Category Archives: portfolio

BlogWorld & PostieCon: Will I see you there?

The last time a combo this good came along they named it PB&J. BlogWorld and PostieCon are just around the corner, taking over Vegas from Wednesday November 7th to late, late Saturday November 10th.

Just as Peanut Butter is the anchor of a great PB&J, chock full of goodness (and a few nuts); BlogWorld has a terrific lineup of sessions and speakers. To appreciate the breadth, there are 10+ tracks include Beginners, Advanced, Podcasting & New Media, Entrepreneurs, Monetization, Executives, Sports, Milblogging, Political, Special Interest and Pop Culture. To appreciate the depth, each track has 10+ panels — including one on New Media Fundraising with me, Feld, and Arrington.

And, just as Jelly is the tangy, sweetness in a good PB&J, PostieCon layers on some great flavor with new media monetization talks by David Ponce, Michelle Madhok, Jim Kukral, Shirley Frazier, Sherry Heyl, Sean Jackson and others. There’s even a session where the Fab 5 top earners of PayPerPost share their stories/secrets. The events culminate with the unveiling of PPP’s Argus monster of a release (attendees get early-adopter keys) and the Blogger’s Choice Awards Saturday night at Tao Las Vegas (invitation only). Rosie is the top overall BCA vote-getter so far, will Ross the Intern catch her as the final secret ballot votes are tallied? And don’t forget FVB is nominated: vote FVB for Best Business Blog now!

If you’re already planning to attend, please stop me to say Hi! If you haven’t booked yet, get moving. There are still some great non-stop flights available (I just booked) if you can secure your spot at the conferences. If you attend just one blogging event this year, make it this one, er, two, plus the BCAs — all in Vegas…

Related images: blogworld, postiecon, bloggers choice awards, argus, las vegas, payperpost, brad feld, mike arrington, david ponce, michelle madhok, jim kukral, shirley frazier, sherry heyl, rosie, ross the intern

CallMiner Adds to their Trophy Case

This was an eventful and fruitful summer for CallMiner, one of my portfolio companies. In addition to closing some big deals, CallMiner was recognized by multiple industry groups for their leadership in Speech Analytics.

The summer started strong with CallMiner being named by the Computing Technology Industry Association as one of only two finalists for their Company Innovation award. It got better in June when Customer Interaction Solutions magazine (leading publication in CRM, call centers and teleservices) recognized CallMiner with a 2007 Speech Technology Excellence Award. In fact, CallMiner was a double-winner because Aspect Software’s Quality Management offering, powered by CallMiner speech analytics, also won a 2007 Speech Technology Excellence Award. And, to cap off the summer this week, CallMiner’s VP of R&D, Mike Dwyer, was one of only four selected as a 2007 Speech Luminary.

Jeff Gallino and his team are pretty humble about the recognition, but I’m proud to be involved with such innovators. Congrats guys!

Mobile365 (Inphomatch) Acquired for $425 million by Sybase

Seeing your babies grow up is often sad, but seeing them marry off for over $400 million can really take the sting away. Mobile365 (formerly Inphomatch) announced this evening a deal to be acquired for $425 million by Sybase.

I still remember the first time I met the Inphomatch team in 2000 at a business plan competition in Virginia. They were young, brash and full of passion for what they could do in the nascent mobile data space. The technical founder, Terry Hsiao, was smart, but a handful. Kirk Tsai helped create the first prototypes and plan scalability. The new CEO, Colin Matthews, served the role of grey-hair but he was much more than that. Colin saw a way to leverage Inphomatch’s mobile data technology into a real business solution — bridging text messaging across carriers that launched SMS as unconnected islands. The two Bill’s, Bachrach and Peters, were scary operators who learned their craft at GE and would help a small unknown Virginia company named InphoMatch become the traffic cop for intercarrier SMS in the US and beyond.

If I didn’t make the investment in the company, someone else would have. But I’m sure glad I was the first. That hunt and rare find are what makes this business such a drug. It was fun watching text messaging explode from behind the scenes and helping make it happen. It was also fun introducing follow-on investment from partners like Draper Fisher Jurvetson who saw the promise and added financial fuel to the fire. Coopting MobileWay along the way to create Mobile365 solidified the company as an international force to be reckoned with.

I mention Terry, Kirk, Bill, Bill and Colin here, not because they rode the wave all the way to Sybase signing, but specifically because they didn’t, and I wasn’t there throughout to remind everyone who founded the gravy train. Those guys are all off doing different things now, but they deserve as much mention as anyone for being the spark that ignited a world-changing company. Can you imagine a world that only allowed AT&T (first customer) or VoiceStream (second customer) subscribers to text in-network, but not other networks? I sure can’t, American Idol sure can’t and those guys unlocked the SMS potential for all networks.

Congratulations Inphomatch founders, you were the spark that made it possible, and I appreciate the time we shared building it together! What can we do next??