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The latest news on Startups from Business Insider

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    Foursquare Office Tour

    Here at Business Insider, we go on a lot of office tours.

    Only a handful have blown us away.

    From sprawling roof decks to skeeball, check out 15 spectacularly decorated startups.

    We've been to them all and can vouch that they're really as cool as they seem.

    Note: We only included tours of startup headquarters, not second offices. We only included offices we've visited recently, camera in hand.Think your startup's office is cooler than these? Invite us over!

    Quirky has a workshop in its office where new products are made, and a store where its inventions are sold.

    Located in: 606 West 28th Street in Manhattan.

    What it is: Quirky helps people with good ideas invent products and get them sold in stores nationwide.

    Office details: A massive test kitchen, a workshop with 3D printers where prototypes are made, and a store where its products are on display.

    Take the tour >

    Each conference room at Foursquare has a different theme, like "Socialite" and "Herbivore" to match its most popular badges.

    Located in: SoHo, on Broadway and Houston in New York City.

    What it is: Foursquare is a mobile app that lets you track your friends' whereabouts and discover new places.

    Office details: Each room has a theme that matches a different Foursquare badge. For example, one is called "Socialite" with beautiful wall paper and a chandelier. Another is called Herbivore, and it's covered with plants. There's also a small amphitheater, gymnastics rings, a cafeteria, a weekly keg, a ping pong table and a foursquare court.

    Take the tour >

    Tumblr has multiple floors, a pooch and a ping pong table.

    Located in: Flat Iron district on Park and East 21st Street, New York City

    What it is: A blogging platform that makes it easy to upload and share videos, pictures and more.

    Office details: Two floors, funky art, an adopted Pomeranian, a ping pong table and a living room area.

    Take the tour >

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    What will the 2013 startup landscape look like? researched funding activity in 2012 and hunted for trends that will shape the new year. Most of the money is flowing into healthcare, software and Internet companies. The most active firm was Accel Partners, and the most active "angel" investor was 500Startups' Dave McClure (although he's really a VC and doesn't angel invest anymore).

    Here are the rest of the findings, below:

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    Mark Cuban

    Mark Cuban made his fortune as an entrepreneur and tech investor, recently making many smaller investments in companies he judges on Shark Tank. In a NextMarket podcast, founder Michael Wolf asked if crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter might become a "disruptive replacement" for angel investors like Cuban.     

    Cuban's actually a fan of the platform, telling Wolf:   

    "Kickstarter should be a requirement for every startup. It's a way for you create demand and sell the product without giving up any equity. That is a compliment to what an investor might do. In terms of PE, there are strategic investors and then there's just money. I'm not a big fan of money investors, which is what most angel investors turn out to be, because they just want their money back."

    His argument is that those money investors create an atmosphere where it's all about the exit rather than creating cash flow. Kickstarter is something an antidote because it helps entrepreneurs to actually focus on their product, market it, and generate some money. Cuban said he rarely invests in a company unless he can add something. 

    "Money investors" have helped drive some companies away from the things Kickstarter requires, like confirming demand and generating cash flow.

    According to Cuban, a sort of feedback loop between that kind of investment, and startups looking for it, has helped create a bubble. "There's something going on right now that is really scary."Cuban said. "You saw it first in Silicon Valley. There is a huge bubble in valuations. That bubble has created an environment where companies are looking for funding and have no plans on creating a cash flow based business and returning cash to investors, and it's all about exit strategies..." 

    He describes the problem as "worse than the tech bubble in the stock market" because of the lack of transparency and liquidity.

    Cuban timed his sale of his stake in Yahoo! perfectly before the first tech bubble burst in the 90's. Prospective entrepreneurs might want to take his advice and build a base on something like Kickstarter before searching for angel investors, and be skeptical of some of the high valuations they're seeing.  

    Find the full podcast here

    NOW READ: MARK CUBAN: Here's What You Need To Know Before Starting A Business

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    Tobin Clark Estate San Francisco $29 million

    Jeff Paster, a developer of luxury homes in California’s Marin County, couldn’t find a buyer for the brand-new waterfront mansion he listed in January for $45 million.

    He’s expecting that one will turn up at an auction this weekend, with a starting bid set at $25 million.

    “People at this income level always have money,” Paster said in an interview at the 15,000-square-foot (1,400-square- meter) residence on Belvedere Island, a tony enclave north of San Francisco that’s known for views of the downtown skyline and Golden Gate Bridge.

    “We had qualified buyers circling for months, but with no sense of urgency. This sets a deadline.”

    Technology executives paying discounts to listed prices have been active buyers of luxury properties this year in the San Francisco Bay area, where the growth of social-media and Internet firms including Twitter Inc. and Yammer Inc. has created a new wave of millionaires.

    Some older homes sat unsold for years before finding buyers, said Rick Turley, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage of Northern California.

    In 2012, there have been 13 publicly recorded transactions for more than $10 million in exclusive San Francisco neighborhoods such as Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights and Sea Cliff, according to DataQuick, a research firm. That’s up from six sales last year and a dozen in 2007, the previous high mark. The numbers don’t include deals in expensive areas outside the city, such as Belvedere or Tiburon, in Marin County; Atherton in San Mateo County; or Palo Alto in Santa Clara County.

    Home Demand

    “Over a long listing period, it’s hard to say what will happen, because obviously the market is constantly changing,” Turley said. “The success of tech and social media means people are looking very generally at San Francisco and the Silicon Valley as places to live because these businesses are sourced here. It’s highest on their radar.”

    Initial public offerings in 2012 by Bay-area companies raised a record $17.5 billion in public equities markets, including sales by Menlo Park-based Facebook Inc., Yelp Inc. in San Francisco and Workday Inc. of Pleasanton, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The total is more than double the $8.3 billion reached in 1999, the height of the dot-com boom.

    This year’s Bay area IPOs generated $9.4 billion in cash for selling shareholders. Other investors have been able to generate money before initial stock sales through the rise of secondary-share markets such as SharesPost Inc.

    Yammer Founder

    Yammer founder David Sacks, who sold the social-media company to Microsoft Corp. in June for $1.2 billion, earlier this year bought an unfinished home in Pacific Heights that had been listed for $38.5 million. The transfer tax indicated a $20 million sale.

    Sacks’s new residence, built in the style of a French chateau, was last purchased by John Sperling, founder of the University of Phoenix, who paid $32 million in 2002, said David Barrett of listing brokerage Warwick Properties Group.

    “It’s built to be the finest residence in San Francisco, from limestone quarried in France and with the same glaziers who worked on the Eiffel Tower renovation,” Barrett said.

    This month, Jay Paul, the San Francisco-based developer of 6 million square feet of Silicon Valley offices, including Google Inc.’s four-building complex in Sunnyvale, completed a purchase in the same neighborhood, said a person with knowledge of the transaction who asked not to be named because it hasn’t been made public. The house sold for $28.25 million, said Dona Crowder of TRI Coldwell Banker, a co-listing broker on the home. She declined to comment on the buyer.

    Seller Deals

    The deal was at a 48 percent discount to the asking price in 2007, around the time U.S. housing prices peaked. The seller had most recently sought $34 million, Crowder said.

    Paul didn’t return a telephone message seeking comment.

    In some cases, luxury discounts this year in San Francisco and the Silicon Valley are a reflection of aged homes built decades ago that needed extensive renovations, Crowder said. Sellers were also motivated by the prospect of higher capital gains taxes in 2013, she said. Her listing on Broadway in Pacific Heights received higher bids in the past, including one earlier this year, which were rejected by the seller, she said.

    “The generations are turning over in this neighborhood,” Crowder said in a phone interview. “If it were understood back then that record prices were being offered, it would have been wise to sell” in 2007.

    Dorsey, Benioff

    Jack Dorsey, a Twitter co-founder, paid $9.9 million in February for a “humble” two-bedroom house in Sea Cliff that had been listed for $12.5 million, said Olivia Hsu Decker, owner of Tiburon-based Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty and Dorsey’s agent on the deal. Inc. Chief Executive Officer Marc Benioff bought a nearby house in 2009, Decker said.

    The Sea Cliff neighborhood is named for its location high above the Pacific Ocean, west of the Golden Gate. In May, Dorsey, who is known to take public buses to work, tweeted a quote from the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, “I need the sea because it teaches me,” Decker said in an e-mail.

    Other multimillion-dollar homebuyers this year include Mark Pincus, founder of online game maker Zynga Inc. He purchased a Pacific Heights house in July for $16 million after a $500,000 price cut, said Decker, who represented him in the past and also is the listing agent for the Belvedere home.

    Rising Prices

    The region’s broader housing market is also showing strong demand, bolstered by the addition of 32,400 new jobs in the San Francisco metropolitan area in the year through November. House and condominium prices in the nine-county Bay area last month rose almost 21 percent from a year earlier to a median $438,000, the highest since August 2008, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.

    Paster has been developing the Belvedere estate since 2008, when he acquired two adjacent lots for $9.3 million, and put the property up for auction in November after two price reductions, the most recent to $35.9 million. The decision was made with the aim of “causing those interested to act,” he said. There is an undisclosed reserve beyond $25 million.

    “This is one-of-a-kind property,” he said in an interview at the home earlier this month, seated behind a French antique desk in the library, the town of Sausalito visible through floor-to-ceiling windows behind him. “It’s like a Picasso. How much is that worth?”

    The 1.14-acre (0.46-hectare) site hugs the shore, with the house laid out in two wings on three levels. The seven bedrooms and living areas have mahogany flooring, and the nine bedrooms are tiled with marble and limestone. Terraces paved with fossil stone from India are accessible from most rooms on the main floor through oversized folding doors.

    ‘Beautiful Spot’

    Belvedere, about 17 miles (28 kilometers) north of San Francisco by car and less than a square mile in size, became a favored spot to build summer homes at the end of the 19th century, said Dave Gotz, archivist of the Belvedere-Tiburon Landmarks Society. The community, connected to Tiburon by a natural causeway so not technically an island, had the virtues of a warmer climate compared with the windy city.

    “It’s a beautiful spot, with small streets and steep hillsides coming down on the west side,” said Mike Fuson, Belvedere’s interim city manager. “The housing stock is expensive.”

    --With assistance from Ari Levy in San Francisco and Lee Spears in New York. Editors: Christine Maurus, Kara Wetzel

    To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Levy in San Francisco at

    To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel at

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    mark zuckerberg

    Lately, Facebook has been making a lot of defensive moves.

    The social network which once wowed us with product launches like Timeline and News Feed now seems to be scared of fast-growing startups, and it's losing focus.

    The clearest example is Snapchat, a startup that's exploded to millions of users in a little over one year. More than 50 million photos are shared over the mobile app every day — that's higher than Instagram's daily upload number.

    What may frighten Zuckerberg most about Snapchat is the fact that it's Facebook's polar opposite, and it's wildly popular. Instead of uploading and sharing photos with the world, Snapchat lets users share private photos with small numbers of people and it deletes the images soon after they're sent. They're never uploaded to a website and they can't be viewed more than once by the recipient.

    Facebook tried to flex its muscles and kill the app by copying it. It made an exact replica called Poke, which burst to the top of the app store just after its launch, only to face the wrath of Snapchat's loyal users. While Snapchat is still the #5 free app in the App Store, Facebook's Poke has fallen out of the top 100.

    Snapchat isn't the first product that's made Facebook veer off course. Consider:

    Those two latter projects are the easiest ways for the company to bolt on new sales dollars without changing the user experience. Yet they don't exist, even though they're old news at competing media.

    Notable venture capitalist Fred Wilson recently called it an "institutionalized copycat," that rips off "everything." That's harsh, but companies don't control their own reputations.

    The company appears to be at a crossroads. It is becoming known more for its privacy scandals and copycatting than for its innovation.

    Is it a company worthy of ruling the tech world through innovation or a defensive corporate giant that avoids risk?

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    Sam Khamis

    We've told you before that smartphones and PCs are becoming more human, with their ability to see (camera) hear (phone) and feel (gyro/accelerometer).

    Now, a tiny San Francisco startup, Adamant Technologies, is trying  to give your iPhone the senses of smell and taste, too.

    The company has created a computer chip that works with a bunch of tiny sensors that "can take the sense of smell and taste and digitize them," explains Sam Khamis, Adamant's founder and CEO.

    This is not about turning your smartphone into some kind of scratch-and-sniff thing that emits scent. It's about letting your phone or computer or other medical devices smell for themselves.

    This was a pretty tricky problem to solve. A computer can easily identify a chemical in the air, but put a bunch of them together and it's stumped. For instance, humans can tell when there's pizza and chocolate chip cookies in the same room. Computers have a harder time with that.

    The sense of smell he's developed is pretty sophisticated, too, he says. The average human nose has about 400 "sensors" that pick out various chemicals in the air and identify them (like knowing what pizza smells like). Adamant's tech has about 2,000 sensors, which is akin to a dog's nose, Khamis explained.

    iPhone apps from Adamant are still some time away from being available, maybe one-to-two years. Right now, the San Francisco company, which is backed by legendary venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, is just beginning to mass produce its chips in a plant in Austin, Texas.

    Next it will produce a consumer device that plugs into an iPhone and costs $100 or less. That device will then be used with all sorts of apps, including one that can warn you when your breath smells bad.

    "Halitosis, or bad breath tracking, is something we're really interested in," he laughs. It's the kind of thing that not even "your best friend will tell you." The app will not only warn you, but tell you what caused it, he says.

    Other planned apps include realtime metabolic tracking, meaning telling you exactly how many calories you are burning at any given moment. He also sees breathalyzer apps that can monitor medical conditions, like diabetes, or test blood alcohol.

    Adamant raised $2.5 million from Khosla over the summer and will be seeking a bigger round later this year.

    Don't miss: Guess When These 20 Sci-Fi Technologies Are Coming To Your Phone Or PC

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    So far, 2012 has seen two major acquisitions in the tech space.

    Avis bought Zipcar for $500 million. Then, yesterday, Athena Healthcare bought iPhone app maker Epocrates for $300 million.

    GigaOm founder Om Malik points out that Avis and Athena are a new kind of a startup buyer – "big non-technology companies" that "need a new technology-centric way of thinking if they need to evolve their business models for the post iPhone world."

    He expects to see more of these buyers in 2013:

    Today it might not seem obvious, but a year or two from now, companies big and small are going to realize that emergence of mobile and other newer technologies are going to redefine the a business experience. As Ed Aten in a guest post pointed out this weekend, all businesses are now 24-hour operations. “The offline world is filled with friction, inefficiency, incomplete information, tedium and excess capacity,” he wrote. And that also means inefficient businesses and other edifices of a different era.

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    CoCo, coworking, Minnesota

    Gourmet cafeterias, discounted gym memberships and expensive artwork used to be luxuries afforded only by big corporate offices.

    Entrepreneurs can now get the same or better amenities from a co-working space. These communal offices are an affordable solution to a private office, and offer perks that working in a solo office doesn't.

    We've come up with a list of some of the coolest co-working spaces in America, from coast to coast.

    Ace Hotel

    Location: New York, N.Y.

    Membership: Access is free

    The lobby of the Ace Hotel in New York has recently become the trendiest new place to work. Formerly the Breslin Hotel, the Ace offers incredible free wifi, Stumptown Roast Coffee, and an old-fashioned yet modern interior design.

    Possibly the best part is the fact that visitors are surrounded by smart, like-minded tech people who could very likely be the next great co-founders.

    Citizen Space

    Location: San Francisco and San Jose, Calif., and Las Vegas, Nev.

    Membership: Starts at $25/month

    Citizen Space adheres to four basic principles when it comes to its day-to-day operations: collaboration, openness, community, and accessibility. Members can sit at designated desks, on couches, bean bag chairs, or in the cafe area. High-speed wifi makes it easy to get work done, but so do the free snacks.

    Unlike many other co-working spaces, Citizen Space allows you to bring your pet to work. Their only requirement is that the pet be supervised at all times, and he must be well-behaved.

    This past year, Citizen Space announced that it will soon open a Las Vegas location. It won't be as big as the San Francisco office, but will offer almost all the same amenities.


    Location: Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.

    Membership: Starts at $50/month

    The building CoCo now uses as its Minneapolis hub was once the historic Trading Floor of the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. The 20,000 square foot space also includes multiple unique meeting rooms. The Game Room, for example, contains all the equipment needed for a business meeting, but will also soon house Xbox and Wii consoles, as well as Foosball tables and dart boards.

    CoCo also has in-room beverage service and catering available for all meeting rooms in both the Minneapolis and St. Paul locations.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Mike Rothenberg Rothenberg Ventures

    Mike Rothenberg has always been interested in entrepreneurship. Now, the 28-year-old is running a one-man venture capital shop, Rothenberg Ventures, with $5 million to invest in startups.

    It's similar to what Joshua Kushner did a few years ago when he started Thrive Capital. Then, Kushner was 25 and he put his money in 15 startups. He's since raised a few larger funds and invested in startups like Instagram.

    TechCrunch's Josh Constine interviewed Rothenberg about how he hustled his way to the $5 million fund. Rothenberg was a couch surfer who had to network from coast to coast to create his dream job.

    Here's how he did it.

    At Stanford, Rothenberg ran a program called Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders. He wrangled tech leaders like Marissa Mayer and Mark Zuckerberg and asked them to speak with students about startups.

    Rothenberg often asked them how they became successful. The usual reply was, "You might fail at whatever you do, so you might as well dream big, because then if you succeed, you succeed big."

    Rothenberg took that advice to heart. He founded a 25-person tutoring company in college, started a real estate fund, then went on to Harvard Business School. In May he decided to go for his dream of starting Rothenberg Ventures.

    Like any strapped-for-cash entrepreneur, Rothenberg tried to live as efficiently as possible while seeing the fund through. "I rented out my apartment, wasn’t paying a lease anywhere, and traveled to six different cities to meet 50 investors, 50 potential LPs, and 50 entrepreneurs," he tells Constine. "I slept on couches so I didn’t have to get a hotel room the entire summer.”

    After months of meetings, 14 limited partners committed $5 million to Rothenberg Ventures. The LPs range from investors, such as DFJ's Brandon Farwell, to wealthy individuals. The LPs are from Massachusetts to California on down to Texas.

    Rothenberg thinks his young age actually helped him win over LPs. He tells Constine, “Almost all my deal flow comes from entrepreneurs, people at Stanford with me, people at Harvard with me. I know a lot of people our age. The average age of my LPs is significantly older than me, and they don’t necessarily have access to these deals.”

    Rothenberg is still working hard now that he's raised his fund, and he's already backed seven startups. His portfolio includes a sports media company, Chat Sports, and a clothing startup called Chubbies.

    When asked why he didn't get experience at another firm before taking a leap of faith, Rothenberg replied, "I think it’s wrong to think you’re necessarily going to learn the most by paying your dues. People who work at a big company aren’t engaged. That’s a slower trajectory. But if you’re young and jump in, sure you’re going to make a bunch of mistakes but you’re going to learn quickly.”

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    loverly kellee khalil

    When Kellee Khalil was first starting her network of wedding blogs, Loverly, she received a coffee invitation from a business strategist at a top bridal site.

    The strategist delivered a not-so-subtle threat.

    "We have $70 million to buy competitors just so we can shut them down," Khalil was told.

    It didn't deter Khalil, who continued building her wedding blog empire. Loverly indexes photos for 35 wedding blogs and 30 million images are viewed on Khalil's site every month.

    Her work hasn't gone unnoticed. Recently* she received another not-so-subtle threat.

    The Knot relaunched its website. It looks just like Loverly, down to the color palette.

    Here's what Loverly looks like:


    Here's what The Knot now looks like:

    the knot redesign

    And here's what The Knot looked like before today's redesign:

    the knot

    *We originally wrote that The Knot relaunched its website yesterday. It actually relaunched the look-alike within the past month.

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    Dave DeWalt FireEye CEO

    People in the enterprise tech world are closely watching security startup FireEye. With reason: The company  just landed a $50 million round of financing, new CEO Dave DeWalt told Business Insider.

    The investment values FireEye at $1.25 billion, launching a company most consumers haven't heard of into the realm of billion-dollar startups.

    The new money brings FireEye's total funding to $85.5 million. The company is on track for an IPO, maybe as soon as this year, DeWalt said.

    Sequoia Capital, NorwestVenture Partners, Juniper Networks, Silicon Valley Bank, and others invested. This security company is so hot that even the CIA's venture-capital arm, In-Q-Tel, has a stake.

    And the reason is because FireEye solves two really hard security problems. It stops the kind of cyber attacks that companies couldn't stop before—so-called "zero day" attacks and "advanced persistent threats."

    Zero-day attacks take advantage of software holes that the software vendor hasn't yet learned about—in other words, ones that they've had zero days to fix.

    APTs are a series of attacks by organized hackers determined to get into a particular network. 

    FireEye's security "appliance"—a combination of hardware and software—finds these attacks by running the suspicious code or opening suspicious emails in a protected area to see what they do. The process takes a fraction of a second.

    DeWalt joined the company last November. He'd previously been the CEO of antivirus software maker McAfee, where he led the company through a turnaround to its acquisition by Intel.

    He was rumored to be in the running to succeed Paul Otellini as Intel's CEO, and was approached with some 40 other CEO jobs since he left McAfee 18 months ago from "large public companies to smaller companies," he said. (DeWalt was rumored to be in the running to head Palo Alto Networks, which went public last summer.)

    Although FireEye has annual revenues of about $100 million now, DeWalt argues that it's worth the $1.25 billion valuation because it's  on track to double its revenues this year. It now employs 500 people and will use the new funds to expand internationally.

    Don't miss: The Exec Who Signed The Check Explains Why Cisco Spent $1.2 Billion To Buy A $100 Million Company

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    Angel Investors

    The Angel Resource Institute studied investment trends over the course of 2012 from 541 deals and $804.4 million in total rounds.

    It pulled together a report on the state of angel investing.

    Here are the findings.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Dave DeWalt FireEye CEO

    If anyone has earned the right to be choosy about a new job, it's Dave DeWalt.

    Late last year, DeWalt signed on to be CEO of hot security startup FireEye, which just raised $50 million in a deal that valued the company at $1.25 billion.

    DeWalt is best known as the former CEO of McAfee, the antivirus software company. He sold it to Intel for $7.8 billion, adding to a string of wins that included leading Documentum through its $1.7 billion acquisition by EMC.

    But it was a long, hard road at McAfee, DeWalt told Business Insider.

    "You have to remember my McAfee entrance in late 2006-2007, [the company] was under 11-year restatement of its earnings," DeWalt said. "It had some executives that were indicted. We had a couple of large fines from the SEC [and the] Department of Justice. I had a delisting with the NYSE. Microsoft was announcing free antivirus software."

    He had to rebuild the company from that. Then he sold it to Intel.

    Rumor has it he was a contender to become Intel's next CEO following Paul Otellini's planned retirement in May,

    He wouldn't confirm that when we asked, telling us only that he turned down some 40 other CEO jobs before taking the role at FireEye, where he was already serving as chairman of the board.

    Turning down the big-company offers was easy, he said. By the time he left Intel in 2011, DeWalt said, he was done with big corporate culture. He says that big corporations don't do R&D, they do what he calls "A&I."

    "Instead of doing research and development, we did acquisition and integration," DeWalt explained. "You use your balance sheet to buy the innovation and then you integrate. Whoever was best at acquiring and integrating was the leader as you got bigger and bigger. If you look at the appetites of the Ciscos and Microsofts and SAPs and Oracles, they almost have to buy every quarter to fuel their growth."

    With FireEye, he's running a security startup with some bona fide amazing technology for stopping hackers.

    That makes him feel like a cop beating the bad guys or a doctor curing illness, he told us.

    "I'm personally attached to solving an important world problem, almost akin to solving cancer," DeWalt said.

    Don't miss: Big Names Keep Throwing Money At Shape Security, A Stealthy Startup

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    Hospitals have incredible potential locked inside of them. Their doctors, nurses, and other employees are highly educated and highly trained in the second largest industry in the United States, yet most of them spend their days doing similar jobs, over and over again.

    We've already written about how the Cleveland Clinic has worked to unlock that potential, building a startup accelerator right on its campus. They've built companies in a variety of areas, including one working on an implant that treats migraines. 

    But what has real potential is the fact that they're taking 20 years of figuring out how to get the best ideas out of their employees, turning them into products and companies, and bringing them to some of the country's biggest hospital systems. 

    Chris Coburn, the Executive Director of Cleveland Clinic Innovations, has high hopes for the growing network. "It's a big new development for us, about 2 years old," Coburn said. "We're now running our function for other health care systems."

    Bringing the tools to invent to hospitals with thousands of people, from day one

    It's hard to convince surgeons to take time out of their days to think about new inventions. It's even harder to take that idea, develop it, and legally protect it, especially when you have no experience doing so. Intellectual property for devices is particularly complicated, and since hospitals do the proof of concept, and turn ideas over for development and trials, negotiations get very involved. 

    Hiring a ready-made system has the potential to rapidly accelerate the rate at which hospitals produce inventions and startups. 

    "The basic decision for them is buy versus build, and you can just imagine how hard it is to make these things go. It's complicated. You have to stick to it, it's a very a long list," Coburn said. "So they look at this and they say, 'OK, I'm going to hire the Cleveland Clinic, I'm going to spend about the same amount of money that I would have had to if I did this on my own.' And the day they show up, all of these systems, all of these best practices, everything that they've figured out, I get on that very first day."

    It means access to people with extensive backgrounds in venture capitalism, and in the very industries who are looking for these new sources of innovation.

    As of right now, the system has been adopted by MedStar, the largest hospital system in the D.C. Baltimore area; North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, the largest provider in New York; and a $2.5 billion system in Western Ohio, among others. More deals are in progress.

    The impact is rapid. The year before MedStar brought the Cleveland Clinic on board to help build their system, they had no disclosures of possible ideas from their staff. The year after, they had more than 100.

    The five year hope is to become a "nationally significant element of US health care"

    According to Coburn, this is just the beginning. When asked where he sees things going in five years, and he outlined an impressive vision: "I think this innovation alliance will have about 15 institutions that will be operating in a cohesive system with us," he said. "Right now, we're going to have a record year for inventions coming form the Clinic, about 280 by the end of the year. When you add in those innovation alliance partners, just this year, that's about another 100. But I could easily see a circumstance where we're going to see 600 to 800 inventions a year, which we will be managing in this system and bringing to investors and industries in a reliable, predictable way in the sense of what they'll see."

    That last part is huge. When you have many different places trying to break out inventions in many different ways and at many different stages, it means a lot more work for the people trying to fund or buy it. Doing it in a predictable way could make things faster and more efficient. The types of things venture capitalists and pharmaceutical companies would be looking at won't change, but the preparation and expertise are leagues better. 

    "You know the technology won't be different of course, but the stage of progression, industry knows what they're getting. The industry knows for certain how the exchange for us would work," Coburn said. "On the flip side, the industry knows they can come to us as a means to getting back out to all of these institutions. We see that alliance as something that has not existed in the past. If we run it right, it's going to have a lot of momentum as more and more things feed back to it, and all of the enabling technology, whether it's the coming ubiquity of electronics or genetic mapping, all of these things factor in to whether we synthesize this, and we're basically representing systems that, all told, have 25 million patients in their systems."

    It could mean more inventions, a better and easier commercialization process, and an increasing level of collaboration. 

    According to Coburn, it could be "a nationally significant element of US health care, not the Cleveland Clinic itself, but the network."

    The network has the potential to go beyond commercialization, and bridge a big innovation gap

    Something that could have an even broader impact is bringing some of the cost reduction and health care innovation that the Cleveland Clinic's worked on to more hospitals around the country.

    As this network grows, the hospitals can connect on things beyond just technology transfer. 

    "I think it becomes a toehold for more collaboration both at MedStar and now, it looks like, at North Shore, but for other collaborative programs [that are] totally unrelated," Coburn said. "[We have] clinical programs at MedStar. It's already taking place. There's a formal alliance across our cardiac care, and I would not be surprised to see that at North Shore."

    Learning how to give great care at lower costs is essential for the future of the country, and if that's a side effect of a program where we get new and better health care technology, that's a pretty great bonus.

    New sources of ideas are particularly important because health care innovation has been slow and expensive. Unlocking the resources of these hospitals could help move things forward.

    "What we're all about is recognizing what the reality of the current situation is," Coburn said, "which is that big pharma and big device are looking for things to be de-risked, to be figured out for them in as many ways as possible."

    This network could be a uniquely large and effective way of doing that. 

    NOW READ: Hospitals Could Create The Next Big Wave Of Health Care Tech And Startups

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    GitHub office tour

    Joining a startup is always risky, but some companies are better bets than others.

    If you pick well, you could be financially set for life.

    If we could have a pile of stock options in any company right now (besides Business Insider), here's who we'd pick.


    Location: New York

    What it is: Media company that produces viral content, led by Jonah Peretti, Ben Smith and Jon Steinberg.

    Date founded: 2006

    Company size: 180 employees

    Financing: $43.5 million

    Why it's a good bet: BuzzFeed is monetizing its content very well, even on mobile devices, which is important as people consume more on the go. Its ads actually work better on mobile devices than they do on desktops.

    Steinberg is creating high engagement placements for advertisers without running a single banner ad, and Peretti has become a world expert in producing viral content.

    It's growing quickly with 40 million monthly unique visitors, and investors are so excited about BuzzFeed they think it could become a billion-dollar digital brand. Its current valuation is about $200 million, so there's still an opportunity to join the company and grow with it.


    Location: California

    What it is: Developer-friendly payment company that makes it easy to accept payments on any website

    Date founded: 2010

    Company size: 38 employees

    Financing: $38 million from Sequoia Capital, General Catalyst Partners, Peter Thiel, Chris Dixon, Elad Gil, Aaron Levie, Redpoint Ventures

    Why it's a good bet: Stripe is still small in terms of employees, but it's apparently generating a ton of revenue. It has signed on some well-known clients including 10gen, Pebble, Livestream, Foursquare, Fast Company and Sugar Inc.

    (Full disclosure: Business Insider uses Stripe for its subscription research product).


    Location: San Francisco, CA

    What it is: Social network for programmers so they can collaborate on code

    Date founded: 2008

    Company size: 143 employees

    Financing: $100 million from Andreessen Horowitz

    Why it's a good bet: GitHub bootstrapped itself to profitability until the Andreessen round late last year. It's become the go-to enterprise company for developers. A lot of development teams at startups use it to work on company code together and it has nearly 2 million registered users. The company is valued at about $750 million and it's only just getting started.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Binta Brown

    Although women have made huge strides recently, they only make up three percent of VCs and 12 percent of angel investors.

    Binto Brown is trying to fix that.

    The corporate lawyer, recently named to Fortune's 40 under 40— for being one of the nation's top fundraisers, among other things— says that she's ready to break into the world of investing.

    But she has a very specific goal: to help fund more women-owned tech startups. "For me, it’s actually representative of a broader point, which is that all of us really want to maximize the potential of humanity," she tells us. "We really want to maximize the potential for prosperity and global prosperity. We have to, in every possible way, maximize the capacity of women. It’s simple math, from my perspective, which is to say that if we are more than one half of the population, but if we are under-utilized, then the world isn’t benefiting from what we might have to offer."

    Brown explains that a lot of people want to have women-run businesses because women are consumers and it makes sense from a markets and capital perspective. But she says that what is often more relevant when trying to find the best minds, the best ideas, and the most creative solutions is that you simply cannot do so without half the population.

    She explains, "If women aren’t at the table in every possible way, then the world isn’t benefiting from them because, just statistically, it can’t be the case."

    But when Brown says she wants more women in tech, she doesn't mean to create a fun app for her iPhone. She's thinking much bigger. "I’m talking about a technology business or a business that utilizes technology to solve a particular kind of problem or that utilizes technology to disrupt an ongoing problem that is scalable and has the capacity to generate massive revenue and employ thousands of people. I’m really not talking about somebody sitting in their apartment that can put a pretty button on my iPhone."

    To make this happen Brown says she'll do whatever she can to help women get their feet wet. After being a mentor and advisor for women for many years both at Barnard and through non-profit fundraising, she's more than qualified to work with driven women. 

    "I’m in and out of the entrepreneurial startup world all of the time. I’m always meeting people and what happens more often than not is people ask me for my advice, and my opinion, and my thoughts, and I help them," she says. "So the ideal situation would be for me to aggregate more capital and to be in a position to make more investments and advise more companies."

    Brown says that for now she just wants to get out there and do more public speaking and business advisement. That will enable her to get her name out there and help people that could use it. "The more you do it, the more opportunities you become aware of and the more good you can do in the process," she explains. 

    DON'T MISS: Every Woman Should Have A Mentor At Work

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  • 01/11/13--13:26: Best. Startup. Perk. EVER.
  • Ben Kaufman of Quirky

    Startups offer some great employee perks to attract top talent. For example, Evernote's employees can charge two house cleanings per month to the company.

    Quirky recently announced the best perk yet.

    The NYC invention shop just told its 100+ employees it will be shutting down for four weeks each year.

    The four weeks won't replace employee's vacation days and, even though the office will be shut down and no one will be working, everyone will still be paid those four weeks.

    (We knew Quirky was a good place to work!)

    The first week off just happened, and Quirky's offices were closed between January 1 and January 7.

    CEO Ben Kaufman explains his reasoning in the company email, below:

    “Quirky is a high pressure atmosphere. We push the absolute limits of every single day we have. Doodling, Breaking, Building, Shipping, Prettying, Counting, Labeling, Collaborating, Coding, Inventing.

    The result of our way of working is astonishing. Output from small, resource constrained teams on short sprints that large organizations could only dream of.

    Three products, every single week. After each there is another.

    The side effect of running such an incredible machine at the speed we do is a group of very fatigued, highly creative operators.

    In the machine of Making Invention Accessible, we leave no time for catching our breath.

    Every good machine needs time to get tuned up/re-calibrated.

    Enter:  A (experimental) new way of working…

    We’ve found that our cadence as a business is very centered around 90 day sprints. Retail seems to have 4 major seasons, our best products seem to be baked in 90 day time frames, the longest we can lock in tactical plans without completely guessing as to what products we will be talking about/investing in is quarterly.

    Pressure slowly builds throughout these 90 day periods, culminating in an extremely stressful and magically productive final 2-3 weeks of a calendar quarter. It’s been this way for 3 years.

    Historically, we’ve jumped right back into it. But beginning in 2013, the first week of every new calendar quarter will be lights out.

    We are going to shut down the entire machine for 4 weeks next year. Instead of running for 52, it will run for 48.

    This is a full, mandatory shutdown of all internal activities. Lights out. Deep breath.

    Time for us to explore other creative interests. Relax without worrying about what we’re missing. Time for us to get our head back into the game. For some of us, time for us to clean our apartments, see the dentist, and buy a new pair of kicks.

    A time where all of us as a team can all relax simultaneously and know that there is nothing to worry about. A time for us to reflect on the successes and failures of the prior quarter, and prepare mentally for the one to come.

    At Quirky we strongly believe in judging output, and not input. We think that absolutely amazing things can happen in the most unconventional of ways-  this is what has led us to build this machine in the first place. We will be launching many more products in 2013 then we did this year, even with this new schedule in place.

    We are intent on building a business and culture that endures. Running this machine for a few years will not Make Invention Accessible… Setting it up in a sustainable way so that it can run for decades to come is key to accomplishing our mission.

    This time is not meant to be a replacement to our current vacation policy, but instead a supplement to it. You’ll note the days which fall under this policy do not always coincide with school calendars, major holidays when you might want to travel home, etc… Our “you’re an adult, take whatever time off you need to live a happy life, see your family, maintain at the top of your game” policy prevails.

    We are really interested to see how this works. Our thesis is centered around the fact that this will lead to better work, more beautiful products, and an emotionally balanced team.

    Should we all feel it doesn’t-  we reserve the right to go back to our old ways.

    I personally believe this is a great and exciting way for the machine to endure. Please see the attached revised 2013 calendar which shows days the office will be closed.

    Happy breath taking.”

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    FoundersCard CEO Eric Kuhn created his business — an exclusive membership organization for founders and serial entrepreneurs that offers perks like instant elite status on airlines, discounts with Apple and AT&T, and more — because it's something he wishes had been around when he started his first company.

    "I had started an internet company back in the late '90s," Kuhn said. "This is the business or the organization that I wish [were] always around."

    We spoke to Eric, who offered great tips anyone can use on how to market to entrepreneurs and build a business through word of mouth. Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity. 

    Who is your ideal target for the FoundersCard?

    I had started an internet company back in the late '90s, this is the business or the organization that I wish [were] always around when I was building and growing Varsity Books, an internet company I started in the late '90s. So our target market consists of entrepreneurs, some first-timers, many well-known serial entrepreneurs, and a lot of people in between.

    What in particular appeals to that group? 

    What we’ve done is we’ve created a community that helps and benefits and rewards entrepreneurs in two primary ways. The first is to provide them with ongoing networking opportunities. We regularly host events for our members, for example later this week we are having a members-only event in Las Vegas at the Mandarin Oriental. Our members are going to be there during CES. And this is an example of the events that we regularly hold for our members, giving them an opportunity to connect with like-minded entrepreneurs, share experiences, make deals and just really have good time.

    I remember when I was starting and growing my company, being an entrepreneur could be lonely, and there are many times when you just need to get away from the day-to-day grind and want to connect with people who are similarly trying to build and grow companies. So that’s one aspect of what FoundersCard delivers to its members.

    The second aspect of membership is our benefits program, and we’ve assembled what we think is an amazing collection of unique, incredibly valuable ongoing benefits for our members. We give our members elite access to airlines, hotels, car rental companies. Many of the other benefits are practical in that they give our members preferred rates with business brands like At&T Wireless, some real necessities and business services. So its sort of that combination of  giving them access and preferred rates that’s been very helpful and powerful to our members.

    So it appeals, in a way, because almost everything founders do is in support of their company?

    Exactly, you got it. On the benefits side, some of them sort of naturally benefit [founders'] companies, like our preferred rates with UPS. If you’re a FoundersCard member you can access a higher level of preferred pricing rates that a company couldn’t necessarily get on their own.

    On the other hand, there is the sort of fun and aspirational aspect to it, where if you want to travel whether for business or leisure you can take advantage of one of the 150 hotels where we have members-only negotiation rates and upgrades, so it’s a little bit of both. 

    On the other side, what's the pitch you make to big corporations to provide these perks?

    So if you’re the Ritz Carlton or the Four Seasons, Virgin Atlantic, or Jet Blue, some of the brands that we’ve established preferred benefits with for our members, what we’re delivering to them is a really highly sought after target of entrepreneurs and founders.

    These companies are very well set up to go after the corporate market, for the Fortune 500 companies, but what we’re delivering to them with one partnership is access to a growing number of highly entrepreneurial influential members, who are building lifetime loyalties not to mention spending lots of money traveling and spending on business services, personally and for their business.

    So these companies see FoundersCard as a vehicle to reach an important demographic that they’re not particularly well set out to reach in their traditional sales outreach.

    How do you build a business via word of mouth, without any traditional marketing?

    Listen closely to your customers and don’t stop listening to them. You constantly need to make sure that you’re being responsive to their needs and  delivering something that really over-delivers every day. I’m constantly trying to meet with as many members as possible, to make sure that our product, our membership is working well for them, that we know what would make it better and we can deliver on that.  

    That first thing allows you to build a product that will resonate with your customers in a high impact way. The reason why we’ve been able to succeed and grow rapidly by relying exclusively on our membership base is that our customers do love the product, and I think it has a lot to do with the fact that we listen to them constantly and spend every day trying to make it better. 

    But in the world of Twitter, in the world of social media, and just the internet more broadly, any one customer can disproportionately impact your business. Its important, it's always been important, but it's more important than ever, that people are responsive and listening to their customers. It doesn’t mean that you can’t make mistakes — quite the contrary.  It means that you can correct, but you just need to be highly responsive.

    The last thing thing is you have to just keep reaching for the stars and go out there and shoot for and demand really big things from our partners, so we go out there and do something that’s very different . Our goal as we embark on any new partnership is to do something that’s never been done before, and that’s really delighted a lot of our members. It creates a true sense of exclusivity and uniqueness out there in an otherwise cluttered marketplace. 

    Did you take any lessons from your first business? 

    Definitely. With this company we spent the first two years pretty much exclusively building the product, with really our heads down, spending every day making the membership experience better for existing and future members. That means we kind of shut out the outside world and really just focused on the product, and on what our members wanted, listening to them and constantly iterating and improving. We were able to do that because we didn’t have outside funding.

    It’s not every company that's in that position. We didn’t have board meetings. We didn’t have presentations. We didn’t have a lot of external forces and realities. Aside from that, we just made a decision that we are going to focus on a simple business model and sort of reinvent the membership model and do it better than anyone’s ever done it.

    And I think the lesson that we learned was, there is a fine line between the greatest strength and greatest potential weakness of a startup. I think the greatest strength is that you can be better at something than anyone else in the world, but I think that to do that you have to bring an acute sense of focus. And I think that once you try to do five things in 20 different markets you wind up not doing anything well. I think the lesson that I personally learned, is if you just singularly focus on building something amazing and have everyone passionate about what you’re doing, that’s not a guarantee of success, but it is a key ingredient of a successful business.

    NOW READ: 27 Executives Who Wake Up Really Early

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    Question: How do you foster innovation in your startup, especially when team members are overburdened?

    Question by: Ashley

    1. Stop Doing That!

    "Refocus your startup on the essential projects needed to reach your immediate goals and stop doing everything else for now. By pushing your team to do too much too soon, you'll lose the excitement that comes with innovating in a new business."

    Kelly Azevedo | Founder, She's Got Systems

    2. Make Innovation a KPI

    "Innovation can be a Key Performance Indicator, just like revenue or expenses. If you prioritize innovation as an extra metric that you track, it will incentivize creativity among team members. You could track contributions by team members during brainstorm meetings, new ideas added to an internal company list, or dollars saved by implementing innovative processes."

    Doreen Bloch | CEO / Founder, Poshly Inc.

    3. Mentor, Consultant or Coach

    "Sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees, you're too close to your own business and processes. That's where getting a mentor, consultant, or coach really comes in handy. Someone with an outside perspective— who isn't overburdened—can think more clearly and come up with innovate solutions."

    Nathalie Lussier | Creator, The Website Checkup Tool

    4. Set a Lofty Goal

    "We pick a lofty goal that we want to shoot to hit that month, and hold an all-team brainstorm on how to make it happen. By pulling us out of our usual to-do lists, we end up coming up with a ton of creative new ideas and initiatives that end up extending beyond whatever that current goal is."

    Stephanie Kaplan | Co-Founder, CEO and Editor-in-Chief, Her Campus Media

    5. Schedule It In

    "One of the best ways you can foster innovation is to make space for it in the company schedule. This could look like monthly brainstorming meetings, a company retreat, or simply making it a discussion point during your one-on-ones. By designating time for it, you make it a priority."

    Elizabeth Saunders | Founder & CEO, Real Life E®

    6. Ramble Freely!

    "Ramble Meetings are freeform brainstorming at its best. Put away the computers, phones and distractions and throw out crazy ideas. It can be one hour a day, or once a week -- it's your choice, but you need to do it, or else the very engine of growth that propels your company forward will slow down."

    Caroline Ghosn | Co-Founder and CEO, The Levo League

    7. Blogs and Webinars

    "I always encourage my team members to read blog posts about content marketing and attend webinars in order to learn more and foster ideas. I also have a large list of blogs in my RSS feeder that I read on a regular basis."

    Heather Huhman | Founder & President, Come Recommended

    8. Set Aside Play Time

    "I think it's really important to set aside play time where team members can simply focus on things that they enjoy doing and that give them the ability to be completely creative without confinement. When allowing your team members to play and explore, they will then often come up with other ideas and innovations that will help push the business forward."

    Erin Blaskie | CEO, BSETC

    The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

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    Cisco Chris Young

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - After failing to land a big acquisition in the security space last year and suffering a steady decline in market share, Cisco Systems Chief Executive John Chambers is determined to turn around his company's lagging security business - whatever the cost.

    The growing expectation, from Silicon Valley to Wall Street, is that Chambers will not be able to do it with its SecureX product range, and needs to go back to the deal table to boost the business with an acquisition in the coming months.

    In December, Chambers said he had granted Chris Young - Cisco's first executive for security at a senior vice president level - a "blank check" for the next two to three years to hire and acquire as he sees fit to overhaul Cisco's security business and spark a rebound.

    Cisco has lost around 10 percent of its market share in network security over the past five years to smaller, more innovative rivals such as Juniper Networks Inc, Checkpoint Systems Inc, and Palo Alto Networks Inc. The network equipment company fell behind in web applications, social media and video streaming that call for more complex security protection than traditional firewalls provide.

    Mike Rothman, analyst and president at security research and advisory firm Securosis, said Cisco was "years behind in terms of a lot of capabilities" and that Young "better get his M&A people in order".

    Cisco is aware of the deficiency and has been actively looking for acquisitions to beef up its network security offerings for some time, three sources familiar with the matter said.

    However, there are only a handful of top picks - such as Palo Alto Networks, FireEye, Sourcefire, Fortinet and Barracuda Networks - and Cisco already struck out with at least one before Chambers' "blank check" strategy.

    Cisco tried snapping up Palo Alto Networks before the company went public in July 2012, but they could not agree on a deal valuation, two of the sources said.

    "They tried and they were billions of dollars apart on value," one of the sources said.

    The skyrocketing valuations of startups such as Palo Alto Networks or human resources software provider Workday have been out of reach for large tech companies looking to buy over the past 12 months.

    Cisco and Palo Alto Networks declined to comment.

    Cisco has a track record of acquiring companies - almost 160 since 1993 - to grow its businesses, most recently in software, video and wireless. Its last security purchase however dates back to 2009, when it acquired ScanSafe. But finding an affordable target now is easier said than done because good assets come with a large price tag.

    "Palo Alto Networks and FireEye are the big prizes and it is hard to justify 7-, 8-, 9-times revenues to your shareholders," the second person said. Palo Alto Networks, for example, now has a market capitalization of $3.46 billion.

    And FireEye's new CEO, industry veteran David DeWalt, is considering an initial public offering this year.

    Rothman pointed out that SonicWall would also have been a target for Cisco but it was bought by Dell last year.

    One of the sources said Cisco would also be looking at Fortinet and privately held Barracuda Networks.

    Sourcefire and Fortinet declined to comment. Barracuda Networks was not immediately available for comment.


    Cisco's security troubles stem from its failure to keep up with new ways of hacking that target web applications, said Jonathan Ho, an analyst at William Blair.

    Instead of adapting, Cisco was "resting on laurels" with legacy products in a rapidly changing market, Ho said.

    Chambers, asked about the company's security offerings, has said that Cisco has the products needed to provide corporations with security for their networks, data centers and mobile devices.

    Security technologies help protect Cisco routers, switches, servers and other equipment and add to Cisco's strategy of being a one stop shop for corporate IT needs.

    SecureX - introduced in February 2011 - will allow firewalls, switches, routers and other products to provide protection based on users identity as well as applications and devices, Cisco has said.

    Frank Calderoni, Cisco's Chief Financial Officer, promised shareholders in December that the networking company would achieve a compound annual growth rate in security of 5 to 7 percent in three to five years.

    "Security is a perennial gold mine opportunity in the tech market," said Frank Gens, senior analyst at research firm IDC, who added that the opportunity was growing due to increasing usage of mobile devices and hackers developing ever more sophisticated skills.

    According to IDC spending on tech security will translate into 7.8 percent revenue growth for vendors this year.

    But some analysts have been critical of Cisco arguing it has had no specific SecureX products to show and suggested they are merely bundling existing security products under a new name.

    Jefferies analyst Aaron Schwartz said Cisco's SecureX strategy would take years to build out to deliver what Cisco promised it could do, and would likely require additional acquisitions.

    But the fact that Cisco has made security a priority is a big plus for Schwartz, who called it the "first consistent messaging that Cisco has articulated for its security business in several years".

    (Reporting By Nicola Leske and Nadia Damouni in New York; Editing by Peter Lauria and Tim Dobbyn)

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