New SEC rules should make it easier to fund your startup, according to analysis

Friday, July 12, 2013 - 7:00am

Good news for entrepreneurs trying to fund their startups. New U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rules, according to analysis, should make that process easier, faster, and less mysterious.

Wired writes of the rules' impact of "bringing the process of funding of startups onto the internet, where it can be de-mystified, atomized, and mechanized... These effects will initially accrue to the benefit of... startups and funds that have had trouble raising money, because they’re, say, outside of traditional hubs like Silicon Valley or they’re not in hot sectors like tech."

The new SEC rules themselves are here.  

Wired also sums up analysis from other sources, like Reuters ("the rule should bring online details of even infamously opaque hedge funds, allowing for comparison shopping of the sort that was unthinkable just a year ago") and Fortune ("a robust, fast, and transparent funding machine/market would let entrepreneurs focus on running their business rather than marketing themselves to investors in the old fashioned, face to face manner").

Read more in Wired here.

Cox creates $250M fund to exclusively back board member's startups

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - 12:25pm

Cox Enterprises, the parent company of Cox Media and Cox Communications, has announced its launch of a $250 million investment fund to back "directly and exclusively in companies created by" board member and serial entrepreneur Tripp Rackley.

According to TechCrunch, "Rackley has a track record in building tech startups that have had successful exits. The most notable ones have been in the enterprise sector, specifically in financial services — nFront, now part of Intuit; and Firethorn, now part of Qualcomm."

Experience, a Rackley startup, is the partnership's first investment. It's a mobile app sporting event or concert attendees can use to upgrade their seats. TechCrunch suggests this may be a clue that the new fund could "be dedicated to startups that are in some way adjacent to the media business for which Cox is already known."

Read TechCrunch here, and the Cox press release here.

High-cost licensing may have kept investors and entrepreneurs from launching music services this year

Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 12:45pm

Some industry observers and investment experts have said the high cost of sound recording royalties is an obstacle to investment in startups that need to license music from major labels (see RAIN here).

Tech VC David Pakman (a New York Venrock partner) testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet regarding the state of Internet radio licensing and the Internet Radio Fairness Act. Although he co-created Apple's Music Group and was CEO of eMusic, he's vowed not to return to nor invest in digital music until the licensing climate changes. As he testified, "Although we have met many great entrepreneurs with great product ideas, we have resisted investing in digital music largely for one reason — the complications and conditions of the state of music licensing." (Read his full testimony here).

So, what might it say that Billboard's Ten Most Internesting Startups of 2012 "doesn't have a single service on the list that requires licenses from record labels to operate?"

Note that it's not likely that poor ad revenue is keeping services from launching. The IAB says (here) Q3 2012 online ad revenue is the most ever for a single quarter. And eMarketer just revised their U.S. mobile ad spend projections, saying it will grow 180% this year (see our coverage in today's issue here).

Whatever the reason, 2012's startup roster lacks some of the bang of years past (Rdio, Spotify, iHeartRadio in recent years). Billboard's list does include a couple of firms that make apps for Spotify and are "radio-related":

Sounddrop: adds a social media element to Spotify radio listening
Tunewiki: synchronizes lyrics with music.

Musically's list was more extensive (40 startups), so it included more companies that are doing things along the lines of Internet radio. Musically's list includes:

Senzari: (which we've covered) Customized radio streams for European markets 
Audiogalaxy: "radio-style mixes," now owned by Dropbox
MPme: iPad app suggests radio stations based on user's listening habits and music collection
Piki: app which builds radio-style playlists based on friends' song recommendations
SpotOn Radio: Spotify app which makes Spotify radio listening more like Pandora.

See Billboard's "Ten Most Interesting" here. See Musically's "40 Music Startups and services to watch" here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011 (All day)

Amidst an IPO from Internet radio leader Pandora and the hotly-anticipated U.S. launch of Spotify, “a strange thing happened,” writes Billboard. A new, cartoon-populated music start-up called became “the most buzzed-about digital music service in years.”

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