The actor-turned-businessman reveals what makes a good investment. Plus, did Twitter make a quiet deal with TweetDeck? 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.
Would Ashton invest in you? Ashton Kutcher took the stage at TechCrunch Disrupt this morning. Interviewer Charlie Rose asked him how he decides which companies to invest in. Kutcher, the actor-and-media-company entrepreneur who's invested in Hipmunk, Blekko, Path, and others, said he doesn't care at all about market potential ("I've become immune to people talking about market cap," he says). Rather, he's looking for a strong team working extremely hard to fill a need. A good indication of future success, he says, is when founders are working hard to keep servers from crashing at the start.
Did Twitter just buy TweetDeck? CNN Money reports that Twitter has quietly acquired TweetDeck, the nifty application that organizes basically your whole Twitter life. The price? Reportedly around $40 million. For months, there's been speculation that the acquisition would happen, but Twitter reps refuse to comment on the deal. The company's PR tweeted: "For all those who might be curious, we continue to not comment on rumors."
New textbook learns how to evolve with the times. How's this for innovation? California State University and Nature Publishing Group today announced a partnership to create a series of affordable, high quality interactive textbooks in college-level science. The digital textbook, Principles of Biology, is a $49 high quality "digital reinvention of the textbook," that can be accessed via a computer, tablet or smartphone, or printed out. The Financial Times noted that "The transition from an ownership model to an access model is already upending the music and film businesses, and Nature believes textbooks could be next." Vikram Savkar, director of publishing at Nature, told the Financial Times that "This product wasn't originally conceived for print, then repurposed for digital...that means we've designed it to capitalise on what digital can do that text cannot do."
After LinkedIn, more IPOs on track this week. From Yandex to the Active Network to Solazyme, The Wall Street Journalreports a slew of companies, on tap to start trading on the public markets, are chasing LinkedIn's "euphoria." Separately, PricewaterhouseCoopers says the recent valuations—including LinkedIn's $9 billion—may be justified, according to PaidContent.org.
Build your "dream team" board of directors. Entrepreneurs and start-ups can benefit from seeking out quality board members: They provide a framework for making good decisions, and their deep pockets can help launch a business when the time comes. In a column for VentureBeat, co-founder and president of OrganizedWisdom.com Unity Stoakes shares tips on how to attract and persuade world-class entrepreneurs, CEOs, and investors to joining your board room. Having previously built a board of directors from scratch, Stoakes insists that starting early and planning—as well as persistence—are crucial to finding, interviewing, and hiring board members who can spark and sustain business.