tag:stream.growthink.com,2013:/posts Growthink: The Stream 2014-04-19T01:21:54Z tag:stream.growthink.com,2013:Post/679056 2014-04-19T01:21:53Z 2014-04-19T01:21:54Z Growthinker of the Week - Dewitt Dudley


Dewitt secured a significant client relationship this week and his colleagues also noted that his constant positive attitude was an inspiration to all.

Great job Dewitt!
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Jeff Jones
tag:stream.growthink.com,2013:Post/678995 2014-04-18T20:59:54Z 2014-04-18T20:59:55Z The Ten Commandments of Typography

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Luke Brown
tag:stream.growthink.com,2013:Post/678994 2014-04-18T20:57:01Z 2014-04-18T20:57:01Z VC Investment Hits 13-year High

money-tree

Venture capitalists invested $9.5 billion last quarter, the highest total since the dotcom doom's waning days.

FORTUNE -- No, it isn't your imagination: Venture capitalists are investing money at a faster clip than in any time since the final days of the dotcom boom.

VCs pumped $9.5 billion into 951 U.S.-based companies last quarter, which was the most money invested in any quarter since Q2 2001, according to MoneyTree survey data published today by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the National Venture Capital Association and Thomson Reuters (TRI). The dollar figure represents a whopping 57% increase over Q1 2013, while the deal number is nearly 4% higher (12% increase in dollars and 14% decrease in deals from Q4 2013). Or, put another way, average deal sizes are skyrocketing.

The quarter included nine rounds of $100 million or more, led by Dropbox's $325 million raise from back in January (a deal that may actually be a bit larger).

Not surprisingly, the leading industry sector was software with more than $4 billion invested. It was followed by biotech with $1.06 billion and media/entertainment with $743 million.

From a geographic perspective, California-based companies led the nation with a whopping $5.46 billion raised for406 startups ($4.6 billion of which was in Silicon Valley). Massachusetts placed second with $960 million raised by 88 companies, while New York had $754 million raised by 97 companies.

It's also worth noting that MoneyTree's reported VC investment pace over the past couple of years has easily outstripped VC fundraising (as reported by the NVCA and Thomson Reuters). But it really isn't an apples-to-apples comparison, because the investment reports include monies disbursed by non-traditional sources like T. Rowe Price and Fidelity (i.e., big later-stage players), while the fundraising stats don't account for those capital pools (only traditional GP/LP venture structures).

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Luke Brown
tag:stream.growthink.com,2013:Post/678333 2014-04-16T23:21:39Z 2014-04-16T23:21:40Z Growthink Client Dr. Kevin Forsythe - A Hero Entrepreneur! One of the great things about Growthink are the amazing and inspirational clients we work with, especially in the healthcare space. Dr. Kevin Forsythe of the Oregon Urology Institute is a real entrepreneurial hero - in addition to having a full-time workload as a radiation oncologist and a young family, Kevin in his "spare time" is working on cutting edge treatments and tools for prostate and breast cancer.  Quick Facebook shoutout to Kevin and to the dozens of amazing healthcare-focused entrepreneurs that make our world a healthier, happier place.

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Growthink
tag:stream.growthink.com,2013:Post/678331 2014-04-16T23:09:31Z 2014-04-16T23:09:31Z Ishan Jetley & Luke Brown Growthinker's of the Week!

For Luke, because of his Great thought leadership, his Great team Spirit, and always handling difficult communications with grace, maturity, and professionalism.

For Ishan, for his amazing work with multiple, highly complex clients and business models and his general can-do spirit of getting things done!

Great job Luke and Ishan

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Growthink
tag:stream.growthink.com,2013:Post/677716 2014-04-15T16:09:15Z 2014-04-15T16:09:15Z Growthink to Sponsor Future Entrepreneurs
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Luke Brown
tag:stream.growthink.com,2013:Post/677265 2014-04-14T14:40:36Z 2014-04-14T14:40:36Z EDGY Conversations: The Blunt Interview with Dan Waldschmidt

Dan Waldschmidt is an international business strategist, speaker, author, and extreme athlete.  His consulting firm solves complex marketing and business strategy problems for savvy companies all over the world. Dow Jones calls his Edgy Conversations blog one of the top sales sites on the internet. He’s been profiled in Business Week, INC Magazine, BBC, Fox News, The Today Show, and Business Insider, has been the featured guest on dozens of radio programs, and has published hundreds of articles on progressive business strategy. He is author of Edgy Conversations: How Ordinary People Achieve Outrageous Success. 

Dan was recently interviewed by Luke Brown, Engagement Partner with the investment banking firm Growthink. Dan isn't your ordinary business guy and this isn't your ordinary interview.

Q.  Your book has the most powerful first page most people will ever read.
Why start your book with those 13 words?

I wanted to be honest with the reader. Often books about motivation or inspiration are about how the author made millions of dollars at a very early age and had no problems for the rest of their life. I wanted to share a story that was grittier -- a little more realistic. Frankly, most of us have challenges in our lives that feel all encompassing. An honest book about success should start with the idea of the hopelessness that we all feel from time to time. 

Q. You tell stories of people who simply refused to accept society’s limitations or who overcame tremendous challenges. How does resourcefulness tie into success?

We learned from studying these ordinary people that success is less about the resources you have and more about how resourceful you are. When you can fall back on family money or on your Ivy League credentials, you are often less creative than when you feel like you are boxed into a corner. There is nothing wrong with having a great education or access to lots of money, but it is when we feel pressured by not having those resources that we often perform at our best. 

Q. You’re part of a monthly sales master-mind group. How could this type of group benefit most business owners?

All of us need a little help. One of the first pieces of advice that I share with CEOs of billion dollar companies is that if they don't already have a therapist they should get one. The most important part of being successful in business is being successful at keeping your mind straight. That doesn't come naturally to all of us. Sometimes you need someone who's “got your back”. When you are sick you go to the doctor. When you want to lose weight you hire a fitness trainer. The same is true for fixing what's broken with business. It's crazy not to get the help you need. 

Q.  Your philosophy of success is quite different from most people. What would you say to someone who would challenge your thought process?

Who cares what I think about success? Frankly, I'm already successful. I will continue to be successful. The real question to any of us is: “Are you were successful as you want to be?” If you're not then you need to start questioning what you're doing -- and more importantly your philosophy for achieving success. Whether you adopt some nugget of truth from something I've shared in the book or uncover your own nugget for achieving success, the introspection behind that struggle is wildly important for getting to where you want to be. 

Q. You work with companies who can afford six-figure consulting bills. What’s the difference between the advice they get and the advice you’d give a start-up or early-stage growth company?

Not much difference at all. The terminology might be different and the number of zeros behind the strategy might be different -- but the same core philosophy for being extreme, disciplined, giving and human stay the same. The results can catapult a startup to wild success and can transform a bulky billion dollar enterprise into a fast moving industry juggernaut. 

Q. Many companies seek you out because they’re looking for different answers than they might usually get. What’s the most common challenge these companies face?

Almost every business challenge that we face is rooted in people problems and evidenced by a revenue problem -- people with skills lacking the will to do what is necessary to fix fixable problem. The consequences of not fixing these problems are stagnant revenue growth, high turnover, and an inability to be profitable. 

Q. You’ve faced and conquered many personal challenges. What was your most difficult business challenge?

My biggest challenge has it always been figuring out what I want to do with the rest of my life. I tend to be mission-driven rather than driven around a specific long lasting goal. Making lots of money isn't a huge motivator for me anymore. I want to change the world. That's so big and scary that living it requires lots of focus and attention to the details. I can find myself wasting time and emotion on things that don't matter. I try to have a sincere one-on-one with myself at least once a week to make sure I'm investing and things that'll be proud of later. 

Q. You were generous enough to donate your book to the students in my class at USC. What’s your advice for college students who want to become entrepreneurs?

It is the best ass whooping you'll ever get in life. You’ll sweat and cry and bleed and conquer -- all at the same time. The journey of an entrepreneur is a wild roller coaster ride of emotion. The lessons that you learn along the way will make you a better person. When you're a better person life is better. 

Q. It’s unusual to mention love in a book about success. Why is this so important for you to mention?

Love is transformational. Most business leaders who call me are looking for transformational business results. To leave out the one thing that can make that happen most assuredly seems like fraudulent behavior for an author. It's easy to label love as something that's “touchy feely” and relegated to your personal life. When you start to understand the power of love to engage prospects, increase wallet share with existing customers, and drive industry differentiation, you understand the secret to mind blowing success -- just love people. They will love you back. 

Q. What do you want your legacy to be?

I want to be like one of the thousand people that we interviewed. An ordinary dude that achieves outrageous success. That will be enough for me.

www.edgyconversations.com

www.danwaldschmidt.com

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Luke Brown
tag:stream.growthink.com,2013:Post/676509 2014-04-12T00:06:22Z 2014-04-12T00:06:22Z Ishan Jetley & Luke Brown Growthinker's of the Week! Great contributions by Ishan and Luke this week.  Terrific work gentlemen!]]> Jeff Jones tag:stream.growthink.com,2013:Post/676257 2014-04-11T14:35:01Z 2014-04-11T14:35:02Z The Heartbleed Hit List: The Passwords You Need to Change Right Now
From Mashable

An encryption flaw called the Heartbleed bug is already being called one of the biggest security threats the Internet has ever seen. The bug has affected many popular websites and services — ones you might use every day, like Gmail and Facebook — and could have quietly exposed your sensitive account information (such as passwords and credit card numbers) over the past two years.

But it hasn't always been clear which sites have been affected. Mashable reached out some of the most popular social, email, banking and commerce sites on the web. We've rounded up their responses below.

Some Internet companies that were vulnerable to the bug have already updated their servers with a security patch to fix the issue. This means you'll need to go in and change your passwords immediately for these sites. Even that is no guarantee that your information wasn't already compromised, but there's also no indication that hackers knew about the exploit before this week. The companies that are advising customers to change their passwords are doing so as a precautionary measure.

Although changing your password regularly is always good practice, if a site or service hasn't yet patched the problem, your information will still be vulnerable.

Also, if you reused the same password on multiple sites, and one of those sites was vulnerable, you'll need to change the password everywhere. It's not a good idea to use the same password across multiple sites, anyway.

We'll keep updating the list as new information comes in. Last update: April 10, 8:25 p.m. ET

Social Networks

Was it affected?

Is there a patch?

Do you need to change your password?

What did they say?

Facebook

Unclear

Yes

YesYes

"We added protections for Facebook’s implementation of OpenSSL before this issue was publicly disclosed. We haven’t detected any signs of suspicious account activity, but we encourage people to ... set up a unique password."

Instagram

Yes

Yes

YesYes

"Our security teams worked quickly on a fix and we have no evidence of any accounts being harmed. But because this event impacted many services across the web, we recommend you update your password on Instagram and other sites, particularly if you use the same password on multiple sites.”

LinkedIn

No

No

No

"We didn't use the offending implementation of OpenSSL in www.linkedin.com or www.slideshare.net. As a result, HeartBleed does not present a risk to these web properties."

Pinterest

Yes

Yes

YesYes

"We fixed the issue on Pinterest.com, and didn’t find any evidence of mischief. To be extra careful, we e-mailed Pinners who may have been impacted, and encouraged them to change their passwords."

Tumblr

Yes

Yes

YesYes

"We have no evidence of any breach and, like most networks, our team took immediate action to fix the issue."

Twitter

No

Yes

Unclear

Twitter wrote that OpenSSL "is widely used across the internet and at Twitter. We were able to determine that [our] servers were not affected by this vulnerability. We are continuing to monitor the situation." While reiterating that they were unaffected, Twitter toldMashable that they did apply a patch.

Other Companies

Was it affected?

Is there a patch?

Do you need to change your password?

What did they say?

Apple

No

No

No

"iOS and OS X never incorporated the vulnerable software and key web-based services were not affected."

Amazon

No

No

No

"Amazon.com is not affected."

Google

Yes

Yes

YesYes*

“We have assessed the SSL vulnerability and applied patches to key Google services.” Search, Gmail, YouTube, Wallet, Play, Apps and App Engine were affected; Google Chrome and Chrome OS were not.

*Google said users do not need to change their passwords, but because of the previous vulnerability, better safe than sorry.

Microsoft

No

No

No

Microsoft services were not running OpenSSL, according to LastPass.

Yahoo

Yes

Yes

YesYes

"As soon as we became aware of the issue, we began working to fix it... and we are working to implement the fix across the rest of our sites right now." Yahoo Homepage, Yahoo Search, Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Sports, Yahoo Food, Yahoo Tech, Flickr and Tumblr were patched. More patches to come, Yahoo says.

Email

Was it affected?

Is there a patch?

Do you need to change your password?

What did they say?

AOL

No

No

No

AOL told Mashable it was not running the vulnerable version of the software.

Gmail

Yes

Yes

YesYes*

“We have assessed the SSL vulnerability and applied patches to key Google services.”

*Google said users do not need to change their passwords, but because of the previous vulnerability, better safe than sorry.

Hotmail / Outlook

No

No

No

Microsoft services were not running OpenSSL, according to LastPass.

Yahoo Mail

Yes

Yes

YesYes

"As soon as we became aware of the issue, we began working to fix it... and we are working to implement the fix across the rest of our sites right now."

Stores and Commerce

Was it affected?

Is there a patch?

Do you need to change your password?

What did they say?

Amazon

No

No

No

"Amazon.com is not affected."

Amazon Web Services(for website operators)

Yes

Yes

YesYes

Most services were unaffected or Amazon was already able to apply mitigations (see advisory note here). Elastic Load Balancing, Amazon EC2, Amazon Linux AMI, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Ubuntu, AWS OpsWorks, AWS Elastic Beanstalk and Amazon CloudFront were patched.

eBay

No

No

No

"eBay.com was never vulnerable to this bug because we were never running a vulnerable version of OpenSSL."

Etsy

Yes*

Yes

YesYes

Etsy said that only a small part of its infrastructure was vulnerable, and they have patched it.

GoDaddy

Yes

Yes

YesYes

"We’ve been updating GoDaddy services that use the affected OpenSSL version." Full Statement

Groupon

No

No

No

"Groupon.com does not utilize a version of the OpenSSL library that is susceptible to the Heartbleed bug."

Nordstrom

No

No

No

"Nordstrom websites do not use OpenSSL encryption."

PayPal

No

No

No

"Your PayPal account details were not exposed in the past and remain secure." Full Statement

Target

No

No

No

"[We] launched a comprehensive review of all external facing aspects of Target.com... and do not currently believe that any external-facing aspects of our sites are impacted by the OpenSSL vulnerability."

Walmart

No

No

No

"We do not use that technology so we have not been impacted by this particular breach."

Banks and Brokerages

All the banks we contacted (see below) said they were unaffected by Heartbleed, but U.S. regulators have warned banks to patch their systems.

Was it affected?

Is there a patch?

Do you need to change your password?

What did they say?

Bank of America

No

No

No

"A majority of our platforms do NOT use OpenSSL, and the ones that do, we have confirmed no vulnerabilities."

Capital One

No

No

No

"Capital One uses a version of encryption that is not vulnerable to Heartbleed."

Chase

No

No

No

"These sites don’t use the encryption software that is vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug."

Citigroup

No

No

No

Citigroup does not use Open SSL in "customer-facing retail banking and credit card sites and mobile apps"

E*Trade

No

No

No

E*Trade is still investigating.

Fidelity

No

No

No

"We have multiple layers of security in place to protect our customer sites and services."

PNC

No

No

No

"We have tested our online and mobile banking systems and confirmed that they are not vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug."

Schwab

No

No

No

"Efforts to date have not detected this vulnerability on Schwab.com or any of our online channels."

Scottrade

No

No

No

"Scottrade does not use the affected version of OpenSSL on any of our client-facing platforms."

TD Ameritrade

No

No

No

TD Ameritrade "doesn't use the versions of openSSL that were vulnerable."

TD Bank

No

No

No

"We're currently taking precautions and steps to protect customer data from this threat and have no reason to believe any customer data has been compromised in the past."

U.S. Bank

No

No

No

"We do not use OpenSSL for customer-facing, Internet banking channels, so U.S. Bank customer data is NOT at risk."

Wells Fargo

No

No

No

No reason provided.

Government and Taxes

Was it affected?

Is there a patch?

Do you need to change your password?

What did they say?

1040.com

No

No

No

"We're not vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug, as we do not use OpenSSL."

FileYour Taxes.com

No

No

No

"We continuously patch our servers to keep them updated. However, the version we use was not affected by the issue, so no action was taken."

H&R Block

Unclear

No

Unclear

"We are reviewing our systems and currently have found no risk to client data from this issue."

Healthcare .gov

No

No

No

"Healthcare.gov consumer accounts are not affected by this vulnerability."

Intuit (TurboTax)

Yes

Yes

YesYes

Turbotax "has examined its systems and has secured TurboTax to protect against the “Heartbleed” bug." Full Statement

IRS

Unclear

Unclear

Unclear

"The IRS continues to accept tax returns as normal ... and systems continue operating and are not affected by this bug. We are not aware of any security vulnerabilities related to this situation."

TaxACT

No

No

No

"Customers can update their passwords at any time, although we are not proactively advising them to do so at this time."

USAA

Yes

Yes

YesYes

USAA said that it has "already taken measures to help prevent a data breach and implemented a patch earlier this week."

Other

Was it affected?

Is there a patch?

Do you need to change your password?

What did they say?

Box

Yes

Yes

YesYes

"We're currently working with our customers to proactively reset passwords and are also reissuing new SSL certificates for added protection."

Dropbox

Yes

Yes

YesYes

On Twitter: "We’ve patched all of our user-facing services & will continue to work to make sure your stuff is always safe."

Evernote

No

No

No

"Evernote's service, Evernote apps, and Evernote websites ... all use non-OpenSSL implementations of SSL/TLS to encrypt network communications."Full Statement

Hulu

Unclear

Unclear

Unclear

GitHub

Yes

Yes

YesYes

GitHub said it has patched all its systems, deployed new SSL certificates and revoked old ones. GitHub is asking all users to change password, enable two-factor authentication and "revoke and recreate personal access and application tokens."

IFTTT

Yes

Yes

YesYes

IFTTT emailed all its users and logged them out, prompting them to change their password on the site.

Minecraft

Yes

Yes

YesYes

"We were forced to temporary suspend all of our services. ... The exploit has been fixed. We can not guarantee that your information wasn't compromised." More Information

Netflix

Unclear

Unclear

Unclear

"Like many companies, we took immediate action to assess the vulnerability and address it. We are not aware of any customer impact."

OKCupid

Yes

Yes

YesYes

"We, like most of the Internet, were stunned that such a serious bug has existed for so long and was so widespread."

SoundCloud

Yes

Yes

YesYes

SoundCloud emphasized that there were no indications of any foul play and that the company's actions were simply precautionary.

Spark Networks (JDate, Christian Mingle)

No

No

No

Sites do not use OpenSSL.

SpiderOak

Yes

Yes

No

Spideroak said it patched its servers, but the desktop client doesn't use a vulnerable version of OpenSSL, so "customers do not need to take any special action."

Wordpress

Unclear

Unclear

Unclear

Wordpress tweeted that it has taken "immediate steps" and "addressed the Heartbleed OpenSSL exploit," but it's unclear if the issue is completely solder. When someone asked Matt Mullenweg, WordPress' founding developer, when the site's SSL certificates will be replaced and when users will be able to reset passwords, he simplyanswered: "soon."

Wunderlist

Yes

Yes

YesYes

"You’ll have to simply log back into Wunderlist. We also strongly recommend that you reset your password for Wunderlist."Full Statement

Password Managers

Was it affected?

Is there a patch?

Do you need to change your password?

What did they say?

1Password

No

No

No

1Password said in a blog post that its technology "is not built upon SSL/TLS in general, and not upon OpenSSL in particular." So users don't need to change their master password.

Dashlane

Yes

Yes

No

Dashlane said in a blog post users' accounts were not impacted and the master password is safe as it is never transmitted. The site does use OpenSSL when syncing data with its servers but Dashlane said it has patched the bug, issued new SSL certificates and revoked previous ones.

LastPass

Yes

Yes

No

"Though LastPass employs OpenSSL, we have multiple layers of encryption to protect our users and never have access to those encryption keys." Users don't need to change their master passwords because they're never sent to the server. But passwords for other sites stored in LastPass might need to be changed.

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Luke Brown
tag:stream.growthink.com,2013:Post/675919 2014-04-10T19:51:03Z 2014-04-10T19:51:03Z Being an entrepreneur is sexy...

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Luke Brown
tag:stream.growthink.com,2013:Post/673170 2014-04-04T22:57:26Z 2014-04-04T22:57:26Z Another BIG win for Los Angeles VCs - first 100 days of 2014 the most prolific in region's history.... TrueCar files for IPO, touting 67% revenue growth and 400,000 vehicle sales in

2013

Michael Carney_PandoDaily By Michael Carney 
On April 4, 2014

TrueCar

When it rains, it pours. And these days in Los Angeles the thing falling from the sky is venture returns. The first 100 days of 2014 have been the most prolific in the region’s history, seeing a half dozen companies exit for nine-figures or more.

Today, nine-year-old automotive pricing comparison website TrueCar joined the mix, filing for a long-awaited IPO that could see the company raise as much as $125 million. Unlike most recent tech listings, which in the wake of the Facebook IPO debacle have preferred the human touch of the NYSE, TrueCar will list on the technology focused NASDAQ.

The Santa Monica company has yet to price the offering. Considering that TrueCar has raised more than $189.5 million in venture capital to date (approximately $50 million of which remains), and grew revenue 67 percent year-over-year to $134 million expect the company to command a high nine or low ten figure market cap. TrueCar is EBITA profitable, clearing $2.1 million for the year.

(Editor’s note: The above paragraph originally stated that TrueCar was not profitable, posting a net loss of $25 million and contradicting statements that CEO Scott Painter had made to Pando in November. This fact was corrected at on 4/4/2013 at 3pm PST after further inspection of TrueCar’s filings and comparison to Pando’s prior interview with Painter.)

TrueCar is not profitable – somewhat surprisingly given that CEO Scott Painter told me the opposite as recently as November – posting a net loss of $25 million for the year down 66 percent from a year prior.

TrueCar marks another win for Los Angeles VCs with Upfront Ventures owning 15.2 percent of the company and Anthem Ventures owning another 9.3 percent. The company also counts insurer USAA as a 26 percent shareholder, Jeff Skoll’s Capricorn Investment Group at 16 percent, and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital at 9 percent. TrueCar founder and CEO Scott Painter owns 11.7 percent.

Certified TrueCar dealers must agree to honor the “fair price” set by the price comparison service, saving consumers the hassle of negotiating but also guaranteeing dealers a minimum price. As I wrote last fall:

Behind the scenes, the company collects auto transaction data from thousands of sources including the majority of insurers and automotive lenders nationwide – something it has been doing all along, even before the dealer revolt. With this data, TrueCar can see what prices consumers are actually paying, not what dealers label as “MSRP,” “Invoice,” or other industry standard terms of spurious meaning.

The company then takes this a step further by providing consumers a Guaranteed Savings Certificate based on real average sales prices across the industry. Each of the company’s 7,000 dealer partners is contractually bound to honor the prices on these certificates without hassle or negotiation. Consumers pay nothing for this service, and dealers pay TrueCar a flat fee on each completed sale, but nothing if a sale doesn’t close.

The service is growing in popularity, helping users purchase 400,000 cars last year, a third of the 1.1 million vehicles it’s helped sell since launching nine years ago.

“We estimate that users of our platform purchasing cars from TrueCar Certified Dealers accounted for approximately 2.0 percent of all new car sales in the United States in 2013,” a company spokesperson says.

The service is free to use for consumers, but requires registration. The company gets paid by its 7,000 dealer partners when vehicles are purchased. These pay-for-performance fees make up 89 percent of TrueCar’s revenue, with the other 11 percent coming from sales of data and consulting services.

TrueCar’s path to this point wasn’t without its bumps. The company lost 50 percent of its dealership partners in 2012 amit a revolt to its deep discount messaging. It almost killed the business. The year 2012 “really was hell,” Painter told me in November. “We went from 6,000 dealers to 3,000 overnight. And when your revenue comes from dealers, that’s pretty tough. It almost killed us.” But Painter righted the ship and now 18 months later the company is preparing its Wall Street pitch.

In many ways, TrueCar is the type of startup story LA was known for prior to the hype-filled last three years. The company launched with a monetization strategy from day one and has been slowly growing its user-base with little fanfare. Many members of the local tech community don’t even know TrueCar is based in LA, that it has 250 employees here (and 350 total), or scale of its success.

If Wall Street hops on the TrueCar bandwagon, LA might soon be adding Painter’s company to its short list of billion dollar tentpole technology companies.


-- 

Melissa Welch

Director of Client Development

Growthink

melissa.welch@growthink.com

(310) 846-5015


Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/MelissaAWelch

Join my network on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/melissaawelch

Become a Growthink Fan on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/growthink

 
This message may contain confidential and/or privileged information. If you are not the addressee or authorized to receive this for the addressee, you must not use, copy, disclose or take any action based on this message or any information herein. If you have received this message in error, please advise the sender immediately by reply e-mail and delete this message. Thank you for your cooperation.

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Melissa Welch
tag:stream.growthink.com,2013:Post/671222 2014-04-02T14:36:01Z 2014-04-02T14:36:03Z Apps Solidify Leadership Six Years into the Mobile Revolution

Last year, on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the mobile revolution, Flurry issued its five-year report on the mobile industry. In that report we analyzed time-spent on mobile devices by the average US consumer. We have run the same analysis, using data collected between January and March of 2014, and found some interesting shifts that we are sharing in this report.

Time spent on a mobile device by the average US consumer has risen to 2 hrs and 42 minutes per day from 2 hrs and 38 minutes per day in March of 2013. Apps continued to cement their lead, and commanded 86% of the average US mobile consumer’s time, or 2 hrs and 19 minutes per day. Time spent on the mobile web continued to decline and averaged just 14% of the US mobile consumer’s time, or 22 minutes per day. The data tells a clear story that apps, which were considered a mere fad a few years ago, are completely dominating mobile, and the browser has become a single application swimming in a sea of apps. 

apps dominate hires resized 600

The chart below takes a closer look at app categories. Comparing  them to last year, gaming apps maintained their leadership position at 32% of time spent. Social and messaging applications, including Facebook, increased share from 24% to 28%. Entertainement (including YouTube) and Utility applications maintained their positions at 8% each, while productivity apps saw their share double from 2% to 4% of the overall time spent. 

time spent donut hires v2 resized 600

Coming back to the overall time-spent on mobile, the average US consumer spent an additional 4 minutes/day on a mobile device compared to last year. That is just a 2.5% year-over-year increase. Time spent in apps was 2 hours and 19 minutes this year compared to 2 hours and 7 minutes last year. That is an increase of 12 minutes per day or 9.5%. This is a modest increase in time spent, yet not as spectacular as the five previous years.

Google and Facebook: The First Franchises in Mobile…

While examining the chart above, it is hard to ignore the time-spent on Facebook. As in the previous year, we placed Facebook (including Instagram) in its own category, albeit in the social segment. In terms of time spent, Facebook still has the lion’s share of time spent in the US. While the social segment grew, driven mainly by messaging applications, Facebook was able to maintain its position with the help of Instagram. That position will be even more cemented, if not increased, by the reach and time-spent inside WhatsApp. This has given Facebook a great degree of confidence on mobile allowing it to start focusing on the next platform. The following statement from Mark Zuckerberg’s post on the Oculus acquisition was very revealing: “We have a lot more to do on mobile, but at this point we feel we're in a position where we can start focusing on what platforms will come next to enable even more useful, entertaining and personal experiences”.

In this year’s analysis, we have added YouTube as its own segment, albeit in the entertainment category. On its own, YouTube is a whopping 50% of the entertainment category. Google has many other widely adopted apps, such as maps, but we kept those in their respective categories.

Both Google and Facebook have very well established franchises on mobile, but the market is still very fragmented. In fact, Google and Facebook combined probably command less than 25% of the total time spent by the average US mobile consumer. In addition the top ten franchises, according to ComScore, account for less than 40% of the time-spent. So despite massive efforts by Google and Facebook, the market still hasn’t consolidated and over the past couple of years we have seen new franchises emerge in almost every sector of mobile. Apps like Pinterest, Snapchat, WhatsApp (acquired by Facebook), Waze (Acquired by Google), Spotify and many more received wide adoption and commanded a percent or two of the time spent. In short, six years into the mobile revolution, there are numerous opportunities for new franchises to emerge in almost every segment of the mobile economy. 

…and in Mobile Advertising

There is an old saying in the world of advertising: “time-spent is the timeless currency”. It means that advertising revenue distribution follows time-spent distributions. As an example, if an app commands 17% of time spent, it should command 17% of the ad revenues for that channel. This is exactly the position Facebook is in right now and this is reflected in the chart below. 

ad spend hires v1 resized 600

According to eMarketer, at the end of 2013, Facebook earned 17.5% of the overall mobile advertising revenues. That is in-line with their share of the time-spent. On the flip side, Google, according to eMarketer, earned 49.3% of the overall mobile advertising revenues, much more than its fair share of time-spent. (For the time-spent analysis, we accounted for YouTube and all the time spent in browsers where Google monetizes search and display.)

There are other display networks and other search monetization players out there, but if we combined mobile search and display ads on the mobile web, Google probably has a high market share in terms of ad revenues. The rest of the apps, including gaming apps, are simply not getting their fair share of advertising spent. The “other” apps command 65.3% of time spent but only receive 32% of ad revenues. This represents a massive opportunity for applications, including gaming apps, to monetize through advertising. eMarketer also projects that the mobile ad market will grow 75% this year, making the opportunity even bigger. In fact, analysts predict that in-app ad revenues will surpass web display ads in 2017.

It is still too early to predict the trajectory apps will take in 2014. But one thing is clear - apps have won and the mobile browser is taking a back seat. Now every company in the world including Google is adjusting to that reality. 

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Luke Brown
tag:stream.growthink.com,2013:Post/671002 2014-04-02T02:13:56Z 2014-04-02T02:13:57Z Happy Three Year Growthink Anniversary Bridget Quinlan! A very happy anniversary and thank you for her three year Growthink anniversary to our Director of Expert Market Research Bridget Quinlan! Bridget - thanks for all of the hard work and awesome attitude and look forward to building on all of the great successes of the DFYMR program and beyond in the months and years to come!

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Jay Turo
tag:stream.growthink.com,2013:Post/670814 2014-04-01T19:24:02Z 2014-04-09T22:51:01Z Happy 9 Year Anniversary Pete Kennedy Pete started with us back on April 1, 2005.

During his 9 years with Growthink, Pete has been instrumental on numerous projects.

Please join me on congratulating and thanking Pete for all of his efforts!

Dave

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Dave Lavinsky
tag:stream.growthink.com,2013:Post/669161 2014-03-28T23:50:44Z 2014-03-28T23:50:45Z Antonio Barzagli Named Growthinker of the Week!
Voted on by his LA colleagues, Antonio took home the award today for Growthinker of the Week! 

Excellent work Antonio!
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Jeff Jones
tag:stream.growthink.com,2013:Post/668924 2014-03-28T17:21:03Z 2014-03-28T17:21:03Z Luke Brown 3 Year Anniversary Today marks Luke's 3 year anniversary at Growthink !

Congrats Luke and thank you for all the hard work and major contributions.
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Jeff Jones
tag:stream.growthink.com,2013:Post/668893 2014-03-28T16:19:41Z 2014-03-28T16:19:42Z Tech Merger Frenzy in L.A. Highlights New Set of Startups


By Rob Golum and James Nash

Two takeovers in two days are putting a spotlight on Southern California’s role as a hotbed for technology startups.

Facebook Inc. said March 25 that it agreed to buy the virtual reality company Oculus VR Inc., based in the Orange County city of Irvine, for at least $2 billion in cash and stock. A day earlier, Walt Disney Co. plunked down a minimum of $500 million for Maker Studios, a supplier of shows for YouTube that has its headquarters in Culver City, next to Los Angeles.

Southern California has developed enough talent and financing for a self-sustaining community of tech startups to take root and grow, from the seed capital stage on up. Local universities are pushing entrepreneurship programs, the flow of venture capital money is on the rise and earlier startups have helped attract talent that’s remained instead of moving north to Silicon Valley.

“There’s been a proliferation of both angel and seed capital over the last couple years, and that’s allowed companies to stay here, build and grow,” said Paul Bricault, a venture partner with Greycroft Partners, a backer of Maker Studios.

Facebook’s interest in the region came to light last year, when Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg unsuccessfully tried to buy SnapChat Inc., a mobile photo-sharing service in Venice, a beach community on the west side of Los Angeles.

The company, founded by two Stanford University graduates, turned down his offer of about $3 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said at the time.

Bricault,who’s also managing partner of Amplify.LA, which assists startups, said the climate for new businesses has changed over the past two decades.

Staying Put

In the past, entrepreneurs in Southern California would leave as their funding needs grew and not return, he said. Now “companies are not only electing to stay here, but they are drawing capital from outside L.A. to fill the gap.”

Southern California ranks No. 3 worldwide for technology startups, behind Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv, according to a 2013 report by Be Great Partners, a technology incubator based in Los Angeles.

A concentration of immigrants and universities are driving the growth in technology businesses, said Stephen Levy, director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy in Palo Alto.

Some companies are big enough to be considering initial public offerings. The Rubicon Project Inc., anonline advertising company based in Los Angeles, expects to raise as much as $132.4 million in an offering of up to 7.79 million shares at $15 to $17 each, according to a regulatory filing.

Car Culture

TrueCar Inc., an online auto shopping service, attracted a $30 million investment from Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital in December. The Santa Monica-based company is working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. on a possible IPO, people familiar with the matter said in November.

Venture capital financing in Los Angeles and Orange counties has amounted to more than $17 billion over the past decade, according to data from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. The two counties cover almost 5,000 square miles, about the size of Connecticut, according to Census Data.

The number of deals in the region rose to 267 in 2012, the highest since 2004, according to Esmael Adibi, head of Chapman University’s Center for Economic Research in the City of Orange, citing PricewaterhouseCoopers statistics.

Small Business

The role of digital business in the region is still small relative to the wider local economy, which is led by shipping, the entertainment industry and construction, as well as aerospace and fashion. Los Angeles is the largest manufacturing center in the U.S., according to Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development.

Small and midsize businesses play a particularly large role in Los Angeles, according to Helena Yli-Renko, director of the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Southern California.

The back-to-back sales of Oculus and Maker Studios underscore how vibrant the startup climate has become, said Bricault, whose company oversees investments of $400 million.

“If you look today, the number of companies that have raised money in excess of $500 million and their private market valuations, it’s probably higher than it ever has been before,” he said.

In Los Angeles, employment in e-commerce and digital entertainment has climbed 24 percent in the past five years to 14,920 jobs, according to the Milken Institute in Santa Monica.

Homegrown Companies

“Los Angeles and Silicon Beach are profiting from the shift to digital entertainment leveraging the large number of entertainment workers already living in the area,” said Kristen Keough, a Milken research analyst.

Locals shouldn’t view the sales of homegrown companies as a setback for the regional economy, Yli-Renko said. Oculus plans to continue running independently, while Maker Studios will remain in Culver City.

“Both of these companies look to be at the point where they can really benefit from additional resources to grow and expand, so I don’t think there’s a negative to it,” she said. Oculus and Maker Studios have demonstrated “strong proof of concept and strong proof of market adoption.”

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Luke Brown
tag:stream.growthink.com,2013:Post/668556 2014-03-27T20:57:58Z 2014-03-28T15:59:41Z Angel group investments, valuations climbed in 2013
2013 Halo Report By Region

By: Cromwell Schubarth, Senior Technology Reporter-Silicon Valley Business Journal

Investments by angel groups last year grew with increases seen in investments in startups in the Internet, health and mobile sectors, according to a new report.

The findings came in the Halo Report, which measures only the activities of angel groups and doesn't include the seed investment activities of venture firms, accelerators or angels who act independently. The report is issued quarterly and annually by the Angel Resource Institute, Silicon Valley Bank and CB Insights.

The three most active angel groups in the country last year were the Golden Seeds, Tech Coast Angels in Southern California, the Houston Angel Network and Silicon Valley-based Sand Hill Angels, according to the Halo Report.

California had the largest share of deals involving angel groups (19%) and the greatest amount of investment (20%). The report also showed that about three-quarters of angel group investments are done in their home state.

Five regions of the country accounted for about two-thirds of the deals and dollars invested: They are California, New England, Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic and the Southeast. 

Median angel group round sizes have remained steady over the past three years at $600,000.  But when angel groups co-invested with other types of investors, the median round size reached a three-year high of $1.7 million.

The amount invested in healthcare startups by angel groups rose from $1.1 billion in 2012 to $1.5 billion last year. In the Internet sector it rose from $935 million to $1 billion. In mobile/telecom it went to $1.1 billion from $1 billion.

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Melissa Welch
tag:stream.growthink.com,2013:Post/668070 2014-03-26T20:59:47Z 2014-03-26T21:01:59Z Growthinker Melissa Welch Speaking and Giving Back at the Youth Business Alliance Program Melissa went above and beyond and gave back to the community with 60 minute presentation at  the Alliance College Ready Academy in South Los Angeles o 30 high school students accepted into the Youth Business Alliance Program based on having the highest GPAs in the school  and having an interest in and passion for business and entrepreneurship. 

Great and inspirational work, Melissa!!

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Growthink
tag:stream.growthink.com,2013:Post/667240 2014-03-24T20:44:14Z 2014-03-24T20:44:18Z CELEBRATE! on March 26! Surprise Launch Jump-Started by Maverick Angels
Register for the event here. Growthink is a proud sponsor of Maverick Angels.


At this event, Maverick Angels will be unveiling the Launch of our New Company -- and We Want You to Join in the Celebration. This is the night when we will reveal exciting details of our New Venture -- it's a Wild Idea dedicated to the Greatest Pioneers of our Time...Entrepreneurs! 

  
So...if you're the type who crosses at a red light, has your hair on fire exploding with ideas and challenges the Status Quo, then you will feel right at home during our Big Bash on March 26th. Please join us at this historic event and meet up with Angels, Other Investors, Accelerators, Incubators, Crowdfunders, Sponsors & Affiliates and LA's Influencers.

  

We have mastered mixing business with fun, so bring plenty of business cards as we Collaborate, Educate and Get Down to Learning about YOUR Ventures. 

Here's the Deal: 

Who It's About: Entrepreneurs at All Stages
Date: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 6PM to 9PM PDT

Location: 

Loyola Marymount University

Roski Dining Hall located in University Hall

1 Loyola Marymount University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90045
 

Parking:  

On-Campus parking will cost $10 for the evening.

As you enter LMU from Lincoln Ave and pass security, University Hall is the first building you see on the right. Simply enter the adjacent parking lot and park anywhere. The parking fee is payable at machine kiosks located near each elevator bank. You may pay with either cash or by credit card. 

  

Price: $10 + $1.54 (Eventbrite Fee) for Non-Sponsors

NON-REFUNDABLE

 

What's Up at the Launch?

Fire Up for Our Famous Elevator Pitch Contest 
We've Got Swag--Get Your Goodie Bags Ready
Guest D.J. (Name to be Announced) in the Lounge
More Fun Surprises to Tell You about Coming Soon!

 

Don't Miss Our "Ask the Experts" Panel! This evening is all about you--so work it. Make it happen by interacting with our group of Top Mentors who are there to share their knowledge by answering your questions related to the success of your start-ups.

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Luke Brown
tag:stream.growthink.com,2013:Post/667166 2014-03-24T17:37:11Z 2014-03-24T21:00:41Z Who Gets Funded? Great Businesses vs. Great Presentations From ideas come businesses.

From businesses come needs – like raising capital. Raising capital usually means pitching investors.

So which businesses are most likely to be among the approximately 5% who raise funds from professional investors? The chart below tells the brutal truth quickly and easily.



A great business which gives a great presentation is most likely getting funded.

A lousy business with a lousy presentation isn’t getting funded.

But what about a good business with a lousy presentation? Is it more or less likely to get funding compared to a good business with a great presentation? The answer probably won't surprise you.

After speaking with over 110 angel investors, VCs, entrepreneurs and educators, the consensus was solidly in favor of the good business with a great presentation. The deciding factor came down to the team, the single factor which most influences investors.

A person and a team who made a great presentation took the time to practice. Investors like to see the results of preparation and hard work. A great team willing to practice may simply need some advice and be willing to pivot, changing a good business into a great business.

A good business which gives a lousy presentation says to investors, “We didn’t care enough to put in our best effort.” The lack of preparation and the condescending attitude toward investors will derail just about any business seeking capital.

At the very least, it says the team is not ready, not mature enough, and probably not coachable.  With plenty of investing opportunities from which to choose, investors quickly move on. 

Want to improve your chances when pitching to investors? Follow the eight recommendations below to maximize your chance of raising capital.

PRACTICE your pitch
If you didn’t practice 25-50 times before presenting, it will show in your lack of confidence, poor pacing, and use of filler words like “uh”, “um” and “like”. Then you’ll likely resort to the boring reading-slides-to-your-audience-with-your-back-turned method of pitching. Buy the coffin. You’re dead.

GENERATE some enthusiasm!
No one expects you to have over-the-top local sportscaster enthusiasm. But don’t pitch with a sleep-inducing monotone, either. If you don’t have passion for your business, neither will an investor.

PREPARE for contingencies
Fertilizer happens. Prepare for it.
* Know every slide in your pitch deck by heart
* Have two thumb drives with your pitch deck saved in PowerPoint / Keynote and PDF
* Bring your own laptop, projector, clicker, batteries, microphone, cables and cords
* Inspect the room beforehand, if possible. Know the lighting and sound conditions

BREVITY is king
Got 10 minutes to pitch? Finish in 9:45. Almost nobody finishes with a strong close in the allotted time. Investors love someone who can manage time effectively. It sends the message that you can manage other areas of business effectively, too. Keep your pitch deck to 10-12 slides maximum.

NAIL the opening and closing
Tell a brief story; do something unexpected; focus on emotion. Those are great concepts to open a pitch. Close powerfully with your call to action. Now think about how most people open speeches – and don’t do that.

STORIES sell
Sprinkle in stories to drive home a point, to magnify emotions, and to keep your audience engaged. Generally, a single story should take no longer than about 7% of your total pitch time. For a 10 minute pitch, a story is most effective when 45 seconds or less.

Use storyboarding, a technique invented by Walt Disney in the 1930s, to create your overall theme. Do this before designing your pitch deck.

VISUALS, not text
Your pitch deck should be primarily visual. You’re the focus, not your pitch deck. If your slides are full of text, your investor audience is reading the slides and not listening to you. Your audience can read faster than you can speak. When they finish and you’re still talking, they’ll disconnect. After that, they’re almost impossible to re-engage. Great visuals enhance your story because vision is the most dominant sense in people.

WIIFI: What’s In It For Investors?
Why you? Why now? Why should an investor care? When your pitch answers those questions in a concise yet detailed manner, your chance of funding improves. 

Knowing your investor audience is essential. Pitching friends and family is somewhat causal, pitch angel investors is more serious and pitching institutional investors is sophisticated. Tailor your pitch accordingly.

 

Successfully raising investor funding is often a long, frustrating and complex process. Getting turned down dozens or hundreds of times will test an entrepreneur’s patience. Persistence doesn’t guarantee success but quitting guarantees failure. Investors use the process to find the most resilient entrepreneurs worthy of funding. Getting investor funding will often change your life and your world for the better. The guidelines above will make your process faster and easier. 

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Luke Brown
tag:stream.growthink.com,2013:Post/666893 2014-03-23T19:27:28Z 2014-03-23T19:27:29Z The Hardest Round to Raise for Startups

By Tomasz Tunguz

Over the past few years, I've debated the existence of a Series A crunch and found in that analysis that the volume of Series As was increasing. This trend hasn't abated. The number of Series As has grown by 31% annually for the past 5 years, reaching more than 831 Series As in 2013, up from 284 in 2009. In short, no founder should be concerned about the Series A market.

Rather, the Series B market is worrisome. At the moment, Series Bs are the hardest rounds to raise for startups. The data proves the point. The chart above compares the number of Series A rounds and the number of Series B rounds recorded by Crunchbase over the past eight years. Series As have grown dramatically, by more than 30% per year. In contrast, Series Bs lag behind at 10% annual growth. Before 2013, the Series B market was basically flat.

Let's dig one level deeper into the Series As and Bs by round size. The first chart below shows smaller Series As, those with investment sizes under $5M, drive the majority of growth in round volumes. $5-$10M rounds, the brown line, have grown more modestly. Relatively speaking, all other round sizes are flat and irrelevant.

The Series B charts by round size tell us that sub $5M Series Bs are also the fastest growing segment, followed by $5 to $15M Series Bs. But the number of $5 to $15M Series Bs hasn't changed since 2007. Again, larger rounds are largely irrelevant because their numbers are just too small to be significant.

Despite the 3x increase in Series A rounds led, the Series B dollars haven't grown to support an additional 400 startups in the market for a Series B. Needless to say, competition in the Series B market is heating up!

I'll speculate about why this is the case. Perhaps there's a latency in the market and investors need a few years to seize upon the opportunity. Perhaps there has always been a significant difference in the size of Series B and Series A dollars because the post Series A companies are acquired or fail at a substantial rate. While there has been an enormous expansion of seed funds that catalyze Series A rounds, there has not been an equal expansion in the number of Series B firms, which require larger funds and are harder to raise as a first-time fund manager investor. I'm not sure which is the right answer or if it's a combination of all of them.

In any case, the conclusion is clear. Right now, Series Bs are the hardest rounds to raise. The competition for Series B dollars is about 3x as intense as a few years ago*. Now, more than ever, founders ought to reverse engineer their startup's Series B pitch to maximize their chances of success.

  • I'm assuming that the rates of company acquisition, company failure and general founder behaviors have remained constant over the past ten years. Unfortunately, it's hard to prove this point using the Crunchbase data because it's too noisy.

http://tomtunguz.com/the-hardest-round-to-raise/

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Luke Brown
tag:stream.growthink.com,2013:Post/666558 2014-03-22T00:06:33Z 2014-03-22T00:06:35Z How to Talk to Designers If You're Not a Designer
From BloombergBusinessWeek
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Luke Brown
tag:stream.growthink.com,2013:Post/666556 2014-03-21T23:56:45Z 2014-03-21T23:56:46Z Sam Park Named Growthinker of the Week!
Voted on by his LA colleagues, Sam took home the award today for Growthinker of the Week! 

Great job Sam! 
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Jeff Jones
tag:stream.growthink.com,2013:Post/666554 2014-03-21T23:31:36Z 2014-03-21T23:31:36Z First Los Angeles Company to go Public since 2011 Rubicon Prices IPO, Values Company at $450 Million

By JUSTIN YANGThursday, March 20, 2014

Tech advertising platform Rubicon Project Inc. priced its initial public offering Thursday at $17 a share, valuing the company at more than $450 million.

The Playa Vista company intends to offer 6.7 million shares to the public, setting aside an overallotment of another 1 million shares. Rubicon, considered one of the earlier automated ad exchange players, claims it reaches 97 percent of U.S. Internet users, and 600 million users worldwide. Competitors include AOL, Google and Microsoft.

Despite its wide reach, the company has had trouble reaching profitability according to its S-1 form. The company reported a net loss of $9.2 million in 2013. Revenue rose 47 percent to $84 million compared to the year earlier. Rubicon has raised $51 million in venture capital funding.

Frank Addante, Rubicon’s chief executive, is the largest individual shareholder of the company with 10 percent. Clearstone Ventures owns 21 percent, News Corp. owns 19.3 percent and Mayfield Fund owns 14.2 percent.

Rubicon is the first Los Angeles tech company to go public since Demand Media’s IPO in 2011. The stock will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under ticker symbol RUBI.

Source: http://www.labusinessjournal.com/news/2014/mar/20/rubicon-prices-ipo-values-company-450-million/

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Simone Chen
tag:stream.growthink.com,2013:Post/666480 2014-03-21T19:48:34Z 2014-03-21T19:48:36Z 7 Persistent Myths About Intellectual Property

Posting a copyrighted photo on a blog cost a small public relations company thousands of dollars, even though the photo wasn’t labeled with a copyright notice.

Labeling products with a patent number that didn’t match the exact model meant a construction-stilts manufacturer must pay large fines.

And a loophole in the intellectual property clause of an employee contract created nearly a decade of court battles and cost Mattel the Bratz doll empire.

These are just a few examples that show how common intellectual property mistakes can be extremely costly for companies of any size. For entrepreneurs, one intellectual property error could devastate a budding company. Here are seven of the most prevalent myths surrounding intellectual property and how misconceptions could hurt your company.  

Myth 1: Businesses automatically own all intellectual property created by employees and contractors. Many business owners mistakenly assume that when they hire an employee or a contractor, they as a matter of course own full rights to their work. But unless the employee or vendor contract explicitly states that the company owns the rights to any intellectual property created by the employee or contractor, entrepreneurs may be surprised to find that they have limited or no rights to the work.

Myth 2:  A patent grants worldwide protection. Obtaining a patent from the U.S. Patent Office generally protects only the patent within the U.S. Company managers who want to conduct business abroad have to file for a patent in each country in which they want to operate and must comply with each country’s unique patent laws.

Myth 3:  If it sounds "official,” it probably is. Scammers often prey on entrepreneurs’ desire to protect intellectual property. Common scams include emails that say the company needs to pay a fee to protect its trademark or domain name, or contain bogus invoices for protection services. Because the emails come from organizations that sound official and include specific information about the business, many owners pay the fees without question.  

Myth 4:  If it doesn’t have a copyright symbol, anyone can use it. Traditionally, any creative work that did not have a copyright notice or © symbol on it was free for public use. The law changed several decades ago so that copyrighted materials are protected with or without a copyright label. But many people think the old rules still apply, especially when it comes to material on the internet. Business owners should assume any material found on the internet has a copyright and seek permission from the owner for its use.

Myth 5: Trade secrets provide easy catch-all protection. Many owners of young businesses mistakenly think any information not covered by a copyright or patent can easily be protected as a trade secret. But trade secret protection can be difficult to enforce in court, and companies have to prove all of the following:

(a) The information gives the company a competitive advantage by virtue of being unknown.

(b) The company took reasonable measures to protect the information.

(c) The information is not generally known to the public or competitors.

Myth 6: Markings don’t matter. Some business people misuse intellectual property markings, either by using them too much or too little. For example, marking a patent number on items that don’t bear the exact patented design can result in fines of as much as $500 for each mislabeled item. On the other hand, failing to use trademark markings such as ™ and ® can lead to a brand name becoming a generic term that has no trademark protection, as occurred with formerly trademarked terms such as aspirin, zipper and thermos.

Myth 7:  I can wait to figure out my intellectual-property strategy. Companies have no time to waste in creating an intellectual property strategy, especially when it comes to patents. Last year the U.S. patent system changed from a “first to invent” system to a “first to file” system, meaning that patents are now awarded based on who files the application first, not who thought of the idea first.

Intellectual property matters leave little room for error, and a smart strategy concerning this should be a top priority for every entrepreneur. Every new business owner should have a trusted intellectual property consultant to help dispel the myths and build a sound strategy to best protect the company.

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Luke Brown
tag:stream.growthink.com,2013:Post/666449 2014-03-21T17:56:13Z 2014-03-21T17:56:13Z Great work by Anna Vitale! Big kudos to Senior Engagement Manager, Anna Vitale for two WONDERFUL notes from happy clients -- one being an Academy Award winning screenwriter! GREAT work Anna!

"We brought our nascent business idea to Growthink. Anna Vitale was our point person. Growthink not only helped us organize and articulate the ideas we already had, they burrowed into our concept heart and soul, were a font of research and ideas, and helped us expand our idea into a more exciting and dynamic plan than we'd originally imagined. Anna is smart, organized, hard working and something you rarely find in any profession: a perfectionist. By the time Growthink's work was complete, Anna had spent untold hours revising, refining, and honing our business plan into a document we can present with confidence and pride.  I highly recommend Growthink and Anna."

Tom Schulman 


Followed by:

Anna,

Back in November when we stepped into the Growthink office for the first time, we were four industry people who had a vision for a new company but no real blueprint to share with the business world.

On behalf of Chris, Rick and Tom, “Thank you, for your time, effort, consideration and attention to detail as we got started, seeing us through the holidays and making sure our final product reflects not only who we are but the work Growthink is committed to putting out in the world.”

While it took a bit longer and a few more hours and people than we all expected, we are happy with our final version and will be taking it out into meetings in the coming weeks.

Please pass our comments along to your colleagues and remind them on our behalf of your professionalism and your commitment to exceeding our expectations of excellent customer service.

In gratitude,
Boise Thomas
The RPL Effect Team]]>
Melissa Welch
tag:stream.growthink.com,2013:Post/665765 2014-03-20T00:34:22Z 2014-03-20T00:36:31Z How to Make Your Management Consultant Feel Good Today Jonah Moore and I moderated a strategic planning session for 27 executives of Mahar Tool Company at a retreat center in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  At the end of the day, Mahar President Mike Kovaleski gave Jonah and I gave us signed copies of Ari Weinzweig's book (famed founder of Zingermans) - "Being a Better Leader" and inscribed both copies for us with personal thank you notes for Jonah and me from the company's executive team.  A real keep sake. 

See below.  

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Jay Turo
tag:stream.growthink.com,2013:Post/665758 2014-03-20T00:02:36Z 2014-03-20T00:03:50Z Growthink new mobile page GREAT work Growthinker Kevin McGinn!! Great stuff!!

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Jay Turo
tag:stream.growthink.com,2013:Post/665740 2014-03-19T22:59:01Z 2014-03-19T22:59:01Z How To Sell Anything

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Jay Turo