More American entrepreneurs are turning to investors far from home. Plus, a beer brewer's epiphany and the rest of the day's news.
Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today.
A cash lifeline from China. More American entrepreneurs are benefiting from a surge in foreign investment from China, according to The Wall Street Journal. Take Brad Williams, the founder of a recreation-vehicle firm that is about to hire 1,200 workers and boost production this year to 40,000 motor homes. It was all made possible by a $310 million cash infusion from a Chinese investor who sees Asia as an untapped market for American-made RVs. "It's almost something out of a fairy tale," gushed Williams. The flow of private-sector investment toward the United States from China is expected to grow substantially over the next few years, the Journal reports, though some worry that "the ultimate goal in small-business investments is part of an effort by Beijing to relocate the companies to China and reap gains in technology, resources and jobs."
From MFA to IPA: A beer brewer's journey. Sam Calagione was taking writing classes at Columbia University when he had an epiphany: His destiny was as a brewer, not a writer. With little beer-making experience, Calagione took an apprenticeship at a brewery in Maine for a year, until he eventually launched Dogfish Head Brewery, now one of the most successful craft breweries in the country. Calagione credits his success with his willingness to go against the grain (pun intended) and provide a unique product. "Even though craft beers make up less than 5 percent of the market, I wanted to sell to people who wanted some excitement in their beer," Calagione said on OPEN Forum today. "I knew not everyone would drink our beer. We were seen more as heretics than pioneers. That's why I adopted the mission of making off-centered ales for off-centered people."
Salon.com drops search for a buyer. Salon Media Group is no longer looking to sell its flagship website, according to the Wall Street Journal. Salon had been in acquisition talks with Newser.com as recently as last month. But after AOL snapped up the Huffington Post for an eye-popping $315 million, some Salon board members wondered whether they were getting a fair price for their site. A group of former San Francisco Examiner staffers launched Salon 16 years ago. But it has struggled of late, facing mounting competition from HuffPo, The Daily Beast and others. It lost more than $700,000 in the fourth quarter of 2010. Salon is now pledging to return to profitability on its own.
Long live the app-Internet. A new study says mobile apps will be one of the most profitable markets in the coming decade, The New York Times reports. Forrester Research released a report predicting revenue from smartphone and tablet apps will reach $38 billion by 2015. The Forrester analyst who authored the report, John C. McCarthy, believes large corporations will spend up to $17 billion to create and manage apps over the next four years. In 2010, tablet apps generated $300 million in sales, while mobile app sales reached nearly $2.2 billion. The report was based on interviews with popular app creators, developers and vendors.
A new video chatting service on Facebook. Wish you had yet another way to connect with your Facebook friends? A start-up called SocialEyes has launched a video chatting service on the world's most popular social-networking site, The New York Times reports. People login to SocialEyes using Facebook Connect, which enables them to see their friends and begin chats with several at once, individually, or in a group. Users can "mute or pause certain conversations if they don't want their friend to see or hear them, but it can be a little creepy, especially if someone forgets that a chat is still going on." Co-founders Rob Glaser and Rob Williams are optimistic about attracting users, though they have yet to develop a sustainable business model.