Ranking the top angel investors. A couple years ago, we told you about a start-up called YouNoodle that claimed it came up with an algorithm that could tell you what your company's worth. Now YouNoodle's teamed up with BusinessWeek to use the same vetting process on angel investors, with some surprises. Ex-Googlers Chris Sacca, Aydin Senkut, and Andrea Zurek--all relatively unknown outside the industry--are some of the best performers. And Hunch confound Chris Dixon, who may not be a top tier influencer, does have the most diverse portfolio, as well as YouNoodle's endorsement as the top investor in tech.
Web analytics, the sketchy way. Ever wonder how the different web analytics companies get their data? TechCrunch has the lowdown on one practice said to be used by Compete. And it feels a little dirty.
As VCs get skittish, start-ups suffer. The Wall Street Journal reports this morning on what one venture capitalist is calling an "unprecedented level of syndicate failure," which occurs when a VC decides not to invest in a start-up at the last minute, effectively scuttling the deal. "Syndicates" are groups of venture capital firms that invest together to cut down on the risk that a start-up doesn't pan out; they're the norm in most VC investments. But some firms have been so risk-averse during this recession that they've been getting cold feet and leaving entrepreneurs at the altar. This creates an awkward situation where the start-up must hastily explain to its employees and customers why it didn't raise the money, and in some cases must shut down. The Journal notes that better established VC firms are usually able to kick in more cash when a syndicate collapses, which is a good reason to make sure that you're investors are financially sound before you sign a term sheet.
Do B-Schools set up entrepreneurs to fail? Tech entrepreneur and consultant Sramana Mitra certainly thinks so. In a column today at Forbes, she argues that the tendency of most business schools to focus on raising funds, especially VC funding, rather than the more fundamental aspects of launching a business is doing entrepreneur students a disservice. As she explains, "I have come to observe that most business school programs have an extensive emphasis on fundraising, especially from venture capitalists, and very little pragmatic understanding of what it really takes to get a venture off the ground. As a result, business schools launch students into the real world with completely unrealistic expectations, set up to fail." Her idea to fix it? Give students a crash course in bootstrapping.
Jobs still on the fritz, but not for temp workers. For four months straight, companies have hired more temporary workers -- but that doesn't bring the omen of recovery that it used to, according to an article by the Associated Press (via the L.A. Times). While it was once considered a preface to the hiring of permanent workers, the phenomenon is now viewed as one of many signs of low confidence in an unstable economy. "Even companies that are boosting production seem inclined to get by with their existing workers, plus temporary staff if necessary," the article says. Check out this article by Inc.com contributor J.J. McCorvey for more info on temporary hires, and one start-up that's cashing in on the uptick.
Lawyer turned cupcake entrepreneur When David Arrick got laid off from a Wall Street law firm in 2008, he thought he would end up in real estate. But he ended up in cupcakes, or, more precisely, "mancakes." Last December, he started an online delivery service that makes cupcakes with manly flavors, like beer-infused cake with beer buttercream. The WSJ has full details on the sweet startup, which Arrick plans to expand into Chicago, Miami, and Los Angeles within the next year.
Dramatic changes to your industry? Try reinvention. Do you ever feel like new technologies are edging out the way you're used to getting things done? Do you worry that consumers are rapidly changing their demands? Entrepreneurs whose industries are being turned upside down should never rule out the possibility of reinventing their business, especially in a downturn. USA Today has come up with five suggestions on how to get your company back on track after a period of transition, including recognizing new opportunities, leveraging your current assets by developing new products or services, and learning to juggle, by developing a strategic plan to help you shift your resources.