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In 2008, just as the global economy was collapsing, one of the most storied venture capital firms in Silicon Valley, Sequoia Capital, gave a presentation that encouraged entrepreneurs to raise as much money as they could, and hunker down for a nuclear winter.
Three years later, the startup economy is zooming along. Many young companies large and small have been raising money at significant (and arguably exorbitant) valuations. A new breed of angel investor -- the 'super angel' -- has emerged, buoying the market for startup capital. And thanks to secondary markets for private company stock, founders and early employees at some of the most successful companies have been able to obtain liquidity.
But are the good times coming to an end, again?
Times are good for internet entrepreneurs. VC money is flowing again, supporting a startup boom the likes of which hasn't been seen since the late 1990s.
Large companies aren't shy about acquiring technology and talent, and for the most promising companies, the public markets are once again open for business.
Although much of the startup investment activity and buzz is focused on startups in Silicon Valley and New York, Europe isn't without startup action of its own.
If you run a business that's active online, or are involved in digital marketing in any way, chances are you've done business with a startup before.
No big deal, right? After all, today's hot startup could be tomorrow's Apple or Google, and even if it isn't, there's no denying that startups are a driving force behind innovation.
But should you always trust a startup? Are there times when joining forces with one is a bad idea?
When investing in or buying a company, taking a peek under the hood is all but required. Anything else, of course, is sort of like going to Vegas and betting a huge chunk of your retirement on black.
Generally, due diligence includes looking at a company's financials. From the top line to the bottom line, prospective investors and acquirers need to know how healthy a company is and where it appears to be headed. But when investing in or acquiring an online business, should investors and acquirers be paying more attention to the SEO profiles of the properties they're considering?
Is there a bubble in tech?
It may not resemble the first .com bubble, but the valuations being given to some of the hottest internet startups, from 'mature' companies including Facebook and Twitter all the way down to upstarts like Quora, is producing plenty of skepticism.
Darwin Private Equity recently acquired a majority stake in Euroffice, backing a management buyout of the company.
I've been talking to CEO Simon Drakeford about the deal, how the company will use the investment, and how a focus on customer retention has helped Euroffice to grow despite the recent economic situation.
PROfoundersCapital is a venture capital fund established for entrepreneurs in the digital media space, and backed by investors including Brent Hoberman and Michael Birch.
I've been talking to General Partner Rogan Angelini-Hurll about the aims of the fund, and what he will be looking for in entrepreneurs seeking investment...
Bad luck to Andy Cockburn and the Wigadoo team, following the news that it is closing down.
I really liked the Wigadoo model, and so did the likes of Brent Hoberman, who backed it. Wigadoo basically helped people to go Dutch online, for group outings such as events. So rather than having one person pay for four tickets, each person could chip into a central pot.
Simply put, the company ran out of time and money, and the appetite from the investment community wasn’t there to issue a new round of funding to take the business forward.
If you're an internet entrepreneur and you could pick any company to invest in your startup, which one would it be?
Chances are Google would be at or near the top of the list. And for good reason: Google is not only the 800-lb. gorilla of the internet and one of the most prominent companies in the world, it has been fairly aggressive over the years in acquiring young startups, from hot consumer plays like YouTube to enterprise ventures like Postini.
Everybody knew that the economic crisis would have a profound impact on VC-backed technology startups. Many that had been able to raise lots of funding when times were good focused on growth instead of revenue, grew headcount rapidly and planned for M&A levels and IPOs that were a part of an economy that is now a fading memory.
With many VCs unwilling or unable to continue supporting portfolio companies that haven't found a way to support themselves, it was only a time before waves of startups started closing their doors and selling themselves at firesale prices as they ran out of cash.
Twitter, the popular microblogging service that has become a favorite social media marketing tool, has signed a term sheet to raise more venture capital money at a $250m valuation. That's according to a report published this weekend by TechCrunch.
Thus far, Twitter has raised approximately $20 million in funding. The dollar amount of the latest round is not yet known.