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Saturday, May 14, 2005

Startups & Innovation Opportunities -Part 1

Roger Mcnamee does not believe that innovation is petering down or that opportuntity for innovation are coming down. He writes, the rate of technology innovation remains fairly constant. What changes is the scale of the markets enabled by that innovation. We are still emerging from the post-Y2K nuclear winter of technology spending by enterprises, and the most compelling recent tech products have targeted consumers. Several of these came from established companies (e.g., iPod, Motorola RAZR), which contributes to the worries about the opportunity for start-ups while pointing to a few of the business opportunities on his radar.
A few major themes that entrepreneurs can leverage:
- Time: No one has enough of time. Saving it and making the most of it are key drivers of consumer purchases today. Google and Blackberry save time. Portable music, DVD, and game players enable higher quality activities in limited time.
- Full Duplex Automation: Most services on the web are automated on the provider side, but require lots of effort by the end user. Sservices that are automated at BOTH ends: full duplex automation like MyYahoo and TiVO.
- Universal authoring: It’s astonishing how many devices exist today that enable consumers to create content. The tools for managing that content are still pretty lame. Some potential innovations list :
- Digital safekeeping: Right model for personal back up and how do your make it automatic?
- Full Duplex Search: Programmed watchdog search application notifying of interested developments(this is availble in its prliminary form now)
- BitTorrent client for the rest of us: a product that provides TiVO-plus functionality for digital downloads over the internet . . . full duplex automation.

While covering Bart Stuck and Michael Weingarten,of signal Lake Managament's interesting insights into VC funding and innovation, I wrote, While I am not an expert in this arena,I think the analysis looks good but somehow I am not able to delink VC and innovation - I think probably its the case that innovation seeded in one entity travels across - as ideas, components, people moving across enterprises and if cumulative innovation appears low in number then it is to be seen as an indicator of larger malaise and not neccessarily link it to venture cap funding. We also need to look at innovation output ratio from small companies without VC backing.I have seen so called promising - mass popular innovative companies listed and run on corporate lines also doing as bad - so I think we may need to look at extending our review horizon hoping the flowers would bloom with passing time. The internal funding mechanisms of VC may need to be structurally changed to reflect the increase in wait time and facilitate the expectations on returns to settle down at reasonable levels. But in anycase the linkages between VC & Startup funding need to be strengthened and not otherwise.

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"