Flip 2K5

Anil Dash writes:

This time, the VCs don’t come swarming in. Some folks are bootstrapping their services and some are taking angel funding (that means a rich friend of the company gives you money). So, instead of being pushed to do a huge IPO with a huge return, a lot of these people are more than happy to be acquired rather than shoot for a ridiculously huge IPO. I think part of the reason, for at least some of them, is that new regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley add some friction to the process of getting ready to go public. Nothing wrong with that, and it’s also good that some of the little services realize they’d be happier with a corporate home than trying to grow into a giant company on their own.

The math, though, is where it gets fun. I think Web 2.0 companies that have flipped/are flipping to big companies are ending up with almost the same end result for founders. It’s still a decent amount of money, there’s just a different path to get there.


Tom Foremski writes:

These days our culture is becoming more mobile because we have a vast torrent of mobile digital devices and the infrastructure to allow us to be more mobile, to become more nomadic.

We are no longer tied to the desktop PC, nor to the laptop; and we will soon have access to our digital lives from any device anywhere, anytime and anyplace. We are becoming digitally-enabled mobile/nomadic peoples.

We are also more mobile in our thinking, more able to spot the obstacles to progress that gender, ethnic, and economic divisions create.

But we live in an increasingly fractured world because we belong to distinct groups/tribes defined by our employer, our friends, our professional associations, our ethnicity, and our sexual preferences.

The first human cultures emerged from the nomadic tribal communities where it was common to celebrate the qualities of an animal, its spirit, its qualities, its energies.

We seem to be going back to our roots and becoming nomadic peoples again–or rather “nomadig” people.

Free Voice

Kevin Werbach writes:

Why is it so shocking for eBay CEO Meg Whitman to say that users will expect voice phone calls to be free in five years? Does anyone today expect to pay for email messages or instant messages? One can quibble over the timing, but not the ultimate outcome.

So the question for the telecom sector becomes, how to make money when you can’t charge for a wired phone call?…Who better to understand how to generate profits in this new world than Skype? They understand how to leverage a huge community and develop ancillary services that commmunity will pay for. The company has never charged a penny for in-network phone calls, and revenue is going through the roof.

“Our belief is that the winner in this space will be those that have the largest ecosystem,” said Whitman.

Warburg Pincus and India

Knowledge@Wharton dissects Warburg’s success in India:

India has done well by Warburg, generating returns in “the mid-30s over 10 years,” the firm’s co-president, Charles R. Kaye, said…In turn, the firm has favored India. Warburg is the largest private equity investor in India by far, having ploughed $811 million into the country as of mid-2005. This amount is more than twice the $362 million Warburg has invested in China, according to data provided by the National Venture Capital Association in Arlington, Va.

One of the biggest changes Pathak says he has noticed has nothing to do with numbers. “There has been a complete change in the confidence level of people in India,” he says. The “tipping point” here was the contribution of Indian information technology companies to averting a worldwide Y2K meltdown. Suddenly, India’s small IT companies went global, and the government — long accustomed to regulating big industry but unfamiliar with IT — had nothing to do with it. Now “most people believe they will not let government get in their way,” Pathak says, “and that’s why we keep putting money there.”

There’s a swagger in the step of India’s business, and the country’s government is showing signs it has caught the contagion, Kaye says. According to a 2003 Goldman Sachs report, “India’s economy could be larger than all but the U.S. and China in 30 years.” It’s a prediction that doesn’t appear far-fetched to Kaye and Pathak.

Web 2.0 Disruptive Start-ups

Richard MacManus launches a quest to find “two separate types of disruptive start-ups”:

1) a disruptive technology that changes the Web – like Google did.

2) non-geek services built using Web 2.0 technologies. These will be disruptive because we don’t have many of them right now and Web 2.0 won’t hit the mainstream until we do. CrossConnector and Sproutit.com are two examples.

He provides a list of contenders.

Also read Umair Haque and Dion Hinchcliffe.

TECH TALK: India Empowered: Indian Express Series

Since August 15, the Indian Express has been running a front-page series India Empowered. This is how the newspaper describes it: The who’s who of a changing India write about the ways to empower our nationIf there’s one engine that’s today driving a changing India, it’s empowerment. Empowerment of the individual, the family, the neighbourhood, the community – and, hence, the nationIndia Empowered series brings to you what truly matters to India and what drives us. Read what really matters to our country. Because it is your right to know. As the papers editor, Shekhar Gupta, puts it: Empowerment through intelligent and incisive information is an idea whose time has come.

In this series, I have taken abstracts from the series, followed by an essay on what India Empowered means to me.

President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam: A new situation is emerging in India. Very rarely in history have we come across such a constellation: an ascending economic trajectory, rising foreign exchange reserves, reducing inflation rates, global recognition of technological competence, energy of 540 million youth, umbilical connectivities of 20 million people of Indian origin abroad, and the interest shown by developed countries to invest in our engineers and scientists, including in new R&D centres. Governments have been emphasising economic development by ensuring growth rates of seven-eight per cent annually, enhancing the welfare of farmers and workers and unleashing the creativity of entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers. This opportunity must be fully utilised to bridge the rural-urban divide, using knowledge as a tool.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh: The well-being of each of our citizens empowers everyone of us. We will empower our people by pursuing policies that will create employment opportunities and provide viable livelihood strategies. We will need to put in place effective arrangements for social insurance against old age and sickness, for the well-being and security of the aged and the disabled. That well-being, defined in economic, social, cultural, and all the other terms that define our social existence, is best ensured in the framework of an open society and an open economy The creation, the dissemination and the utilisation of knowledge is what really empowers both people and nations. India will be empowered when we can create a knowledge society and a knowledge economy within the framework of an open society and an open economy.

G Madhavan Nair, Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation: The fact that India is capable of achieving self-reliance even in the most advanced technologies like space and, more importantly, use these capabilities for the uplift of the society at grassroots level shows that India has the potential to become an empowered nation. The recent initiatives like tele-education through EDUSAT for formal and non-formal educational services, tele-medicine network that connects speciality hospitals in major cities to rural and remote areas and the Village Resources Centres that help farmers on various aspects like land-use, water, agriculture, weather, market information, etc, can help in empowering our society at the grassroots level.

Yogendra Singh Yadav, Param Vir Chakra, Havildar, Indian Army: Let us stop pointing fingers, worrying about the deeds of others. We must seize the day, look at ourselves, attend to our own lives. Half the problems in this world are there because people and countries have failed to look at their own lives first. Culture apart, India must take advantage of its new found place in the world of technology to empower its people. If we make good use of technology, we can be a fearless people, take ourselves and the nation forward.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw; CMD, Biocon: An empowered nation is synonymous with national pride. Pride to me is the most powerful ethos that defines empowerment. Indias private sector, led by information technology, telecommunications, biotech, pharmaceuticals and many others is empowering the country on a platform of performance and excellence There is a noticeable change taking place in various ways where men and women are gradually building an ethos of empowerment through a deep sense of purpose, willing to overcome challenges because they want to change this country in a manner that every Indian can be proud of.

Tomorrow: Indian Express Series (continued)