Angel investors do more deals with less dollars. The University of New Hampshire's Center for Venture Research has released its annual report on angel investment activity for the past year and the findings are a bit of a mixed bag. The 2009 Angel Investor Market study reports that the total investment dollars for 2009 was $17.6 billion, a 8.3 percent decrease from the $19.2 billion invested in 2008. On the plus side, overall angel activity did increase in 2009. A total of 57,2254 ventures received funding in 2009, 3.1 percent more than the 55,480 in 2008. Software ventures received the largest share of investments with 19 percent, followed by healthcare and the industrial/energy sectors with 17 percent respectively. Financial services firms received the least amount of funding with a scant 5 percent. For some tips on how you could land your share of angel funding, check out our Angel Investing Guide.
Obama to hold forum on work-from-home. Okay, so we can't prove that President Obama had a copy of Inc. in his briefcase when he decided to push for flexible work schedules today at a White House forum. But we do know that the announcement, which was reported by the Chicago Tribune, is coming just days after our April issue came out. The issue was produced without an office and features The Case, and the Plan for the Virtual Company, a definitive guide for companies that want to adopt more flexible work schedules.
Meet the real-life Bruce Wayne. Technology blog Motherboard has an interesting video of Nate Ball, MIT grad and co-founder of Atlas Devices, discussing how he and his classmates came up with The Ascender, a Batman-like device that sends soldiers zooming up climbing ropes simply by pulling a trigger. Worth watching, if only to hear Ball's story of testing the invention in a MIT stairwell at 4 a.m. using five water jugs tied together as their human stand-in. You can guess how that story ends. (Via Digg).
Five tips for social design. When designing a website, it's important to keep in mind how well your site interacts with visitors, and social media has made it easier than ever to do that. However, as Mashable reports, there are some rules you should consider when designing for the social Web, so as not to overwhelm users. For example, don't be a control freak, the post says, referencing the infamous launch of Google Buzz. "When offering users a chance to share and connect, it's important that the user also remain in control," the article says. "It took only a few days for Google to issue some privacy tweaks, but for some users it was too late." Other tips include limiting the number of widgets and plugins on a page, and keeping your design elements within the context of what your site is about.
Could postal service cutbacks spell the end for Netflix? What if the success of your company was tied to the finances of a government agency? Netflix surpassed Blockbuster in movie rental revenue for the first time in February. But despite the fact that its 12.3 million member red envelope army is growing, its primary partner, the U.S. Postal Service, lost $3.8 billion last year. Big Money reports that the agency has already taken the first step toward eliminating Saturday delivery and is considering raising postage fees (Congress still has to approve). If the changes are implemented, "Netflix's finely-tuned business model could suffer a serious blow." Not to mention a set-back in efficiency, despite the fact that warehouse employees process a minimum of 650 discs per hour.
Real estate guru takes on new challenge. In the past, he saw promise in SoHo and South Beach before anyone else did and made a fortune on real estate developments in those neighborhoods as a result. Now, as The New York Times reports, Tony Goldman is betting he can recreate that magic in Wynwood, a former industrial neighborhood in Miami. But as he's found out so far, Wynwood presents a completely different kind of challenge.