Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Four Reasons Why Andreessen Horowitz Is Investing $10 Million in Belly

Andreessen Horowitz has invested $10 million in Belly, a Chicago-based company that is building a loyalty network for retailers that will replace punch cards with a mobile rewards program.
Since launching in August, Belly has signed up 1,400 merchants in eight markets, and is adding an average of 100 more merchants each week. Additionally, it has more than 200,000 active users, who have checked into business more than 800,000 times.
The business draws a little bit from Foursquare, because it requires users to check in to earn points; and also draws a little bit from Groupon, because of its focus on local commerce.
But Jeff Jordan, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, argued that Belly is not at all like Groupon. ”It’s the anti-Groupon,” he said. “Groupon is doing lead generation through discounting. … What Belly is trying to do is loyalty.”
The difference, Jordan said, is that Belly doesn’t require merchants to offer discounts to get consumers to come back.
For example, a Chicago comic book store owner is letting shoppers punch him in the stomach; a Washington, D.C., Ben & Jerry shop is giving away a chance to eat ice cream with Jerry after 200 visits; and a barber is handing over the clippers to frequent customers, who will shave off his own beard.
Jordan, the former chairman and CEO of OpenTable and former president of PayPal, said there are four reasons why he was attracted to the start-up:
  1. The management team: Founder and CEO Logan LaHive previously worked at Redbox, and before that, Pay By Touch, the biometrics payments company that raised $350 million in capital before failing.
  2. Product execution: Jordan said both merchants and customers like the product. Merchants must install an iPad at the register, where consumers can check in to earn points by scanning a bar code from their phone or a loyalty card.
  3. DNA of the investors: Before Andreessen Horowitz got involved, LaHive incubated the company in the offices of Lightbank, the VC fund created by Groupon founders in Chicago. Jordan believes that the one who gets to market fastest will win in this market. Belly has that in its DNA.
  4. Connected retailers: Once retailers have an iPad in every store, there will be additional opportunities for Belly to roll out other services.
LaHive said the capital will be used to fuel expansion into new markets and to develop new services. To date, the company has raised $13 million.
Belly charges merchants $50 to $100 a month for the service, which includes an iPad, a case and lock for the iPad, marketing materials, and data and analytics to manage their business better.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Instagram for Android

One day after Facebook acquired Instagram for $1 billion, the photo-sharing startup doesn’t really need another excuse for celebration. But it has one: Its six-day-old Android app has already crossed the five-million download benchmark.
The long-awaited Android version of Instagram’s popular iOS app was a success from the beginning (an “instasuccess,” if you must). Within the first 24 hours after the app launched last Wednesday, it had more than 1 million users. While the app’s momentum has slowed slightly, it continues to be downloaded at an impressive pace.
Instagram for Android is currently the third most popular free app on Google Play and the most popular app that isn’t made by Google.
The startup’s iOS app launched in October 2010. It took seven months for that version to reach 4 million downloads, according to Bloomberg. The app has now been downloaded more than 30 million times.
Instagram’s Android momentum likely helped set the startup’s impressive $1 billion price tag. In addition to acquiring a huge presence on Apple devices and a location tagging system people actually use, Facebook now has one of the most successfully launched apps on Google’s operating system sitting in its portfolio.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Not tech but god i agree.

internet memes - It's True Facts

And even Zuckerberg doesn't sleep at night sometimes!

awake sleeplessFacebook has an Achilles heel and scrappy startups are kicking it repeatedly.
Its mobile experience is terrible. 
The app is slow to open; it doesn't update in real time. Uploading photos is painfully slow.
Apparently this bothers Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who has made improving Facebook's mobile experience a personal priority.
Startups like Instagram are taking advantage of Facebook's missed mobile opportunity. By simplifying the social photo sharing experience on iPhones, Instagram got 25 million users in 1.5 years.
But there is apparently one startup that really makes Zuckerberg and his team lose sleep.
Multiple sources tell us Facebook is "afraid of Path," the mobile social network. We hear Zuckerberg and his cronies are keeping a watchful eye on their former colleague and Path founder, Dave Morin.
After a slow first year and a product pivot, Path quickly hit 2 million users within two months of its relaunch. 
The engagement numbers are particularly worrisome to Facebook. One source tells us Path's user engagement is about three times better in terms of post frequency and length of visits than Facebook's was at the same age. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Wrong decision bud..

apple1 Forgotten Apple founder takes to Facebook to explain his decision to quit after 12 days
The story of Ron Wayne, the third but oft-forgotten co-founder of Apple Computer (along with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak), is well known in our circles.
See our recent interview with the man for more context, but basically Wayne got a 10 percent stake in Apple upon the formation of the company, only to sell it back less than two weeks later for $800 (he later got another $1,500 for his agreement to forfeit any claims against Apple).
A 10 percent stake in Apple today would make someone a billionaire many times over today.
The thing is: Wayne himself believes he didn’t lose out on billions of dollars, although he acknowledges that he “perhaps lost tens of millions of dollars”.
Either way, he says the experience was “character building”.
Where am I getting these quotes from? Well, directly from him.
Yesterday evening, Wayne published an essay about his decision to leave Apple Computer after only 12 days, on Facebook and for all to see.
While promoting his recently published book, Insolence of Office, Wayne explains his decision to leave Apple as quickly as he did, stressing that the press often gets things wrong about his motives and what he lost out on as a result:
I didn’t separate myself from Apple because of any lack of enthusiasm for the concept of computer products. Aside from any immediate apprehension in regard to financial risks, I left because I didn’t feel that this new enterprise would be the working environment that I saw for myself, essentially for the rest of my days.
I had every belief would be successful but I didn’t know when, what I’d have to give up or sacrifice to get there, or how long it would take to achieve that success.
Later in the essay, he goes on to say:
To counter much that has been written in the press about me as of late, I didn’t lose out on billions of dollars.
That’s a long stretch between 1976 and 2012. Apple went through a lot of hard times and many thought Apple would simply go out of business at various times in its maturity. I perhaps lost tens of millions of dollars. And quite honestly, between just you and me, it was character building.
If I had known it would make 300 people millionaires in only four years, I would have stayed those four years. And then I still would have walked away. Steve and Steve had their project. They wanted to change the world in their way. I wanted to change the world in my own.
Going back to his new book and why he wrote it, he adds that “the writing and publication of Insolence is, in itself, enough to justify my existence on this planet”.

Friday, December 23, 2011

2012 iPad Roadmap: Don’t Expect a 7-Incher!

With strong demand for the Kindle Fire and Nook driving demand for 7-inch displays above the 9.7-inch tablet display size popularized by the iPad, rumors are circulating once again that Apple may be planning a 7-inch tablet of its own. But there’s likely very little to the rumors, just as there was very little to their predecessors.
Though Apple has experimented with a 7-inch version of the iPad,developing it in concert with the larger 9.7-inch version it ultimately chose to launch, it’s probably not planning to bring it to market. Certainly not in 2012, anyway, says Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair.
“Don’t expect a 7-incher,” says Blair. “While we believe Apple has tested 7-inch screen prototypes for over a year, we don’t currently expect the company to release anything in the 7-inch size in 2012.”
As Blair notes, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was a vocal critic of the 7-inch form factor, famously proclaiming in 2010 that the 7-inch tablets headed to market at the time were going to be “dead on arrival.” According to Jobs, the 9.7-inch display Apple chose for the iPad was “the minimum size required to create great tablet apps.”
“One naturally thinks that a 7-inch screen would offer 70 per cent of the benefits of a 10-inch screen,” Jobs said during a 2010 earnings call. “Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. … The reason we [won't] make a 7-inch tablet isn’t because we don’t want to hit [a lower] price point, it’s because we think the screen is too small to express the software. As a software driven company, we think about the software strategies first.”
That’s an emphatic denunciation, even for the famously acerbic Jobs. Hard to imagine Apple straying from it.
If the rationale for a 7-inch iPad is to address demand at the mid-tier, Apple might just as easily do that by discounting the iPad 2 after it debuts the iPad 3.
Says Blair, “We believe Apple is highly likely to keep the iPad 2 on the production line after the launch of iPad 3 and offer it at a lower price point in an effort to address demand at the mid-tier, what we view as the $249 to $499 range. We believe iPad 2′s price could drop to the $349 to $399 range with Apple offering a single 16GB model.”