Wednesday, January 03, 2007

2006 Redux

In the 1990s, Queen Elizabeth famously declared that she had suffered through an annus horribilis. In 2006, the valley, in contrast, enjoyed an annus mirabilis.

The massive shift of off-line to on-line ad spending (with newspapers still getting 4.5x on-line!!), the power of SaaS and open source models to align vendor and customer interests, the standards and tools that empower users to define how and where they consume content, and the early signals that media companies finally realize the power, not threat, of the web all combine to create powerful tailwinds for start-ups and their venture backers.

The conditions remain ripe for innovation and the “mirabilis” looks set to continue well through 2007. Investors often contrast secular trends (ex. off-line to on-line) with seasonal trends (ex. XMAS buying), and I am confident that powerful secular trends are at the heart of the renewed vigor of the start-up economy.

It comes as no surprise then that my first full year at Hummer Winblad proved to be a very eventful and productive one.

Over the course of 2006, I have been lucky enough to work with a series of great entrepreneurs, work on six new investments, and see four liquidity events.

In 2006, I worked on investments in:

  • Infopia – a SaaS multi-channel e-commerce company
  • Widgetbox – a web widget marketplace and syndication platform
  • Hubpages – a platform for creating and monetizing web content
  • Mulesource – an open source integration platform
  • Move Networks - a video streaming infrastructure provider
  • Replay Solutions -a very cool development tools company

With respect to liquidity, we were fortunate to see:

The opportunity to work with such a large number of innovative companies/founders in an era blessed with powerful tailwinds is truly exciting.

This year we hope to add to our roster of great companies, and I encourage start-ups that share that same vision and passion to get in touch with me as we kick off our very busy Q1 season.

I look forward to hearing from you.

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