David's Feed
Oct 21, 2009

Seagate outlook beats Street, demand improving

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 20 (Reuters) – Seagate Technology
<STX.O> posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings as
hardware demand continued to rebound, but its shares slid 2.6
percent after investors cashed out of a stellar rally since the
year’s start.

Seagate’s results and outlook exceeded expectations with
disk drive demand — pummeled in 2008 and earlier this year as
corporations and consumers curtailed spending to conserve cash
— showing signs of sustaining its gradual recovery.

Oct 19, 2009

Start-up takes on mutual fund industry

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Start-up investment advisory firm kaChing opened its website to paying customers with advice for investors leery of Wall Street in the wake of the financial crisis.

Backed by venture capitalist Marc Andreessen and OpenTable <OPEN.O> CEO Jeff Jordan among others, kaChing is a registered financial adviser that hopes to entice investors with lower fees, a fully open investment model and an Internet- or mobile-based platform.

Oct 19, 2009

Start-up set to advise investors on mutual fund industry

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 18 (Reuters) – A start-up company opens
its website to paying customers on Monday with advice for
investors leery of Wall Street in the wake of the financial

KaChing, backed by venture capitalist Marc Andreessen and
OpenTable <OPEN.O> CEO Jeff Jordan among others, is a
registered financial adviser that hopes to entice investors
with lower fees, a fully open investment model and an Internet-
or mobile-based platform.

Oct 16, 2009

Facebook sees ad potential bigger than Google search

, Oct 16 (Reuters) – Facebook’s chief
operating officer said the social networking company was
targeting a bigger ad market than the search ad market that
made Google Inc <GOOG.O> rich.

Sheryl Sandberg also told a group of high-tech specialists
on Thursday that revenues were growing so fast at privately
held Facebook that it turned cash positive recently, instead of
in 2010 as predicted earlier this year.

Oct 14, 2009

Kleiner Perkins to invest in iPhone app Shazam

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins on Tuesday makes its latest bet on wireless device technology, with high hopes in music recognition and iPhone application developer Shazam, joining a wave of investment in the hot mobile content and technology market.

Kleiner Perkins, known for backing Google <GOOG.O> and eBay <EBAY.O> in their start-up phases, is leading a funding round in Shazam that includes Acacia Venture Partners and DN Capital.

Oct 12, 2009

Investments in U.S. venture capital funds plunge

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Disappointed investors who threatened to abandon venture capital have carried through, sending the number of new funds tumbling and signaling a smaller industry with fewer venture capitalists.

In the first three quarters of this year, only 86 U.S. funds raised money, according to data compiled by the Venture Capital Journal and the National Venture Capital Association

Oct 10, 2009

Stanford puts $1 billion of portfolio on market

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Stanford University is trying to sell $1 billion of its $12.6 billion portfolio of assets including investments in venture capital, its head of investments said on Friday.

The top-tier university nestled in the heart of Silicon Valley is selling at a time when the value of its endowment has dropped nearly 30 percent. Investment bank Cogent Partners is coordinating a sale of private equity, venture capital, timber, oil and gas and real estate assets with bids due at month’s end.

Oct 9, 2009

LinkedIn CEO says staff increasing 50 pct this year

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Professional networking site LinkedIn is increasing its staff by 50 percent this year, nearing its 50 millionth member, and sees signs of improvement in the tech job market, its chief executive said on Thursday.

“We are growing from 340 employees to 500 employees this year,” Jeff Weiner told Reuters.

Jul 28, 2009
via Environment Forum

Solar power that pays back fast


OK, solar panels are getting cheaper, but can it be possible to get back the $1,000 you invested in home solar in 45 days?It couldn’t happen where I live, and maybe not where you do, but the owners of a solar electric company say the arithmetic worked for one of their customers. He is a chief executive with a six-bedroom, five-and-a-half bath Spanish-style hillside home in Fremont, California. Fremont is a stone’s throw from Silicon Valley, and home to many high tech firms.This executive was paying a monthly electric bill of $3,492 on average, according to solar electric firm SunRun. The company was started by two finance experts who came up with their business model while still students at the Stanford Business School. SunRun charges a relatively small price to install panels, then owns and services them for the life of the contract — 18 years.  SunRun said the Fremont executive paid $1,000 to have the $375,000, 55-kilowatt system installed. So far, it has cut his monthly electric bill to an average of $2,808.  SunRun collects $2,163 of that for electricity generated by the sun, while utility Pacific Gas & Electric collects $645 for electricity from its grid, on average.  At moments when there is surplus solar electricity, SunRun’s equipment automatically sends it to Pacific Gas & Electric for credit.”You turn your home into a hybrid,” said Lynn Jurich, president of SunRun, and co-founder with chief executive  Edward Fenster. The occasion for her interview was to announce  $18 million of additional funds from two big Silicon Valley venture capital firms,  Accel Partners and Foundation Capital. They say because SunRun uses independent contractors it can quickly expand its business in California, Arizona and Massachuestts.It’s not the only game in town.  SolarCity does something strikingly similar, working in California, Arizona, and Oregon. Its business model is a bit different. For example, it does all installation with its own employees. Its fee structure is also different.The United States has lots of houses with roofs that catch rays, so it’s not clear yet if one company will drive the other out of business, or if there is room for both. U.S. Bancorp seems to be betting on both, because it has set up financing — sweetened by government tax breaks — to help each of the companies buy the solar equipment that they install.Photo Credit: SunRun (A SunRun installation in central California)

Jul 16, 2009
via MediaFile

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone’s expected underwear


Even at a difficult moment, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone managed to be witty.It fell to Stone to write about the hacker who broke in to the company’s computers and stole sensitive business information. His blog on the matter — the official statement from Twitter — was dubbed “Twitter, even more open than we wanted.”Someone sent a trove of the Twitter documents to the Silicon Valley website TechCrunch. Stone’s blog clarified puzzling statements on TechCrunch that seemed to point toward Google Docs as the problem.  Said Stone: “This has nothing to do with any vulnerability in Google Apps which we continue to use.”That must have come as a welcome relief at Google, which had been trying to explain the robustness of its security even as press agents for obscure security experts sent emails to suggest otherwise, so their clients would get a mention.Stone said Twitter’s difficulties are an object lesson in the importance of having strong passwords. TechCrunch took some pleasure in asserting that the password for Twitter servers was the word “password.”So, the public got its first titillating glance at privately held Twitter’s (out of date) cost and revenue numbers, which Stone likened to getting a look at the inside of someone’s underwear drawer, quoting someone else:”No one’s really going to be surprised about what’s in there.”TechCrunch, in negotiations with its lawyers and those of Twitter, has promised to put more underwear on display soon.(Photo by Kimberly White/Reuters)