Entrepreneurial

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?

Pe HUB likes to talk about bubbles too. Connie Loizos drew a lot of commentary after publishing an interview in which Mark Cuban, who made his billions on Broadcast.com during the last bubble, compared the current cycle to something more like pyramid scheme. Greylock’s planned $1 billion new fund is the latest sign of an Internet bubble, wrote Mark Boslet.

It’s easy to dismiss some of the pontificating as merely symptomatic of a repetitive business news cycle in which journalists routinely hype a company early in its existence, then, when it gains traction and Wall Street favor, decry it as overvalued. But upon perusing some of the bubble-related pontifications, it became clear that much of the analysis goes beyond that formulaic approach.

It’s not a bubble, people; It’s a pyramid scheme

– Connie Loizos is a contributor for PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared on PE Hub. The views expressed are her own. –

Mark Cuban knows a thing or two about bubbles, having profited handsomely from an earlier Internet boom. But ask him if we’re seeing Bubble 2.0 and he’ll give you a different theory.

“It’s almost the 2011 version of a private equity chain letter,” said Cuban, who sold Broadcast.com to Yahoo in 1999 for $5.7 billion and went on to buy the the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks.

Startup banks on TV show tweets

– By Alastair Goldfisher. This article initially appeared on PE Hub. –

At the NewTeeVee Conference in San Francisco earlier this month, a Twitter executive noted more people are using Twitter while they watch TV to comment on programs and interact with others doing the same.

That observation is good news for TVmoment, a San Francisco-based startup (located in the pariSoma loft) that is aiming to launch soon. TVmoment, started earlier this year by co-founders Frederik Fleck and Gaylord Zach, is currently in testing mode, but the service allows users to chat online with others about their favorite shows and movies while watching TV.

from MediaFile:

All about the plastic: Swipely follows Blippy into social shopping

What do you get when you combine shopping and social media?

The answer, it seems, is the latest craze among tech investors.

On Tuesday, Swipely announced $7.5 million in Series A funding and the launch of a service that publishes info about person’s credit card purchases to groups of friends.

SwipelyimageThe funding was led by Index Ventures, and includes such celebrity patrons of social media as Chris Sacca, an early Twitter backer, and Ron Conway. LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, whose VC firm Greylock Partners also took part in the funding round, will join Swipely’s board as an observer.

Swipely’s windfall comes shortly after Blippy pocketed roughly $11 million in funding, according to media reports, to help it push forward with a similar type of service. Among Blippy’s backers are Sequoia Capital and Evan Williams, better known as the CEO of Twitter.

Does Posterous have staying power?

posterousSachin Agarwal created Posterous as a way for his parents to be able to see what he posted online. Two years later the blog publishing tool has more than 15 million monthly users, but experts still wonder whether its ultra simple functionality can catapult it into the rarefied air of Facebook or Twitter.

“No one has solved the problem of how does my 60-year-old dad see my photos,” said Agarwal, who launched his San Francisco, California-based technology startup two years ago with friend and former Stanford University alum Garry Tan. He said it was important for him that Posterous appealed to people who may be intimidated by the terms “blogging” and “social media.” “We don’t want to be thought of as a tech toy for Silicon Valley geeks. We’re surrounded by a lot of crazy tech, but our goal is to be so much more universal and applicable to normal people.”

Agarwal said Posterous gets around the need for having users register accounts by getting them to post their content – text, photos and video – directly via email to a central Posterous email address, which is then immediately published online in the form of a blog.

A lost generation of entrepreneurs?

Jeff Bussgang is a General Partner at Flybridge Capital Partners, an early-stage venture capital firm in Boston. This post originally appeared on Bussgang’s blog www.seeingbothsides.com. The views expressed are his own.

I’ve been worrying lately that we are suffering from a lost generation of entrepreneurs.

That was my first reaction when I read what Sequoia’s Doug Leone said a few weeks ago about innovation and age at a recent talk with MIT Sloan students visiting Silicon Valley. Leone claimed only people under the age of 30 are truly innovative. Over 30 folks can manage innovation, Leone observed, but you need to be under 30 to create it. He cited people such as Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s founder who was 30 at the time he started the service.

Is Bit.ly’s Twitter advantage unfair?

The rise of Twitter as a social-media powerhouse and its micro-blogging platform has created a renewed urgency for URL-shortening services.

There are now endless numbers of websites vying to shorten your too-long tweets to conform to the 140-character limit, but as in every competitive industry not everyone can survive and thrive. This week one of the players, Canadian-based Tr.im (owned by Nambu Network), announced it was throwing in the towel.

Now a small business closing up shop is not normally newsworthy, except when they cry foul as the ship is sinking. While on the one hand Nambu president Eric Woodward told Computerworld’s Gregg Keiser that Tr.im was “accepting the realities and moving on,” he also seized the opportunity to take a shot at Twitter for making Bit.ly its default URL shortening service.

Twitter-based shopping website seeks retailers

imshoppingBuying something online can be a frustrating process. The shear numbers of websites offering the same product can lead to endless hours of surfing to try to find the right deal. Consumers often become overwhelmed and end up not buying anything at all.

Prashant Nedungadi (see Nedungadi’s personal five-day entrepreneur journal, exclusively for Reuters.com) has been one of those people and decided to use that frustration to launch IMshopping.com, a website that utilizes a combination of software and sales experts to direct buyers to the precise product they’re looking for. What Nedungadi has dubbed “human-assisted shopping” is a network of retail experts, or guides, and the broader community of IMshopping’s more than 30,000 registered users.

IMshopping leverages Twitter to help allow consumers to pose shopping-related questions around the clock.

Experts weigh in on Twitter-based shopping site

IMshopping's Twitter pageYesterday we presented entrepreneur Prashant Nedungadi (read his entrepreneur journal) and his startup website IMshopping.com, which offers a platform whereby consumers can ask specific retail-related questions, through the website directly or via Twitter, and have them answered by an online community of retail experts. (click here to read Nedungadi’s pitch)

Nedungadi launched his website last April and has already received $4.7 million in venture capital investment from SK Telecom, but now needs to find retailers willing to pay to utilize his virtual sales force instead of going the traditional route and hiring their own sales people.

Our panel of experts have watched Nedungadi’s pitch video and gave us their reaction to IMshopping and Nedungadi’s business model.

from Shop Talk:

Social Media for Business

facebook-wholefoods1

A new report by Inside Facebook discusses some best practices for retailers hoping to set up shop on the popular social networking site.

Some of the recommendations include letting users shop from within Facebook, including even the ability to share product information with friends.  Another suggestion is to have contests, giveaways and sweepstakes.

But what's most interesting is the last suggestion: keep it simple with status updates.

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