Archive for the ‘Web 2.0’ category

StudiVZ sold for €100M

January 3, 2007

According to Spiegel Online, StudiVZ was sold to Holtzbrink Group for about €100M. After OpenBC/Xing’s IPO last month, this is another amazing exit of a Web 2.0 company here in Germany!

Takeaway: Despite all the past issues around the founding team of StudiVZ etc., the community has grown nicely over the last few months, reaching over 1 Mio registered users before in December. The acquisition by Holtzbrinck confirms, that Web 2.0 companies made in Germany do offer great investment opportunities. There is money to be made with Web 2.0! What a great start for 2007!

Recommendations: Time is ripe for the next successful Web 2.0 company/exit made in Germany! Any bets who this will be?

Have you tried Photosynth?

November 14, 2006

Try itHave you tried this cool demo? Photosynth, a new technology from Microsoft Live Labs that takes a large collection of photos of a place or an object, analyzes them for similarities, and displays them in a reconstructed three-dimensional space. The idea is to put “hyperlinks between pictures on the internet”. The images with the same content create a 3D model, and this model now allows the user to move and navigate between pictures like in a film.

Takeaway: Pretty amazing core technology, which could enable a lot of new ideas and applications on top!

OpenBC to go public on Frankfurt Stock-Exchange

November 9, 2006

OpenBC, one of the top Web 2.0 companies in Germany, has revealed plans to go Public in 2007. Below are a few facts:
– From 1.7.2005 to 30.6.2006, almost €6M revenues have been achieved.

– Per September 2006, 1.45 Mio members have registered at OpenBC

– About 13% of these members are paying members.

– The company plans to offer additional services in 2007 and plans to expand to the USA.

There are a lot of speculations in the air about timing (as soon as within the next few weeks), possible valuation (some estimate €200M) or exit proceeds.

Congratulations to Lars for building up such an amazing Web 2.0 company here in Germany and good luck for the closely watched IPO!

Congratulations also to BrainsToVenture for seeding OpenBC / XING, when few people have even heard the word “social networking”.

1st TrendSlam a great success!

October 20, 2006

TrendSlam LogoCongratulations to Monty and his team for organizing the 1st TrendSlam in history. A well attended event of top media experts and entrepreneurs was challenged to present in exactly 5min their ideas, trends and thoughts about the future in “new media”. Top speakers at this well attended event were i.e. Felix Petersen from Plazes, Anina and Florian Forster from Fon (have you seen their recent announcement to give away routers free-of-charge?), who all presented a compelling story and value proposition. The next TrendSlam is supposed to take place in New York with a focus on US trends. Well done all together!

Google buys YouTube for stunning $1.65Bn

October 10, 2006

What started off as a head-line on WSJ on Friday is now official. Google buys YouTube for an amazing $1.65Bn in stocks according to various sources. Obviously, industry experts had expected such a move from either Google, Yahoo or Microsoft, but the speed of the acquisition comes as a surprise for many of us I believe.

Recommendation: Video is on the move! After the announcement of ProSiebenSat1 to acquire a minority stake in the German YouTube – myvideo – , the recent Google / YouTube deal is another sign, that expectations are high in user generated content / video.

Takeaway: Apparently a deal, which makes everybody happy! The three founders probably can each go home with a few hundred $M in their pockets. The investors behind this deal, notably Sequoia Capital, might have delivered a 41x return on invested money one this one year+ investment according to TechCrunch. Investors applaud the bold move by Google and send up the Google stock price by a few points in Monday’s late night trading. I am confident, that Video is still at the beginning and that we will see many more things – hopefully also here in good old
Europe – happening in this space.

Qype gets funding – How to generate revenues?

October 4, 2006

Qype today announced a financing round, led by Advent and Partech International. Established by Internet-Entrepreneur Stephan Uhrenbacher in 2005, qype is a user-generated recommendation platform for any locals needs, i.e. Restaurants, Hotel, services, etc.

Takeway: Without any question, there is an increasing trend away from standard old-fashioned yellow pages, towards UGC sites for local information and interest. The US-based companies such as Insiderpages, Yelp or Judy’s Book, have all been trying for quite some time now to establish UGC sites in these special interest topics. However, how to make money with this content still remains one of the big open questions. Some have been trying to tap into the local advertising market by literally calling up SMBs/SMEs directly. To date, apparently with limited success. Although US SMBs seem to be more open towards internet-based advertising compared to their European counterparts, the big internet related spending still goes directly into paid searches a la Google. It remains to be seen which money-making route Qype will go down in the near future. Paid Google advertising should clearly not be the only way to generate money.

Pageflakes receives funding! Heating up AJAX-Desktop Battle!

May 31, 2006

After Netvibes received some funding from Index and well-connected business angels, Michael Arrington revealed that Pageflakes will announce a funding round from Benchmark. This obviously will heat up the still early-days of customizable, personalized home-pages.

Takeaway: The funding of these two additional competitors of Microsoft, Google and Yahoo will definitely heat up things in this space, which ultimately will benefit the users / consumers of these services. The major question is, how the ultimate business model of these services will look like. Will it primarily be an ad-financed business model? Are users accepting advertisements on their personal home pages? Are users willing to pay for premium services and if yes, what is the % share the home-page provider can get from this pie? What other ways of monetarization are possible with such a service?

Recommendation: Knowing both Tariq and Christoph personally, I am sure that these two smart guys, might find answers to these questions. Watch Netvibes and Pagesflakes closely as they will be decent contenders of GYM in this space.