Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hummer-Winblad and Rev3

Tuesday was an exciting day. Not only we were able to watch President Obama's inauguration but we were also able to visit two very different, but exciting companies.

Our first stop was at a venture capitalist firm, one of the best in San Francisco, Hummer-Winblad. This VC firm specializes in investing in software and technology firms. We had a direct tie to them because our professor, Brad Miller, was one of the starters of NetPerceptions which Hummer-Winblad invested in the late 90's.

We learned a lot about pitching to VC firms, what they are looking for and how to present yourself and your product to them. So as some advise I will pass down the six factors that Ann presented to us can be found below:

1) Start with a 60 second briefing about yourself and your product
2) Your mission
3) What market are you trying to conquer
4) Quantify your opportunity
5) Your businesses timetable
6) Foldout Plan

The VC world is a crazy world and many people say that to be a VC you only have to be right 5% of the time. These firms invest millions of dollars in start-ups in hopes of a high return. They are in essence risk reduction engineers trying to find unclaimed market opportunities. Coming into this trip I had little information about what VC's did besides loan money for start-ups but I now have a much better idea about the thought process behind their decisions.

After scarfing a great portabello sandwich for lunch, we headed to Revison3 studio's just outside downtown San Francisco. Revision3 is a Internet television broadcast studio producing their own shows that can be see online at any time. It was started by Kevin Rose who is huge out here in the valley for his first Internet site Digg.

We had a tour of their studios and talked with Ron who gave us some insight into how they use Internet to leverage their product and collaborate to form their shows. I have never really used digg or Rev3 very much but both are sites worth checking out. Digg is a sight where if there is a popular video, article, blog, ect that is somebody likes they can click the "digg" icon and the ones with the most "diggs" get pushed to the top for everybody to check out.

We had another special guest, Dave Mathews, who is a friend of Steph's and known in the valley as the gadget guy. He was a great guy to talk with an was full of energy about his products. He is the inventor of many cool products including SlingBox (Anne I think Nil's has this for his "cable") and his current project that is still in beta form is Boxee. Boxee is an awesome idea that eliminates the cable companies power to control the television we watch and when we watch it. In essence, it is all shows stored online free for you to watch at your own convenience with only 15 second commercials between cuts. I can explain it more to anybody who is interested and it is something that I find totally awesome.

Until next time,

Creat, inspire and be inspired.

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