Entrepreneurial

A look into Carbonite’s IPO

As an entrepreneur, David Friend has been around the block a few times. The 63-year-old has built and sold four companies and raised a ton of venture capital along the way. That still didn’t prepare him for the wild ride he experienced in taking his company public.

After the dust cleared, Friend was the CEO of his first publicly traded company, but one with a significantly reduced share value and market cap, as Carbonite (CARB) became the lone U.S. tech firm to IPO last week.

“Everybody was betting against us,” said Friend, whose Boston-based online backup company reduced its debut share price from $17 to $10 in order to get out, in one the worst trading periods in nearly three years. At the close of trading on Wednesday, Carbonite’s share price had jumped to more than $15. “We kind of proved everybody wrong, but it was definitely a high-wire act.”

The same week saw nine other companies shelve their IPO plans. So why did Carbonite plow ahead?

“Maybe the reward for taking a bit of punishment on the price is that we’re getting a lot of publicity,” said Friend, who co-founded Carbonite in 2005, after wasting $1,300 in a failed bid to retrieve his daughter’s term paper from a dead laptop. “We want to do a lot of strategic acquisitions over the next five years and it’s a lot easier if you have a public currency.”

A call to arms on the IPO malaise

– Jeff Bussgang is a general partner at Flybridge Capital Partners and an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Harvard Business School. He is the author of “Mastering the VC Game”. This article originally appeared on his blog www.seeingbothsides.com. The views expressed are his own. –

I almost never agree with a single thing written on the Wall Street Journal editorial pages. Yet, I found myself muttering “amen” a few times as I read this morning’s editorial on “Whatever Happened to IPOs?”. It’s just stunning to me how little interest there seems to be on the part of a supposedly pro-business Congress and (more recently) Executive Branch on this one simple thing that would unleash innovation and jobs – watering down Sarbanes-Oxley.

The IPO market has improved somewhat in 2011 and so perhaps that has taken some pressure off, but the fact is that the regulations and costs associated with an IPO are so overwhelmingly daunting for our young venture-backed companies that they simply avoid them altogether. I used to hear from investment bankers that a company north of $100 million in revenue and consistently profitable can find a welcome public audience. But recent conversations that I have had with bankers has carried a different, even more depressing message.

There’s a bubble in talk about bubbles

– Joanna Glasner is a contributor to pe HUB, a Thomson Reuters publication. This post originally appeared here. The views expressed are her own. –

There may or may not be a bubble in Internet startup valuations. But one thing in which there is definitely a bubble is in talk by journalists, investors and anyone else looking to raise their online profile through constant punditry about bubbles.

A recent Google News keyword search for instances of “Internet” and “bubble” unearthed 960 links. Facebook, Twitter and Zynga are bubbles, said one. Is Yelp: the dot com bubble part deux? asked another. One more asked: Is Twitter the harbinger of the second bubble?

Can VCs be value investors?

– Jeff Bussgang is a general partner at Flybridge Capital Partners and an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Harvard Business School. He is also the author of “Mastering the VC Game”. This article originally appeared here. The views expressed are his own.  –

“Security Analysis” is cited by Warren Buffet as one of his top four favorite and most influential books. Written by Columbia University professors Benjamin Graham and David Dodd, it was first published in 1934.

The book is a thick tome that articulates the thesis of value investing – the analytical techniques for valuing securities and seeking to invest in those securities in the context of their underlying value. The latest printing, the sixth edition, contains a foreword from the Oracle of Omaha himself as well as a preface from hedge fund investor Seth Klarman of The Baupost Group, who is regarded by many to be one of the modern masters in the art of value investing.

Learning from Rosetta Stone

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After its blockbuster debut on the New York Stock Exchange, language software maker Rosetta Stone is poised to teach more than just new languages — it may also serve as a model for start-ups looking to go public in the midst of a recession.

In an interview with peHUB, Phil Clough of Rosetta Stone investor ABS Capital shared his thoughts on what made the company such a draw. The IPO earned ABS more than 6 times its initial investment.

What did Rosetta do right? For starters, it offered what ABS managing general partner Phil Clough calls “substance”.  Its online business business model was attractive, and its content and size gave it clout amid a crowded education sector.

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