Friday, October 31, 2008

Silver & Gold Winners, Finalists & Presenters!

CompanyCity Industry

ASI (BEST OVERALL) Sacramento, CA Software/IT
Ionic Water Technologies (BEST NEVADA) Reno, NV Internet Services/Web 2.0

AKI Biotechnology, Inc. Reno, NV Life Sciences
Aubice Greenwood Village, CO Internet Services/Web 2.0
Key Tech San Rafael, CA Seed Stage
TyBit Fayetteville, NC Internet Services/Web 2.0
Wi-Fi Rail Gold River, CA Clean Technology

ABK Los Angeles, CA Life Sciences
AllRentalsNetwork Chico, CA Internet Services/Web 2.0
Auto Answers Tomball, TX Software/IT
Bio Bath Las Vegas, NV Life Sciences
Bright School San Francisco, CA Software/IT
Home and Garden Center DIRECT Reno, NV Seed Stage
Hot Topper Los Angeles, CA Clean Technology
Innovative Recruiting Group Carson City, NV Internet Services/Web 2.0
InTUUN Systems, LLC Reno, NV Software/IT
MedTrust Online Scottsdale, AZ Life Sciences
Mobile Service Technologies Henderson, NV Software/IT
Motiv Engines Reno, NV Clean Technology
MotoAdvisor Zephyr Cove, NV Software/IT
Nutrition Report Cards Reno, NV Seed Stage
OneGate Davis, CA Seed Stage Los Angeles, CA Internet Services/Web 2.0
Talk Life LLC Reno, NV Seed Stage
Ternion Bio Industries San Jose, CA Clean Technology
The Grun Company Modesto, CA Clean Technology
The Poker Network Arvada, CO Internet Services/Web 2.0
Thermal Imaging Consultants Sparks, NV Life Sciences

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Silver & Gold a Success!

The companies presenting this year at the annual Silver and Gold Venture Capital Conference were varied in their product but not in their determination. On October 21, 2008 at the Peppermill in Reno, NV we had 31 companies presenting to over 50 investors evaluating not only the businesses but the presentation itself. Gayle Crowell, a Warburg Pincus partner and host for the Silver & Gold finalist showdown said, “Even though everyone’s a little nervous about the markets and venture investments are down about seven percent last quarter, remember that investors have limited partners behind them and they have to invest that money.” See the video link of intro comments by Jon Gregory, president and CEO of GCN, and Gayle Crowell, Warburg Pincus. Warburg Pincus, one of the world’s largest venture capital firms, just closed its most recent $15 billion fund.

The award for Silver & Gold Overall Presenter went to Administrative Systems, Inc. (ASI) which is based out of the Sacramento area and are with the Software/Information Technology industry. The award for the Silver & Gold Best Nevada Company went to Ionic Water Technologies, Inc. from Reno, NV who are involved in Clean Technology. View the presentations and feel free to give some feedback. Just because the competition is over doesn't mean that these companies don't need your input! Check them out and let them know what you think!

Read up on the conference if you missed it and get an idea of what goes on at venture capital conference. Bill O'Driscoll wrote an article in the Reno Gazette, entitled Reno's Silver & Gold conference: Small Businesses Urged to Adapt Amid Turmoil.

Adapt. In tough times like these, it's the key to survival for small business.

That was the message to 125 business leaders and others Tuesday at the eighth annual Silver & Gold Venture Capital Conference in Reno.

"Small businesses are struggling. You see a lot more vacant spaces as you drive by strip malls," said keynote speaker Steve Mills of DCA Capital Partners, an investment firm in Roseville, Calif.

Read More

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Capitalism Is Dead!

As seen in the most recent edition of The Economist.

Yeah. Right.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Uptime Chico Coworking Now Open!

Not to toot our own horn or anything (is that a whistle I hear), but Uptime was featured in a Chico News & Review article on October 2. We could go into more detail about it, or we could just let you read it for yourselves...
Open-source office space
Coworking phenomenon is catching on in Chico

By Serena Cervantes

Josh Morgan runs a public-relations agency out of an office in El Dorado Hills, a two-hour drive from Chico. He has family and clients in Chico, but he’s not here quite enough to make getting an actual office make sense.

So, he uses the Uptime Coworking Studio for his work space. “This way, we have a space, we have an address we can use, a place we can meet with people,” Morgan explained.

Coworking is a new phenomenon that is catching on in cities across the country—and now has reached Chico. The idea behind it is to capture the growing number of entrepreneurs and other business people who rely mainly on “virtual” offices—laptops, Blackberrys and the like—but now and then need to use a real office space.

Known as “community offices” or “office parks,” they are shared work spaces that provide the latest in technological equipment as well as an opportunity for business people to bounce ideas off each other.

In Chico, Uptime is currently running out of the Golden Capital Network office until construction is completed on the 1,200-square-foot coworking studio in the same building. Business nomads like Morgan are using the GCN office until they can transfer to the studio.

Morgan’s clients include technology companies, and a big part of his job is writing. He likes to be in a quiet space for that. But his work also involves creativity and brainstorming, and for that he likes to have other people around.

“It’s having them there and the ideas they might have. You can bounce something off of somebody much easier,” Morgan said. “Working virtually, I can do that over IM, I can do that multiple ways, but there’s something to be said for actual physical interaction that can help the creative process.”

GCN is a nonprofit corporation that provides a business-education system for coaching entrepreneurs and early-stage companies. It serves as a platform for business infants, helping them gain economic development, investment connections, and showcasing.

Uptime is a product of Venture Communities, one of three components that make up GCN. Located on Salem Street, above Alley Tats and Celestino’s Pizza Parlor, the coworking studio is expected to open its doors Monday (Oct. 6).

Coworking started in San Francisco as the vision of a computer programmer named Brad Neuberg. About two years ago, he and other like-minded young techies and business people began meeting to discuss the idea, explained Tara Hunt, who was part of that original group and now owns Citizen Space, in San Francisco, one of the first coworking studios to open its doors.

Via e-mail, Hunt described coworking as being about providing affordable, open, collaborative spaces for people as an alternative to working from home or from noisy coffee shops. “Coworking is really tied to the nomadic worker who is part of a growing movement of people who don’t have offices to go to, but want to work in an environment with other people.”

The goal was not to create anything like typical office rental spaces, Hunt said. Rather, it was “more like an artistic collective with a technology twist. Many of the core ideas of the open-source movement (collaboration, community, openness) went into the core philosophy of coworking.”

That philosophy has spread quickly. Google has a map of coworking sites in the United States, and there are dozens of them. Most are located in metropolitan areas, but now they are spreading to smaller communities—as well as overseas.

“Mid-sized markets such as the Stocktons, the Fresnos, the Bakersfields, the Reddings—Chico—may want something like this in their community,” said Karen McHenry, manager of business operations for Golden Capital Network.

Alan Chamberlain, program director for GCN’s Venture Events, is overseeing the Uptime project. The people who really respond to it are young, independent and self-motivated, he said.

“They’re what we call the Millennials,” he explained. “They’re a very important economic force. They’re very picky about what they’re willing to accept in the way of a work environment and a job. They’re all about instant gratification. They’re also totally viral; they live on the Web 2.0.”

He loosely defines Web 2.0 as a concept for social-space interaction and collaboration. It encompasses such sites as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Wikis and Craigslist. He noted that 70 million Millennials were born between 1980 and 1996; a third of them are still in school, and altogether they earned $210 billion last year.

Four groups are likely to use a coworking studio, Chamberlain said, with the largest being sole proprietors who own home businesses. Mobile freelancers, telecommuters, and start-up entrepreneurs also will use the service.

Here’s how it works: For either a monthly or a day-use fee, clients have access to the studio, which in addition to the usual stuff—computer desks, tables, chairs, and sofas, a conference room and private meeting rooms—will have the latest technology tools. Those will include WebEx computer conferencing, IP video and IP telephony, as well as high-power, ad-free Internet service.

In addition, Uptime, in conjunction with Golden Capital Network, will host “dealflow” showcases (presentations in which venture-capital investors review early-stage companies), seminars, guest speakers, workshops, panel discussions, and networking events. Indeed, one of the major benefits of joining the studio is its intimate relationship with GCN.

The membership fees are similar to those of a health club, where an annual commitment is required and clients will be billed monthly. A basic business membership is $99 per month, $9.95 for a day pass. If a client wants a fixed-desk membership (located in Golden Capital Network’s existing offices), the monthly fee is $250.

Nolan Brown, the first person to walk into Uptime in search of a coworking atmosphere, is a good example of the kind of person who can make use of the service. He’s a 23-year-old entrepreneur with a nomadic lifestyle.

Brown and his brother started a mobile software company called Bitfire Systems in May 2008. They write software for iPhones and Blackberrys, or “smart phones.” They write software for other companies, as well, but mainly they’re a consumer product company; their main focus is consumer applications.

“We do everything over e-mail, over the phone, over Skype. We don’t need a central office, but I still wanted a place where I could have some kind of space,” Brown said, “and that’s where Uptime kind of came in.”

He has been at Uptime for only two months, and already he has networked with other young entrepreneurs who run their All Student Rental business out of the studio. He explained the benefits:

“Because I’m technical, because I’m computer science and a lot of people are business, we don’t ever mesh, but this way we do. We both own companies, we both run companies, and this way we get to know each other and are able to utilize each other’s resources and expertise. That’s how it’s supposes to work. It really is symbiotic.”

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Trying to Keep Up

Brooks Jordan discusses trends, for instance, Twitter and why and how some things are successful, when some are not. In the digital age there is so much growth. How does one keep up with it all and who gets left behind?
Why does something catch on? Because enough people get why that something has value and how it works until they’ve drawn in even the laggards. Then it has a life of its own.

That’s happening to Twitter.

But what if the something isn’t a thing like a Web app but a political movement, or a soccer team in a rebuilding phase, or an industry.

That kind of something that has lots of people and moving parts needs standards in order to evolve. A standard is a norm or a rule or principle that the community accepts as valid.

What would we have done, for example, if the W3C hadn’t created some guidelines for Web development and design? Many of the apps we use every day wouldn’t be the same and might not even exist. Even Microsoft has caught up to those standards with the release of IE8.

The Web is driving a lot of people crazy because the potential has been, and continues to be, huge. And there have been lots of successes. But, even so, when "free" is the starting point, how do you build a viable company off of what requires a very different way of thinking and executing?

Clearly, that isn’t just a question of the specific business idea or opportunity, which can be singularly great, lucky, or acquired, it also has a lot to do with the features of the environment everyone is operating in.

In the broadest sense, the new business environment is a digital media environment, what VideoEgg calls a “demand environment.” Meaning, connected consumers get to demand - or reject - what they want. No matter what kind of business you’re in - t-shirts or wind turbines - you have to deal with the digital version of demand.

Standards that are based on this new type of consumer-driven demand are going to help a lot with that. And, if you’re looking for them, they’re starting to pop up in various places, like this recent piece about Web TV, which is all about nascent standards.

It talks about tapping niches, distribution models, traffic measurement, user guides, living-room TV integration, promotional support and viewing formats. Many aren’t even close to being figured out, but clearly TV on the Web is beginning to take form - they’ve started the conversation, and that’s a big step.

No doubt, other industries may be ahead of or behind Web TV, but everyone is starting to think about standards.

Whether it's standards or the vast potential for the web to go on and on and on, everyone needs to realize that the digital world will go on whether we learn to change with it or not. Might as well, roll up our sleeves and stop sniveling and get down to business.