New data challenges conventional wisdom about investing in restaurants. Plus, Facebook wins tagging patent, and the rest of the day's news for entrepreneurs.
Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today.
Wait, aren't restaurants risky? That's been the conventional business wisdom for decades. But the Wall Street Journalreports that this year more government-guaranteed loans have gone to full-service restaurants than any other industry. If opening a restaurant is so risky, why are risk-averse banks backing them in such a frenzy? New data suggests that restaurants are slipping down the risky list—and new ventures are failing at a rate lower than that of womens clothing stores, nail salons, and shelfishing operations. Definitive data? Not exactly, but the Journal concludes: "Maybe they aren't that risky, after all."
How to lose 25 pounds in six months: start a company. Jason Ross, the dapper founder of JackThreads, the private sale website for men's clothing, knows a thing or two about start-up stress. In a post on OPEN Forum (which, looks pretty snazzy today after its redesign), Ross describes the pains and pressures that entrepreneurship placed on himself, his family, and his girlfriend. In sum, he writes, "It's weird when you literally forget to eat." Eventually, Ross sought advice from a respected "investor," which changed Ross's outlook on business—and life. "His message was that it's great that I had accomplished a ton, and that it definitely takes hard work, but that I still needed to make sure I had time to enjoy the journey. Get some fresh air at least once a day; exercise during the week; make sure I was eating and taking care of my body…"that opened my eyes."
Where to start when investing in a start-up. If you're not a venture capitalist or an angel investor, you might not know where to look to find opportunities to invest in a start-up. And since most start-ups are locally grown, even the most astute investors might not find hidden gems with the most potential. That's why Bill Clark, CEO of securities broker Microventures, introduced seven resources for finding start-up investment opportunities on Mashable, including crowdfunding sites, LinkedIn groups, and networking events. While most of these resources seem like common sense, Clark's list emphasizes the point that in start-ups, as in life, sometimes the most basic approach leads to the most success.
Buying companies for the talent. There's a new trend happening in Silicon Valley that's taking the hunt for new talent to another level. Start-ups are being "acquired." The New Times reports that big companies, such as Facebook, Google and Zynga, are buying start-ups solely for the employees. They call it a talent acquisition. "Engineers are worth half a million to one million," says Vaughan Smith, Facebook's director of corporate development. Facebook is leading the pack, acquiring some 20 start-ups and paying hefty prices to keep founders, CEOs, and engineers working for them. This trend only intensifies the war for talent in The Valley, but some analysts think that it will be hard for these larger company to retain new talent.
Kutcher to speak on start-up investing. Model-turned-actor-turned-investor Ashton Kutcher will reportedly attend and speak at TechCrunch Disrupt 2011 next week in New York, according to BetaBeat. Kutcher, known for his roles in film (Dude, Where's My Car?) and television (Punk'd, That 70's Show), has become an avid angel investor in recent years, staking start-ups like Flipboard, SeatGeek, Zaarly, Milk, and Hipmunk, among others. Kutcher most recently won Charlie Sheen's starring role in CBS' Two and a Half Men, but that will not likely be a discussion topic at the TechCrunch event.
Facebook finally wins tagging patent. Nearly five years after they filed for it, Facebook has finally won the patent for their landmark concept of photo tagging. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued the patent that now protects the concept, which famously allows users to associate people in photos and videos. It's been a long haul for CEO Mark Zuckerberg, product architect Aaron Sittig, and ex-Facebook engineer Scott Marlette, the trio who invented the concept. According to InsideFacebook blog, over 100 million photos are uploaded every single day to Facebook.