My former co-worker at PeopleSoft, and nice guy exec Dean Alms is quoted in this article about innovation and business models for new software startups. Dean recently closed funding for his new startup, Agistics....
This really is a great time to be starting a software company - there's never been more disruptive forces in the market at play than I can remember in 20+ years in IT...
A year ago today, Oracle announced layoffs at PeopleSoft. I said around that time in a newspaper article this will be painful, but my vision is it results in 100 little PeopleSofts being created. A lot of execs have gone to existing companies - but I'm talking here about companies whose DNA starts with former PeopleSoft employees.
So there's Workday, Agistics.... maybe some others? Let me know. I the meantime, I guess we have 98 to go.
Tonight's EBIG VC/Startup event was our first educational investor pitch practice session - and judging from the comments and feedback, it was a hit (if I may so myself as the totallyunbiased organizer). Several folks indicated they'd like to see us do more sessions like it - and want to come and present at future events.
On a 5-point scale, the sessions scored 4.7 for overall effectiveness of the session, 4.6 for presentations being educational and 4.6 for panelists being effective. So hat's off to our presenters and panelists!
We had a full house as about 40 folks went to school - mostly entrepreneurs and investors - as three companies each had 10-minutes to pitch their business idea to our three investor panelists. Our esteemed panel included: Steve Elefant from Claremont Creek Ventures, Greg Beattie from Reed Smith who works with many angel groups and investors and as an angel himself, and Tim Taylor, a pitch coach and consultant working the Band of Angels and other VC and investor groups.
All three had excellent input and feedback for the presenting companies - Raj Baronia from PureMail, an innovative email service provider; Zach Gentry from Adura Technologies, which has a very interesting energy efficient light control solution; and Bill Nye from Espilon Active, which makes a multiplayer computer-projected game that you have to see to believe. Each company is at a slightly different stage in development, but I believe were better than average presentations for companies at their respective stages in development.
I must say I felt very supported by the local entreprenerial community in putting on tonight's event, which is a real testament to the East Bay. Thanks go to our panelists and presenters for all the time and energy they put into preparing and spending the evening with us. I want to thank Scott Gilbert and Dave Weinerth at Technology Ventures Corporation (who, by the way, got unsolicited rave reviews for their work from our panelists) for helping to help us identify presenters among their client base and panelists. Thanks also to Sonja Markova and Rick Choy at the Keiretsu Forum who were also very supportive in helping us find panelists and presenters.
As always, thanks and get well soon wishes to my co-chair, Holly Nelson, at McNichols Randick and her colleage John Neilsen for his help filling in for Holly in orchestrating the event and sponsoring dinner for the group. Finally, thanks to Joy Montgomery for graciously stepping in at the last minute as a volunteer to help coordinate the event, and thanks to Kristen Kuhns at EBIG for her never-ending support for the EBIG organization and this SIG.
Can't wait for next month's session on February 13th! If you haven't already done so, be sure to get notified when our agenda and registration email blast comes out at www.ebig.org - click on "sign up" in the left navigation bar.
Seems like everyone I'm working with is finalizing their 2006 plans for the year - and it's remarkable how often the same topics come up. And during the holidays, I dove deep into my own business and developed goals for next year.
One of my goals this year is to write the process I went through down for myself -- so I did. Thought it would be a couple pages, but it turned out to be a 16-page workbook. "What the heck, I wonder if other people go through a process like this?" I thought. I put an action plan template at the end, and it's ready and waiting for you as a bonus for signing up for my newsletter. If you want to look at your 2006 planning process through my glasses, send a blank email here:
This month at the EBIG Venture Capital SIG, we're doing an Investor Pitch Practice session with entreprenuers giving practice presentations to a panel of prospective investors and receiving feedback. So far, we have no one comparable to American Idol's Simon Cowell on the panel, but you never know...
For details, or to register to attend or present next Monday, January 9, visit the EBIG website.
D&M holdings, owner of Rio, the first portable MP3 music player, has closed its operations. Rio sold to the early adopters in the MP3 player market, now dominated by the iPod.
My wife bought me a Creative Nomad MP3 player in 2000, I think before the iPods came on the scene. In Chasm Group terminology, this would have been the "visionary" period. For this category, I wish I was in the "early majority". My kids are. They're asking for iPods. For my youngest, he's not sure what it is, but if his friends want one, he does too. Sounds like Chasm "Tornado" thinking?
iPod wasn't the first. But they have best user experience, marketing, and "whole product solution" with the iTunes store.
Sonali Vep Aatresh at the Silicon Valley Business Journal takes an inside look at angel investing in an article about the Keiretsu Forum's Silicon Valley Chapter.
In September, Randy Williams and his team at the Keiretsu Forum will open its third Bay Area chapter, this time in San Francisco. Colin Wiel, a former entrepreneur and member of the Keiretsu, is heading up the new San Francisco chapter. The Keiretsu Forum's investments across at least dozen local chapters rank it as the largest Angel group in the country.
I'm going to try to make the inaugural meeting myself on Sept 28th; if you're an accredited investor and have an interest, let me know.
On August 9, 1995, Netscape had their IPO, the start of the Internet era. I remember having lunch outside at PeopleSoft in Pleasanton that day, and talking about how crazy it was that a company could have such a run-up on its first day. Since then, the Amazons, Ebays, and a plethora of others have followed.
Fortune has an excellent Oral history from the folks on the inside here (Fortune subscription required).
I'm looking forward to next week's Software 2005 conference in Santa Clara, CA. If you're going, drop me a line!
Software 2005 is a one-stop event that delivers best practices for the entire life cycle of a software company with sessions on funding, development, launch, scaling, liquidity and managing in mature markets. The packed list of keynote speakers include Scott Cook, Intuit; Jim Goodnight, SAS; Scott Kriens, Juniper Networks; Roger McNamee, Integral Capital Partners, Silver Lake Partners, and Elevation Partners; Charles Phillips, Oracle; S. Ramadorai, Tata Consulting; and Shane Robison, HP.
There's also a funding forum session for startup software companies.
I'm impressed with what MR and his team at SandHill.com have done with their new website. They've also been very supportive of the PeopleSoft Alumni Network, helping to connect the former PeopleSoft talent pool to other software companies.
Whether you're a software entrepreneur or PeopleSoft Alumni looking to get the lay of the "new software industry", I hope to see you there!