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

Both Sides of the Table

“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.

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.

The Underwhelmingness of Facebook

This is going to be BIG.

Facebook is an incredible thing in many ways. It has over a billion people on it--a reach unlike anything in the social software space we''ve ever seen. The numbers of photos uploaded, likes per second, page views, etc are absolutely staggering. Its sheer growth is truly an accomplishment. Yet, when I think about its impact on our lives and what it enables people to do, I can''t help but be underwhelmed. What do we actually do on Facebook? We don''t meet new people. We don''t create anything.

The Glue that Makes a Community Stick

This is going to be BIG.

The other day, I was out at MCU Park in Coney Island, where the Brooklyn Cyclones play. I was chatting with the GM of the team up on the party deck. We turned away from the game to face Brooklyn, and look down at the streetscape below. There were a lot of empty lots and buildings in need of renovation. For as much as Coney Island had been "cleaned up" in recent years, it''s been slow to thrive and become more than just a beach destination during the summer.

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.

Paul Graham and The World Out There

This is going to be BIG.

There is a controversial interview with Paul Graham floating around and I''m left to wonder why we''re still paying attention to guys like him. He is accused by people of being, at best, oblivious and at worst, sexist. I''ve never sat down with the guy, so I can''t speak to that, but I''m tired of hearing about the same voices over and over again when I''m not even sure they''re relevant.

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 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.

Is @AngelList Syndicates Really Such a Big Deal?

Both Sides of the Table

If you track the venture capital industry it would be hard to miss the conversation going on this week over AngelList “Syndicates.” ” From the hyperbolic Jason Calacanis weighing in that “The petty VC’s did everything to deride [Naval, the co-founder of AngelList]” as though the industry was collectively s g its pants that AngelList was going to put us out of business.

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.

When Men Start Pitching to Women

This is going to be BIG.

I have this vision. Someone gets all of the most powerful and connected women in NYC--Barbara Corcoran, Beth Comstock, and maybe even folks like Lady Gaga--and puts together a Founder Collective--like venture fund. Everyone could toss in 100k and you could definitely find 1:1 matching from various instructions to bring it up to $10mm. Let's bring in both Clinton women, too, while we're at it.

Teach 'Em to Tinker

This is going to be BIG.

The other day, I took part in a forum about technology education in Brooklyn. So much of the focus was on how to produce usable software developers inside the four walls of a classroom. There was a CTO in the room who had a fifty plus person tech team and so I asked him, "How many of your developers learned their trade in the classroom versus being essentially self taught?". Answer: All self-taught. Not a single one of his developers came out of school as usable commercial software developers.

Why being a VC sucks. Advice to anyone who wants to get into venture capital.

This is going to be BIG.

I probably get around a dozen e-mails a week asking me how to get into venture capital. On top of that, anytime I talk to anyone who wants to get involved in startups but isn''t sure what they want to do, inevitably, I hear, "And then I was thinking maybe I should look into venture capital, too.". I usually direct people to this post --still hanging atop the search rankings for " How to be a VC analyst" years later.

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

Both Sides of the Table

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.

The Corrosive Downside of Acquihires

Both Sides of the Table

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.

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

Both Sides of the Table

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

Both Sides of the Table

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.

One of the Biggest Mistakes Enterprise Startups Make

Both Sides of the Table

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

Both Sides of the Table

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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The Importance of Benevolent Dictators

Both Sides of the Table

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.

How to make the most of an accelerator Office Hours

This is going to be BIG.

At accelerators like Techstars, the "Office Hours" is a standard part of the program. A mentor comes in and a whole slate of companies are scheduled to meet with them for around 20 minutes or so. It''s more than an elevator pitch, but not enough time for a full pitch. So what are you supposed to get accomplished in that time? First of all, get it out of your head that Office Hours is time to pitch.

How Open Should a Startup CEO be with Staff?

Both Sides of the Table

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.

Startup Grind Turns the Tables on Mark Suster

Both Sides of the Table

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.

How Do you Motivate Yourself and Stay Focused?

Both Sides of the Table

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.

How Online Video Companies Can Increase Margin and Build Better Businesses

Both Sides of the Table

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.

Why Your Marketing Campaign Sucks

Both Sides of the Table

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

Both Sides of the Table

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

Both Sides of the Table

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

Both Sides of the Table

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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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.

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.

The Five Key Dynamics of the Seed Market in 2013

Tomasz Tunguz

We discussed five trends in the seed market and the outlook for 2013. These are the five most important trends for 2013, in my view. Last night I spoke at the Enterprise Tech VC Panel. MicroVC Funds Have Doubled Their Assets. Call it micro-VC or mega-seed fund, there’s a new investor class which raises funds between $50 and $100M to invest in seed-stage companies.