Daily Roundup for 2008-03-21

  • The Washington and Baltimore region was the nation’s fifth fastest-growing area for venture capital funding in the last decade, according to a report released Tuesday. In 2007, 180 Washington and Baltimore companies received nearly $1.3 billion in venture capital backing, the MoneyTree Report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Thomson Financial and the National Venture Capital Association said. That number is up 130 percent from $558.24 million put into 105 companies in 1997.  The report lists Timonium, Md.-based Grotech Capital Group and Chevy Chase-based New Enterprise Associates as the most active investors in the region. The top industries for investments around the region were software, life sciences and telecommunications.
  • The rate of affluent US Internet user participation in online social networks increased dramatically to 60% in January 2008, from 27% in January 2007, according to The Luxury Institute’s latest WealthSurvey "The Wealthy and Web 2.0."  "While some in the luxury industry are still debating e-commerce, search and banner ads, the majority of their customers have leaped into the online dialogue," said Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute. "Luxury needs to catch up quickly."

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Daily Roundup for 2008-03-09

  • Silicon Valley is where most everyone’s goal is to be wildly successful in changing the world – creating a runaway success and being rewarded with a big payday. All know the odds, and the daily struggle of insatiable demands for the next big thing with the very least investment, and industry-wide contempt for those who have failed. Despite this, all are driven to grasp for the shiny brass ring that’s always, though sometimes barely, out of reach. It is an environment of soaring hopes, crashing defeats, and maddening near-misses. Despite this, entrepreneurs never lose their yearning to change the world and be entrepreneurs. While they love the perceived freedom, they live in the constant state of self-consciousness (they may deny it), feeling their entire worth as a human being is being judged by people who are risk averse, lack vision, and not technically one’s peers.
  • Bill Gust, like most venture capitalists, is an optimist. The managing general partner of Anthem Capital Management’s Baltimore office expects a tougher year for entrepreneurs looking for funding, but said opportunities still exist for the right ideas. Entrepreneurs seeking capital have become more confident and experienced, said Don Rainey, a general partner with GroTech Capital Group. He said the tech bubble burst and Sept. 11 terrorist attacks had a greater chilling effect on entrepreneurs than today’s economy. “The current credit crisis doesn’t cause the same kind of hesitancy,” Rainey said. “I think quality has been improving for a couple years; the management are more mature and experienced than they were a year ago.”

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Daily Roundup for 2008-03-01

  • Google is launching Web-based collaboration software that aims to make it easy for groups to share and edit materials such as documents, photos, video and spreadsheets on a single site. Easy enough, Google hopes, to make selling software applications to enterprises a bit harder for the likes of IBM and Microsoft.
  • It’s called "Google hacking" – a slick data-mining technique used by the Internet’s cops and crooks alike to unearth sensitive material mistakenly posted to public Web sites.  And it’s just gotten easier, thanks to a program that automates what has typically been painstaking manual labor. The program’s authors say they hope it will "screw a large Internet search engine and make the Web a safer place."

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