In the summer of 1996, Silicon Valley venture capitalists put a few million dollars into a telecom-equipment startup called Juniper Networks. Three years later, after a few more rounds of funding and the release of its first product, Juniper enjoyed an initial public offering of shares, or IPO. At the end of its first day of trading, it was worth nearly $5 billion, and within nine months, it was worth almost 10 times that. The original venture investors, meanwhile, were able to walk away with profits of better than 10,000 percent.
The Internet was built on freedom of expression. Society wants someone held accountable when that freedom is abused. And major Internet companies like Google and Facebook are finding themselves caught between those ideals.
Although Google, Facebook and their rivals have enjoyed a relatively “safe harbor” from prosecution over user-generated content in the United States and Europe, they face a public that increasingly is more inclined to blame them for cyber-bullying and other online transgressions.
Such may have been the case when three Google executives were convicted in Milan, Italy on February 24 over a bullying video posted on the site — a verdict greeted with horror by online activists, who fear it could open the gates to such prosecutions and ultimately destroy the Internet itself.
Venture capitalism is not what it used to be. The bountiful returns of the dotcom years are long gone and venture capital (VC) firms are now struggling to exit their investments via initial public offerings (IPOs) or mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Also, a new regulatory landscape is threatening to hinder rather than help the industry, and the companies VCs invest in require watertight strategies for major growth. VC experts highlighted these issues and others during a recent panel discussion sponsored by Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs and titled, “Business Exits in the Current Economic Environment.”
Appropriately, the event was held at Wharton’s campus in San Francisco — on the doorstep of Silicon Valley, which generates about half of all VC investments worldwide and where venture-backed companies earn about $3 trillion in annual revenues and employ 12 million people, noted the panel’s moderator, Wharton management professor Raphael (Raffi) Amit.
President Barack Obama will make a special appearance on AMERICA’S MOST WANTED’s milestone 1000th episode, airing this Saturday, March 6 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.
John Walsh, host of AMW since the show’s inception 22 years ago, sits down with President Obama to discuss some of the administration’s crime-fighting initiatives and the impact that the show has had on thousands of victims and millions of people in its 22 years and 1000 episodes on the air. The President also discusses his administration’s support of state and local law enforcement, including the Recovery Act’s $4 billion that was allocated for state and local agencies. Additionally, President Obama talks to Walsh about his administration’s initiatives to go after and prosecute “white collar” criminals – crimes that John Walsh and AMW have also focused on recently.