How Mint Got $175 Million; Swine Flu Contingencies
BY Nitasha Tiku
Intuit buys Mint for $175 million. How do you navigate your company to a big sale when you're young, untested, and unprofitable? By being extraordinarily stingy. And also by paying your techies in equity. Aaron Patzer, who recently sold his personal finance site Mint to Intuit for about $170 million in cash, gave a talk earlier this week on how he built his company. (You may also remember Patzer from last year's 30 Under 30 list.) TechCrunch Michael Arrington posted the video and Christine Herron has a nice summary. During the talk Patzer explains that he lived on just $30,000 a year during the company's early days and paid the first engineer he hired $36,000, plus 2 percent equity. Arrington says the video is "Everything you wanted to know about startup building but were afraid to ask."
Swine flu contingency plans for small businesses. In light of the CDC's recently-issued swine flue preparedness guidelines for small businesses, Web Worker Daily looks at the best software to help in case of a, gulp, pandemic outbreak. If your company suddenly finds itself working remotely, from your sick beds, here are the best project management (Basecamp, PBWorks, Zoho Projects), instant messaging (Pidgin, Adium, MS Office Communications Server), and collaboration (ConnectNow, Dimdim, Team Apart) tools to make sure the business keeps running.
Not to worry wireless gadget fiends, the FCC is here to help. At this week's CTIA Wireless conference in San Diego, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced that the agency was looking to add airwaves for nextgen wireless networks in order to meet the demand brought on by the increased use of devices like the iPhone. According to the Wall Street Journal, the FCC considers that lack of airwaves available for 4G wireless networks "a looming crisis" that threatening productivity. This news comes on the heels of the FCC's inquiries into industry business practices and rules that would limit carriers from slowing or blocking high-bandwidth traffic like video streaming on wireless networks or devices. The FCC's plan call for a threefold increase in available spectrum. Said Genachowski, "What happens when every mobile user has an iPhone, a Palm Pre, a BlackBerry Tour or whatever the next device is? What happens when we quadruple the number of subscribers with mobile broadband on their laptops or netbooks?"
Bringing home the billion dollar bacon.Twitter was valued at $1 billion last month and now the company is taking a major monetizing step by entering into talks with Google and Microsoft about giving the competing search giants data-mining deals to augment their real-time search abilities (hat tip AllThingsD). In exchange for integrating the billions of tweets from Twitter's 54 million users, Google and Microsoft, would pay Twitter several million dollars as well as giving the company a slice of the revenue the search results bring in. Learn how real-time search should change your approach to SEO.
Culinary star shares her recipe for a good work/life balance. The American Express OPEN Forum has an interesting video interview with celebrity chef and business owner, Sara Moulton. The Food Network star, who is also president of Sara Moulton Enterprises, dishes on how she manages to run a culinary juggernaut while at the same time making time for her children. She stresses the need to learn how to delegate, both at home as well as on the job. As she puts it, "You have to learn how to let go of the little stuff." The biggest surprise of the whole interview? True to her word of learning how to delegate, the acclaimed chef hired a housekeeper to handle the household cooking duties so that she has more time to spend with her kids.
NFTE business plan competition winner announced. A freshman at Los Angeles Southwest College is the 2009 winner of The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship business plan competition, the non-profit announced today. The young entrepreneur, Kalief Rollins, created the winning business plan for his T-shirt business, Phree Kountry Clothing. He earned a $10,000 prize and an upcoming meeting with President Obama. On November 13, TEN9EIGHT, a documentary chronicling last year's NFTE competition, will open in AMC theaters in seven cities.
Dell will make a smart phone for AT&T. The touch-screen phone will feature Google's Android operating system, and could be ready in early 2010, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. At present, the Android system is free for phone makers to customize to their services, but many have speculated that it will become a threat to the iPhone. Dell's new phone rumored to look is rumored to look something like the Mini 3i, which debuted in China this summer.
Reporter NITASHA TIKU covers technology, finance, green business, and social entrepreneurship for Inc. magazine and contributes to the staff’s daily links blog. Her work has appeared in New York magazine, The Villager, Chelsea Now, and on nymag.com. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. @nitashatiku