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2006 Predictions, Part II: Entrepreneurial Vision

This is Part II of my 2006 Predictions series, with the spotlight falling on entrepreneurs this time. I asked some of Florida’s top entrepreneurs for their predictions and got some pretty bold ones. Here’s what they said:

For starters, Jeff Gallino, the guy who owns more ebooks than anyone I know and CEO of speech analytics leader Callminer (Inflexion company), has his head in video and audio for 2006:

1) A flurry of spending on HDTV over the past year will lead to a revolution in auxiliary products to “mobile”ize the recorded video content for ipod video, pc, and other devices causing a huge roar from tv/mpaa over piracy. [it’s coming, fast]
2) Anti-surveillance technology will see a surge as more people realize they don’t want their conversations, emails, chats listened to and used for spam or other nefarious reasons.
3) Netflix will cut a deal with NBC, CBS, ABC, Comedy Central to offer to burn recent and current season TV shows on DVD for rental — one show per DVD.

Next up, Isaias Sudit, CEO of LBS enabler LOC-AID, can’t get his head out of his bread-and-butter location, location, location:

1) LBS will be the biggest wireless enabler for 2006.
2) Wi-Fi Location Services becomes a major player for local content delivery (Cisco to be major player).
3) Wal-Mart and McDonalds will launch the first SMS/LBS-based marketing campaigns. [can I SMS-order/pay for pickup at closest drive thru — sweet!]

Yet another Southy (e.g. SoFL), Craig Pisaris-Henderson, CEO of Miva and former Florida E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year, showed the wisdom of a guy who has braved the public tech company route and has the bruises to show it.

1) Online marketing ad dollars, fueled by keyword-based pay-per-click ads, migrate towards behaviorally targeted ads.
2) Traditional publishing and media companies restrict the use of their content by others online and begin to take online market share.
3) The burgeoning population of skilled “baby boomers” moving to Florida will ignite corporate and venture investments that both cater to and employ this segment of the state’s population. [I like how you’re thinking]

Leave it to a guy who knows blogs (and many other content-types), Peter Pezaris, CEO of, to come up with some attention-getters:

1) Bill Gates’ identity will be stolen and linked to a multi-million dollar fraud.
2) News Corp will develop a portal which becomes a viable alternative to Yahoo and Google, with Disney following close behind.
3) In an effort to boost sagging market share, Google will redesign their home page, completely dropping the clean interface in favor of a sea of links. [yes, it is starting]
4) The year will see a major revolution in PC hardware: not CPU, bus or memory, but in interfaces such as keyboards and mice. Logitech’s enterprise value triples.
5) ISPs will finally win the war against spammers, and email will be useful again. (Perhaps this is just wishful thinking)

Finally, I return to complete Rich Swier’s top 10 for 2006, for some final doozies:

6) The first “Internet-based News Channel” will launch using podcasts, video uploads from “people on the street” as reporters. [do it Rich, I like it]
7) Cell companies launch the first cell phone with a new battery that lasts over a month.
8) There will be another major merger of the top cellular companies, reducing the number of major carriers.
9) The government will come close to first tax on internet services — sparked by growing number of VoIP users.
10) Dan won’t ask me to post 2007 predictions… [you should be so lucky]

Again, thanks to all contributors and I’ll be kind with any end-of-2006 scorecards…enjoy and comment as you like…. especially if you’ve got some life-science predictions (none of the life science entrepreneurs I contacted had a clue what was coming in 2006 — scary)…

2006 Predictions

What would a new year be without some wacky predictions? After twisting the arms of some of Florida’s top entrepreneurial minds, I got a number of bold (and not so bold) bets on what’s in store this year. Before sharing some of them, I’d like to thank all contributors for putting their mind and keyboard to the task.

For fun, I’m going to spread the predictions across this week — with the venture ecosystem (topic for another post?) folks first and the entrepreneurs later. That should give me enough fodder for venture predictions of my own next week…

First up, David Day, Director of UF’s Office of Technology Licensing and the Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator. There’s a saying about age before beauty but I’ve got to stay on David’s good side.

1) Florida’s spin-offs will lead the Southeast in new investments.
2) Florida will lead the Southeast in the opening of new offices by
established Northeast and West Coast VCs.
3) The Southeast’s venture investments in 2006 will double those in
4) The venture investment landscape nationwide will faintly start to
resemble the feeding frenzy of the late 1990s.

Next up, David Felman, tech counsel extraordinaire (he does our deals) from Hill, Ward & Henderson. Although not promising the moon, 2006 looks good to David with the following thoughts:

We were pleased to have been involved in over 15 closed venture transactions for companies and investors in 2005. We expect the strong market for venture financings in Florida to continue. We are also assisting fund clients exit portfolio companies through acquisition transactions at strong valuations, which further strengthens our market.

Here are a few predictions for 2006:
1) The market continues to be one of “haves” and “have nots” for companies raising money. Established companies with track records and strong management are funded at strong valuations and on favorable terms, but investors continue to be selective, a legacy from past experience.
2) Florida gains more capital for investment. Several existing funds raise more capital after completing exit transactions and establishing a track record. This reinforces a recent trend of sponsors raising new funds in the more difficult market of 2003, including Banyan Mezzanine, Ballast Point, and Inflexion.
3) Sponsors complete fund-raising for a few new institutional funds, one of which (HealthEdge) was already mentioned on FloridaVentureBlog.
4) Venture and mezzanine funds in North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee continue to increase their emphasis on the Florida market, often joining with Florida firms to provide funding for local companies.

These are my thoughts — not bold or striking, but pretty optimistic for the new year.

Booker Schmidt, Executive Director of the GTEC Incubator, was likewise bullish on 2006 with the following hometown visions:

1) A Florida startup company will receive $35+ million in a round of venture capital funding.
2) A significant biotech or technology company will make plans to locate its headquarters or one of its facilities to the Gainesville area.
3) The number of daily flights to and from the Gainesville Regional Airport will increase by 20%.
4) Disney will acquire Pixar Animation Studios.

And, yet another master of avoiding legal disaster, Carl Roston, from Akerman Senterfitt had these thoughts for the new year:

1) Florida Venture Conference will set an all-time record for attendance.
2) Venture investing will continue to grow incrementally from last year.

Bold, bold man…

Last, as a taste of the entrepreneur predictions still to come, Rich Swier, Partner at angel fund StartupFlorida and CEO of Highwall Technologies, took off his many hats and donned the one of oracle to predict:

1) Skype and Vonage will suffer major hurdles — Major cable and telecom companies will begin to launch VOIP services and meter bandwidth so that other “free” services will begin to suffer.
2) Google will have first lawsuit placed against them for alleged fraud related to the “lack of transparency” in their AdWords system.
3) FCC will begin a drastic move toward redefining how spectrum will be managed in the future — opening new wireless opportunities (similar to Wi-Fi).
4) Microsoft will make a major move into the internet property business, through an acquisition of eBay, Amazon or equivalent company.
5) One of the major cable/communication companies will acquire a Satellite radio company.

and more from Rich and other entrepreneurs later…

What do you think 2006 holds — add a comment below??

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