10 Types Of Exits for Angel Investments

17 10 2009

Downloaded this document by John Huston for Investors and Angels alike:

1) “Grand Slam Homerun” – Exceeds a 10X in five years (>58% IRR)

2) “A Lucrative Exit” – <58% IRR, but at least a 1 – 10X return

3) The “Harry Houdini” – Escaped with a 1X return; No loss4)

4) “Lost a Little” – Didn’t lose it all (<1X but not a 0X)

5) “My Grandkids’ Company” – Company is successful but there’s no exit in sight. Maybe it will occur after my grandchildren inherit the portfolio?

6) The “Zombie” – A walking dead venture which will never become a great company, nor will it die so I can declare the loss.

7) “Deductible Loss” – It died without a tail and I got to declare the loss (or sold my shares for $1.00 to record the loss)

8) “Funeral Expenses” – Not only did I lose all my original investment, I had to also cover the costs of winding down the venture, plus pay accountants to provide the final accounting needed so I could take my tax deduction.

9) “The Worst Gets Worse” – “The loss that keeps on losing” due to ongoing litigation expenses even after the company has no

10) “Angel Hell” – In addition to losing all my investment plus a considerable amount of my time, media coverage tarnished my reputation, plus damaged my relationship with co-investors.

The Perfect Loss: I merely lose 100% of my investment; take the tax deduction, suffer no on- going tail of litigation; no wind-down expenses, no media coverage, no damage to my reputation or my relationships with co-investors… and it is a “productive failure” because the entrepreneur, management team and investors all learned lessons which will increase their likelihood of success in their next venture.

Aggregated Intellectual Property

5 09 2009

Caught this paragraph one of PluGGd.in’s blog post about Aggregated Intellectual Property:

Intellectual capital is not just about filing patents. It is the aggregate intellectual material – knowledge, information, intellectual property, experience – that can be put to use to create wealth in a company.
Here’s an old apocryphal tale that explains the situation. A computer expert billed a company $1,000 for solving an urgent computer problem at a company. The company was livid! How could he charge so much for just 10 minutes of work and for just typing a few lines on the console screen. The computer expert replied “$100 for the 10 minutes of my time and $900 for knowing what to type on the screen to solve the problem”

In Asia where customers are always so price sensitive, they fail to understand nor put a value to the knowledge and brains required to get a job done, they only think about the amount of time you spend on the task itself. The common statement is “Why is your man day rate so high?”, they never ever ask themselves the question if the problem can be solved with a lower aka less educated and experienced man day rate. Sad but true.

Catch me on Twitter @ alextoh

22 08 2009

Been tied up with daily and future matters that I’ve totally neglected this blog for months, for those that are keen to follow whats up and coming, follow me on Twitter @alextoh. Do hope to be back with my postings real soon once things not so crazy.

Opera’s Face Gestures To Control Your Browser

4 04 2009

Opera 10 will introduce Face Gestures, a revolutionary technology designed to make interacting with your browser easier and simpler on computers with cameras. Face Gestures lets you perform frequent browsing operations with natural and easy to make face gestures. By using an internal technology dubbed Face Observation Opera Language, we are able to recognize pre-determined facial expressions and match them to commands on the Opera browser.- source Check out the supported face gestures below:


If you feel awesome about this innovative launch, just keep a tab on Opera’s revolutionary Face Observation Opera Language, i.e. F.O.O.L technology – We will keep you updated as the browser unfolds. Meanwhile, enjoy your fools day!

Singapore Needs A Support Ecosystem For Its Start Ups

17 03 2009

Read a very good article from Young Upstarts, couldn’t have given a better round up of the current Singapore Start Up situation, kudos to Daniel on an excellent article:

I submit to you that, in Singapore’s entrepreneurial scene, there is a lack of a proper ecosystem around our fragile startups to nurture, sustain and help them survive in this increasingly difficult times.

It’s not about the lack of money. There are good schemes out there for startups to tap on. I am referring to the lack of a support system – the media, for example, and legal, financial, public relations and other kinds of consultancy services that cater to the unique needs of a startup.

I asked TODAY journalist Hedirman Supian, who writes for the paper’s technology desk, what he thought about my view. His reply:

“I think startups and entrepreneurs have to grapple with the reality that they exist in an ecosystem that’s unfavorable for them at the moment. I wouldn’t exactly say it’s nonexistent.

There are various Government initiatives to drum up funding and support for local entrepreneurs and networking sessions to get them connected to the right people – and to be honest, they’re actually very passionate about pushing local companies to the world stage. Yes, it’s not quite organic but it’ll form the bedrock for a better ecosystem once we’ve got a good track record of launching successful startups. There are also a handful of local entrepreneur communities like The Digital Movement and e27 that foster a more grassroots approach. If you look at the attendance for their meet-ups and events, you can see that the crowds are slowly swelling.”

If it is not money or grassroots support, so what are the missing pieces in our ecosystem then?

1. Lack of Specialized Services catered for Entrepreneurs

Interestingly, Hedirman reveals that he’s never been approached by a specialized PR agency on behalf of a local startup before. This to me is somewhat shocking, as he’s been writing about local startups for more than two years now. Is it because there are no public relations agencies in Singapore that is specially catered to the needs of startups, or is it just because startups simply cannot afford one?

This does not apply to public relations alone. How about specialized legal services, since many startups are not equipped with dealing with intellectual property issues or even something as basic as crafting a contract? Or financial services to help startups balance their books?

2. Where are our Mentors?

One of the key reasons why Silicon Valley has been so prolific in producing successful startups is because it has an ecosystem of successful entrepreneurs who give support to newer startups. Here’s what Sarah Lacy wrote in her book, Once You’re Lucky, Twice You’re Good: The Rebirth of Silicon Valley and the Rise of Web 2.0:

“But the earlier generations would play a huge role in their Internet lives, ensuring that this wave of companies would go about their business in a manner totally different from those of a few years earlier. For every youngun with a cool new project, there was a guardian angel of sorts from previous startup cycles, making sure he or she didn’t get screwed. These guardian angels would frequently find their young charges.”

Josh Schachter of del.icio.us may not have gone anywhere without the backing of Netscape’s Marc Andreessen. Kevin Rose of Digg.com got help from Equinix’s Jay Adelson. Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook? Peter Thiel of Paypal. The list goes on.

So where is the Singapore equivalent of such mentors? Sim Wong Hoo of Creative Technology – what’s he been up to these days anyway?

3. Publicity and the Media

Singapore media who are interested to write about local startups are few and far between – such stories are rare and on an ad-hoc basis. Very few, like Hedirman, actively seek out startups to write about. That’s one of the key reasons why I have this blog in the first place, and why the folks from Techgoondu.com has to do this.

4. Market Adoption

Of course our startups should aim for markets beyond our shores, but it’s thoroughly sad when many don’t even find market acceptance in Singapore.

For all the government talk and support that EDB, Spring Singapore, MDA and IDA throw at our local startups, the rest of our civil service seems reluctant to give our startups any business. More government agencies should take the lead of the Land Transport Authority, who is currently working with local startup Gothere.sg to develop a user-friendly travel advisory for public transport journeys.

With government projects in their portfolios, it will only be easier for the startups to penetrate the private sector.

We need an ecosystem for our startups. And we need it fast.

Australian Government Brings Aussie Mobile Start Ups to NYC

17 03 2009

Read a recent blog article about the recent Austrade and AIMIA backed mission to New York by 7 mobile startups. Here’s a sample from the story, which you can read in full at VentureBeat.

So last week a group of seven Australian mobile technology companies — games developers and other assorted digital media technology companies — descended on Manhattan to present their wares to a group of ad agency executives and publishers, courtesy of the Australian Trade Commission and the Australian Interactive Media Industry Association.

Nice work getting a story about Aussie Startups into a leading tech blog. And nice job by Austrade and Australian Interactive Media Industry Association (AIMIA) in helping the startups get to NY. Should be interesting to see what comes out of the trip.

Point to note is not about Mobile start ups rather what the Australian government and trade agencies are doing for start ups in their own countries. I do see and hear of Singapore’s own agencies, SITF, IDA, IE, EDB…etc organizing trade missions to neighbouring countries but none as focused as this one. Food for thought for our government agencies to perhaps change their strategies especially in these turbulent times.

Singapore commits US$162M to media sector

15 03 2009

The government has set aside S$250 million (US$162 million) this year to fuel the growth of the country’s media sector. This will include research and development (R&D) programs, as well as support that is projected to create and sustain some 2,000 jobs this year, the Media Development Authority (MDA) announced at a forum here Thursday.

The government agency hopes the fund injection will bolster the expected dip in industry revenue faced over the next year or two because of the economic downturn. Christopher Chia, MDA CEO, said: “Last year, no one could have predicted the world would change so much.” The MDA hopes to counter the “slight dip” the industry will go through with the various plans announced. Chia said Singapore’s media sector has enjoyed “steady growth” over the past few years, growing from S$3.8 billion (US$2.48 billion) in 2002 to an estimated worth of S$5.28 billion (US$3.45 billion) in 2008. “The compounded annual growth rate of the media sector from 1996 to 2006 was 8 percent–higher than 5.2 percent for the overall economy,” according to the MDA. Chia touched on the government’s announced Singapore Media Fusion (SMF) plan, which commits S$230 million (US$150 million) over the next five years–40 percent more than the previously-outlined Media 21 blueprint, he said.

Focus on developing local content Several years ago, the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) outlined plans for the country to become the region’s testbed for international game developers and distributors, in order to deliver games to the region. But today, Chia said the country’s focus will be toward the creation of original content. He said the country has been ramping up local production, with a 2008 being a “bumper year”; for example, 17 cinematic films were released, and S$60 million (US$39 million) worth of overseas contracts were won, he said. Chia said: “For the coming year and beyond, MDA will focus on funding a developing high-value and exportable content and applications.”

In order to create more work for the industry, the government is issuing major calls for proposals across multiple arms of the industry, including TV, film, publishing, music and interactive media, he said. The MDA also intends to helping market local content outside Singapore. Michael Yap, executive director of the Media Development Authority’s IDM Research and Development Programme Office (IDMPO), said the industry would benefit from pooling together resources and talent. Yap said: “We are in the convergence space, which is causing change in the industry. We want to harmonize industry efforts.” He outlined plans for the MDA’s “Future of Media” program, which will form five partner networks to help grow start-ups in the country.

Since 2007, the country has grown 120 young start-ups from “zero”, he said. Some 20 industry players will also join the government agency in calling for proposals, opening up their combined user bases of “potentially hundreds of millions” to industry start-ups. He gave an example of such collaboration: telco SingTel, social network Friendster and mobile chat software provider Mozat coming together would provide reach to a combined user base of 300 million, he said. Additionally, the MDA will commit S$6 million (US$3.9 million) to fund training and manpower upgrading programs this year, which is expected to benefit 6,000 talents.

Source: ZDNet


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