Dusan Stojanovic, Venturepreneur and super-angel received the Business Angel of the Year award (handed by other Venturepreneur Johann Hansmann - president of the Austrian Angel Investor Association) during The Annual European Business Angel Network (EBAN) Congress 2013 which was celebrated in Vienna on 13th and 14th May. Both Venturepreneurs shared their thoughts on what they believed angel investing was all about. Dusan Stojanovic (25 investments, 3 recent exits), emphasised the exit as his main driving force. On the other hand, Johann Hansmann (21 investments since 2010) pointed out that to him being a succsesful business angel was more focused on “building up a cash flow-positive and sustainable company that is nice to work in”. "I invest in people, not the companies", he added.
CouchCommerce - a cloud based SaaS platform that received 6-figures seed funding from the Venturepreneurs at the begining of 2013, has just become available in France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Alexander Ringsdorff CEO of CouchCommerce expalins the recent expansion: "We initially launched CouchCommerce with a German and English site back in 2012. But due to the high demand from surrounding European countries we quickly decided to enable our platform for these additional regions and languages and now officially launched France, Italy, Spain and the UK".
CouchCommerce is a platform that converts online shops into web apps that are accessible like websites but behave like native apps. Natural gestures are supported, loading times shortened and the checkout optimized. With these improvements online shop merchants can immediately increase their sales via mobile traffic up to factor 10.
"Working with online shops across Europe we are seeing a traffic share of 30% and more via touch devices like Smartphones and Tablets. Merchants suffer from bad conversion rates because their shops were built for mouse and keyboards. With CouchCommerce they have a turnkey solution to handle this traffic and to increase sales within just 30 minutes after sign up!" completes Alexander.
The SaaS Platform currently supports Magento, Shopware and xt:commerce shop software. Within the next months Oxid e-sales, Presta Shop and Zencart will be added to this list. As a special launch promotion CouchCommerce is now offering a 30-day free trial on all plans for merchants joining.ara modificar.
TIBCO acquires MAPORAMA and NASDAQ OMX and SHARESPOST announce a joint venture - 2 hot deals involving Venturepreneurs Christian Mandl and Dusan stojanovic respectively.
Christian Mandl, Venturepreneur and Chairman of Maporama Solutions (a privately-held, French cloud-based provider of location intelligence and geospatial analytics solutions) informed us that Tibco Software, the enterprise software company, has bought Maporama Solutions, to help expand its big data offerings with location information
Tibco (Nasdaq: TIBX) says that it will be using Maporama’s technology to complement its Spotfire data analytics platform, providing more detailed results incorporating location into the mix.
On the other hand, Dusan Stojanovic, also Venturepreneur and Founder of True Global Ventures informed us about SharesPost’s (one of its portfolio companies) joint venture with NASDAQ OMX, currently known as the NASDAQ Private Market.
The venture combines NASDAQ OMX's market and operating expertise as well as resources with SharesPost's leading web-based platform. The NASDAQ Private Market (NPM) will provide improved access to liquidity for early investors, founders and employees while enabling the efficient buying and selling of private company shares.
Financial terms of the deals were not disclosed.
For more info click here and here.
(Source: techcrunch.com, reuters.com)
We are thrilled to inform you that CouchCommerce raised a 6-figure seed funding following winning the first ever Venturepreneuers Organisation Pitch Contest in October 2012.
The investment will be used to support additional shop systems and to prepare the roll out in the CEMEA region.
CouchCommerce successfully launched its SaaS post PC commerce platform automatically converting online shops in touch optimised web apps for smartphones, tablets and smart TVs in August last year. By the end of 2012 CouchCommerce already welcomed its 500th online shop demonstrating the high demand for mobile commerce solutions across small and medium online shops.
Christopher Pommerening, Founder of the Venturepreneurs’ Organisation explains why CouchCommerce was chosen as first ever investment of the Venturepreneurs: “The CouchCommmerce platform is a unique, highly scalable and fully automated turnkey solution for online shops across all verticals and potentially all around the world. We see a strong shift from traditional computers to new post pc devices like tablets and smartphones in commerce. This customer group already stands for about 20% of all web users and will continue to grow rapidly. In contrast to native app solutions requiring download, installation and customization for each ecosystem, CouchCommerce web apps are instantly available in the web browser of all relevant devices offering an easy and touch optimised shopping experience. Just like the consumer expect it to be.”
Thanks to the fully automated web-app deployment process online shops can launch with CouchCommerce within just 30 minutes,all by themselves and without the requirement of technical know-how. This helps the startup to quickly grow its number of merchants.
Alexander Ringsdorff, Co-Founder and CEO of CouchCommmerce explains why he is especially proud to have the Venturepreneurs as seed investors for his new venture: “We were thrilled when we got the message to have won the Venturepreneurs Pitch Contest. With more than 25 Venturepreneurs from 11 countries and an average of 8 investments per person the Venturepreneurs’ Organisation gives us access to all relevant markets and an unmatched network within the venture and entrepreneurial field. This is a great foundation for the international roll out of CouchCommerce in 2013. We could not be more excited about the opportunity ahead.”
According to Christopher: “The added value of the Venturepreneurs is the serial entrepreneurial experience that comes with the investment. For a startup, advice is as important as money when an idea is being implemented into a marketable product or service. This is where the role of the Venturepreneurs can really stand out in both experience and network of contacts.”
About CouchCommerce GmbH
Hannover, Germany based CouchCommerce is running a cloud based SaaS platform automatically and in just a few minutes converting online shops into web apps for post PC devices like tablets, smartphones and smart TVs. Web apps appear directly in the browser of the visitor without installation and can be used using natural gestures. The advantages for online shops are higher conversion rates, app feeling without installation, compatibility with all relevant smartphones and tablets, better ranking in mobile search results and low entry costs into the mobile commerce world.
CouchCommerce was founded in February 2012. More information is available here.
After the great success of the “Trends Session” held for the first time at the Venturepreneurs’ Organisation 10th Summit in Gavà, once again (this time in Mallorca) the Venturepreneurs shared with us their thoughts on what they believe the hottest trends in the (mainly) technology sector will be. We have listed for you the Top 10 (not only Tech) Trends identified as the most important for the upcoming year.
Today, it’s all about the crowds. From crowdsourcing, that allows companies to source on—demand employees, to crowdfunding - a new high-tech trend for companies looking to raise capital with groups of people making small investments that collectively can fund a startup. Crowd is powerful and very much related to online communities and social networks. The availability of cloud applications and platforms will make the “crowd-“trend one of the hottest tech trends in 2013.
2. Social advertising
We have already witnessed how this year’s Olympics Games in London became the first ever social media Olympics. Various reports claim that internet users spend more time in social networks and less surfing the websites. The conclusion is obvious: social advertising will be one of the most important marketing tools worth looking into as it offers better targeting and ROI; it is also successful in bringing in new customers whilst increasing the size of the community.
The Venturepreneurs are convinced that food industry has a great potential and, believe it or not, it has more presence online than one would thought! Just recently we have started to see many online platforms that offer pre-prepared fresh ingredients and recipes allowing consumers create restaurant-quality meals at home. This “gourmet convenience” trend will not pass unnoticed in the near future!
The e-commerce has changed physical distribution systems and the role of logistics has become critical in diverse aspects. Consumers want the products available everywhere and at any time. The future of (e-commerce) logistics will rely on precision, speed and flexibility.
Individualization is currently considered one of the most important social-cultural trends. After social validation in the online community, now it’s time to go back to real life and stand out from the real crowd! Custom made products and services are growing in popularity among consumers who want to be unique. We are witnessing a transition from designer-individual to customer-individual products, a trend that leaves a lot of space for more than one industry.
6. Big data
We have already heard about big data trend last year, but it seems that this space has not been discovered profoundly. Companies have started to realize that big data transforms into true business value and it transforms the business itself. With indefinite amount of information that we deal with on a daily basis it becomes even more obvious that it is very important to analyze it fast. On the other hand, it’s critical to distinguish between using “a lot of data” and “divers data”, and last but not least, it wouldn’t be fair not to mention the role of a human factor!
2013 is shaping up to be an exciting year for e-health trend. From wireless monitoring, where people can measure i.e. blood pressure simply by downloading apps on their smartphones to tele-health technology that provides two-way videoconferencing allowing doctors treat patients at a distance. In the last couple of years, the online health activity has grown so that this trend must be taken seriously; the Venturepreneurs believe that we will soon see a lot of revolutionary solutions in the e-health sector so we will absolutely keep an eye on it.
The future of the robotics landscape is going through a very interesting time. We have seen robots as co-workers and co-inhabitants; we have witnessed a 3D recognizing revolution (smart TV, Kinect) with built-in cameras, cloud robots, smartphone-based robots, telepresence robots and it seems that the line between humans and machines becomes unclear. Nevertheless, there are a lot of discoveries and innovations that we are expecting to see in the upcoming years.
9. Home automation
Home automation trend has recently started to speed up. This sort of a digital version of “clap on/off” lights, allows you to control your home functions i.e. doors, alarm, TV, music, air conditioning, heating etc. from the screen of your smartphone (as long as they are connected to the high-speed Internet at home). It has become more popular and accessible for larger group of clients, mainly because of the amount of available apps that control the system and reasonable price of installation + maintenance.
10. Human capital management
A cloud instead of a local server, enterprise social networks instead of intranet, tele-/videoconferencing systems for smartphones/tablets…we are witnessing that companies can manage a global, mobile and varied workforce at a distance. The Venturepreneurs see the future of platforms which help to increase productivity, lower the costs, accelerate performance and help proactively manage the workforce from anywhere in the world.
The trends highlighted above have been discussed by the Venturepreneurs, a network of business angels who aim to be always on top of the game and capture the right time to invest, support, and help create new “hot” businesses. The time will show if these forecasts were correct!
CouchCommerce selected by the Venturepreneurs' Organisation in the first ever Venturepreneurs Pitch Contest 2012!
We had a fantastic Venturepreneurs Pitch Contest 2012, and all the three finalists did an excellent job pitching their projects to the Venturepreneurs at the last Summit in Mallorca!
It gives us great pleasure to announce that the project that will receive up to €300,000 of funding from the Venturepreneurs is CouchCommerce, a platform that converts online shops into great web-apps for post pc devices like smartphones, tablets and smart TVs.
Our congratulations go to the founder of the company, Alexander Ringsdorff and his team!
We would also like to thank and congratulate Jordi de los Pinos(Smadex) and Igancio Arroyo(Ludium Lab), who participated in the final round of the contest! The quality of your presentations was remarkable and it was really hard to make the final decision.
We wish you all success with your companies and we look forward to hearing great news from you in the future!
Two weeks ago, we invited you all to enter the Venturepreneurs Pitch Contest 2012. The response was overwhelming, we have received so many great projects, it was hard to choose, but eventually we narrowed it down to the final 3.
It’s finally time to name the three selected Stratups and Entrepreneurs for the Venturepreneurs Pitch Contest 2012 (in a random order):
Smadex - Jordi de los Pinos
Ludium Lab - Ignacio Arroyo
CouchCommerce - Alexander Ringsdorff
Thank you all for participation in our contest and Congratulations to the 3 finalists!
For the first time ever these 3 top startups will pitch their projects in front of the Venturepreneurs on the island of Mallorca on October 18th and will be competeing for up to €300.000 of Funding!
Best of luck to the top 3 startups!
***As Xavi Beumala (Marfeel) was unable to participate in the Venturepreneurs Pitch Contest 2012 in Mallorca, we invited Alexander Ringsdorff from CouchCommerce, being the next selected project on the list.
We’re thrilled to announce that the Venturepreneurs’ Organisation will be conducting its first “Venturepreneurs Pitch Contest 2012” which will take place on Spain’s beautiful island Mallorca on the 18th October 2012.
A quick background for those not familiar, the Venturepreneurs’ Organisation is a structured ecosystem of serial entrepreneurs who also act like venture capitalists and provide seed-stage investments in European startups. The Venturepreneurs share their knowledge and experience, create high quality deal flow, foster growth and generate co-investment opportunities and business contacts.
For the first time, innovative startups with an international vision and expansion plan will have the chance to pitch directly to the Venturepreneurs to receive funding, guidance, and key introductions into an extensive international network.
How does it work?
1. The startup must have a need of up to €300.000 of Funding for their seed investment round.
2. Register at Foundum.com your entrepreneurial and startup profile
3. Insert your seed investment as a Need in your Profile (Private Investor/Equity).
4. Apply through email@example.com if you’re interested or tweet “@Venturepreneurs @Foundum! I want to pitch!”
The top 3 startups will then present their projects in front of the Venturepreneurs on the island of Mallorca on October 18th. The winner will receive up to €300.000 of Funding!
Deadline to apply: 08.10.2012!
We’ll announce the selected 3 startups on the 11.10.2012!
Being able to pitch your idea in such a beautiful environment should encourage every entrepreneur to apply! Stay tuned for more Information and fill out your “Funding Needs”! We look forward to your tweets and emails.
We wish you the best of luck to get into the top 3!
Every four years not-only-sports enthusiasts celebrate the biggest sport event in the world. This year the Olympic Games took place in London, where during 16 days we could witness over 10.000 athletes from more than 200 countries competing in over 30 venues across the UK. Medals, awarded during a total of 302 Victory Ceremonies, were what every athlete attempts to win. Until London 2012, this was mostly what the Olympic Games were all about. Something different happened this time around…
It was not only about winning gold, silver or bronze in the finals. It was about sharing each second of the Games from day one to the closing ceremony.
The 2012 London Summer Olympics have been called the first “Social Media Olympics” because they were the first Games since the explosion of the global number of social media users, tablets and smartphones. The organizers wanted to promote the Olympics like it was never done before, so they have installed 30 Wi-Fi posts in the Olympic Park itself to enable the public sharing millions of photos, text messages, calls, wassups and, of course, tweets.
During the opening ceremony on July, 27th over 9.66 million tweets were generated, as claimed by the network, way more than the total number of tweets sent during the entire Olympics in Beijing in 2008. To be fair, it needs to be mentioned that in 2008 Twitter had less than 20 million users around the world, whereas now it has over 500 million registered users, including 170 million active members of the network.
According to Twitter, over 150 million Tweets about the Olympics were generated during those 16 days of sport competitions; this only shows how integrated Twitter had become with the Olympics but also the amazing power of this channel and how in the four years since Beijing Games the number of social media users exploded.
As opposed to Twitter, Facebook did not share many statistics/numbers as far as its integration with London 2012 Games is concerned. While Twitter registered up to 80 000 140-characters tweets sent per minute (when Usain Bolt was winning his gold medal in the 200m), the world’s biggest social network focused on providing users with countless pictures, comments and interesting content not only on the main page of the event but also on the athletes’ pages, some of whom, as The Telegraph reports, gained hundreds of thousands of followers during the Games.
It appears that the spectators were no longer just watching the Games but participating in the entire event by creating their individual content shared with the rest of the users. It also seems that, what Venturepreneurs predicted the upcoming tech trends to be, is what we have witnessed during the Olympics. The presence of tablet computers and smartphones inside and outside of the Olympic Park enabled direct connections between athletes and fans through social networks and blogs, whereas available mobile apps provided users with a lot of additional information, encouraged them to follow events, track athletes’ performances and play Olympic themed games, among others.
The amount of information transmitted online during the Olympic Games period was not only coming from the Olympic venues but also from the average Joe’s sofa. The Venturepreneurs knew the second screen viewing trend was coming, and they were right about it. Viewers connected to the Internet (via tablet computer, laptop or mobile) while watching sports and were able to comment, share content and send photos relating to the events they were seeing on TV in real time. This enhanced participation of the spectators was what made them feel as if they were also taking part in the Olympics.
Way before London’s Olympic flame faded away it had been slowly replaced by the buzz of the upcoming 2014 Winter Games in Sochi (the hosts included the url of the website into the Olympic logo already) and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, that according to their official website “have already started”. We just have to wait and see how far the evolution of the technology goes and if we will be able to compare social media statistics with this year’s numbers so that we can post them on our blog in 2 and in 4 years’ time or, who knows?, maybe we will discover new technologies, tools and (social) networks and analyze them for the first time. Either way…challenge accepted!
This month we would like to share with you the findings of Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation disclosed in the latest report “We Have Met the Enemy … And He is Us" which is based on the analysis of Kauffman Foundation's 20 years of history of venture investing practice in approximately 100 venture capital funds.
The report, recommended to us by our member Jan Andresen and written by Diane Mulcahy, Bill Weeks and Harold S. Bradley, is trying to find the responsible for the fact that during the past 10 years, venture capital funds didn’t manage to outperform public stock markets and for 15 years have provided poor long-term returns, in spite of high-profile successes like LinkedIn, Facebook, Google or Groupon.
The industry speculates that the first to blame is the venture capital model, which is considered “broken”, yet the conclusion of the Kauffman Foundation’s report is that the limited partner investment model is the one to be blamed for the poor performance of the majority of the large venture capital funds.
Mulcahy’s, Weeks’ and Bradley’s hypothesis is supported by the research they had done on the portfolio made of 100 venture capital funds. During their investigation, the authors discovered that 62% of analyzed funds didn’t manage to beat the returns of the public markets and only 20% of the venture capital funds were able to generate returns that outperform public stock markets by more than 3% on a yearly basis, (50% of which were founded before 1995).
Here are some of the main issues that can be “fixed” according to the authors:
In order to explore the problems of the venture capital model, the authors decided to “follow the money”. So they had a good look at the limited partners “meeting room” and they emphasized the role of investment committees and trustees in the decision making process in terms of allocating the capital, which, based on Kauffman Foundation’s research, often make limited partners invest in large funds that don’t manage to generate impressive returns, they also tend to misjudge the investments or make investment decisions relying only (in most cases) on internal rate of return measures that according to authors are often misleading.
Fees and Expenses
The other practice pointed out and analyzed in the report is the “2 and 20” structure according to which large venture capital funds charge the limited partners 2% management fee on committed capital and 20% profit-sharing. The authors suggest that with this model the venture capitals are not being paid based on their performance but rather to raise bigger funds, regardless if later on they generate return on investment. One of the report’s assumptions is that the large venture capitals funds barely manage to return investor money after all fees are paid.
The Lack of Venture Capital Due Diligence
Another interesting aspect revealed in the paper is that very often limited partners do not require detailed information about ownership, expenses, profits, cash flows etc. of the venture capital, information which is essential to understanding company’s financial health. Remarkably enough, the same information is being required by the general partners themselves from the companies they consider investing in.
(Too) Long Life of a Fund
The authors claim that most of the venture capital funds exist more than 10 years; despite the fact that they are structured to invest for the first 5 years and then return all capital during the next 10 years, it barely happens nowadays. Now most of the funds require at least 12 to 15 years to be able to exit or liquidate all investments and complete its life. This trend is very expensive from the limited partners’ point of view as they frequently have to pay the additional management fees based on the value of the portfolio.
Large Funds Have Been Victims of Their Size
Kauffman Foundation shows in the report examples of the venture capital funds in their portfolio with a capital of more than $500 million that didn’t managed to generate more than twice the invested capital. In fact, their empirical work shows that 51% of funds larger than $250 million did not return the capital to the investors (after fees); on the contrary, smaller venture capital funds are able to return more than twice invested capital in more than 30% of the cases.
General Partners vs. Limited Partners Alignment
In the limited partners investment model, only 1% of the capital committed comes from the GP, whereas the remaining 99% comes from the limited partners, according to Diane Mulcahy, it helps “to build funds, not the companies” and as the report suggests, is one of the reasons why Kauffman Foundation’s venture capital portfolio has been underperforming.
The authors of the report share their recommendations for the actions that need to be taken in order to “fix” the limited partners model, which they consider “broken”. They say that the allocations to venture capital previously set and approved by the investment committees are the main reason why the limited partners’ model does not work and they strongly recommend to bring this practice to an end. In addition, they suggest that limited partners should call for the information on venture capital firm economics in order to get committee approval. They should demand more transparency in order to be able to evaluate the venture capital funds’ and general partners’ performance. The authors rejected the “2 and 20” model and recommend the “pay for performance” structure, where limited partners and venture capital firms “agree on a compensation structure that pays fees based on a firm budget, sharing profit only after investors get back their investment plus a preferred return.” They also mentioned that in order to measure the performance of a fund, the venture capital firms need to use Public Market Equivalent (PME) as benchmark and reject other markers, such as vintage year, internal rate of return or gross returns.
Kauffman Foundation’s 51-page report has been based on their 20 year experience in investing in venture capital. The authors say they have “learned the lesson” and now with a new approach aim to turn Foundation's portfolio performance from “disappointing” to satisfying.
Based on "We Have Met the enemy ... And He Is Us" paper published in May 2012. To read the entire report click here.