A couple of links while I wait for the hurricane to hit

Waiting until the last possible moment before I close the storm windows for the approaching hurricane – so here are a couple of links.

A take on Tim Cook

An acquaintance, Alex Bain, works at Apple and has a post up on his meetings with Tim Cook. It seems that he’s meet with him once a week, and so it’s interesting to hear his take on Tim’s leadership style. Very cool look inside the now most powerful man in tech’s leadership style. (Thanks to Kenny Kellogg for pointing out Alex’s post.)

Updating Mac Apps

I’m proud of a post over on the OfficeDrop blog about how to update apps purchased in the Mac App Store. You’d be surprised at how many people ignore the update icon (or who don’t know how to update their apps!). Anyway, hopefully this how to will make it easier for people to update their apps and perhaps not call our customer service to ask about how to do it. OfficeDrop’s ScanDrop Mac Scanner Software really does work better when it’s the most up to date version!

Read More

Are tablets the small business computing platform of the future?

Tablet growth is going gangbusters! Bizrate Insights has a new report that shows tablet growth at a 51% CAGR for the next few years (I can’t find the piece, just a write up on online marketing trends here.) A slightly more dated chart shows how fast tablets are taking off:

Online Marketing Tends reports that:

“According to a new report by Forrester Research, in partnership with Bizrate Insights, the number of Americans owning tablet devices is forecast to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 51% between 2010 and 2015, while tablet commerce is expected to grow rapidly over the same period. 9% of surveyed online shoppers say they own a tablet device; among them, 78% own a smartphone as well, while 22% of tablet owners (2% of online shoppers) own a tablet only.”

That’s pretty quick. I’m starting to believe that the future will be dominated by tablets, at least as far as small business usage goes. And looks like Prasad Thammenini, my intrepid sometimes co-blogger, agrees. Here he is with a nifty new iPad2 keyboard that he just purchased:

Read More

SMBs look to reviews for help in making software purchases

Came across a study by a company called Comparz and found the following quote interesting:

Only 20% or less of SMBs found vendor websites and conversation useful. So what are SMB’s looking for? Over 90% of business users said that user reviews and user ratings and rankings would be the strongest help in making vendor decisions. In addition, 84% indicated that decision guides outlining what to consider when purchasing a solution and would be useful. They also seek a community where they can chat online with similar buyers.

This goes along with my mobile app marketing strategy of getting existing power users to step up and review new versions of apps in app stores.

Read More

Healy Jones on Freemium

Yup, it’s me, Healy Jones, talking about the OfficeDrop cloud filing system switch to freemium with Lincoln Murphy of 16Ventures. Lincoln is that well known SaaS pricing guy, and we go over the switch OfficeDrop made from a pure web only service with a 60 day free trial to an app focused business with a freemium pricing model.

The switch in our pricing strategy has been pretty huge for OfficeDrop. It’s driving a lot of new user growth – both free and paid. It’s been only a month and a half since the switch and the change is clearly measurable with our analytics packages. So far, for our SaaS company, freemium seems to be working.

Check out the interview with on why OfficeDrop went Freemium here! Or simply watch the video embedded below.

Healy Jones with Lincoln Murphy on Freemium

Read More

Q2 2011 venture capital market remains strong

While we all knew that VCs are actively investing in startups, we now have some solid data from two of the most important law firms that help startups – Cooley and Fenwick. I think it’s great these two firms release reports on the aggregate level data the collect during their work. They have both just come out with info on the second quarter 2011, and it’s both positive and pretty interesting.

Cooley’s Q2 report is here, and Fenwick’s is here.

2011 Q2 VC Activity

Valuations are solid! According to Cooley, “Average valuations for Series A deals were $8 million, a level not seen since Q3 2010.”

Coley is also reporting that the average startup’s Series A valuation was $8 million, and Series B was almost $22 million.

Follow rounds are healthy! Here are the % of rounds that up, according to Fenwick (this means that the subsequent round of financing for any given company increased from the previous. For example, comparing Series B to a previous Series A for the same company.

Price Change Q2’11 Q1’11 Q4’10 Q3’10 Q2’10 Q1’10 Q4’09 Q3’09
Down
25%
16%
21%
30%
27%
32%
30%
36%
Flat
14%
17%
12%
18%
18%
19%
23%
23%
Up
61%
67%
67%
52%
55%
49%
47%
41%

 

Industry Number of Financings Up Rounds Down Rounds Flat Rounds Barometer
Software
34
71%
20%
9%
+123%
Hardware
12
50%
50%
0%
+35%
Lifescience
24
46%
33%
21%
+6%
Internet/Digital Media
17
76%
6%
8%
+115%
Cleantech
6
67%
17%
16%
+24%
Other
2
0%
50%
50%
-33%
Total – All Industries
95
61%
25%
14%
+71%

Both reports are packed with info worth checking out. Again, thanks to these firms for helping keep the entrepreneurial community up to date on the VC economy.  You can also read peHUB’s reaction to the reports (and thanks to them for tipping me off to the reports.)

Read More