Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Micah Adams of Vencore Capital Talks about the Current Economy

Micah Adams of Vencore Capital Talks about the Current Economy

How is business for you?

The traditional lenders have pulled back so we’re seeing quite a bit of interest. It’s an opportune market even though we find it more challenging to lend ourselves.

How do you see the economy shaping up?

One fear within Vencore is that the economy won’t turn around till 2010 at the earliest. Once it starts to roll again, I’m also concerned about the potential inflationary consequences of the government bailout. We’re looking at new opportunities but at the same time we’re spending a great deal more time with our current portfolio companies to make sure they are taking the necessary steps to handle their business in this environment. The basis for some of our concerns comes from our institutional investor, DE Shaw, which is also forecasting a down year for 2009.

What are some warning signs?

If a company has one big customer or potential customer they’re relying on then we need to look at alternatives. It’s better if the company has several smaller customers rather than one big one. We also look for recurring revenue generation rather than one-off sales. Enterprise sales tend to be one-shot deals. If they miss that one shot then it’s game-over due to current market conditions for some startups.

What’s coming up for you?

I’m speaking on the Association for Corporate Growth panel in February. Usually, ACG members are companies that are middle market which are further along than most startups that we deal with. I’m seeing some opportunity in later stage companies as capital is quite scarce.

What’s a company to do in this environment?

From the startup perspective this is an ideal time to start a company because the costs are low and labor is plentiful. For larger companies it’s an opportunity to refocus on the core business since the envelope-pushing business is not going to happen given the pull back on budgets. It’s an opportunity to go back and re-evaluate your business.

Best regards,
Hall T.

Monday, January 26, 2009

James Rogers of Whagaa Talks about His New iPhone Application

James Rogers of Whagaa talks about His New iPhone Application

What is your background?

I was an executive at Remedy where I ran the IT Service Management Operations team. This was the team the developed and launched the Remedy Help Desk, Asset Management, Change Management, and Service Level Agreements applications.. I have a lot of enterprise software management in my background. I had 250 people in the organization. I was also the VP of Product Marketing at Merant/Serena for over 3 years, and responsible for driving ALM solutions to market. What got me to Texas is that I’m the CMO of Troux Technologies for the past 3 years.

What are you doing now?

I’m working an iPhone application development system. We’ve been working on this for the past 6 years. The only company that I know of locally as far along as us to the new mobility marketplace, is Digby. We have 7 apps on the Apple app store. We’re making revenue now from the $2.99 to $7.99/application that people pay. Where companies will make money in this marketplace is from a subscription/advertising combination model.

What’s the value proposition?

It’s a rapid application development platform so application developers or content providers don’t need to build their own system. It’s a platform-play. It’s taking instructional content and using GPS and other iPhone capabilities to enhance the application. We’ve actually solved a key issue with iPhone apps in that they can only run one application at a time and cannot share data between the apps. We’ve cracked that problem.

The application you show is related to sports?

That was the first co produced business partner applications we signed. In fact it took us less than 2 weeks to get it produced. Within 48 hours of going on the app store we were in the top 20 in the sports category. This is generating quite a bit of interest from other fitness/sports content providers. We’ve been approached by companies that provide instructional content in the areas of Swimming, Soccer and Snowboarding just to name a some examples. If you look at our new website you’ll see we’re expanding into other areas quite a bit.

How many users do you have?

As of 2 months ago we had 10,000. It’s gone up since then by a quite a bit.

Are you seeking funding?

I went to raise money in October which is the worst time since the Great Depression. We have the complete business plan that will take us to 15 people.

How much are you trying to raise?

It’s in the $1M to $3M category. But when the economy went bad most investors pulled back. We could bootstrap it or we could raise $250K to $500K investments from angels to get it going.

I see the company is based in California. Is that right?

I have an agreement with the founder that if we raise funding then they’ll move the management team to Texas.

Best regards,
Hall T.