Learning from Google's IPO. In the six years since Google's went public, its stock price has gone from $85 to $581, and it has become one of the most influential companies in the world. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Google CEO Eric Schmidt says that a big reason for this rapid rise was the unconventional path Google took in its IPO. The article details how Schmidt opted to use a Dutch auction to set share price after getting a letter from a little old lady, how almost all the experts were wrong, and the how an interview with Playboy almost derailed the whole thing. (Via peHUB.)
PlentyofFish tangles with Match.com. PlentyofFish founder Markus Frind runs one of the quirkiest businesses on the planet: an online dating site that requires almost no work but that pulls in millions of dollars a year. That kind of success has long attracted animus from the company's larger competitors, most recently in the form of a nasty letter from Match.com. The letter, which Frind posted to his website, demands that Frind's company substantiate its marketing claims. Frind, who seems to relish this kind of fight, responded today with a blog post, "Match.com no longer top dating site, sends in the lawyers," which includes data from Comscore that shows little PlentyofFish besting all of its competitors in terms of daily unique visitors. "The letter is beyond ironic considering Match's history of bogus claims," writes Frind, who is getting married to his longtime girlfriend, Annie Kanciar (she made a brief cameo in Inc.'s article on PlentyofFish). "I am going to focus on my wedding reception this weekend and not threats from Match.com," he concludes.
Health care start-up gets big-name backers. A Seattle-based health care start-up is getting funding from two entrepreneurs on our 30th Anniversary Great Leaders series: Jeff Bezos and Michael Dell. The company, Qliance Medical Management, just raised $6 million, according to the Wall Street Journal (via AllThingsD). Qliance owns three medical clinics, where patients pay a flat monthly fee that ranges between $44 and $84 depending on their age.
Hard times at the Derby. The Kentucky Derby posts this Saturday, marking the beginning of the first leg of the Triple Crown series. But all is not well in the business of thoroughbred racing, as the New York Times reports. Banks aren't lending money to breeders, which has caused a crash in prices for horses and matings. (Getting your mare a "date" with Smarty Jones, the horse that won the first two legs of the 2004 Crown, used to cost $100,000; now it's just $10,000, according to the Times.) Meanwhile, the company that owns the Pimlico Race Course is in bankruptcy proceedings, and the organization that puts on the Belmont Stakes may not have enough money to put on the final Triple Crown event.
Angel investors get trigger-happy. The number of angel investment deals for U.S. startups increased 33 percent in the first quarter of 2010, compared with the same period last year, Giga Om reports. "I've probably made more investments in the last month than in the previous year," PayPal and Slide founder Max Levchin tells the blog. "I'm suddenly trigger-happy. And I'm not irrational." The post flags a few trends: Investment rounds are happening at higher prices, investors are increasingly collaborating with each other, and many of the start-ups are booking revenue before they seek funding. It's not all good news, however. Venture capital funding fell by 14 percent from the previous quarter.
Boy Scouts get entrepreneurial. In a nod to the increasing importance of entrepreneurial thinking as a life skill, the Boy Scouts of America have reintroduced their entrepreneurship merit badge as a way to get kids thinking about starting their own businesses. As the Huffington Post reports, the entrepreneurship badge was initially introduced in 1997, but the Scouts recently updated the badge and plan to give it greater prominence. According to the organization, "By earning the Entrepreneurship merit badge, Scouts will learn about identifying opportunities, creating and evaluating business ideas, and exploring the feasibility (how doable it is) of an idea for a new business." Curious to see if you what it takes to earn a merit badge? Check out the full list of requirements here.