Value is Now Generated Pre-IPO; for companies going public before 2000, almost 75 percent of their eventual market value was realized in the public market, post-IPO; Who would have imagined that Splunk, which started out just analyzing log files, could be worth over $4 billion?

The Right Now Economy: The Next Wave of Startup Success

Mark Siegel6/12/13Follow @msiegel11

[Editor’s Note: Mark Siegel, managing director at Menlo Ventures, was the keynote speaker at IBF’sVenture Capital Investing Conference today in San Francisco. The post below summarizes his talk, in which he argued that the convergence of mobility, cloud infrastructure, social and big data—what he calls the Right Now Economy—sets the stage for $500 billion in venture returns over the next decade.]

Every technology cycle is driven by a huge disruptive new trend in innovation, such as the PC, the Internet/telecom boom, or the rise of social networking. We’re in the midst of the latest cycle, and it’s particularly compelling because it marks the convergence of four important trends: mobile, social, cloud infrastructure and Big Data.

These technological mega-trends have converged to create the real-time marketplaces of the Right Now Economy, which are already disrupting trillions of dollars in aggregate market value and have produced an incredibly fertile area for entrepreneurs to grow ideas into well-funded companies with the potential to take on established stalwarts. Read more of this post

China braces for capital flight and debt stress as Fed tightens; There have been signs of serious stress in China’s interbank lending markets, with short-term SHIBOR rates spiking violently. Bank Everbright missed an interbank payment last week in a technical default

China braces for capital flight and debt stress as Fed tightens

China appears increasingly worried that monetary tightening by the US Federal Reserve could trigger capital flight from the People’s Republic and set off a Chinese corporate debt crisis.

There have been signs of serious stress in China’s interbank lending markets, with short-term SHIBOR rates spiking violently. Photo: Alamy

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

1:50PM BST 14 Jun 2013

shiboroneweek_cut_2590358c

A front-page editorial on Friday in China Securities Journal – an arm of the regulatory authorities – warned that capital inflows have slowed sharply and may have begun to reverse as investors grow wary of emerging markets. “China will face large-scale capital outflows if there is an exit from quantitative easing and the dollar strengthens.” it wrote. The journal said foreign exodus from Chinese equity funds were the highest since early 2008 in the week up to June 5, and the withdrawal Hong Kong funds were the most in a decade.

Read more of this post

China estimates fake trade invoicing at S$94 billion in Jan-April

China estimates fake trade invoicing at S$94 billion in Jan-April

SHANGHAI – Fake invoicing inflated China’s official import and export totals by US$75 billion (S$94 billion) in the first four months of this year, local media reported on Friday, citing an internal review by China’s commerce ministry.

BY –

1 HOUR 5 MIN AGO

SHANGHAI – Fake invoicing inflated China’s official import and export totals by US$75 billion (S$94 billion) in the first four months of this year, local media reported on Friday, citing an internal review by China’s commerce ministry.

An alternate estimate found that actual year-on-year export growth for January to April was only about 7 per cent, while import growth was about 6 per cent, the 21st Century Business Herald reported, citing an unidentified source and an internal commerce ministry document.

The second estimate was based on excluding data from the port of Shenzhen, where much of the fraud is suspected to have occurred. Read more of this post

India is Asia’s weakest link in QE-driven rout

India is Asia’s weakest link in QE-driven rout

Thu, Jun 13 2013

By Vidya Ranganathan

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – India is emerging Asia’s canary in the ‘hot money’ mine.

As financial markets sell off on concerns over rising U.S. rates, what happens in India, an economy with slowing growth and a heavy dependence on foreign money, could well determine if this is merely a short-term rout or a full-blown crisis.

India’s rupee currency has weakened the most among emerging markets after the South African rand since May as investors flee assets most vulnerable to the end of super-loose U.S. monetary policy. Read more of this post

MD&A Disclosure and the Firm’s Ability to Continue as a Going Concern

MD&A Disclosure and the Firm’s Ability to Continue as a Going Concern

William J. Mayew Duke University – Fuqua School of Business

Mani Sethuraman Duke University – Fuqua School of Business

Mohan Venkatachalam Duke University – Fuqua School of Business

March 22, 2013

Abstract: 
This paper explores the role of textual disclosures in the MD&A section of a firm’s SEC 10K filing to predict a firm’s ability to continue as a going concern. Using a sample of firms that filed for bankruptcy over the period 1995-2011 and a matched set of control firms we find that both management’s opinion about going concern stated in the MD&A and the linguistic tone of the MD&A together provide significant explanatory power in predicting whether a firm will cease as a going concern. Moreover, the predictive ability of MD&A disclosure is incremental to financial ratios, auditor going concern opinion, and market based variables. The striking feature of our findings is that the information in MD&A disclosures is more useful in predicting bankruptcy relative to financial ratios three years prior to bankruptcy. This suggests that MD&A disclosures are more timely than financial ratios and hence, a leading indicator of going concern problems. Our findings have important implications for current standard setter deliberations on whether to mandate qualitative disclosures about management’s assessment of the firm’s ability to continue as a going concern.

Distracted Directors: Does Board Busyness Hurt Shareholder Value?

Distracted Directors: Does Board Busyness Hurt Shareholder Value?

Antonio Falato Federal Reserve Board

Dalida Kadyrzhanova University of Maryland

Ugur Lel Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University – Department of Finance, Insurance, and Business Law

May 31, 2013

Abstract: 
This paper examines the impact of independent director busyness on firm value in a setting that addresses a key challenge that the board of directors is an endogenously determined institution. We use the deaths of directors and CEOs as a natural experiment to generate exogenous variation in the time and resources available to independent directors at interlocked firms. The sudden loss of such key co-employees is an ‘attention shock’ because it increases the board committee workload for some independent directors at the interlocked firm – the ‘treatment group,’ but not others – the ‘control group.’ In a hand-collected sample of 2,551 (592) firms that share a non-deceased independent director with 633 (189) firms subject to director (CEO) deaths, difference-in-difference estimates reveal that investors react negatively to these attention shocks. There is a significant negative stock market reaction of -0.79% (-0.95%) for director-interlocked firms in the treatment group, but no reaction for those in the control group. The treatment effect is significantly magnified by interlocking directors’ busyness (e.g., board size and number of outside directorships), the importance of their roles in the firm (e.g., type of committee membership), and their degree of actual independence (e.g., entrenchment). Overall, these results provide direct evidence that director attention shocks are interpreted as negative events for firms and that independent directors’ busyness entails costs for shareholders.

Are Investors Guided by the News Disclosed by Companies or by Journalists?

Are Investors Guided by the News Disclosed by Companies or by Journalists?

Zilu Shang ICMA Centre, Henley Business School

Chris Brooks University of Reading – ICMA Centre

Rachel McCloy University of Plymouth – School of Psychology

June 1, 2013

Abstract: 
Most previous studies demonstrating the influential role of the textual information released by the media on stock market performance have concentrated on earnings-related disclosures. By contrast, this paper focuses on disposal announcements, so that the impacts of listed companies’ announcements and journalists’ stories can be compared concerning the same events. Consistent with previous findings, negative words, rather than those expressing other types of sentiment, statistically significantly affect adjusted returns and detrended trading volumes. However, extending previous studies, the results of this paper indicate that shareholders’ decisions are mainly guided by the negative sentiment in listed companies’ announcements rather than that in journalists’ stories. Furthermore, this effect is restricted to the announcement day. The average market reaction – measured by adjusted returns – is inversely related only when the announcements are ignored by the media, but the dispersion of market reaction – measured by detrended trading volume – is positively affected only when announcements are followed up by journalists.

Materiality Guidance of the Major Auditing Firms

Materiality Guidance of the Major Auditing Firms

Aasmund Eilifsen Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) – Department of Accounting, Auditing, and Law

William F. Messier Jr.University of Nevada, Las Vegas – Department of Accounting; Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) – Department of Accounting, Auditing and Law

June 5, 2013

Abstract: 
This paper examines the materiality guidance for eight of the largest U.S. auditing firms. Knowledge of how materiality guidance is integrated into a firm’s methodology is important for accounting and auditing researchers. Our results show a high level of consistency across the firms in terms of the quantitative benchmarks (e.g., income before taxes, total assets or revenues, and total equity) used to determine overall materiality, the related percentages applied to those benchmarks, the percentages applied to overall materiality for determining tolerable misstatement, and what constitutes a clearly trivial misstatement. We also find that the firms’ guidance for evaluating detected misstatements including qualitative factors and firm guidance for group audits is consistent across firms. However, there are differences in how the firms consider the possibility of undetected misstatements when evaluating detected misstatements. The results offer insights into implementation of standards that provides valuable information for future materiality research as well informing future archival and behavioral research.

China Debt Sale Fails for First Time in 23 Months on Cash Crunch; The ministry’s last failed auction was in July 2011 and Shanghai index was down 23% subsequently

China Debt Sale Fails for First Time in 23 Months on Cash Crunch

SSE

China’s Finance Ministry failed to sell all of the debt offered at an auction for the first time in 23 months owing to a cash squeeze, according to two traders at finance companies that participate in the sales.

The ministry sold 9.53 billion yuan ($1.55 billion) of 273-day bills, less than the 15 billion yuan target, they said. Agricultural Development Bank of China Co. raised 11.51 billion yuan in a sale of six-month bills last week, less than its 20 billion yuan goal. The seven-day repurchase rate, which measures interbank funding availability, has more than doubled in the past month as banks hoard cash to meet quarter-end capital requirements and capital inflows ease.

“The cash crunch is curbing demand for bonds,” said Chen Ying, a fixed-income analyst at Sealand Securities Co. in Shenzhen. “The crunch may persist if the central bank doesn’t come out to inject more capital into the financial system. If it lasts longer, it may affect issuance of both government and corporate bonds.” Read more of this post

Stock Rout Threatens $10 Billion Asia IPOs as Suntory Nears

Stock Rout Threatens $10 Billion Asia IPOs as Suntory Nears

Slumping stock markets are threatening to disrupt as much as $10 billion of initial public offerings across Asia, as companies from Suntory Holdings Ltd. to Macau Legend Development Ltd. (1680) prepare listings.

Companies are gauging demand or taking orders for as much as $2.5 billion of IPOs in Southeast Asia and $2.3 billion of deals in Hong Kong, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Suntory is seeking to raise as much as $4.7 billion this month in Japan’s largest first-time share sale since September.

With Asia’s benchmark stock index wiping out the year’s gains, some companies marketing IPOs may be forced to accept lower valuations or delay listings. Hopewell Hong Kong Properties Ltd. scrapped a $780 million offering in the city yesterday while China Harmony Auto Holding Ltd. plunged 16 percent (3836) in the worst Hong Kong debut since February 2012. Read more of this post

Korean Tiger Moms Scrimp for Tutors in Blow to Consumer Spending

Korean Tiger Moms Scrimp for Tutors in Blow to Consumer Spending

Housewife Ahn Jee Eun began looking for a job to supplement her husband’s income after the cost of sending her twin three-year-old daughters to pre-school pushed the family’s bank account into the red.

“My husband and I are spending about half of our income on education,” said Ahn, 34, who pays more than 1.7 million won ($1,500) a month on private tuition fees. “I’ve been cutting down on grocery shopping to make sure my kids socialize in good places and learn stuff they’re supposed to learn.”

Education expenses have helped push the nation’s household debt toward record levels, sapping households’ ability to spend money on other goods — private consumption fell the most last quarter since the 2009 global recession. President Park Geun Hye this week set up a task force to scale back excess high-school testing in a nation where four out of five elementary school pupils get additional private tuition. Read more of this post

Yen Slump Failing to Stem Japan’s Exodus of Factories Overseas

Yen Slump Failing to Stem Japan’s Exodus of Factories Overseas

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promises that Abenomics will revive the nation’s industrial might. For Takumi Tanaka at auto-parts maker Uchida Co., times are worse than after the 2011 earthquake.

Tanaka, managing director of a company founded in 1955, whose 94 employees supply Honda Motor Co. (7267) with parts molds, is contending with higher costs after an 18 percent drop in the yen in the past nine months pushed up the price of imported energy and metals. At the same time, he’s under pressure from clients to build factories near their overseas plants.

“We see very little benefit” from Abenomics, Tanaka said in an interview in Miyagi Prefecture, where two of the company’s three factories are located, close to the center of the earthquake that caused Japan’s worst nuclear disaster. “Even today, we are being asked to build plants in Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia. There is little relief that manufacturing can stay in Japan.” Read more of this post

Who wants to the last person carrying the broken record and be blamed by investors? “There is now anecdotal evidence that long-term investors have started selling.” Investors lose bet on EM local currency debt

June 13, 2013 5:10 pm

Investors lose bet on EM local currency debt

By Pan Kwan Yuk

Investors in emerging market local currency bonds are among the biggest losers from the recent sell-off in emerging market assets. The average EM local currency fund has lost 7.8 per cent since the beginning of May, according to data from Lipper. This compares with a loss of 6.1 per cent on average for EM hard currency funds and 6.7 per cent for EM equity funds. The sharp reversal in performance comes as investors have substantially increased their bets on the locally denominated EM debt this year. As the chase for yield intensified, investors have piled into the asset class – drawn by the higher yields offered by the bonds and the prospect of an added sweetener in the form of foreign exchange gains. Investors have funnelled $20.4bn into EM local debt in the year to date, compared with just $2.5bn for hard currency bonds, according to data from EPFR. The flows into EM local debt this year have already surpassed the $16.7bn the asset class attracted for the whole of 2012. But the twin attractions of local currency debt – higher bond yields and foreign exchange appreciation – have also made it more vulnerable to the recent rise in US Treasury yields. Yields on JPMorgan’s GBI-EM index, which tracks local currency debt, have risen 82 basis points, or 15.34 per cent, since May 22, when the US Federal Reserve hinted that it may start winding down its $85bn-a-month bond buying programme. Meanwhile EM currencies have suffered a sharp correction. The South African rand, Brazilian real, Philippine peso, Indian rupee, and Mexican peso are among the world’s 10 worst performing currencies since May 22 – with losses ranging from 4.3 per cent to 3.2 per cent against the dollar. Sara Zervos, head of the global debt team at Oppenheimer Funds, attributes the sharp sell-off in recent weeks to crossover money from hedge funds pulling out. “Interest rate swaps yields have been going up higher and faster than [EM local currency] bond yields,” she said. “Real money accounts tend to hold bonds. Fast money tends to hold swaps. So my sense is that the sell-off has been initiated by leveraged buyers unwinding their positions rather than real money dumping bonds.” Others think it is only a matter of time before real-money investors pull back. “In retrospect, it is quite clear that positioning in local bond markets has been excessive,” said Benoît Anne, head of EM strategy at Société Générale, in a note to clients last week. “There is now anecdotal evidence that long-term investors have started selling. That may suggest that more pain is on the way. I see little reason to be bullish on EM fixed income against this backdrop.”

“Size of the exit”: Emerging markets are often easy to get into, but if history is any guide, when the elevator starts to go down and everyone is trying to get out, some people are going to get stuck

Still got your money in emerging markets? Here’s what to worry about—and where

By Matt Phillips @MatthewPhillips June 13, 2013

screen-shot-2013-06-12-at-2-24-23-pmscreen-shot-2013-06-12-at-3-18-32-pm

Global riptides of investment cash are a well-established threat for developing economies. On its way in, a surge in foreign investment pushes up prices of stocks, bonds and other assets. It drives down borrowing costs. It supercharges growth. But if the wave suddenly starts to recede, countries can face nasty combinations of currency collapse, banking crises and government default. This script has repeatedly played out. There was Mexico’s “tequila crisis” in 1994. The Asian crisis in 1997. The Russian devaluation of 1998. Which brings us to the current sharp selloff in a range of emerging markets. Among the countries that have been darlings of global investors in recent years, which ones are the most vulnerable to a reversal of fortunes? Here are a few ways to think about the risks. Read more of this post

Refinancings Plunge as Bond Yields Rise

June 13, 2013, 11:25 p.m. ET

Refinancings Plunge as Bond Yields Rise

By NICK TIMIRAOS and ANDREW R. JOHNSON

P1-BL891_REFI_G_20130613190606

A surprise spike in mortgage rates threatens to halt a refinancing boom that has delivered strong profits for U.S. banks over the past two years.

The average rate on a 30-year mortgage rose to 4.15% last week, a 14-month high and up sharply from 3.59% in early May, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. A separate survey released Thursday by Freddie Mac FMCC -5.56%said the rate this week was at 3.98%, up from 3.35% last month.

Refinancing applications last week were down 36% from the first week of May, before rates began climbing, according to the bankers association. Read more of this post

Watch out for the rate hike hit to banks

June 13, 2013 4:03 pm

Watch out for the rate hike hit to banks

By Gillian Tett

Regulators and bankers are assessing how damaging a US rate increase might be

Earlier this year, officials at America’s mighty Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation engaged in a bout of brainstorming with bank leaders about interest rate risk. The message was sobering.

Back then, in April, the FDIC did not seriously expect US rates to jump soon. Little wonder: at that stage, the 10-year yield was still below 2 per cent – and sinking – while Ben Bernanke, the US Federal Reserve chairman, seemed committed toquantitative easing. Read more of this post

US Bonds In “Panic” Mode

US Bonds In “Panic” Mode

Tyler Durden on 06/13/2013 21:40 -0400

Based on Credit-Suisse’s Panic-Euphoria model of risk appetite, US bond markets are on the verge of the short-term capitulative “Panic” mode.Each time we have reached this level of ‘selling’ in the last 6 years, Treasury yields have compressed significantly. At the same time, equity risk appetite remains bearish and US credit risk appetite has resumed its decline (but relative to Treasuries they are significantly over-sold). Not a pretty picture… Bonds hit “Panic” levels of risk appetite…

As Citi notes, Investors fear the 1994 redux trade, are looking at ways to short markets that may be vulnerable to rising rates, including credit. But in total return terms the credit space has already suffered quite dramatically. The chart below shows that the high-grade and high-yield markets are down 3.2% and 1.7%, respectively, since the Treasury backup began in early May, which is far more severe than what normally occurs when rates rise (annualized long-term average of +0.1% and +11.4%, respectively).

20130613_Panic_020130613_Panic3

 

 

The number of companies tapping the bond market has collapsed as a result of rising interest rates, threatening to halt a global refinancing wave that helped companies boost earnings and strengthen balance sheets

June 13, 2013 6:26 pm

Bond sales dry up as interest rates rise

By Vivianne Rodrigues and Stephen Foley in New York

The number of companies tapping the bond market has collapsed as a result of rising interest rates, threatening to halt a global refinancing wave that helped companies boost earnings and strengthen balance sheets.

Bond investors have retrenched in the face of increasing market volatility since Fed chairman Ben Bernanke hinted on May 22 at a possible “tapering” of US quantitative easing. This has left companies unable to raise financing on previously beneficial terms. Read more of this post

Most technology companies fail. Some research suggests that three out of four venture backed companies don’t make it, and less than 1 percent achieve an initial public offering. To succeed, an entrepreneur must understand the three main risks facing every tech chief executive

The three risks

BY CHRISTOPHER LOCHHEAD 
ON JUNE 13, 2013

Let’s begin off with some cheery facts. Most technology companies fail. Some research suggests that three out of four venture backed companies don’t make it, and less than 1 percent achieve an initial public offering.

To succeed, an entrepreneur must understand the three main risks facing every technology chief executive:

1) Category risk: Is your market large, valuable, and growing?

Category risk is the most fundamental challenge facing both startup and large incumbent technology companies. After all, a market must exist for you to be the leader. If you want to sell bibles, there must be Christians. And if you want increasing revenues, margins and earnings over time, you must be positioned in a market that is large and growing. This means that building your category is equally important to building your company. It sounds crazy, but it’s true. Read more of this post

Hidden Reimann Billionaire Found as Coty Has New York IPO

Hidden Reimann Billionaire Found as Coty Has New York IPO

A fifth billionaire has been unmasked in the German family behind perfume maker Coty Inc. (COTY), which debuted on the New York Stock Exchange today.

Andrea Reimann-Ciardelli, 56, sold her stake in Joh. A. Benckiser, the Reimann family’s closely held investment company, in 2003 for almost $1 billion, according to a person familiar with the terms of the deal who asked not to be identified because the transaction was private. She has a fortune valued at $1.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Reimann-Ciardelli is a U.S. citizen and resides in Hanover, New Hampshire. Her four adopted siblings — Renate Reimann-Haas, 61, Wolfgang Reimann, 61, Stefan Reimann-Andersen, 49, and Matthias Reimann-Andersen, 48 — each own 24 percent of JAB, which is led by a trio of outside executives. Their stakes are collectively worth about $19 billion, according to the ranking. Read more of this post

Cocaine seizures at Frankfurt airport have fallen by more than 50 percent in two years, providing an insight into the fallout that a ban on night flights has had on Europe’s third-busiest aviation hub

Cocaine Slump Shows Force of Frankfurt Night-Flight Ban: Freight

Cocaine seizures at Frankfurt airport have fallen by more than 50 percent in two years, providing an insight into the fallout that a ban on night flights has had on Europe’s third-busiest aviation hub.

About 246 kilograms (542 pounds) of the drug were recovered in 2012, down from 524 kilos in 2010, with the termination of overnight mail services from Latin America a major contributor to the drop, according to Yvonne Schamber, a Customs Office spokeswoman. Airports including Munich, where carriers such as Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LHA) diverted flights, have seen volumes gain. Read more of this post

Miracle-Gro’s Potty-Mouthed CEO Should Have Known Better

Miracle-Gro’s Potty-Mouthed CEO Should Have Known Better

Profane language can be a useful tool for ambitious executives, enabling them to express the power of their convictions and the seriousness of their cause.

It can also backfire, as the chief executive officer of Scotts Miracle-Gro Co., Jim Hagedorn, found out last week. Hagedorn was reprimanded for his use of inappropriate language; three other board members of the lawn-care company resigned because of the controversy. While it is unclear what remarks led to the reprimand and resignations, Hagedorn had a habit of employing colorful language when speaking with reporters, shareholders and the public.

The boundaries of acceptable public and workplace discourse have long been contested. While many executives, such as Hagedorn, have had a penchant for salty language, public profanity has only recently found uneasy acceptance in business culture. Executives who try to motivate employees and other corporate stakeholders with tough talk sometimes enjoy significant success, but they also risk immediate legal liability and the future judgment of history. Read more of this post

The car is the next major tech platform: GM’s CEO

The car is the next major tech platform: GM’s CEO

1:04pm EDT

By Tim McLaughlin

Boston (Reuters) – The car is the next great proving ground for communications technology, General Motors Co Chief Executive Dan Akerson said on Thursday.

The automobile will become a major platform for tech “and one with far better battery life than an iPhone,” he said in prepared remarks to the Chief Executives’ Club of Boston.

Developing better in-car technology is critical for automakers like GM to attract younger, tech-savvy buyers. If they can pull it off, the companies will generate new sources of revenue and boost profit margins. One approach may be for GM to sell advertising within the car itself, Akerson said last month. Read more of this post

Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said sales of the company’s processors for use in cars will keep doubling every year to reach $1 billion annually as automakers seek to attract consumers with advanced features

Nvidia CEO Sees Automotive Business Growing to $1 Billion

Nvidia Corp. (NVDA) Chief Executive Officer Jen-Hsun Huang said sales of the company’s processors for use in cars will keep doubling every year to reach $1 billion annually as automakers seek to attract consumers with advanced features.

About 30 new models using Nvidia’s Tegra processor will be introduced in the next two to three years, Huang said in an interview yesterday. The company will add U.S. and Japanese automakers to a list of customers that includes Volkswagen AG (VOW)’s Audi and Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA), Huang said.

The push into automobiles is part of Huang’s efforts to reduce the company’s reliance on personal-computer graphics cards amid the worst slump in PC sales on record. Customizable instrument screens and high-end navigation and entertainment systems, which until now have been the preserve of more expensive vehicles, are going to start appearing in cheaper cars as consumers demand features that match the look and utility of their smartphones, Huang said.

“Until now, it’s been quite slow,” Huang said. “It’s taken us about seven years to build a $100 million business. Now it’s doubling every year.” Read more of this post

Hair-Loss Drugs’ Big Growth in China; Sales of hair-loss drugs in China, where a full head of hair is linked to virility, have soared 90 percent since 2007. BaWang, Chinese maker of herbal shampoos, posted three straight years of loss

Hair-Loss Drugs’ Big Growth in China

By Daryl Loo and Lisa Pham on June 13, 2013

When Shi Yang was studying and working in France several years ago, most of his colleagues were bald—which made his own thinning pate more tolerable. But since Shi’s return to China in 2011, the 26-year-old Shanghai engineer’s hair loss has become an issue. “You will definitely stick out more back in China,” explains the bespectacled engineer, who says he has a better chance of landing a girlfriend if he has a thick thatch of hair. That’s why after raw-ginger scalp rubs and walnut snacks failed to counter his receding hairline, Shi says he’s ready to give Western drugs a try. Read more of this post

Daily deals are dead, but flash sales live on: Yabblr launches DIY flash sale marketplace

Daily deals are dead, but flash sales live on: Yabblr launches DIY flash sale marketplace

BY ERIN GRIFFITH 
ON JUNE 13, 2013

The first wave of flash sale fever petered out sometime in 2011, just before daily deal fatigue set in and subscription commerce fever started to spread.

As a category, flash sales sites have experienced plenty of growing pains. Gilt Groupe went through some layoffs, belt-tightening, and amajor talent turnover. Rue La La recentlyreplaced its CEO. Totsy went belly-up. Lot18 has gone through a couple of pivots and rounds of layoffs. That hasn’t stopped new companies from trying their hand at the business model. The success of fast-growing companies like Fab, One Kings Lane and Zulilly keeps hope alive, I suppose.

Today a new one launches with a new approach. Yabblr is a flash sales platform that uses elements of a marketplace to give autonomy to independent sellers. Read more of this post

Baidu’s New Business Unit Eyes Consumer-facing Paid Services

Baidu’s New Business Unit Eyes Consumer-facing Paid Services

By Tracey Xiang on June 13, 2013

In an internal e-mail sent to Baidu employees last week, its CEO Robin Li announced a new business unit for consumer-facing paid services thus becoming the fifth of Baidu’s. The other four are focused on search, location-based services, mobile Cloud and international businesses (in Chinese).

Robin Li said at its annual event last month that the gaming-centered paid Internet services make up “a huge market” (in Chinese). Baidu Games started as an online games search engine but changed to become an online games platform in 2008 that shared revenues from users with selected third-party games providers. In 2010 the platform and revenue-sharing program opened up to all third-party providers. Now it has had over a hundred titles on the platform and claimed it had reached 100 million users. But the revenue generated there is unknown. Read more of this post

What Fred Wilson, the Godfather of New York tech, learned from the dotcom bubble

What Fred Wilson, the Godfather of New York tech, learned from the dotcom bubble

BY ERIN GRIFFITH 
ON JUNE 13, 2013

Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures lost a lot of money in the dotcom crash. Everyone did. But not everyone spent the next three years trying to earn it back. Ultimately, by scrambling and salvaging with his portfolio companies, he managed to make more money than he lost, he told an audience at PandoMonthly in New York this evening. That, along with his massive advocacy of New York’s tech scene, is why he’s been dubbed the “godfather” of New York’s tech scene.

Many of the people he worked with had stopped returning his phone calls. Others didn’t show up for board meetings anymore. There were plenty of founders who simply walked away from their companies. Several of his biggest deals were huge disasters — he lost $25 million in famous flame-out Kosmo.com, for example. Read more of this post

For Fred Wilson, Twitter is the Beatles and Tumblr a solo act

For Fred Wilson, Twitter is the Beatles and Tumblr a solo act

BY ADAM L. PENENBERG 
ON JUNE 13, 2013

twitter_submarine

At tonight’s PandoMonthly in New York, Fred Wilson, partner at Union Square Ventures, compared two of his most successful investments by employing a musical analogy. Tumblr’s founder, David Karp, is a one-man band, while he likes to think of Twitter “as the Beatles.”

Wilson cited a well-read blog post by Marco Arment, the well-known developer who helped David Karp build Tumblr, which he published on the day of Yahoo’s billion-dollar acquisition, calling Tumblr “the one-person product.”

“Even though Tumblr was never a one-person company, it usually felt like a one-person product,” Arment wrote. “David always had a vision for where he wanted to go next. Karp would come in with concepts for product features and Arment would tell him what was feasible and what wasn’t. “The ideas were usually David’s, and the product roadmap was always David’s.” Read more of this post

IRobot’s latest product Ava 500 is designed to navigate corporate offices autonomously and facilitate videoconference calls

Meet the Ava 500, the Roomba’s Corporate Cousin

By Brad Stone on June 10, 2013

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Since the founding of iRobot more than 20 years ago, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology spinout has produced robots that vacuum and mop floors, clean gutters, and patrol war zones. The Bedford (Mass.)-based company has sold more than 9 million home robots and, in the process, has done more than anyone to move the machines out of science fiction and into the real world of affordable devices.

Today, iRobot (IRBT) adds another product to its league of extraordinarily practical machines, the Ava 500. It’s a far cry from the Roomba vacuum, its corporate cousin. The Ava—short for Avatar—is a pricey, wheeled robot designed to navigate corporate offices autonomously and facilitate videoconference calls between workers and their remote colleagues. It comes with a high-definition video screen, some onboard mapping smarts, and Cisco’s TelePresence, a high-quality videoconferencing system meant to create the illusion that far-flung collaborators are sitting across a table from one another. The idea is to “turn an entire office into a high-quality videoconferencing room,” says Colin Angle, iRobot’s chief executive. Read more of this post

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