Tuesday, October 31, 2006

@TiEcon 2006: If You Take The Right Tide, All Boats Go To Sea

Nikhil Pahwa has excellent coverage of TiEcon 2006 at ContentSutra:
I thought Sandeep Singhal, MD Sequoia Capital India Advisors summed up his take quite well with that one line in the title of this post. The session that put VC’s in the firing line was interesting, also featuring Kanwaljit Singh, MD & Investment Advisor of Helion Venture Partners, Ajay Kapur, SIDBI Venture Capital Ltd, Vani Kola, Managing Partner, NEA IndoUS Ventures, Ganesh Rengaswamy, Greylock Partners, India Investments and Ravi Narayan, MD, Mentor Partners.

Raman Roy then ran us through a survey of VC’s that TiE had conducted. The results:
- Hottest sectors: Mobile > Internet > Consumer > Services > High Tech > Non-Tech
- 29% VC’s looking to fund at seed stage, 49% at mid stage and 22% at last stage
- Deals (at a time) per partner: 53% with less than 5 deals, 33% with 6-8 deals, 7% with 8-10 deals and 7% with more than 11
- What VC’s look for: Sustainable differentiation > Experienced Team > Business Model > Large Market > Well rounded team

Some other comments:
- Age of people that Sequoia tends to fund is between 30 and 40 years old.
- Number of people in the team (even if just 1 or 2) is not a deal breaker
- Major turnoff is if the entrepreneur just wants the money
- Over the last 20 years, the sectors that receive most funding change every five years

Delhi’s wholesale vegetables market to go online

Reported by Rajesh Barnwal on AlooTechie (originally on Hindustan Times):
Azadpur Mandi in Delhi, where 4.5 million tonnes of fruits and vegetables worth more than Rs 35 billion are transacted every year, is expected to go online by early 2007. Birlasoft, the IT division of the $1.2 billion CK Birla Group, has completed the computerisation of the market.

"With the help of an e-trading system, the process of auctioning of the produce will be streamlined as bidders will be able to bid from anywhere now. Not only that, it will also help in forward and backward linkages of the produce," P K Chakraborty, senior marketing officer, Directorate of Agricultural Marketing, has been reported as saying.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Airwide's SMS Management suite

160Characters Association reports:
Now Airwide Solutions has launched AirMessenger Personal that is a family of network-level applications that lets subscribers add personalised enhancements to their SMS that email users have become used to. It also adds parental control features to SMS while also providing enhanced security for subscribers. Both consumers and corporate subscribers will be able to archive, auto-reply, duplicate, create SMS groups, and apply personal anti-spam and security filters to inbound and outbound messages.

Adobe Wants to Come in from the Cold

Om Malik reports on gigaom:

At its developers’ conference in Las Vegas last week, Adobe announced it would spend $100 million in venture funding on startups that use Adobe platforms, especially Apollo, the company’s new system for running applications written in Flash, HTML, and JavaScript from the desktop. The core idea is to marry the online and offline worlds, but the system is only out in preview now, so there aren’t exactly startups queued up for the cash.

Adobe is working hard to put itself in the middle of something. It must have thought it was already there with Flash, the ubiquitous (really ubiquitous) player it acquired along with Macromedia last year. Since then, Flash has come become a part of the biggest recent trend on the web, online video. Every new video-sharing site on the web, from YouTube on down, uses Flash, but Adobe doesn’t get to charge many of them for the service. Rather than streaming, which would require Flash servers, most of these sites opt for downloading and caching videos locally. Content owners like ABC pay to use Flash, but that’s not where all the viewers go.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Online DVD Rental in India

Sahad from ContentSutra reports:
I was at TiECon India - which is being held in New Delhi - yesterday. (Nikhil Pahwa will be writing some session highlights soon). Interestingly, I bumped into two online DVD rental start-ups based in New Delhi / Gurgaon area. I briefly met with the founders of CineSprite.com, a Gurgaon-based online DVD rental firm. I also came across Madhouse.in, a Delhi-based DVD rental company. It looks like DVD rental companies are sprouting up in various cities. Bangalore already has Catchflix, besides Seventymm which raked in $7 million in second round funding from Matrix Partners India.
When I bumped into a venture capitalist, I asked him how come so many players in online DVD rental space. His short answer: “It’s a large market.” So expect more online DVD rental companies to get funded in India soon.
I also found this very interesting post at webyantra:
The online DVD rental business in India is on the verge of taking off. Here are four reasons why I think so. Firstly, unlike most other web businesses, this has a clearly defined (and proven) revenue model, the bugbear of the internet economy. Secondly, the blueprint for a viable service model has been provided by the immensely successful Netflix, so you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Thirdly, with cinema in India being the ‘opium of the masses’, there’s no dearth of market demand. And finally, as the success of online railway ticketing shows, Indian internet users are likely to switch online, if the service makes for real convenience. What is needed is somebody, who can think big and execute really well to take the first mover advantage.
So, this seems like the current list of players: SeventyMM , CineSprite.com , CatchFlix , HomeView , ClixFlix, Madhouse.in

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Mobile phone provide real time traffic congestion information

textually.org reports:

Vodafone UK and navigation systems company TomTom will offer a service in the Netherlands where mobile phone signals sent from traffic jams will enable a real-time travel information service, according to Reuters.

"Mobile phones continuously beam signals to their nearest base stations, which gives the network provider the approximate location of the phone. TomTom will use this location information to establish if roads are congested, if and by how much the trip will be delayed, and if alternative routes can be suggested. "

Technorati Tags: ,

E-commerce in India may grow by 95%; to touch Rs 23-billion mark

AlooTechie reports:

Indiatimes has talked with Murugavel Janakiraman, CEO of Bharatmatrimony.com, Glynn Willet, CEO of Tutorswithoutlimits.com, and Mohit Dubey, CEO of Carwale.com on how they perceive the future of internet in India. An excerpt:

MJ: E-commerce in India is set to jump 95 per cent from Rs.11.8 billion to Rs.23 billion in 2006-07 on a whopping Rs.2.18 billion advertisement-spend, a new survey says. This is largely because India's current 38.5 million Internet users will shoot up to 100 million by 2007-08. The convenience, comfort and flexibility of the medium bring in a high degree of stickiness with its users. Also with the robust growth in the telecommunication industry, Internet will definitely continue to boom in the years to come.

7. Could the dearth of content in other Indian languages limit the growth of the number of Internet users in the country?

MJ: Yes, knowledge of English, as a language, has limited the growth of internet in India. Currently the internet usage is dominated by the youth with about 38 million users. Studies say that 13% of the total urban population of 273 million use internet. There is still a huge market to be tapped by internet companies. The primary reason is that close to 190 million people are non-English speaking. On the other side, over 90 percent of the websites in India are in English, obstructing the majority of people from accessing the medium.

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Friday, October 27, 2006

The Philippines and SMS

textually.org reports:
"The Philippines has become the first country in the world where mobile users spend more on data services than on voice, according to a leading research company," reports The Guardian via Smart Mobs.

"The average data revenue per subscription in the Philippines now stands at $3.90 (£2.08) a month, compared with $3.50 a month for voice - meaning that data accounts for 53% of the total.

The main reason for the Philippines figures is that texting is very cheap compared to voice calls, so subscribers use texts as their main means of communication and their spending on voice calls is very low. A text costs only about 1 peso (1.1p) compared to about 20 pesos per minute for prepaid voice calls. "

The Philippines, the first country in the world to use text messaging to topple a former president, is often referred to as "the texting capital of the world" because texting was free in the between 1994 and 2000 because operators' billing systems were unable to charge prepaid users for this service."

Tags: mobile, SMS

$80mn Eyes Social Net In India; Any Local Language Social Net Sites Around?

Nikhil Pahwa reports on contentSutra:

Funds to the tune of $80mn from angel investors are eyeying the social networking space in India, reports The Economic Times. Alok Mittal, head of Canaan Partners says that the the space is interesting since it has seen large exits for VC’s globally; Avanish Bajaj of Matrix partners adds adds that they’ll invest if they find the right team, looking to address the opportunity in the right fashion, and the site shows meaningful traction.

I’m wondering if meaningful traction is possible in the case of a social net site in English. I think the opportunity in India for traction lies in social networking related to Bollywood, Cricket and local languages, and there’s always the danger of the more popular social nets evolving to include these segments. Bollywood and Cricket social nets are already there (is there much traction?). I still haven’t heard of or come across a local language social networking space.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

PANTA Systems Sets Industry Record TPC-H 1TB with Oracle on Linux

With friends like these....(Oracle goes after Red Hat)

Matt Asay reports on weblog.infoworld.com:

I'm here at Oracle "Open" World, and am a bit shocked by what I'm seeing. Oracle, longtime partner to Red Hat, is rolling out the next phase of its Unbreakable Linux program, designed to kill Red Hat and Novell (whatever Larry Ellison might say to the contrary). With partners like Oracle, who needs competitors?

Maybe this is why Oracle has been aggressively recruiting kernel developers out of Novell. Novell has lost three in the last several months.

I find it difficult to impossible to believe that Red Hat, with more control and insight into the Linux kernel than any other company, can be beaten on providing timely bug fixes.

(Btw, any one else think that Oracle's failed acquisition of JBoss is a big part of this announcement? It would be sad if personal pique could be the motivation for such a big announcement, but I wouldn't count it out.)

Nokia sells 4 lakh phones in a day

MobilePundit reports:
Nokia will always remember this Diwali. It sold 4 lakh phones all over India on October 19th; the most it has sold on a single day anywhere in the world.

“It is even more than what Nokia has ever sold on any Chinese new year,” says a dealer who has seen an Nokia internal communiqué on this matter.

Tags: india, mobile, nokia

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A World of Free Online Apps

In CNN Money, Om Malik talks about the shift to online apps (through Ajaxian).

Things will get more exciting for entrepreneurs when we all start walking around with new Internet-ready portable devices such as the Nokia 770 Internet tablet or smartphones such as the Motorola Q and Nokia E61.

These pocket-size monsters with keyboards, luscious displays, and brisk 3G connections will soon replace laptops. All they need are browsers that can access Web-based software as easily as your desktop can. (I already use a Nokia E61 to help manage my website and write short blog posts from within the phone's browser. Soon I'll be able to run the whole site from my phone's browser.)

If you're a developer or startup, you are suddenly free to write a browser-based application and quit worrying about which operating system, chip, or device your consumers are using.

It's a scary thought for anyone who built a business around proprietary formats. But for the end user, this is the kind of future that Andreessen on his best days - and maybe Gates on his worst - had envisioned.

It's pretty clear that MS fended off the late-90s threat of Office-in-the-cloud. What's not clear is whether Google, Zoho, and others will produce something compelling enough to attract the mainstream enterprise market away from MS Office. For one thing, any office product will have to ensure data is secure to gain serious market share, and that probably means a server appliance running inside the firewall. Strong compatibility with MS-Office formats will be another key factor.

Tags: online, mobile, nokia, 3G

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

PPTShare: 95% Compression for PowerPoint Files

Techcrunch reports:
PPTShare is a Windows desktop client that compresses large PowerPoint files by as much as 95%. Huge PowerPoint files have long been a problem, and if the medium is going to see extensive use in the future it’s going to need some way to be usable on platforms like the web and mobile applications. Starting at $45 for an individual license through $17 per user for between 250 and 500 users, this is largely intended to be enterprise software.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Indian Mobile Growth & The Future Of Internet

Through Sadagopalan's blog:

In this impressive Knoweldge@wharton interview, Rajesh says that in India, “the future of the internet will be built around the mobile phone”.He points to low PC penetration and limited broadband as real shortcomings for the internet to grow the PC route. Roughly ¾ ths of the 40 million users of the Internet, access the web through cyber cafés. This limits the number of services( these are anyway quite limited for now) they can use because they are paying for every minute. In such circumstances you can't build your digital life around online services.
He thinks that more people in India will access the Internet through mobile phones than through computers linked to narrowband or broadband connections and that means we need to start thinking about the mobile Internet differently than we do about the PC Internet. As he sees it, three words help define the mobile Internet. They are: now, near and new. There are 100+million mobile subscribers in India – last months India added around 6 million subscribers The shape of the Internet in India going forward could be rather different than it was in the past. Like the NTT DoCoMo's i-Mode wireless Internet service that changed the Japanese ecosystem, a change can happen in India only if mobiles become an open platform. He sees opportunities for growth for all – software companies, content providers, telecom operators - for content providers the challenge is to think through how to create innovative services based on the recognition that mobile phones are basically two-way multimedia devices. For software companies it's about building the technology platforms to enable services. And for telecom companies, it's about innovating and building an ecosystem for value-added services. An interesting interview and the Indian mobile growth is a phenomenon indeed .

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Acute shortage of patent agents in India

Venture Intelligence reports:
Businessworld has an article on how a new breed of scientifically qualified patent agents are making life easier for companies that are looking protect their IP.

But India is facing an acute shortage of patent agents and does not have many qualified in the sciences. There are only 928 registered patent agents in the country, but merely 250 are said to be practising actively. Even less are from a science background. That’s too small a number to cater to India’s increasing investments in research. Last year alone, 27,846 patents were published in India. And in the last three years, it is estimated that over 50,000 patent applications were filed and the number is rising. A patent usually takes about 18 months to be published.

Tags: patent, invention, india, IP

Google Campus to Become Solar-powered

Reported on slashdot.org:
"Reuters is reporting that Google is equipping its headquarters with a solar panel [CC] 'capable of generating 1.6 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power 1,000 California homes.' This will make Google's Mountain View campus the largest solar-powered office complex in the United States."

Tags: Solar, Google

Lexus getting too clever with technology?

37signals reports:

Lexus is well known for pushing the technological envelope in their cars. Radar cruise control, automated parallel parking (you control the speed and it does the steering), the industry’s first eight-speed automatic transmission, and so on.

But now the Lexus LS 460 can monitor your own body temperature and adjust the cabin temperature accordingly. A little too clever maybe?

Tags: Lexus, technology, automation

Saturday, October 14, 2006

MapMyIndia - pretty cool

MapMyIndia is pretty cool. The idea of finding online directions in India, is kinda cool.

Here are the goodies:
a. I could find the directions!!
b. The interface looks pretty usable
c. Nice AJAX UI, very well done (you can drag the map in any direction)
d. Site is pretty fast, and consistently works

Here are some improvement areas:
a. Doesn't work well with FireFox
b. The directions (in my search) didn't come in one page - the
space on the page needs to be used effectively
c. The UI needs to get better

Tags: maps, mapmyindia, ajax

Friday, October 13, 2006

Vista bans VM use?

Reported on slashdot:
NiK0laI writes "TechWeb has posted an article regarding Vista's new license and how it allows you to only move it to another device once. [ snip ] "You may not use the software installed on the licensed device within a virtual (or otherwise emulated) hardware system," the legal language reads. Vista Ultimate and Vista Business, however, can be installed within a VM.'"
Overly Critical Guy points out more information about changes to Vista's EULA and the new usage restrictions. "For instance, Home Basic users can't copy ISOs to their hard drives, can't run in a virtualized environment, and can only share files and printers to a maximum of 5 network devices."
Tags: vista, virtualization

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Dark corners of Google code search

kottke.org has some very interesting posting about Google code search (a must read):

Code search is a great resource for web developers and programmers, but like the making available of all previously unsearched bodies of information, it's given lots of flashlights to people interested in exploring dark corners. Here are some things that people have uncovered already:

Tags: code, copyright, Google

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Record 6.1 million mobile additions in Sep

VeerChand reports on mobilepundit:

The Indian mobile growth engine is in full steam. Every month is a new record.

September witnessed the highest ever mobile subscriber additions, with 4.4 million new GSM subscribers and 1.7 million new CDMA subscribers, taking the total mobile subscriber base to 112.15 million.

Tags: GSM, CDMA, india, mobile

Thursday, October 05, 2006

/. Why is OSS Commercial Software So Expensive?

Very interesting discussion on slashdot:

Posted by Cliff on Wednesday October 04, @07:04PM

An anonymous reader asks: "Our startup honestly wanted to use OSS products. We do not want to spend time for any OSS bug fixing so our main requirement was -official support for all OSS products-. We thought were prepared to pay the price for OSS products, but then we got a price sticker shock. Now behold: QT is $3300 per seat. We have dropped the development and rewrote everything to C# (MSVS 2005 is ~$700). Embedded Linux from a reputable RT vendor is $25,000 per 5 seats per year. We needed only 3 seats. We had to buy 5 nevertheless. The support was bad. We will go for VxWorks or WinCE in our next product. Red Hat Linux WS is $299. An OEM version of Windows XP Pro is ~$140. A Cygwin commercial license will cost tens of thousands of dollars and is only available for large shops. We need 5 seats. Windows Unix services are free. After all, we have decided that the survival of our business is more important for us then 'do-good' ideas. Except for that embedded Linux (slated for WinCE or VxWorks substitution), we are not OSS shop anymore."

Why are commercial ports of OSS software so expensive, and what would need to happen before they could be competitive in the future?

Tags: opensource, OSS

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Nokia's Wibree

Katie Fehrenbacher reports on gigaom.com :
Nokia announced a new one today called Wibree which the company says is more energy efficient than Bluetooth.
Companies have been trying to figure out the best way to wirelessly connect devices like digital cameras, mouses, keyboards, and cell phones for some time. Ultra-Wideband, UWB, which is supposed to be low power and high data, has seen constant delays. Zigbee hasn’t seemed to gain much traction and is aimed more at sensor networks.

Also Computerworld reports:
"Bluetooth is clearly not suited to some of the cooler applications like intelligent jewelry, watches -- a less power-hungry, smaller, cheaper solution will open some interesting new opportunities," said Ben Wood, an analyst at Collins Consulting Services in Solihull, England.
Nokia said the companies working with it on defining the standard are Broadcom Corp., CSR PLC, Seiko Epson Corp., Nordic Semiconductor, Taiyo Yuden Co. and Suunto, a unit of Amer Sports Corp.
Tags: invention, mobile, nokia,bluetooth,Wibree