Cision acquires TrendKite (Dreamit 2013) for $225 million

Dream It

Founded in 2013 by AJ Bruno, Matt Allison, and Patrick Brannen, TrendKite participated in the 2013 Dreamit program. Global PR powerhouse Cision announced today that it is acquiring Dreamit alum TrendKite in a deal valuing the startup at $225 million. TrendKite’s suite of analytics tools uses artificial intelligence to help brands monitor and measure their PR efforts.

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Bring Me Your Accents. Immigration Fuels Innovation

Both Sides of the Table

My kids are growing up in Los Angeles in 2013. I have lived (England, France, Italy, Spain, Japan & the US) and worked (Ireland, Germany, India) around the world. I adore accents. I listen not only for the country but the region. I became engrossed with the origins of both accents and phrases.


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In 15 Years From Now Half of US Universities May Be in Bankruptcy. My Surprise Discussion with @ClayChristensen

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“In 15 Years From Now Half of US Universities May Be in Bankruptcy.” ” Such was the quote of Clayton Christensen followed by, “… in the end I’m excited to see that happen. So pray for Harvard Business School if you wouldn’t mind.” ” Who else does Clayton pray for? Apple. Watch the 30-minute interview to hear why but summary notes below.

Here’s What’s Driving Collaborative Consumption and Where the Market May Head Next

Both Sides of the Table

Final le web london (june 2013) from Mark Suster. I spoke this past week at the LeWeb conference in London, which was a superbly well run event with a very quality production team. Kudos. The 20-minute video of my presentation is here if you’re interested. And it was convenient for me because we also held our annual London board meeting of DataSift , who helps companies processes and analyze large volumes of social plus enterprise data in realtime.

GRP Excited to add Sam Rosen to Its Ranks. How Did He Get the Role? Hustle. Here’s the Story.

Both Sides of the Table

We’re excited to continue to grow our investment professional staff and will continue to do so over the course of 2013 & 2014 with our new fund. I’m very excited to be finally be able to announce that this week we’ve added Sam Rosen to our ranks at GRP Partners in the role of entrepreneurs-in-residence – EIR.

How DogVacay Literally Saved my Thanksgiving

Both Sides of the Table

Without DogVacay my Thanksgiving would have been ruined. That’s a fact. And I’m not an investor. I just had to tell this story. It’s a great one about entrepreneurship, friendship and the collaborative economy that is helping families in need across the world. The Background. Every year my family meets in San Diego for Thanksgiving. My 3 siblings & I make the trek to spend 4-5 days with the 9 grand children, my mom, my cousin and few other very close family members.

The Most Interesting Online Video Trend

Both Sides of the Table

For those who still don’t know the origins, the Harlem Shake started as a small skit from a YouTuber named Filthy Frank (10 million views as of this writing) on January 30, 2013. This article originally appeared on TechCrunch. By now many of you know the Harlem Shake but what you may not appreciate is the broader trend behind the video and it has mirrored my general views on how TV will work in the future.

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How to Nail a Group Presentation

Both Sides of the Table

Most people suck at presenting to big groups. It’s a shame because the ability to nail these presentations at key conferences can be once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to influence journalists, business partners, potential employees, customers and VCs. So I thought I’d write a piece on how not to suck when you give a presentation. Show some energy! – No great presentation can be delivered like a conversation.

How to Avoid a Common Product Mistake Many Teams Make

Both Sides of the Table

I’ve been involved with technology product design in one form or another for nearly 25 years and seen one mistake consistently repeated. The single biggest mistake most product teams make is building technology for what they believe the user would want rather than what the actual end-user needs.

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Why You Need to Ring the Freaking Cash Register

Both Sides of the Table

I work with a lot of startups. I start to notice when bad behavior creeps into the system as a whole. I have seen much of that behavior over the past 2 years get worse. Nobody seems to want to make money any more. I remember just a decade ago in 2003 when we all laughed at how dumb people in the 90′s were talking about the race to “capture as many eyeballs as possible” before your competition. You would figure out how to monetize later. I say ring the freaking cash register.

The Corrosive Downside of Acquihires

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For the past 5 years or so Google, Facebook and a handful of tech industry giants have been quietly buying scores of early-stage startups for their talent. And to keep up with the Jones’s it seems that Yahoo! has now employed the same strategy. And who cares, right? A couple of tech giants throw millions around in either cash (for which they have hoards) or part with some publicly traded stock. And a few teams of super talented, educated and bright entrepreneurs make a few mill.

The One Word That Shouldn’t Exist in an Entrepreneur’s Vocabulary

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The one word the best entrepreneurs never accept. I said it. Now let me walk you through a broader story because avoidance of the word in and of itself will seem cliche. Stay with me. When I was little I had a role model for entrepreneurship – my mom. She was a natural leader. She was president of the UJA in Sacramento. From this I saw civic involvement and leadership first hand. She was a nurse but was never graduated from a 4-year college.

Why Startups Need a Well Articulated Strategy (And How to Think About Yours)

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I recommend you read Fred Wilson’s recent blog post about the need for a well articulated business strategy before pushing a particular business model. Since Arrested Development is back I thought I’d resurrect Gob Bluth’s answer when he was told he needed a “business model” – he quickly figured out that he was missing one so he asked Starla, the Bluth company secretary, if she would be his business model.

GRP Announces $200 Million Fund. Rebrands as Upfront Ventures

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I am super excited to announce that today is a day of lots of new things for my partners & me: A new fund, a new office and a new brand. Let’s start with the fund. We have previously raised funds in 1996 ($200 million), 2000 ($400 million) and 2008/9 ($200 million). This month we closed our 4th fund of $200 million. If you’ve been following the press about VC funds you’ll know this is no small feat.

Upfront Ventures Adds Hamet Watt as New Investment Partner

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Today is a day I’ve waited patiently for for 5 years but more earnestly for more than 1 year. I am thrilled to announce that we have added Hamet Watt as a Partner at Upfront Ventures. Now that he’s become a VC he’s promising me he’ll provide way more public information and discourse so please welcome him by following him on Twitter and better yet welcoming him with a Tweet of your own linking to his Twitter handle or this post. Thank you.

One of the Biggest Mistakes Enterprise Startups Make

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This article initially appeared on TechCrunch. The era of VCs investing in successful consumer Internet startups such as eBay led to a belief system that seemed to permeate many enterprise software startups that hiring sales or implementation people was a bad thing. “We want low-touch or zero-touch businesses” was the mantra. I believe it’s flawed.

Why Online Video Just Took One More Big Step to Legitimacy

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My estimate is that the top 5 YouTube networks will do > $200 million net revenue in 2013 (after Google’s share). Anyone who reads this blog frequently will know that I am a big believer in low-cost video content and specifically the power of YouTube as a content creation & distribution platform. Our industry just took one big step towards legitimacy with the hiring of renowned media exec Ynon Kreiz to run Maker Studios.

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Startup Grind Turns the Tables on Mark Suster

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One of my favorite events last year was attending Startup Grind where I got to interview Clayton Christensen, author of The Innovator’s Dilemma. Not just because meeting Clayton was influential in shaping my thinking about markets but also because Derek Andersen (who founded Startup Grind) is such an awesome host and runs a very informative events. Last month they turned the tables on me.

Why Your Marketing Campaign Sucks

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This article originally appeared on TechCrunch. Creating awareness for your brand and products is one of the lifebloods of technology startups yet in a world where so many companies are being created it becomes difficult to rise above the noise. Ever notice how some companies tend to be in the press all the time and your big new product launch struggled for inches? Mostly it’s because your marketing campaigns suck.

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How Do you Motivate Yourself and Stay Focused?

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Look, if you had, one shot. Or one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted. In one moment. Would you capture it, or just let it slip? Eminem, Lose Yourself ]. I’ve often said that to run a startup you almost have to abstract yourself from the daily stresses and grind just to exist. You almost have to have an out-of-body experience as though it’s not really your life but it’s just a game you’re playing in order to not be buried by the burdens of your decisions.

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The Importance of Benevolent Dictators

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It’s 2013 and I’m supposed to believe in the “wisdom of the crowds.” I believe that groups coming together to make tough decisions driven by consensus tend to make poor decisions. This is especially true in startups where speed matters and where there is a need to constantly calibrate direction and where these decisions can have existential outcomes.

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How Online Video Companies Can Increase Margin and Build Better Businesses

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I know it should go without saying that in 2013 you should be thinking about building a global business. In my last post I pointed out that many of the media commentators who have criticized the YouTube video network companies as not having strong businesses were mistaken.

How Open Should a Startup CEO be with Staff?

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CEO transparency. It almost sounds uncontroversial. A CEO should tell her staff everything! Right? Right?!? Of course not. It’s a hard topic to write about because it’s almost an accepted norm that total transparency is good. It is not. For starters let me use “CEO” as a proxy to include her “inner circle” which might mean co-founders or might just mean senior execs of the business. I do believe in total transparency with your core. The Mind of the Founder.

How to Know When to Sell vs. When to Market to Customers

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This is final part of a series that describes a sales methodology for technology companies or frankly many other types of companies, too. We developed this at our first company and called it PUCCKA – the overall methodology is described here. Unique Selling Proposition. Compelling Event. Champion. Key Players such as enemies, sages and blockers. This post talks about the last part of the PUCCKA methodology – an Aligned Purchasing Process.

8 Tips To Get the Most Out of Your Investors and Board

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Rob Bailey is the CEO of DataSift. He wrote a post this long weekend on how he manages the board of DataSift. You should read it. In his post he asserts, “You get the VCs you deserve” and the corollary “You get the performance out of your board that you deserve.” ” His argument is as follows. Spend time building investor relationship long before you raise money. . By spending more time educating your board on your business you get more valuable advice from them.

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Why The Media Has Been Wrong About YouTube Networks

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For much of 2013 I watched the press write articles about how the YouTube “MCNs” (multi-channel networks) were doomed and tried to square that with the data I was watching at the one I invested in, Maker Studios, who has had one hell of a year.

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Bolstering the Partner Ranks at GRP

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It is with great pleasure that I can finally announce that we have added Greg Bettinelli as a partner at GRP Partners. If you don’t already follow him on Twitter please click link and follow. You won’t regret it. The guy has knowledge. It is the first time in 6 years that we’ve expanded the partnership. So why Greg and why now? I first met Greg about 4 years ago or so.

As Populist as it May Feel, 98% of VCs Aren’t Dumb

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In 2013 it is expected to be around $35 billion. Compare the state of play in 2013 versus 15 years ago. 2013 = $25 billion of which Apples stage is more than $8 billion at > 90% gross margin. By now you will likely have read Andy Dunn’s scathing post about Venture Capitalists in which he decries the industry’s masses. I read Andy’s post with a knowing smile on my face.

Why We Think B2B Crowdsourced Logistics Will Be a Big Hit

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Six months ago Upfront Ventures announced its first Partner hire since 2007 – Greg Bettinelli. I wrote about him here. More importantly, he has just announced his first investment – he led a $7 million investment in Deliv – please read about it on Greg’s spiffy new blog. It’s been a really exciting time for me personally to be able to see a partner come in with the energy, enthusiasm and new ideas that remind me of myself 6 years ago.

Why You Should Give Before You Get

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I have a motto in business and life, “give before you get.” ” It’s a philosophy, really. And it applies to business relationships & networking as much as it does to remuneration in the workplace. It seems we live in an era of “ask.” ” I see it on Twitter. Lots of asking. I see it on email even more. And in person in spades. Everybody is in such a rush that they go for the “ask” too early.

Two Amazing Women Setting Out on Their Startup Journey

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Note: if you’re a parent please check out their website. Kara called me on a Tuesday. She was leaving IAC to start a company. “Tasha, clear some space on my calendar tomorrow. ” “I want you in my offices tomorrow, Kara. Does that work for you?” ” Kara came. She didn’t tell me she was bringing anybody. I didn’t ask her for a deck. Or what she was working on. Or whom she was working with. Tasha screamed. Literally. WTF is she going on about? Tasha!

If you Can’t Make Time, MakeSpace

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Shouldn’t all your storage be inventoried with photos in 2013? If you Can’t Make Time, MakeSpace. A few months ago I wrote about an entrepreneur, Sam Rosen, whom we brought on as an EIR at Upfront Ventures. I would have liked to have been even more Upfront with you back then about our intentions with Sam but out of respect to him we held back on our broader thesis until now. Today we announced our launch. Here’s the deal.

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On Launching a Brand – Upfront Ventures Four Months In

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Nearly four months ago we rebranded at Upfront Ventures. You can watch the video above for a very brief overview of why we rebranded and where we see our place in the VC ecosystem along with what has changed in our industry. The link for the video is here and if you want a short firsthand view on our changes it’s a great resource. I often advise startup companies not to try and pin all of your brand equity into an announcement. A brand is a marathon, not a sprint.

What am I Thankful for This Year?

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2013 has proved to be a wild year. 2013 was the year of wearable devices and physical products. So with the wild ride of 2013 I had thoughts about what made me thankful this year. I know your 2013 success will lead to more sustained travel in 2014. Thank you to the team that had extreme success in 2012 and a more challenging year in 2013. Thank you to the LPs who trusted us with your money that allowed us to raise our fourth fund in 2013.

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DataSift Announces Mega-Round. Apple Buys Topsy for $200 Million. Here’s What You Need to Know

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I’m super proud to announce that DataSift has just completed a $42 million financing round coming at the end of a year where its revenue grew several hundred percent year-over-year. Considering our revenue is SaaS revenue this achievement is even more remarkable. The timing of the announcement of this investment couldn’t have been timed more perfectly if we tried. Yesterday it was announced that Apple had acquired one of our competitors, Topsy, for more than $200 million.

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Why Your Startup Needs a Sales Methodology

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This article originally appeared on Like most startup entrepreneurs, when I began my first company in 1999 I had no formal sales experience. I did have the wherewithal to visit potential customers and try to understand the pain points that I thought could be solved with our solution. This is a very important to do when you first start a company.

10 Key Buildings in the Brooklyn Innovation Community

This is going to be BIG.

Back in 2006, when I started working on putting together some community groups for entrepreneurs and tech people, I looked for a better name to reference this collection of people. Tech community" seemed too much about people soldering things together and writing code. Not only did I want it to include people working on the future of digital media at ABC, but I also had in mind the roll that other types of creative people have in the inspiration of a city.