Mark. You disappeared? What the fork happened to you?
And what’s up with this crazy new blog design? Well … more on that next week. I will tell more.
But for now …
Every year we run a big VC, LP & Tech Summit in Los Angeles (this year downtown) to showcase the best of our community and invite others from around the country. Our event this year will feature many portfolio companies and also emerging LA tech companies such as Tinder & Whisper. It is a CEO & founder gathering.
The Mayor will come and talk about LA innovation. And every year it seems a celebrity or two sneaks in.
I look forward to being back to blogging next week. And maybe sleeping, too.
Have a quick view below for what is in store at our Upfront Summit – a little bit of LA startup energy and creativity. Whaddayathink? (not that I can take any credit for it, but I’ll pass along the credit when I talk about my new spiffy blog).
Link here if image not turning up.
If you like it, spread the word with that little Twitter button up there – go on – give it up. And either way, join me in the comments section down there. We’ll be publishing a lot of data soon on LA Tech.
I’m super proud to announce that DataSift has just completed a $42 million financing round coming at the end of a year where its revenue grew several hundred percent year-over-year. Considering our revenue is SaaS revenue this achievement is even more remarkable.
The timing of the announcement of this investment couldn’t have been timed more perfectly if we tried. Yesterday it was announced that Apple had acquired one of our competitors, Topsy, for more than $200 million. As this astute journalist pointed out, DataSift “likely would have cost a lot more to acquire.”
What gives? Why all the fuss about the Twitter firehose?
I started announcing
Nearly four months ago we rebranded at Upfront Ventures. You can watch the video below for a very brief overview of why we rebranded and where we see our place in the VC ecosystem along with what has changed in our industry.
Often I advise startup companies not to try and pin all of your brand equity into an announcement. A brand is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s something you must earn over time by living up to the name you define.
If you choose your name well and it represents what your customers value in you then it will be memorable, differentiated and meaningful.
We have a few portfolio companies going through brand changes. And as a result I thought it was a good time to reflect on how we were doing with our own brand relaunch. We are trying hard to live up to the guidelines we laid out for our investors, our portfolio companies and our community.
Relaunching our brand is part of our larger initiative to build a VC firm of the future. We don’t lay claim to being the only VC to change or think about the future or to having the only or best strategy.
It’s stunning to me how quickly we take for granted certain conveniences in our lives that go from Eureka to minimum expectation.
In the old days we used to call a restaurant to book. The hostess worked from 4-10pm so you had to call during these hours. Between 7-10 she was busy seating guests so had to put your on hold. After hours there was the answering machine. She entered you reservation by writing in a time slot in a paper calendar and you were in. As long as they didn’t lose the book or make a mistake.
It sounds crazy, right? Of course you now book when you want and even choose your restaurant based on availability at the time / day you want and you can book on your mobile phone at 2am or 8pm.
Yet for everything else we’re still in the dark ages and people have accepted that. Haircuts, nails, massages, trainers, chiropractors, dentists – you name it.
I’m certain those days are done.
But it’s not as easy as you think to be “the OpenTable of X.” For starters OpenTable had an advantage in that the restaurants back then needed an IT system to help with table management (the restaurant layout, table configurations, etc.
If you Can’t Make Time, MakeSpace.
A few months ago I wrote about an entrepreneur, Sam Rosen, whom we brought on as an EIR at Upfront Ventures.
I would have liked to have been even more Upfront with you back then about our intentions with Sam but out of respect to him we held back on our broader thesis until now.
Today we announced our launch.
Here’s the deal.
I met up with Sam in NYC last year to talk about “what he was up to.” He was already a line to me, not a dot. He was on the list of people whom I tracked.
His ideas to date hadn’t totally resonated and of course ideas matter, too.
So I was doing my job. I was in NYC and I lined up my usual 20 meetings on my trip. Sam was always on that list for a coffee.
Six months ago Upfront Ventures announced its first Partner hire since 2007 – Greg Bettinelli. I wrote about him here.
More importantly, he has just announced his first investment – he led a $7 million investment in Deliv – please read about it on Greg’s spiffy new blog.
It’s been a really exciting time for me personally to be able to see a partner come in with the energy, enthusiasm and new ideas that remind me of myself 6 years ago.
Greg immediately hit the ground running with a few themes that he had developed while the CMO at HauteLook, a successful eCommerce business that sold to Nordstrom for $270 million.
He immediately started meeting with every eCommerce business and has a few themes on where he thinks innovation at the brand level will come.