ZapThink Startup Insights: Sell "Bottoms-up" instead of Top-Down
ZapThink Startup Insights Week of June 21, 2010 Funding Insights Interview: Neill Occhiogrosso- Highland Capital Partners For this issue, ZapThink spoke with Neill Occhiogrosso, Principal at Highland Capital Partners, a venture capital firm focused on building companies in the communications, consumer, digital media, healthcare and information technology markets. Highland Capital Partners has 77 portfolio companies, 220 historical investments and 98 exits (IPO or acquisition). Neill is focused on disruptive business models in software and education. What’s Hot Cloud Computing “Layers” Just like pretty much all the investors we’ve spoken to so far, Neill sees Cloud computing as an obvious hot spot. However, Neill likes to define the space in three layers: Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). SaaS continues to be a really fertile area for innovation because of the mostly subscription-oriented business model that simplifies purchase, deployment, and value realization. IaaS is…

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ZapThink Startup Insights: Few Opportunities for Startups in Cloud Infrastructure
ZapThink Startup Insights Week of June 15, 2010 Funding Insights Interview: Elon Bloms – LaunchCapital For this issue, ZapThink spoke with Elon Bloms, Managing Director of LaunchCapital LLC, a market-agnostic, early stage seed investment firm. The company doesn’t specifically focus on IT, but they do look at around 100 deals a year in the IT space. Their portfolio investments are very early stage — many don’t yet even have a single customer. What’s Hot Education and Training Elon sees that training, learning, and education tools and businesses are very hot. There is still significant need for increasingly more skilled education and training, and Elon sees huge corporate overhead in doing training. As technologies, systems, and processes get more complex, the training space will see increase growth, especially on the IT side. He sees a mix of online and offline (in person) training as key.

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ZapThink Startup Insights: Take a Page from the Energy Utility Industry
ZapThink Startup Insights Week of June 8, 2010 Funding Insights Interview: Adam Berrey – General Catalyst and the Startup Blender Blog For this issue, ZapThink spoke with Adam Berrey, entrepeneur-in-residence at General Catalyst Partners, a venture capital and private equity firm with $1.4B under management, and also writes the Startup Blender Blog on topics of interest to IT startups. Adam ha been involved in startups for past 15 years, was part of the Allaire founding team and then global marketing @ Macromedia (now Adobe), followed by a stint at BrightCove. What’s Hot Data and Analytics in the Cloud According to Adam, obviously cloud computing and SaaS are hot areas of investment for VCs, but what interests him most is data and analytics applications in the coud, especially for very large databases and complex analytics. In many ways he sees this as what the Cloud…

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ZapThink Startup Insights: Derisking IT technology is not a way to achieve any goal
ZapThink Startup Insights Week of June 1, 2010 Funding Insights Interview: Woody Benson, Prism VentureWorks For this issue, ZapThink spoke with Woody Benson at Prism VentureWorks, a venture firm founded in 1996 with over $1.25 Billion under management. Woody has been in Venture Capital for over a decade, with the last 5 years in digital media (platforms, infrastructure, services for the new consumer). As such, he sees this is as a massive age of consumerism – you can get what, where, how, and when you want. What’s Hot Small and Medium Business (SMB) Infrastructure – The Next Opportunity Woody acknowledges that large enterprises already have much of the IT that they need, although gaps always exist. However, he sees a bigger pain in the IT infrastructure for those in the SMB (up to $500M in revenue). They have the most work to do, the lowest…

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ZapThink Startup Insights: Find Strategies that Allow for Incremental Innovation
ZapThink Startup Insights Week of May 24, 2010 Funding Insights Interview: Richard Dale – Sigma Partners For this issue, ZapThink spoke with Richard Dale, Principal at Sigma Partners, a 25 yr old Venture firm with offices in Boston, Menlo Park, and San Ramon. The firm is an early-stage seed / Series A round investor with $500M in the current fund. What’s Hot Storage and More Storage Sigma Partners continues Continue to see innovation in storage and storage-related areas. With Sigma’s experience in generating lots of money in storage deals, they tend to see the majority of the deals in this area. The current evolution is around Cloud storage, such as their current portfolio companies Nasuni and Exagrid. Continued Database Evolution Related to the above, Richard tells us that he’s seeing activity in a bunch of database-related areas, including those around the NoSQL…

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Announcing the ZapThink Startup Insights Newsletter
Announcing the ZapThink Startup Insights Newsletter ZapThink Startup Insights is a newsletter focused on three main audiences looking for insight into startup and innovation trends in the enteprise IT landscape: Enterprise IT startups – Looking for the latest information on what’s happening in the funding landscape or new companies to partner with or sell to? Investors – Looking for insight into new companies innovating in the enterprise IT market? Established IT Companies – Are you an established IT software, services, or hardware company looking for insight into emerging trends in the enterprise IT landscape? If so, sign up for this newsletter today — it’s FREE! See an archive of our previous ZapThink Startup Insights newsletters here…

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ZapThink Startup Insights: The CIOs are to Blame… in part. A Conversation with Eric Hjerpe, Kepha Partners
ZapThink Startup Insights Week of May 17, 2010 Funding Insights Interview: Eric Hjerpe – Kepha Partners For this issue, ZapThink spoke with Eric Hjerpe, Partner at Kepha Partners, a $100M software venture fund, and formerly Venture Partner and Partner at AtlasVenture. What’s Hot IT Sold to Business Units, not IT Departments Hjerpe sees significant opportunities for companies selling IT solutions to business problems to business units, rather than IT departments. Businesses will find the dollars to fund things that they can deploy that are critical to revenue generation and helps the company innovate to its customers. As an example, Hjerpe cites Azuki Systems that sells applications for mobile-device content to business units, not the IT organization. Digital Media and Advertising Eric also sees that the digital media and advertising area is still very hot for enterprise IT innovation – especially around the sell-side of…

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ZapThink Startup Insights: Simeon Simeonov, FastIgnite
ZapThink Startup Insights Week of April 26, 2010 Funding Insights Interview: Simeon Simeonov – FastIgnite This week, ZapThink spoke with Simeon Simeonov, Entrepreneur / Investor / Advisor, head of FastIgnite, and formerly Technology Partner at Polaris Venture Partners. What’s Hot While Simeon didn’t quite see the enterprise / B2B marketplace as we did, he did acknoweldge certain markets ripe for startup activity and investment: Cloud Storage / Backup Simeon tells us that the cloud storage and backup market is getting more attention. As people move more of their critical applications and data to the cloud, so too will need to secure and backup that information. Startup activity here, especially with SaaS and transactional business models are garnering much attention. He cites Backupify, a company mostly focused on B2C cloud apps now extending to B2B applications. Horizontal-cum-Vertical Market Segments Simeon cites the digital…

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ZapThink Startup Insights: Interview with Brad Feld & David Cohen
ZapThink Startup Insights Week of April 19, 2010 Funding Insights Interviews: Foundry Group & Techstars This week, ZapThink spoke with Brad Feld, Managing Director of the Foundry Group, a Venture Capital firm based in Boulder, CO, David Cohen,CEO and Executive Director of Techstars in Boulder, and Shawn Broderick, Executive Director of Techstars in Boston, MA. What’s Hot iPhone & Mobile Applications Shawn tells us that iPhone / mobile apps of all sorts are particularly hot as both revenue-generating businesses and investments. The only challenge, as he puts it, is whether the startup can really build a business around the application. If it’s a business, how can it be more than a single application in a marketplace? Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) plays SaaS players are still doing great – None of the investors have a doubt in the SaaS model, that is a proven…

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