Congratulations to Vanessa Fox, one of the Women in Tech we've profiled in the past. Vanessa has joined forces with RKG, a search and digital marketing agency, combining her enterprise-level search analytics platform with the fast growing agency. Some of the press around the deal can be found on Geekwire, Business Wire and RKG’s Blog.
Some findings of the 2013 survey:
- Funds see "management capabilities and effective strategy and execution as primary drivers of successful portfolios."
- Outdated IT systems, under-qualified IT personnel and inadequate infrastructure become apparent following acquisitions, often impacting critical areas of the business.
- Active integration leadership and experienced team members are important to success.
- Firms frequently find weaknesses in financial reporting (including the frequency, accuracy and efficiency of reporting as well as the tracking of operational metrics).
Download the full survey report here.
Investor and serial entrepreneur Jonathan Sposato has seen enough startup pitches in his day to know what he likes. In this Geekwire post from earlier this year, he shares his three favorite things to hear from founders seeking an investment. One key piece of advice from Joanathan that is simple and straightforward: your investors want to know their money is going to be put to good use.
With that in mind, he advises founders to “speak provocatively and ambitiously about their concept,” to share names of other well-respected investors who are already on board, and to provide a detailed plan for using the funds they are requesting.
Jonathan’s suggested approach in one sentence:
Please tell me: How you’re going to crush it, who else agrees with you besides me, and how you are going to spend my money.
Q&A: Why this former Microsoft exec wanted to become a venture capitalist Ted Kummert announced on February 5th that he would be leaving his longtime position as a Microsoft executive to take a new role at venture capital firm, Madrona Venture Group. In this Q&A with John Cook of Geekwire, he answers questions about his experience and what caused him to take the leap into VC. “I...look forward to spending time, more broadly, across the Madrona portfolio of companies. I don’t tend to single out. I see so much opportunity, whether we are talking about consumer or we are talking about B2B — I think there is significant opportunity across all of that space,” Kummert said.
He added that his interest is especially drawn towards innovation in the cloud, explaining that “The cloud is really one of those things that is going to change things for the enterprise.” As he moves on from a long career at Microsoft, most recently as head of the company's Data Platform group, Kummert is looking forward to becoming part of Seattle’s flourishing startup ecosystem. “It is just a fantastic thing to be a part of.”
Dr. Eve Riskin is one woman in tech who is actively working to “change the ratio” by increasing the number of women faculty in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). As Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for the University of Washington College of Engineering, Professor of Electrical Engineering, and Director of the ADVANCE Center for Institutional Change, she is a leader and a mentor for other women considering academic STEM careers (or second careers, following work in industry).
Eve received her bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from MIT and her graduate degrees in EE from Stanford. She joined the EE Department at the University of Washington (UW) in 1990. As Director of UW ADVANCE, Eve works on mentoring and leadership development programs aimed to increase the participation of women faculty in STEM fields. Her research interests include image compression and image processing, with a focus on developing video compression algorithms to allow for cell-phone transmission of American Sign Language. Eve was awarded a National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award, a Sloan Research Fellowship, the 2006 WEPAN University Change Agent award, the 2006 Hewlett-Packard Harriett B. Rigas Award, and the 2007 University of Washington David B. Thorud Leadership Award. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Read on as Eve discusses her career path, provides advice for young women interested in STEM fields and shares her suggestion that you find a “ventor.”
Jenny Lam is a co-founder of Jackson Fish Market, a small software startup focused on making beautiful software experiences. The company has shipped over 20 software products in the past 5 years. Their latest product is A Story Before Bed - the first (and only) service that lets parents, grandparents, and children record video of themselves reading children's books and play it back as often as they like on the Mac, PC, or iPad.
Before Jackson Fish Market, Jenny worked at Microsoft from 2001–2007 as Creative Director of the Windows User Experience team. When she isn't running her startup, she serves on the board as Experience Director of the AIGA Seattle chapter (the professional association for design) and works with national and local organizations to foster the next generation of creative design talent headed for the tech industry. She was named one of the Top 100 Most Influential Women in Technology by the Puget Sound Business Journal and was awarded Seattle 2.0 Best Startup Designer in 2010. You can follow Jenny on Twitter (@helveticagirl).
In this piece, Jenny answers our questions about her work, how she wound up doing what she does so well and her thoughts about women in tech.
DLA Piper is currently fielding its 2012 DLA Piper Technology Leaders Forecast Survey, which examines the thoughts and opinions of technology, private equity and venture capital leaders on a range of critical issues impacting the technology sector. The survey includes these topics:
Who will win the Presidential election?
What impact will the election result have on policy and the tech economy?
What impact could the “Fiscal Cliff” have on the global economy?
How will China’s role in the technology industry evolve?
What are the most promising and challenging areas for the tech economy?
DLA Piper is seeking to offer insights on these and other critical questions. We invite you to share your thoughts with us by filling out this brief survey - click here to take the survey. In return, we will provide you with an advance look at the results right here on The Venture Alley in early October. The full DLA Piper Technology Leaders Forecast Report will be issued on October 9th.
Brittany Wenger, a 17-year-old from Lakewood Ranch, Florida, is the Grand Prize winner of the Google Science Fair for her cloud-accessible application that assists doctors in diagnosing breast cancer. Check out her project entitled the Global Neural Network Cloud Service for Breast Cancer. Good on Google for sponsoring the competition, complete with scholarships and other terrific awards, (and awesome Lego trophies). I hope we see more from Ms. Wenger and her fellow impressive Google Science Fair entrants in the future.
Eric Savitz of Forbes has a lengthy interview with Mary Meeker up on the Forbes.com site, a companion piece to his profile of Ms. Meeker in the August 6 print edition (which you can read online here). In the interview, she talks about venture capital, her work investing a $1 billion tech growth fund for Kleiner Perkins (half of which has been deployed to date), the influential reports she produced as an early Internet analyst, and some of the companies that interest her now. She is someone who has seen - up close - the many ups, downs and zigzag moves of the tech industry as online and mobile technologies become more and more pervasive and more integral to business and our personal lives.
CB Insights released their Q2 2012 Quarterly VC Report today, showing $8.1B was invested in 812 deals, the highest funding level since 2001. One interesting trend in Q2 this is year is that 20% of the VC deals were for "seed" round investments (very early stage deals, usually with relatively small investment amounts). The mobile and Internet sectors were very strong, including a bump in photo and video related companies (perhaps post-Instagram excitement). And on a local note, Washington State had its highest quarter in over a year, with dollars invested up 136% from Q2 2011. You can access the full report at CB Insights (you need to sign up for a free account). The chart below shows VC activity over the past 2 years.