Entrepreneurial

Seattle startup raises $1.3 million to encrypt the cloud

Kory Gill’s “a-ha” moment came in the form of a lightning bolt that struck his Seattle home and fried his computers. In the aftermath, his wife’s main concern was whether their digitally stored family photos had survived the blast.

“What more of a sign do you need to go start this company?” Gill recalled his wife asking him, who used the scare to leave a 20-year career at Microsoft (MSFT.O) and launch his own online backup company.

Three years later (Reuters first interviewed Gill in 2009), Gill and co-founder Marius Nita – a former Microsoft colleague – are seeing some traction with Newline Software Inc, having launched the first version of their online storage product, Exact, into the market in August.

Gill told Reuters they have just closed their latest financing round – Newline’s third – to bring their total funding to $1.3 million. The money, raised from friends and family, will be spent on improving the product, growing the brand and building a new software platform that will allow Newline to encrypt every piece of data stored online, or in “the cloud,” said Gill.

The platform called OPTIC (Online Privacy Technology In the Cloud) is an application programming interface (API) that Gill hopes will give Newline a competitive advantage over much larger rivals such as Carbonite and Mozy.

Twilio raises second microfund from angels McClure, Conway

– Alastair Goldfisher is a contributor for PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. He was also part of the judging panel at the Twilio Conference with Paul Singh of 500 Startups and Manu Kumar of K9 Ventures. This article originally appeared here. –

This week at the Twilio Conference in San Francisco, 500 Startups founder Dave McClure announced the launch of a second Twilio MicroFund of $250,000 to invest in companies that are based on Twilio’s Connect platform.

McClure and Ron Conway of SV Angel will each invest $125,000 in the fund. McClure will manage the investments, with Twilio serving as an advisor.

Why venture capitalists invest in pigs, not chickens

– Jeff Bussgang is a former entrepreneur and partner at Flybridge Capital Partners. This article originally appeared on his blog Seeing Both Sides. The views expressed are his own. –

There is an old parable about the concept of commitment when it comes to breakfast. The story goes that when looking at a plate of the traditional fare of ham and eggs, it’s obvious that the chicken is an interested party, but the pig is truly committed.

When I tell this story to entrepreneurs, my point is usually to contrast the approach venture capitalists have to startups as compared to entrepreneurs. The VC is an interested party, but at the end of the day, if their startups live or die, they typically still have their job, their office and their portfolio of other investments. The entrepreneur, on the other hand, is the pig – truly committed to the outcome, with no fallback.

Why governments don’t get startups

– Steve Blank is a serial entrepreneur. He teaches at Stanford University, U.C. Berkeley’s Haas Business School and at Columbia. He is the author of “The Four Steps to the Epiphany” and “Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost”. This article originally appeared here. The views expressed are his own. –

Not understanding and agreeing what “Entrepreneur” and “Startup” mean can sink an entire country’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

I’m getting ready to go overseas to teach, and I’ve spent the last week reviewing several countries’ ambitious attempts to kick-start entrepreneurship. After poring through stacks of reports, white papers and position papers, I’ve come to a couple of conclusions.

The entrepreneur’s equivalent of “10,000 hours”

– Mark Suster is a former serial entrepreneur and a partner at Los Angeles-based GRP Partners. This article originally appeared on his blog “Both Sides of the Table”. The views expressed are his own. –

50 coffee meetings. It should stick in your head as a metaphor for networking. For getting outside of your comfort zone. For starting relationships today that won’t pay off for a year. It’s the entrepreneur’s equivalent of “10,000 hours.”

Anybody who has spent any time with me in person will be tired of this advice because I give it so frequently. It’s a piece of actionable advice that if you put into practice starting next week, will start paying dividends in the near future. There’s a direct correlation to your future success.

How much money do I need for my startup?

– Tim Berry is the president and founder of Palo Alto Software. This post originally appeared on his blog, “Planning, Startups, Stories”. The views expressed are his own. –

It’s an obvious question. And if you’re looking for startup investors you’d better be able to answer it well, and quickly too. No wandering eyes. No doubt. If you’re doing a pitch, have a slide for it. And be specific.

I liked this from Ben Yoskovitz’s Instigator Blog on Use of Funds:

… most descriptions of “use of funds” are incredibly generic and standard, typically involving the following: hire key personnel, product development, sales & marketing. Hhhm…the phrase, “No s!@# Sherlock…” comes to mind.

The coming brick wall in venture capital

– Mark Suster is a former serial entrepreneur and a partner at Los Angeles-based venture capital firm GRP Partners. This article originally appeared on Suster’s blog “Both Sides of the Table”. The views expressed are his own. –

This is the final part of a three-part series on the major changes in the structure of the software and the venture capital industries. Read Part One and Part Two.

Or the Cliff Note’s version:

    Open source and cloud computing (led by Amazon) drove down tech startup costs by 90 percent The result was a massive increase in startups and a whole group of new funding sources: both angels and “micro VCs” With more competition in early-stage many VCs are investing smaller amounts at earlier stages. Some are going later stage to not miss out on hot deals. I call this “stage drift.” The opportunities for tech startups today are more immense than they’ve ever been with billions of people now connected to the Internet nearly all the time.

But …

Flipboard founder on venture capitalists: “Take their money”

– Connie Loizos is a contributor to PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This story originally appeared here. The views expressed are her own. –

Many entrepreneurs privately disparage venture capitalists as egoistic, autocratic, and increasingly unnecessary. Not serial entrepreneur Mike McCue. He believes in VC.

Case in point: McCue’s newest startup, Flipboard, a 20-month-old iPad application that transforms social media feeds into an elegant, print-like magazine. Though the Palo Alto, California-based company has yet to develop a business model — McCue is contemplating running full-page ads and allowing publishers to charge subscriptions to their Flipboard-rendered content — Flipboard has already raised $60 million in venture capital from Kleiner Perkins, Index Ventures, and others.

Angels vs VCs on business pitches

– Tim Berry is the president and founder of Palo Alto Software. This post originally appeared on his blog, “Planning, Startups, Stories“. The views expressed are his own. –

Recently I caught Business Insider’s “Five VCs Explain What They REALLY Think About Your Pitches“. It’s a great post, gathering points together from discussions with several high-end venture capitalists. If you’re looking at venture capital, read it.

Part of what they said reminded me that angel investors and VCs have a lot in common. For example, these important points:

Is Airbnb growing too fast?

– Connie Loizos is a contributor to PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This story originally appeared here. The views expressed are her own. –

Airbnb is on a tear. Three years after the San Francisco-based company began inviting real people to list for rent their homes and apartments, castles and houseboats, users have booked 1.9 million nights in more than 184 countries; bookings are growing an astonishing 40 percent month over month; and roughly 1,000 new properties are entered into its system each day.

The company is growing so fast, in fact, that it’s reportedly raising $100 million at a whopping $1 billion valuation — a mighty addition to the $8 million in capital it has previously raised from Sequoia Capital, Greylock Partners, and numerous individuals.

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