to watch).

Continue reading “San Fran Brightoncisco”

Oxford University Entrepreneurship Competition

Just in case you missed my post earlier this year, Oxford are running their 21st Century Entrepreneurship Competition:

The Oxford University 21st Century Challenge Competition is a new and ambitious international entrepreneurship competition being run by the Said Business School, Oxford.We are looking for bold and innovative business ideas that can help to solve the key environmental, health and social challenges of the 21st Century.Entries are now invited into the following challenge tracks:• Tomorrow’s Planet – the environment• Tomorrow’s People – healthcare and medicine• Tomorrow’s Wealth – wealth distributionThe deadline for all submissions is 5pm (GMT), Friday 12th October.Nine short listed finalists (3 from each track) will be invited to pitch their idea to a panel of judges at the Said Business School in Oxford on Thursday 29th November 2007.The overall competition winner will receive the top prize of £35,000 in cash, with three further prizes of £10,000 for the winner of each challenge track.

You don’t have to be an Oxford student to participate. The application deadline is 12th October. Continue reading “Oxford University Entrepreneurship Competition”

Google Gadget Ventures?

It appears that Google is going head to head with seed investors (like Y combinator) with its Google Gadget Ventures:

Google Gadget Ventures is a new Google pilot program dedicated to helping developers create richer, more useful Google Gadgets. Inspired by the success of iGoogle, which has been driven by the creation by 3rd-party developers of a broad range of gadgets, Gadget Ventures provides two types of funding:

1. Grants of $5,000 to those who’ve built gadgets we’d like to see developed further. You’re eligible to apply for a grant if you’ve developed a gadget that’s in our Google gadgets directory and gets at least 250,000 weekly page views. To apply, you must submit a one-page proposal detailing how you’d use the grant to improve your gadget.

2. Seed investments of $100,000 to developers who’d like to build a business around the Google gadgets platform. Only Google Gadget Venture grant recipients are eligible for this type of funding. Submitting a business plan detailing how you plan to build a viable business around the gadgets platform is a required part of the seed investment application process.

If it’s google gadgets now, are google apps next?

On a related note, does Google’s recent ubiquisys investment + FON = ?

Continue reading “Google Gadget Ventures?”


Great post from Tim and follow up debate over at the O’Reilly Radar on Google and Amazon. Here’s an excerpt:

If Google or Amazon were your bank or credit card, they’d let you know
which merchants had the best prices for the same products, so you’d be
a smarter shopper next time. They’d let merchants know what products
were popular with people who also bought related products. They’d help
merchants stock the right products by zip code. They’d let you know
when you were spending more on dining out than you have set in your
family budget. They’d let you know when you were approaching your
credit limit, with a real-time fuel gauge, not just a "Sorry, your card
has been declined."

Continue reading “WWGD?”

Is there a growing Web 2.0 bubble?

This was one of the questions put to me at tonight’s London Business School entrepreneurship gala. My answer was “Did you see the $100 million valuation of the family tree site, Geni?”

I literally fell off my chair when I saw the announcement that Geni raised $10 million at a $100 million post only 7 weeks after raising their $1.5 million seed round. Supposedly they have 100,000 registered users with 2 million “nodes”.

Maybe being an only child limits my excitement about a family networking site…

Continue reading “Is there a growing Web 2.0 bubble?”

The Online Video Industry Index

In case you missed it, there’s a pretty thorough overview of the online video industry at read/writeweb.

They cover multiple players in Video Sharing, Intermediaries, Video Search, Video eCommerce, Video Editing & Creation, Rich Media Advertising, P2P (Peer To Peer), Video Streaming, Vlogosphere.

I’m sure there are a host of additional companies not listed, but it gives you an idea. The reference to stealth mode startups is very appropriate as well- there’s a lot of activity in this space that’s starting to bubble to the surface.

Continue reading “The Online Video Industry Index”