Despite a grim market, HomeAway, an Austin-based company that helps users rent vacation homes online, has raised $250 million in venture capital. CEO Brian Sharples says the financing provides the business with a war chest that he will use to acquire rivals. "There are going to be some great opportunities the next couple of years," he says....Grand Canyon Education, a Phoenix-based online learning company that operates Grand Canyon University and the Ken Blanchard College of Business (named for the One Minute Manager guru), snapped a 15-week IPO drought. Though the company reduced its target price twice, going public in this climate without a postponement is "a victory in itself," says Scott Sweet, a partner in the Tampa office of IPO Boutique....Lynda Resnick, owner of Pom Wonderful, Fiji Water, and Teleflora, has written a business memoir called Rubies in the Orchard, to be published in February. "I've been in business during down times and up times, and the key to surviving is to make sure you have an honest dialogue with your employees," she says. "If you don't, the amount of energy expended by your staff on fear will make them less productive."...Few people want a Starbucks rebound as much as Earvin "Magic" Johnson, the sole person to whom Howard Schultz has sold a franchise. "My Starbucks are losing some business, no question about it," Johnson, who owns 100 locations, told a crowd at an event in New York City. "Same-store sales are down; foot traffic is down."
Jan 1, 2009