The golden rules of venture financing are changing. peHUB directed our attention to this post from WhyTelligence founder Janine de Nysschen on why the metrics on VC investment on women-owned businesses will and should change. de Nysschen starts by outlining the existing rules: 1. He who has the gold makes the rules. 2. Investment is in the jockey and not the horse. (i.e. investors respond less to the business idea and more to the person pitching it.) After that, it's a matter of pattern recognition. VCs are most comfortable investing in the stereotype of a young male geek with an abnormal work ethic and high tolerance for risk. But, she explains, as research is starting to highlight the success women have made in business, the gender distinction is fading in venture investments in key areas like software and biotech. Studies from the Kauffman Foundation and Illuminate Ventures have shown that within the fast-growing category of women-owned business, investors find capital-efficient companies that don't fail as often. Add to it the fact that women represent a greater share of markets and purchasing power, and the rules are starting to bend. "When it comes to the global economy," says de Nysschen, "She who has the gold makes the rules."
Is the iPad a business tool? Not yet. Ars Technica has an exhaustive review of iWork, the office software suite for Apple's iPad. The suite includes a word processor, a spreadsheet tool, presentation program, each of which costs $9.99. ArsTechnica says it all works well enough, especially for creating presentations, but that the iPad probably won't replace your laptop for most business tasks. "In the end, using iWork for the iPad is a lot like going to the moon," according to the post. "It might be a nice place to visit, and it may even be fun to bounce around for a bit...but in the end, it's not a place I'd like to live, or even stay for any extended amount of time. iWork is decent, but there is only so much you can do for an office suite without a full keyboard and a mouse." (Via Techmeme.)
The next big thing in solar technology. In what The New York Times calls "one of the biggest green technology deals of the year," a Silicon Valley venture capital firm is leading a $129.4 million investment in a new technology that promises highly efficient solar cells using fewer expensive semiconducting materials. Amonix is a Southern California company that for the past 20 years has been developing these concentrating photovoltaic power systems. "We have reviewed hundreds of solar companies, and Amonix stands out to us as one that has breakout potential," Ben Kortlang, a partner at the venture company leading the deal, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, tells the Times. "We believe this is the low-cost solar technology for sunny climates."
Meet the Zappos of the diaper industry. Who knew that diapers could smell so sweet? With projected revenue of $275 million and an expectation of selling half a billion diapers this year alone, Diapers.com has quickly become the online retailer of choice for new and expectant parents. As TechCrunch reports, the company's success has recently been rewarded with its latest round of financing, a $20 million debt round, from Pinnacle Ventures. That brings the total amount of capital raised by the Montclair, New Jersey-based company to $78.5 million. For a closer look at how CEO Marc Lore manages to juggle this rapidly-growing business while at the same time making time for his family, check out this profile.
The 10 most popular franchises. CNN Money has the 10 most popular franchises of the past decade and the stats to let you know where the best opportunities lie. Apparently, Super 8 Motel have the lowest rate of failure at a mere 4 percent while you might be ill advised to launch a Matco Tools with its 36 percent rate of failure. If you're strapped for cash, Subways requires smaller loans on average, at just under $150,000, than say opening a Dunkin' Donuts, which typically requires a loan of about a cool half million. Learn more about evaluating a franchise business plan here.
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