Tag Archive | "unsuccessful"

Khosla Ventures Replaces Yuri Milner In Y Combinator’s YC VC Program

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ycombinator

Khosla Ventures is joining Y Combinator’s YC VC program, which provides $80,000 to each startup that goes through the seed stage accelerator. According to a Y Combinator blog post, the firm will be taking the place of Yuri Milner, who is spending less time doing seed-stage investments.

Khosla Ventures has already invested in a number of Y Combinator companies, including TightDB, Instacart, and Quartzy. But by becoming an investor in the YC VC program, the firm will get early access to companies alongside other firms that participate, including Andreessen Horowitz, General Catalyst, and Maverick Capital.

Under the structure of the program, each investor puts $20,000 into each Y Combinator startup. As part of YC VC, partners at the investment firms have also been asked to hold office hours at Y Combinator.

The YC VC Program is a successor to Y Combinator’s Start Fund, which was originally set up by Milner and SV Angel and gave $150,000 to each company in the accelerator. When Y Combinator moved to the YC VC model, it reduced the amount of money that the startups got, and added Maverick Capital as an investor.

At the time, Y Combinator said it found that $150,000 was too much to offer as part of the program:

“$150k was more than the successful startups needed, and it sometimes caused messy disputes in the unsuccessful ones. Switching from $150k to $80k may not completely eliminate such problems, but it will make them at most half as bad.”

As an interesting side note, the news comes about a year after Vinod Khosla himself said that he felt sad for Y Combinator companies that “get so much hype that they get valuations that no one who will help the team are going to pay.” Presumably having his firm’s partners get in on the ground floor and be able to provide personal attention and guidance to startups through office hours might help some YC companies avoid those pitfalls.

Check out the Vinod Khosla interview below:

Photo Credit: Paul Miller via Compfight cc

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Amazon, Apple Soar In Customer Satisfaction In 2011; Netflix Plummets

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amazon

According to customer experience analytics company ForeSee, e-commerce giant Amazon once again topped consumer satisfaction in online retail after taking the top spot in 2010. However, Netflix, which had a dismal year, plummeted in customer satisfaction. For the past seven years, Netflix and Amazon have been competing for first place in Foresee’s Index, but this is the first year where one of the e-retailers saw a massive dip in sentiment.

Amazon climbed two points to score 88 on the study’s 100-point scale, which is the highest score from any retailer in 14 consecutive studies. Netflix’s well-publicized blunders, including price hikes last summer and the unsuccessful attempt to spin off the DVD rental business, caused its customer satisfaction to plummet by seven points and 8% to 79.

Netflix saw scores drop in every single element of the website that ForeSee measures, including site content, site functionality, merchandise, and prices. Next to Netflix, both Gap (down 6% to 73) and Overstock.com (down 5% to 72) saw the largest declines in satisfaction, leaving them with scores at the bottom of the Index.

Besides Amazon, the largest gains in satisfaction go to TigerDirect.com (up 8% to 79) and JC Penney (up 6% to 83), which nabbed Ron Johnson, former head of Apple’s retail operations, as CEO this year. Top-performing e-retailers include Amazon, Avon, JC Penney, QVC, and Apple.

The report also found that American consumers were less price sensitive during the 2011 holiday shopping season than they were last year, as price had a smaller impact on satisfaction than last year. Instead, for many e-retailers, improving merchandise and content would have a greater return on investment than price, says survey respondents.

Another key finding from the report related to repeat buying. Highly satisfied shoppers say they are 64% more likely to consider the company next time they are purchasing a similar product, 68% more likely to purchase from the retailer online, 48% more likely to purchase from the retailer offline, and 67% more likely to recommend the retailer to others. And analysis of top e-retailers in the United States has shown that, on average, a one-point change in website satisfaction was found to predict as much as a 14% change in revenue generated on the web.



Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Yahoo’s Former Director Of Geo Lands At Nokia, Finds Yahoo Waiting

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Earlier this month, we reported that Yahoo’s Director of Geo Engineering, Gary Gale, was the latest to leave the company. He declined to say where he was going at the time (except to say that it wasn’t Google), but how he has. In a blog post today, Gale has announced that he’ll be the Director of Ovi Places for Nokia.

What’s interesting about this is that Yahoo just announced a deal a week ago that aligns them with Nokia in the mobile space — which will obviously include geolocation. Gale notes this coincidence, but says he’s been talking to Nokia long before Yahoo was. Regardless, even though Gale is leaving Yahoo, it appears he’ll be working closely with his old co-workers on some projects.

Gale also used his post to say a few things about Yahoo. Having spent nearly 4 years at the company, Gale writes that “you shouldn’t believe everything you read in the media about working at Yahoo! It’s been an amazing experience and one I would willingly repeat if I had the opportunity to go back and do it all again.” Of course, he also notes some of the negative things about the experience — 3 of his “lows”:

  • People leaving the company as a result of the Microsoft bid; the unsuccessful Microsoft bid, something that never actually happened.
  • Reorganisations and new VPs; far too many of them. Six reorganisations in the space of twelve months and six VPs in the space of four years is too many by my reckoning and meant you sent more time rewriting your strategy than you do actually delivering and shipping product.
  • Teams that ship successful products in spite of the company not because of the company.

The second point in particular seems to go along with our recent post wondering what exactly Yahoo is now? Judging from the various answers from the top over the years, it’s a very fluid thing. That also seems to show in the fact that Yahoo was one of the early players thinking about the now red-hot location space, but doesn’t have much to show for it (at least from a front-end user perspective).

Following the news Gale was leaving Yahoo, another key player in Yahoo’s location plan, Tom Coates, announced he was leaving as well.

Hopefully Gale won’t experience the same sort of top level confusion and frustration at Nokia — even working with Yahoo again.

[photo: flickr/vicchi]



Article courtesy of TechCrunch

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