新京报讯 (记者许路阳 实习生何永霞)任职华中科大校长9年后，李培根于昨日卸任….
The race is on to develop new types of memory chips that can keep up with our dual desires for more data storage and tinier gadgets.
Crossbar, a company that has developed custom Resistive RAM technology, is one such entry in this latest memory market. The company announced today that it has raised $25 million in a third round of funding, bringing its total funding to $50 million.
Resistive RAM, or ReRAM, is one of many new technologies targeted at destroying the $60 billion flash memory market. Crossbar’s technology, which uses a unique layered structure, can fit a terabyte of data on a chip the size of a postage stamp. Even better, it can access that data 20 times faster than today’s best flash memory.
“Today’s nonvolatile memory technologies are running out of steam, hitting significant barriers as they scale to smaller manufacturing processes,” Crossbar CEO George Minassian told VentureBeat in an interview last year.
“With our working Crossbar array, we have achieved all the major technical milestones that prove our RRAM technology is easy to manufacture and ready for commercialization. It’s a watershed moment for the nonvolatile memory industry.”
After emerging from stealth last summer, Minassian says the Santa Clara, Calif.-based Crossbar is now in “active negotiations” with electronics and semiconductor leaders. The company plans to use the new funding to build out its manufacturing and licensing operations. Crossbar says it will announce licensing agreements with semiconductor firms later this year.
It’s easy to see how Crossbar’s technology could be useful with the move to wearable devices, thinner smartphones and tablets, and a plethora of other connected gadgets. Though flash memory has made great strides over the years, it’s a technology that is beginning to show its age, especially when we’re seeing new technologies like 4K video emerge which require fast data bandwidth and huge storage capabilities.
Existing investors Artiman Ventures Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Northern Light Venture Capital, and the University of Michigan participated in the round. New investors included SAIF partners, Korea Investment Partners, and others.
Traffic from Reddit and StumbleUpon might make you feel good for a moment, but it’s the web equivalent of junk food. By contrast, visits from YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn are rich in minerals and vitamins: the highest quality web traffic you can get.
And YouTube, interestingly, is best of all.
Six months of sharing by 250 million people says that YouTube drives some of the most valuable web traffic of any social site, according to a study published by social sharing and analytics company Shareaholic this morning. Visitors from YouTube stay on your site the longest, click around to find more information the most, and “bounce” (or leave immediately) the least.
“YouTube is the undisputed champion,” study author Danny Wong told me via email this morning. “YouTube drives the most engaged traffic with an average 43.19 percent bounce rate, 2.99 pages per visit, and a 227.82 second visit duration.”
People who come to your website from Reddit and StumbleUpon, on the other hand, bounce hard. Over 70 percent of Redditors click away from your site after reading the one piece of information they came for, and StumbleUpon drives only 1.5 pageviews per visit.
We asked 1,000+ marketers which marketing automation systems work best.
While Google+ and LinkedIn aren’t quite in YouTube’s league, they both drive more engaged traffic than social giants Facebook and Twitter, making them something of an untapped resource.
“Although many sites see minimal traffic from both Google+ and LinkedIn, now may be the time to invest in building communities within those networks if engagement really matters to your business,” Wong wrote in his post.
Perhaps most interesting?
One-time social media golden child Pinterest may not be the traffic monster it once was. Shareaholic ranked Pinterest sixth behind Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, due to the fact that Pinterest-referred visitors bounce just as often as Facebook and Twitter users but view even fewer pages and spend less time on site — just over a minute.
(Note, however, that there is some evidence that Pinterest traffic drives the most revenue per click.)
Traffic is a major concern for most website proprietors, not least of which are Internet retailers, who work hard at increasing “organic” traffic, or website traffic that is not paid or ad-driven. Websites that do well at driving organic traffic have the chance to increase revenue via sales or advertising, without having to pay directly for the traffic in the first place.
Shareaholic’s study ranged from September 2013 to February 14, and includes social actions on over 200,000 websites by 250 million web surfers.
Would you like a mentor with that crowdfunding campaign of yours?
If so, crowdfunding site CrowdIt is now providing just that.
The startup is rolling out its “Suits” program, which provides experts ranging from lawyers and accountants to accredited investors and consultants. These experts then act as advisors and resources before, during, and after the fundraising.
Unlike crowdfunding competitors such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, which focus on the fundraising part of the launching and growing of a project, CrowdIt believes there should be a community that entrepreneurs can be part of even after they’ve gathered their funds, as we previously reported. Suits is a major piece of this bigger vision.
“What’s been missing isn’t the focus on financial help but ‘people’ assistance. Any successful small business knows that it takes a village of experienced professionals in various capacities to turn a dream into a reality,” said chief executive Jason Graf in an official statement.
In a way, CrowdIt is creating a way for entrepreneurs to get all the benefits of traditional startup fundraising — money, hands-on advisors, a support system — but suited (pun!) for the crowdfunding generation.
Still, CrowdIt’s advisors’ motivations might be slightly different than in traditional setups, where advisors take equity in return for their boundless wisdom. These “Suits” are volunteers.
But while they’re not receiving any payments from the entrepreneurs, they do “have exclusive access to projects before they go live on CrowdIt.com. They also can direct message with the project owners themselves. … They have opportunities to advertise/market on the site, they can build credibility for themselves and their business to position as thought leaders in their respective fields, and much more,” Graf said in a statement to VentureBeat.
“Furthermore, business professionals can cultivate business leads by offering advice and resources before, during, and after the funding event to gain trust from the project owners and set up deals for ancillary service support going forward,” added Graf.
Nevertheless, CrowdIt seems committed to helping its entrepreneurs have the best chances of succeeding, and benevolent advisors are quite likely to join the program.
Paul Freeman and Markus Pope co-founded the Springfield, Missouri-based company, which has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Baron VC.
The Android crowd is finally getting some love from Microsoft’s Outlook team.
Microsoft is bringing an Outlook Web App (OWA) to Android, the company announced today. The upcoming app will bring Android in line iOS and Windows Phone, which both have native OWA apps.
Microsoft already offers an Outlook.com app for Android, but OWA is the cloud version of Office’s Outlook desktop application, explained a Microsoft representative. In other words, employees of businesses using Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud service can now use the app on their Android phones.
OWA provides access to companies’ internal email, calendars, contacts, tasks, documents, and a host of other items.
A carjacker got more than he bargained for when he tried to force a driver, stopped at a red light on Grandview Highway in Vancouver, to hand over her vehicle.
Andrew Wiggins made it official Monday, forgoing his remaining years of college basketball eligibility to enter the NBA draft.
The Obama administration said a new technical problem on Monday is preventing last-minute users from signing up on the government’s health insurance website, the second failure of the site as traffic surged on deadline day.
Creigh Deeds, the Virginia state senator whose mentally ill son attacked him last fall before killing himself, spoke Monday about the need to de-stigmatize mental illness and to provide better care for those who need help.
General Motors is recalling an additional 1.3 million late-model vehicles in the U.S because they may experience a sudden loss of electric-power steering assist.
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said President Putin’s argument that he had a duty to protect Russian minorities abroad mirrored Hitler’s pretext for invading the Sudetenland.
Turkish telecom companies are intercepting traffic sent to public Internet address books run by Google and other U.S. firms, closing a major loophole Turkish people have used to circumvent a government blackout on social media.
Russia signaled on Monday it was pulling some troops away from its border with Ukraine, a move that met with skepticism in the West.
Uh-oh, more trouble in Clinkleland (the magical kingdom of the yet-to-be-unveiled mobile payments startup).
It appears that chief service and operational officer Andy Rendich has left the building, according to a company rep.
Rendich joined the Clinkle in December 2013 to lead “IT infrastructure support, data warehouse operations, and customer service operations,” according to the Clinkle’s press release.
He joined a few weeks after then-chief operating officer Barry McCarthy came on board, and McCarthy has also since left the company.
Rendich came to Clinkle after leading Walmart.com’s supply chain and logistics. Prior to that, Rendich spent 13 years at Netflix in various roles including chief service and operations officer, vice president of operations, vice president of systems development, and the lead of a DVD-by-mail offshoot the company announced but never launched.
Jeff Goslin is also leaving, we’ve confirmed. Goslin joined the company to create its customer service strategy.
When reached for comment, Clinkle’s PR representative said, “We’re adding users by the week and remain focused on hiring in product and engineering. We wish them the best in their future endeavors.”
Although still in stealth mode, Clinkle has already seen a series of staff changes, including layoffs in December led by McCarthy and the departure of design chief Josh Brewer after only a few days on the job.
It’s unclear was chief executive Lucas Duplan’s next move will be, but with about $30 million in tow, he’ll have to come up with something fast before his high-profile and strangely silent investors (including Andreesen Horowitz, Richard Branson, Peter Thiel, and Stanford) start pulling the plug.
(h/t to Re/code for unearthing this.)
Twitter has been positioning itself as being a platform that caters to TV network for the last few years, which is likely a large part of why it picked Mesagraph.
The startup’s technology focuses on providing analytics on how people are engaging with shows and brands while watching TV. And since the firm is based in the UK, most of its big partnerships (Canal+, France Télévisions, M6, TF1) are with European media companies and TV networks, which is also good for Twitter from an international growth perspective.
Now that’s its a part of Twitter, Mesagraph said it’ll help the company by working with TV networks, agencies, advertisers, and others in the TV ecosystem. The startup’s entire team will also be joining Twitter’s UK office based in London.
The Mesagraph acquisition is a good way for Twitter to duplicate its TV-focused strategy in Europe. The company’s U.S. efforts include partnering with TV-ratings company Nielsen to provide more accurate results. The company also launched a TV network-focused ad/promotion platform Amplify last year, as well as forged partnerships with media companies like Comcast.
Since the iPhone was introduced in 2007, phones and tablets have transformed the way we interact with technology and each other. Smartphone sales have already overtaken PC sales, and tablet sales are predicted to pass PCs this year. To call this shift disruptive is understating its impact on our industry and the world. We will look back in 10 years, and every piece of software we use will have changed dramatically.
The shift to mobile is as dramatic and important as the shift from the mainframe to the PC, and billions more people will participate.
Microsoft introduced Office for iPad last week. It’s an important milestone in the growth of tablets — Office on a new operating system created by Apple! — and it’s an important event for startups like mine, Quip, that compete with Office on these new platforms.
While it’s impossible to ignore the dominance of Microsoft in this market, the software seems to fall into the same pattern as most incumbents who half-heartedly embrace new technology trends. Here’s a screenshot of one of the first graphical word processors ever created, MacWrite, released with the original Macintosh in 1984:
Compare that to this eerily similar screenshot of Microsoft Word for iPad, released last week:
While Microsoft has done an amazing job modernizing the design of Office to embrace touchscreen interfaces, it still uses the same metaphors and the same workflow that we used when shoulder pads and leg warmers were cool. Documents are still on virtual 8.5″ by 11″ pieces of paper. You can’t edit the same document at the same time as someone else. You still have to attach a document to an email to talk about it.
Companies like Quip were born in the era of smartphones and tablets, and our products have completely different values. We don’t have footnotes or margins, but we do have push notifications so you know when people open the document you shared.
Quip didn’t even support printing until six months after our launch, but we’ve always supported read receipts and presence so you can see who’s online and who’s seen your changes in real-time.
The next generation of great companies will be defined by embracing mobile. That doesn’t mean just making existing products work on touchscreen devices. It means embracing what makes these devices truly different. They’re always connected to the internet. They can notify you when things change. They’re social. Within the course of a day, you use a smartphone, a tablet, and a PC, often within minutes of each other, and the experience should be seamless.
All of the startups like ours that are competing against incumbents like Microsoft and Google are by definition audacious, but we believe we have a chance because people’s expectations for software have fundamentally changed in the age of devices like the iPhone. If the software you use at work doesn’t work well, you’ll just download a different app from the App Store and use something else. For the first time in enterprise software, having a great mobile experience matters a lot more than your marketshare on PCs.
Bret Taylor is co-founder and chief executive of Quip, a modern word processor that enables you to create beautiful documents on any device — phones, tablets, and the desktop. Previously, Bret was the CTO of Facebook, after it acquired FriendFeed, the company he co-founded in 2007. Prior to that, Bret was a Group Product Manager at Google, where he co-created Google Maps and the Google Maps API, and started Google’s Developer product group.
The crowdfunding industry is hitting its stride. Kickstarter announced recently it has topped $1 billion in pledges for its rewards-based opportunities, and peer-to-peer lending leader Lending Club is preparing for its IPO.
The potential impacts of crowdfunding on the economy and entrepreneurship are staggering. But while rewards-based crowdfunding provides the lowest cost capital a company can raise, not everyone is a winner in this finance model. As Korstiaan Zandvliet, founder of Dutch crowdfunding platform, Symbid said: ”Isn’t it a shame that some of the companies funded through [rewards-based] forms of crowdfunding will go on to make large profits, and all you ever got was a t-shirt?”
A case in point: backers of Oculus VR’s $2.4 million Kickstarter campaign in 2012 are not seeing any upside from Facebook’s $2 billion acquisition.
Relatively little is known about what many investors consider to be crowdfunding’s holy grail – equity crowdfunding. The idea is compelling: Individuals pool small funds together to become equity stakeholders in early stage companies, when the opportunities – and risks – are the greatest. Many insiders anticipate equity crowdfunding will transform startup finance. Massolution estimates 100% growth this year, with $400 million raised.
Based on OurCrowd’s analysis of the 10 largest equity crowdfunding platforms by asset volume, and our own performance with active equity crowdfunding investors, I expect $700 million is more realistic. Whereas angels have invested $393 million on the 10 largest equity crowdfunding platforms by asset volume to date, they have invested $90 million in Q1 2014 alone.
Among the 50,000 angels who have registered on an equity crowdfunding platform like AngelList, CircleUp, Seedrs, Crowdcube and OurCrowd, only about 5,000 have actually invested via an equity crowdfunding intermediary. That means just 1% of the global population of 500,000 angel investors actively participate in equity crowdfunding today, leaving ample runway as more investors migrate to these platforms.
So why are insiders so confident that equity crowdfunding will transform the capital markets? According to top crowdfunding experts, there are two primary factors:
The payback from equity crowdfunding can be enormous. According to Tanya Prive, founder of crowdfunding platform, Rock the Post, “While most startups won’t achieve Facebook or Dropbox returns (62,000% and 39,000% ROI, respectively), a long-term investment of 5-8 years in the right startup could produce higher returns than any other asset.”
Equity crowdfunding takes local angel investing and makes it global, without sacrificing quality. Today much angel investing is relegated to local deals and that makes sense, as it’s not as easy to set up a national (or international) deal flow. But as Crowdvalley founder Markus Lampinen says, “New access and transparency created by online models will open the door for discovering new investment opportunities in private securities potentially anywhere. Along with the right information, research and processes to protect investors and evaluate the cases, this can lead to a new paradigm where we as investors are not limited to our own local community, but can access information from around the world.”
If you want to profit from equity crowdfunding but are wondering how to go about it, here are investment tips based on my experience as a venture capitalist and angel investor and on input from some of the world’s top crowdfunding experts:
Diversify. Study after study shows how risky the asset class is and that building a portfolio of high-quality startups is the only way to go to make real money investing in private companies. Just as mutual funds and exchanged traded funds (ETF) have made it easy to add international exposure to a stock portfolio, equity crowdfunding ushers in easy access to private companies — a new asset class.
“Go into this with your eyes open and remember one important fact: depending on whose numbers you read, 30-40% of startup businesses across the board fail within two years,” said crowdfunding expert Kendall Almerico. “The good news about investing via equity crowdfunding is that you will be able to invest a small amount along with a lot of other people, so you can minimize your potential losses and the risk involved.”
“Rather than putting all their eggs in one basket, investors can diversify capital in 10 or more companies,” added Microventures’ Tim Sullivan. “This can greatly improve chances of success. The winners in a startup investor’s portfolio can provide returns that more than make up for the losers.”
Invest in what you know. “Some of the most successful crowdfunding projects started because experienced investors didn’t understand that there was latent demand for a new product category,” said Ethan Mollick, a professor studying crowdfunding at the Wharton School of business. “Gamers, rather than VCs, funded Oculus Rift because they knew that they wanted to experience virtual reality, even though investors were not interested because of a lack of proven demand. Technology enthusiasts backed Pebble Watch because they wanted wearable computers, an area that conventional wisdom, without much recent evidence, suggested was a dead-end.”
Do your due diligence. “Dig into the startup’s financial statements, scrutinize their financial projections, and evaluate the metrics they use to measure traction,” Sullivan added. “If the numbers don’t tell a compelling and realistic story, then you should find another company to invest in.”
Recognize startup investing is a team sport. If it’s important to invest in good management for a publicly traded stock, it’s essential to identify leaders that are winners when investing in startups. It’s better to invest in a world-class team with a half-baked idea than the inverse. “Growing a startup from idea to exit is a long and winding journey so investing in a startup is really about backing the team to last the duration of the journey. Our most frequent investors often prefer to invest in startups with more than one team member,” Jeff Lynn, founder of UK crowdfunding platform, Seedrs said.
Learn how to factor in the additional data that crowdfunding platforms provide. “Real crowdfunding can demonstrate whether there is a market and whether customers are prepared to pay for the product or service,” said Amanda Boyle, CEO at Bloom Venture Catalyst.
I’d be lying if I said the excitement surrounding equity crowdfunding doesn’t keep me awake most nights. The democratization of capital flowing into the growth engine of our economy — startups — will give an entirely new class of investors opportunities to enrich themselves that only venture capitalists and angel investors had previously. We know crowdfunding creates jobs — we’ll soon see a growing number of equity crowdfunding investors realizing a massive return. I’ll bank on it.
Jon Medved is a serial entrepreneur, investor and CEO of OurCrowd. Medved has been part of the founding teams at several successful Israeli startups, and as a venture and angel investor over the past two decades, he has invested in over 100 Israeli startups, helping to bring over a dozen of them to values in excess of $100 million.