Founder liquidity – good or bad?

The topic of founder liquidity is interesting, proponents talk about helping entrepreneurs “pay the mortgage.” or get less stress around driving the company to an exit.

In other words: A company gets founded, generates revenue, the CEO pulls a modest salary but the challenging exit environment means that they remain distracted by personal financial obligations. So VCs feel it’s often best to remove this distraction, either by buying back shares themselves or letting early employees sell shares on the secondary market.

I am a proponent of this, and it makes perfect sense to me. Being a cash starved entrepreneur numerous times (while being “rich on paper”), I know that this really works to create more focus as an entrepreneur. And sometime there is a fairness to this (you worked hard to build significant value for others, and sometimes you have given what you can to create that value (and it is time to take another role with your company), a smaller partial exit can be a good thing for everybody.

This story emerged in the morning news flow: The IPO filing of Brightcove that yesterday filed for a $50 million IPO. Brightcove was once considered one of Boston’s hottest up-and-coming tech companies (when there was a booming startup scene in Boston). Its founder Jeremy Allaire previously was credited with creating Flash (after he sold his first company to Macromedia), and Brightcove seemed to be the enterprise version of YouTube.

But then the company stumbled repeatedly, and has yet to make a profit in its seven years of since inception. However, early employees sold around $7.2 million worth of stock back to lead VC firms Accel Partners and General Catalyst. Included in these sales was CEO and founder Jeremy Allaire, who sold around 35% of his shares for $4.86 million, according to the S-1.

Good or bad for founder equity? What is your take?

New York Times: Zerply: A Non-Corporate LinkedIn, Built For and By the Web Generation

Great article about Zerply in the New York Times:

Despite its recent IPO, there’s a strong feeling among many people online that the professional network LinkedIn doesn’t quite work for them. Despite its millions of users, it isn’t necessarily easy to find people on LinkedIn that you’d want to work for you. And just as importantly, young people in particular feel as though you have to “put on a suit and tie and become part of a corporate structure” in order to participate.

Read the full article here

European Startup Demo Night in San Francisco

BootstrapLabs, in collaboration with PariSoma, is looking for three European startups that are ready to come to Silicon Valley to participate in the European Startup Demo Night in San Francisco on July 21st.

The European Startup Demo Night is an invitation only event, that will match a select group of 10 startups with an audience of over 40 investors. Many leading angels and venture capitalists will be in attendance – among the anticipated audience: DFJ, Bessemer, Intel Capital, Accel, Trident and Google Ventures among many others.

All of these investors focus on early stage venture capital and/or angel rounds.

BootstrapLabs will select 3 candidates based on presentation, product / technology, team, and market potential.  Candidates who are selected will be allowed to give a 4 minute presentation, followed by a 4 minute Q&A at the event in San Francisco.

Participating companies will be responsible for all costs during the trip.

Requirements:

  • European startups looking to raise an early stage round in Silicon Valley
  • Roadmap that includes going to Silicon Valley
  • You must be able to come an present in Silicon Valley at the event on July 21st.
  • Product focus in IT, Internet, Software, Cloud, SaaS, Digital Media.

Reach out to us here.

UPDATE: We have now found our 3 referral companies for the event.

Nordic Incubator Night with BootstrapLabs Founder on April 13th

Please join BootstrapLabs founder, Nicolai Wadstrom, on April 13, 2011, from 5:30pm to 8:00pm for a Silicon Vikings evening focusing on the needs of Nordic companies in transitioning to Silicon Valley, and the services, training and preparation which ought to be offered by incubators in the Nordic region to prepare start-ups for the journey.

University based business incubators are needed to facilitate commercialization for university developed technology as well as to give entrepreneurs hands-on practical training. What practical training do they need? What is the feed back loop? What regular program of “show and tell” sessions will ensure that entrepreneurs get feedback early and often.

While an incubator cannot duplicate or replace an entire ecosystem, learning to interact with the other players in the entrepreneurial startup ecosystem is a key driver — how is this to be done? Where and when does the tech transfer office get involved? How do the incubators prepare the startup for the challenges and opportunities of Silicon Valley?

Silicon Vikings has gathered a panel (including BootstrapLabs founder, Nicolai Wadstrom) to debate these topics and offer observations and suggestions. The audience will include the heads of InnovationsbronSIVAAalto Venture Garage and many other University affiliated incubators from the Nordic Region in the Valley to attend the National Business Incubator Association Conference in San Jose April 10-13.

More details at Silicon Vikings Website.

Please RSVP here.

 

Social professional networking company Zerply joins BootstrapLabs

Today it’s official that the exciting professional social networking startup Zerply is part of the BootstrapLabs accelerator companies. We have been advising and working with Zerply for a few months, and we are really exciting about what Zerply is doing.

Zerply is catering for the fact that the established leader in the professional networking space, is a fairly “corporate” service, that really just made papers resumes into digital versions. Today communication and networking on the web is social, and moves in real-time and not static.

In short Zerply is redefining how professional social networking is being done, LinkedIn took paper resumes online, and Zerply is making them social.

The company is based in Silicon Valley, and was founded by Christofer Karltorp and Taaniel Jakobs.

And yes, of course I am also on Zerply!

More about Zerply here.

BootstrapLabs founder speaks at Stanford today

Stanford Engineering’s European Entrepreneurship and Innovation Thought Leaders (ME421) is a weekly speaker series that presents industry leaders from Europe’s hitech startup, venture finance, corporate and university research and technology commercialization communities to share their insights and experiences with aspiring and veteran entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley.

From Ireland to Russia, and from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean, Europe’s technology sector is today playing a growing role in bringing new energy, environmental, water, information, medical device and life sciences technologies to market thru small- and medium-sized enterprises. Europe’s countries and regions, however, face substantial challenges in rapidly moving to the marketplace the technical innovations that are being developed in universities, national laboratories and corporations. Many of these regions are increasingly looking to Silicon Valley to accelerate this process and train a new generation of entrepreneurs and innovation professionals. We invite you to join us each week for a lively discussion of the challenges and opportunities facing European entrepreneurs, investors and innovation sector organizations.

Part of the first session Monday the 3rd of January, BootstrapLabs founder and CEO Nicolai Wadstrom will speak and be part of the panel.

More information here.

BootstrapLabs Gets Social, Launches Urban Metrics

San Francisco – December 1, 2010 – BootstrapLabs is launching a new company in the Online-2-Offline Commerce space called Urban Metrics Inc (www.urbanmetrics.com). Urban Metrics offers an Online-2-Offline Commerce platform, that allows its partners to quickly enter the market with almost instant revenue.

“We are strong believers in the social commerce that Groupon have paved the way for, so naturally I am really excited about Urban Metrics. We started working with the project before the summer and have now built the alpha platform and taken important proof points for the company. We have also started the process with recruiting a great team to the company”, says Nicolai Wadstrom, CEO and founder of BootstrapLabs.

BootstrapLabs (www.bootstraplabs.com) is a Silicon Valley Business Lab and outpost, founded by Swedish serial entrepreneur Nicolai Wadstrom. BootstrapLabs is a testing ground for new ideas, with an infrastructure that allows BootstrapLabs to bootstrap many ideas and turn the best of them into companies with a network of human and financial capital to bring them to market.

For more information contact:
Nicolai Wadstrom, CEO/Founder, BootstrapLabs, +1 415 935 1469, nicolai@bootstraplabs.com

Kiva founder share her story

This is a great video from Kiva.org founder Jessica Jackley, and it tells a great story about Entrepreneurship, both on her account and for the Entrepreneurs around the world that Kiva.org is helping every day.

Jessica Jackley is the co-founder of Kiva.org, an online community that helps individuals loan small amounts of money, called microloans, to entrepreneurs throughout the world. Full bio and more links

Witsbits close funding round with Chalmers Innovation Fund

Gothenburg and Silicon Valley, June 24, 2010

BootstrapLabs company Witsbits® AB, the Scandinavian pioneer in cloud computing solutions for metering and billing of cloud infrastructure today closed a funding round with Chalmers Innovation Seed Fund, a Swedish early stage investment fund.


The Go-Cloud technology is one of the most exciting solutions in the Cloud computing space right now. It enables Internet carriers, Service and Hosting Providers to quickly do metering and billing of cloud infrastructure.” – says Timo Lehes, Chalmers Innovation Seed Fund.

Chalmers Innovation adds both a capital injection that allows us to grow to the next level, and a network of resources to help us move Witsbits further much quicker.” – says Mikael Lirbank, CEO and founder of Witsbits.

The Cloud Hosting Platform Go Cloud™ is a software based Cloud Hosting Platform that turns current infrastructure into a full-blown Public Cloud, including both Storage and Computing. Go Cloud™ enables Internet Carriers and Server Hosting Providers to start selling their capacity through the cloud (electricity) business model. The Go Cloud™ platform provides end-users with access to the hosting providers’ server and Internet capacity in a secure and controlled manner.

Go Cloud™ is a customizable turn-key solution that enables hosting companies to provide their clients with a self-service compute and storage cloud, including billing, high-resolution utilization meters, web-API, management console, and more, from their own premises. All the components required to start selling self-serviced cloud computing are included.

About Witsbits
Witsbits (www.witsbits.com) is a pioneer in cloud computing software solutions. The company is the creator of Go Cloud™, a software suite that quickly turn of-the-shelf servers and infrastructure into a unified compute and storage cloud. It targets Server Hosting Providers and Internet Service Providers who wants to start selling Internet and server capacity in a utility-like fashion – and enable them to “Go Cloud”.

About Chalmers Innovation
Chalmers Innovation is a Swedish investment fund and business incubator that focus on high-tech rapid growth companies. Founded in 1999 by Swedish Chalmers University of Technology, Chalmers Innovation has contributed to the starting of over 90 companies. The succes rate of the incubator is one of the highest in the world with 73 out of 90 companies still in operation. Chalmers Innovation Seed Fund was founded in 2008.

For more information contact:

Nicolai Wadstrom, Witsbits USA, +1 415 935 1469, nicolai@witsbits.com

Timo Lehes, Investment Manager, Chalmers Innovation Seed Fund, +46 702 115 133, timo.lehes@chalmersinnovation.com

Mikael Lirbank, CEO and founder, Witsbits, +46 708 309 588, mikael@witsbits.com

Witsbits® is a registered trademark of Witsbits AB. Go Cloud™ is a trademark of Witsbits AB. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners. Other product or company names mentioned may be trademarks or trade names of their respective companies.

Serial entrepreneur Nils Svangard joins Witsbits

BootstrapLabs company Witsbits, add another serial entrepreneur to its advisory board that also invests an undisclosed sum in the company. Witsbits is the company behind Go Cloud™, a software suite that quickly turn of-the-shelf servers and infrastructure into a unified compute and storage cloud, for Internet service providers. More information follows:

Gothenburg, June 1, 2010. Witsbits® AB, the Scandinavian pioneer in cloud computing solutions for metering and billing of cloud infrastructure, today announce that Nils Svangård, a Swedish serial Entrepreneur invests in Witsbits and joins the Advisory team and the board of directors.

“Witsbits has one of the most promising solutions in the Cloud computing space, that enables big and small Internet carriers, Service Providers and Hosting companies, to quickly and efficiently do metering and billing of cloud computing infrastructure.

What really caught my attention in Witsbits’ Go Cloud Platform is the strong resource metering capabilities with real time usage history. Combined with the strong level of sales automation  makes it a must-have product for hosting firms of today.”

– says Nils Svangård.


“Nils Svangård is a very valuable addition to our team and our investors. His start-up and technical sales experience helps Witsbits to more quickly attract new customers.”
– says Mikael Lirbank, CEO and founder of Witsbits.

About Witsbits

Witsbits (www.witsbits.com) is a pioneer in cloud computing software solutions. The company is the creator of Go Cloud™, a software suite that quickly turn of-the-shelf servers and infrastructure into a unified compute and storage cloud. It targets Server Hosting Providers and Internet Service Providers who wants to start selling Internet and server capacity in a utility-like fashion – and enable them to “Go Cloud”.

The Go Cloud™ platform provides end-users with access to the hosting providers’ server and Internet capacity in a secure and controlled manner.
Go Cloud™ is a customizable turn-key solution that enables hosting companies to provide their clients with a self-service compute and storage cloud, including billing, high-resolution utilization meters, web-API, management console, and more, from their own premises. All the components required to start selling self-serviced cloud computing are included.

About Go Cloud™ – the Cloud Hosting Platform
Go Cloud™ is a software based Cloud Hosting Platform that turns current infrastructure into a full-blown Public Cloud, including both Storage and Computing.


It enables Internet Carriers and Server Hosting Providers to start selling their capacity through the cloud (electricity) business model.


About Nils Svangård

Nils Svangård is a Swedish serial entrepreneur with a background of research in Artificial Intelligence at Chalmers University of Technology and past 10 years starting and building companies such as Aitellu AB, ICU Intelligence AB and most recently ICE House AB, a cutting-edge behavioral targeting and realtime advertising platform for advertisers and e-commerce sites.

Nils operates a privately held fund for angel investments with focus on emerging and disruptive technologies, since Svenska Spel AB’s (the Swedish Governmental-Owned Gaming Company) recent acquisition of Playscan AB from ICU Intelligence.

For more information contact:

Mikael Lirbank, CEO, Witsbits, +46 708 30 95 88, mikael@witsbits.com
Nils Svangård, Nirusu AB, +46 702 863 763, nils@witsbits.com

Nicolai Wadstrom, Witsbits USA, +1 415 935 1469, nicolai@witsbits.com

Witsbits® is a registered trademark of Witsbits AB. Go Cloud™ is a trademark of Witsbits AB. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners. Other product or company names mentioned may be trademarks or trade names of their respective companies.

IDG Blogger Magnus Penker about BootstrapLabs [Swedish]

IDG Blogger Magnus Penker blogged about BootstrapLabs (in Swedish), read it here:

http://blogg.idg.se/magnuspenker/entry.jsp?messid=11959

Andreessen Readies a New Venture Capital Firm

The Silicon Valley star’s company has attracted lots of interest, and $300 million. Can he deliver with his innovative approach?

This is a structured angel funding approach that might work very well, see the video and read the whole Business Week article here.

Witsbits to go-to the USA with BootstrapLabs

23rd of June 2009 San Francisco and Göteborg. For immediate release, Witsbits has entered into an agreement with San Francisco based BootstrapLabs to establish US presence.

Setting up US presence is the first step of an extensive agreement between Witsbits and BootstrapLabs. BootstrapLabs is additionally to provide Witsbits with advisory and strategic planning, secure an initial round of funding from early-stage investors and to prepare for a US market entry and scale-up.

“Witsbits provides a very exciting opportunity for Hosting and DataCenter companies to quickly get on-board the Cloud Computing race. Witsbits has the right product in a market that is just opening up, and growing very quickly and I see great opportunities for Witsbits in the US and Silicon Valley, the majority of all web based services in the world is being hosted in the US, and thus the majority of the target customers for Witsbits are here in the USA.
– says Nicolai Wadstrom, CEO and founder of BootstrapLabs.

USA is the world’s biggest market for hosting web services and with a US presence, we are able to pursue that market. BootstrapLabs allows us to quickly set up presence in the Silicon Valley to capitalize on business opportunities and to be closer to future funding partners. With the momentum and reception we’ve received from our recent launch we believe we will quickly create an impact on the US market.”

– says Mikael Lirbank, CEO at Witsbits.

Witsbits (www.witsbits.com) is a cutting edge cloud computing software company. Witsbits offers a turn-key Cloud Computing platform called Go-Cloud, that includes everything from management, billing to monitoring and allows Hosting and Data center companies to quickly start to offer coud computing to their customers with the infrastructure they already own.

BootstrapLabs (www.bootstraplabs.com) is a Silicon Valley Business Lab and out-post, founded and run by Swedish serial Entrepreneur Nicolai Wadstrom. BootstrapLabs allows European companies to quickly and efficiently get an entry to the US market and Silicon Valley in particular. BootstrapLabs can help early stage companies that are in a commercialization phase and ready to go-to market to establish themselves in Silicon Valley, scale up, find licensing and partnership opportunities as well as funding and exit partners.

For more information contact:
Mikael Lirbank, CEO, Witsbits, +46708309588, mikael@witsbits.com
Nicolai Wadstrom, CEO/Founder, BootstrapLabs, +1 (415) 935 1469, nicolai.wadstrom@bootstraplabs.com

ArcticStartup.com writes about BootstrapLabs

ArcticStartup.com’s Paula Marttila wrote about BootstrapLabs today. Great article, and really sums up what we are looking for here at BootstrapLabs (and our excitement about Prezi!)

If you are a Scandinavian startup or interested in Scandinavian startups, vc’s and Entrepreneurship, make you follow ArcticStartup.com, which I think is very well on it’s way to become Scandinavia’s version of TechCrunch.

Pressrelease – Prezi to go-to the US with BootstrapLabs

28th of April 2009 San Francisco, Stockholm and Budapest. For immediate release, Prezi has entered into an agreement with San Francisco based BootstrapLabs. to help Prezi establish a US presence.

This is part of an agreement between Prezi, BootstrapLabs and CrossConnect, to provide Prezi with advisory and strategic planning and help Prezi establish a senior advisory board, secure an initial round of funding from business angels, and to reach cash flow positive within 12 months, and prepare for a US market entry and scale-up.

“Prezi is one of the most exciting companies I have worked with during my 13 years as a serial Entrepreneur, and I see great opportunities for Prezi in the US and Silicon Valley, and I think that Microsoft and Google should watch Prezi closely, because Prezi is disrupting the way we present information.”
– says Nicolai Wadstrom, CEO and founder of BootstrapLabs.

“Prezi stands out as an combination of exceptional innovation within the area of user-interface technology combined with an almost unlimited market potential. Prezi will change the way people make their presentations and the way we present and interact with information on the web; both for businesses and individuals”
– says Magnus Bergman, CEO and Partner at CrossConnect.

“USA is the world’s biggest market for presentation tools and we need to capture the strong interest we are seeing in our products. BootstrapLabs allows us to quickly set up presence in the Silicon Valley to capitalize on business opportunities and to be closer to future funding partners. And with the momentum and reception we received from our recent launch we believe we will quickly create an impact on the US market.”

– says Peter Arvai, CEO at Prezi.

Prezi (www.prezi.com) is a leading provider of a new zooming presentation technology. It allows presenters to move beyond the slide-by-slide approach and to simply create amazing non-linear presentations. Prezi launched it’s product 5th of April 2009 after a year of a closed beta period.
This week Prezi also won the award “Most likely to succeed” by the Swedish angel investor network Connect Sweden (East), which gives the company access to a a large number of business angel investors.

BootstrapLabs (www.bootstraplabs.com) is a Silicon Valley Business Lab and out-post, founded and run by Swedish serial Entrepreneur Nicolai Wadstrom. BootstrapLabs allows European companies to quickly and efficiently get an entry to the US market and Silicon Valley in particular. BootstrapLabs can help early stage companies that are in a commercialization phase and ready to go-to market to establish themselves in Silicon Valley, scale up, find licensing and partnership opportunities as well as funding and exit partners.

CrossConnect (www.crossconnect.se) is a management and technology-consulting firm that advise leading technology and service intensive companies in strategic planning and operations management. The partners at CrossConnect are serial entrepreneurs with a strong track record of building successful businesses within the area of information technology, telecom and digital media.

For more information contact:
Peter Arvai, CEO, Prezi, +36 703 403070, peter.arvai@prezi.com
Nicolai Wadstrom, CEO/Founder, BootstrapLabs, +1 (415) 935 1469, nicolai.wadstrom@bootstraplabs.com
Magnus Bergman, CEO/co-founder CrossConnect, +46-7066 417 00, magnus.bergman@crossconnect.se