Tag: Portland_OR

Silicon Forest claims two of the largest Web 2.0 investments in 2007

Earlier this week, I tried to shoot a hole in news that the “Web 2.0 sky is falling” by highlighting that Web 2.0 investments may be down in the Silicon Valley and Texas—but Web 2.0 venture amounts are up practically everywhere else, including the Silicon Forest.

Today, TechCrunch continued to take a look at the slowing:

In 2007, the median deal size was $5 million, up 22 percent. And the median pre-money valuation was $10 million, up 66 percent (from $6 million in 2006). Both deal size and valuation for Web 2.0 companies remained below the average VC deal across all industries ($7.6 million and $16 million, respectively)

But again, there’s a silver lining to this Silicon-Valley cloud. For us, at least.

Take a look at where the top investments landed. Lo and behold, there are two Silicon Forest companies on the list. Corvallis-based MyStrands appears on the list twice with nearly $50 million combined investment, and Portland-based Jive Software appears courtesy of their $15 million round, last year.

This is the kind of news that begins to put Portland and the entire Silicon Forest on the map. It’s news that, hopefully, makes the venture capital community take notice. And maybe, just maybe, the type of news that motivates those investors to take a second look at the Rose City technology scene.

I can’t wait to see what 2008 holds for our local companies. But the bar has been set. And I hope to see more than two of our companies on the list, next year.

(Hat tip Jeff the Great)

SplashCast “social advertising” tees up $4 million

Man oh man. With all of these Silicon Forest startups attracting funding, it’s about time I establish a “graduating class.” And here’s one of those startups that’s definitely in the running for Salutatorian, if not Valedictorian: Portland-based SplashCast.

First, the funding. Because that’s the real news here.

SplashCast announced today that it has secured $4 million dollars in Series A funding, led by Mark Bayliss, an Australian (remember the Australia trip not too long ago?) media and advertising executive veteran of some of the world’s largest advertising and media companies who runs in the same circles as fellow Aussie and media mogul Rupert Murdoch. Emergent, an emerging growth investment fund also with strong ties to advertising and consumer brands, was a follow-on to the round.

I asked Mike Berkley, SplashCast’s CEO, to put this funding—and the organizations providing it—in perspective for me.

“What does this mean for the company?” said Berkley. “The relationships that Bayliss and his partners bring to SplashCast gives the company a monumental step-up in social marketing.”

Which bring us to my second point. I’m a marketing geek. So, let’s talk about SplashCast’s newest take on their positioning. Or better yet, let’s not use some stupid buzzword. Let’s talk about how SplashCast is describing their product as of late.

If you haven’t been watching SplashCast, this probably would fly right by, unnoticed. But, I’ve been watching these guys ratchet down on the language they’re using and their efforts to make the product more attractive to a broader big-media advertising market. They continue to make definitive changes in describing what they do. And they seem to be honing in on something new.

SplashCast started in user-generated content. Then they moved to more of a “branded content” sort of play, building custom apps for big names like Justin Timberlake, Britney, and Hillary Clinton. Now, they’re directly positioning themselves as an alternative to what—as silly as it sounds for me to describe it this way—can only be referred to “traditional” online advertising models.

SplashCast calls this new focus “social advertisments.” I call it “advertisements that actually do something.” But regardless of what you call it, they’re pushing this message very strongly as of late:

[SplashCast’s] New Social Marketing Solution Viewed As Breakthrough For Advertisers Looking To Reach Users On MySpace, Facebook & Other Social Networking Sites

And:

Splashcasting represents a new form of online marketing called social advertisements – tools marketers use to reach the growing demographic of social network site users. SplashCast’s video-based social advertisements on average receive click-through-rates that are about 75 times higher than typical banner advertisements used on MySpace, Facebook or other social network sites.

This seems to be their new home: taking on traditional online advertising. And that puts them directly in the sites of some very big players.

Now, some may look at these recent changes and cast aspersions. Claiming that this belies a lack of focus.

In my opinion, these changes don’t seem to be wishy-washy or “searching for a problem to solve.” These are simply the pains that any growing company goes through as it works to figure out where its true market lies.

And there’s a very clear reason that the messages have been moving in that direction.

You build a product based on your ideas and passion. You tend to build a company based on what people will buy.

And given that SplashCast is securing funding and landing customers with this new positioning, it only makes sense—from a business perspective—that they continue pursuing this stance.

I, for one, will be continuing to watch them.

For more information on the funding and social advertising, visit SplashCast.

Portland’s top 30 tech Twitter-ers (#1 may surprise you)

Before you scroll down. Before you read any further. Just guess.

Who do you think it is? Who is Portland’s top tech Twitter type?

I’ll tell you what I thought. I thought it was probably Marshall Kirkpatrick. Or Josh Bancroft. Or maybe even Scott Kveton.

But I was wrong…

Let’s start from the beginning

You see, I get a great deal of Silicon Florist fodder from Twitter. Interesting tidbits. Snippets of conversations. Clues about what’s happening where. And I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.

And while I don’t think there is ever one single good way to rank things, I do have to admit that I find the Portland Start-up Index to be an interesting way of looking at things.

And then there was Aaron Hockley crossing the 5000 tweet mark last night.

And that got me thinking. I began to wonder: Who is at the top of the Twitter heap when it comes to Portland startup and tech types? Who has the most “influence”? Who is the holder of the mythical “Twitter juice”?

I had a fitful sleep of metric-ridden dreams, last night.

So, this morning, I—very unscientifically—started combing through the Portland metropolitan area Twitter types. Trying to figure it out.

After some fits and starts, I had gathered a number of folks from the area. I had their number of followers, the number of people they were following, and the number of updates they had.

Some of the more prolific people weren’t exactly “tech” or “startup” types, so they were the first ones I cut them from the list.

Then, I looked at the number of updates that these folks had. And I cut some of the people with lower numbers of updates.

Then, I looked at the number of followers each of these people had. And the number of people they were following.

To me, it seemed that influence has something to do with the number of people who listened each time a person updated. But, logically, not all of these people were listening from day one, and because of that, a direct multiplication would be inaccurate and misleading.

So, I massaged those numbers a little. And mucked with some of the weighting. Then I took all of that unscientific research and ran it through the Silicon Florist 5000.

And guess what it spit out? I was surprised. And I was wrong with my #1 guess. I’m willing to bet you were, too.

And the #1 isn’t the only surprise.

So here’s what I came up with:

Portland’s top tech Twitter-ers

  1. Hajime Kobayashi
  2. Marshall Kirkpatrick
  3. Josh Bancroft
  4. Rick Turoczy
  1. Aaron Hockley
  2. Scott Hanselman
  3. Alex Williams
  4. Scott Kveton
  5. Tim Lauer (Okay, maybe not exactly a “tech” Twitter type, but given his use I’m throwing him in here.)
  6. Verso
  7. Matt Haughey
  8. Raven Zachary
  9. Paul Colligan
  10. Sarah Gilbert
  11. Audrey Eschright
  12. Jason Grigsby
  13. Steven Frank
  14. Dawn Foster
  15. Josh Pyles
  16. Betsy Richter
  17. Sam Lawrence
  18. Jason Harris
  19. Simeon Bateman
  20. Jake Kuramoto
  21. Michael Buffington
  22. Holly Ross
  23. Jessica Beck
  24. James Keller
  25. Rael Dornfest
  26. Chris Brentano
  27. Justin Palmer
  28. Greg
  29. Peat Bakke*

* Within a hair of the 30th 31st 32nd 33rd spot were Eddie Awad, Justin Kistner, and Chris Griffin.

Now, again, fairly unscientific. But interesting nonetheless. (I had a number of other models for ranking, but this one seemed to do the most justice for the larger group.)

No matter what the case, there is one thing for sure: this is a great group of people to follow if you’re interested in keep track of Portland tech.

Did I miss you? Think I’m off? I’d love to have your input. And I’ll be happy to adjust the list, as needed.

Twitter: 7 Silicon Forest creations that will improve your experience

Something dawned on me this weekend as I was watching the streams of Portland-based tweets stream across my screen. I think Portland may have more another “per capita” stat we can start quoting. I think it’s highly likely that Portland has more tweets per capita than any city in the US.

With all of these Twitter users and tweets flying by, it comes as no surprise that Portland and the Silicon Forest have created a number of cool side-project Twitter-related tools and views. I use a number of these tools every single day. And they’ve greatly improved the utility of Twitter—and the information it holds—for me. (Of course, as always, I also remain hopeful that some of these side projects have the potential to form—or at the very least inspire—full-fledged Silicon Forest startups.)

While I’ve covered most of these individually, I thought it might be wise to round them up for future reference. Both to highlight the work that is going on, and to hopefully, stimulate some more ideas for development.

In no particular order:

  • Pulse of PDX provides a view of Portland Twitter users and what they’re posting to Twitter. The best thing about Pulse of PDX? You don’t even have to be a Twitter user to use it, so it’s a great way to dip your toe in the proverbial Twitter water. Of course, once you use it, you may want to become a Twitter user.
  • Twitterwhere let’s you find all the Twitter users in a particular geographic region. Want to find all of the Twitter folks in Corvallis? What about Vancouver? Portland? And since the service provides a feed, it’s another “try before you buy” Twitter tool. Add the feed to your feed reader if you’re still debating whether to sign up for Twitter or not.
  • Tweetpeek allows you to create quick widgets and pages using the followers of a particular entity. Think Pulse of PDX for whatever you want. Create a Twitter entity, follow the folks you would like to include, and run it through Tweetpeek. Easy.
  • Ever wish you could see Twitter conversations in a threaded, rather than linear, format? Well, then Twitterthreads may be for you, my friend. Simply log into Twitterthreads with your Twitter credentials, and you’ll be able to see your
  • Heavy Twitter users will find times when they simply don’t see all the replies that were meant for them. And that’s where Portland’s Twitter Reply Sniffer comes into play. Use the tool to search for your Twitter name and you’ll see all the replies from all the folks who are interested in conversing with you.
  • I don’t use public transit as much as I would like, but when I do, NextTrimet has been a welcomed addition to my Twitter toolset. Simply follow NextTrimet (and wait for it to follow you back), then send your stop number in a direct message to NextTrimet and it will let you know when the next ride will be arriving.
  • Sandy isn’t a Twitter tool per se. But I have to tell you, since I discovered Sandy’s Twitter account, I’ve been working with her more and more. Like anyone else on Twitter, she’s cordial, intelligent, and helpful. And she’s helping me keep track of more and more things.

Wow. Portland and the Silicon Forest are definitely a Twitter.

Those are just a few of the cool tools built on and around Twitter that I’ve been lucky enough to find. I, for one, can’t wait to find more hometown-built tools that make Twitter even more valuable.

Have you built a cool Twitter app or found one that I haven’t listed? Please, by all means, let me know.

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