Last week, we reviewed iPhone’s competitors. I would bet on the convergence device movement as a whole, and it would be safe to assume that the overall market growth will offer growth opportunity to all the players. I would bet on RIM for the short term, and Samsung for the long term. Palm and Motorola have turnaround execution challenges ahead. Nokia should continue its strong run. The Operating System issue will be a key one to observe as RIM, Palm OS, and Symbian face competition from Mac OS, Windows Mobile, and Linux.
Here are the links to more detailed analysis: >>>
M&A and VC activity
In June 2007, Chicago based Cars.com added women’s automotive site Mother Proof to its network of car sites. The Cobalt Group has acquired has acquired Cowboy Corp., AutoTown and Dealix in the past few years.
Autobytel Inc. has acquired a number of companies over the years. In August 2001, it acquired Autoweb, in June 2003, the company acquired AVV, a provider of dealership lead and sales management tools and in April 2004, it acquired iDriveonline, Inc., a provider of customer loyalty and retention marketing programs for the automotive dealers and Stoneage Corporation, an Internet automotive marketing services company and owner of the Car.com site. >>>
SM: So, for a startup, the cleaning up of the dirty energy is a more viable problem to solve for the next 50 years. If you were running a company which was going to go after that market, what process would you follow? PC: First you have to figure out what you can do that nobody else can do. You have to find what you are a pioneer of. The next thing you have to do is get strong patent coverage. The particular products or service you provide, based on your proprietary technology has to have a price to cost relationship which is handsome – 2:1. Then you can afford to develop the product; if you have a projection of what it is going to cost to develop the product. As an executive, I usually take that and multiply that by 2 or 3 because I know it is going to take longer and cost lots more money than even the most conservative projections. You have to count on the fact that it will take more time and money. >>>
Much of the growth opportunity for Concur, in my opinion is in being able to effectively penetrate Small Medium Enterprise (SME) markets. Here, we discuss issues around market size and profitability of the sales channels.
SM: Smaller deals, in the 1-20 range, you can probably close them all by phone and even in the mid market you could close many of them by phone. You do not need the high touch sales. SS: Your instincts are right. I think you understand things that a lot of folks don’t. The cost of distribution is substantially cheaper in a Telesales model as you come downstream in the market. >>>
Here are some of the nuggets from the MIT Enterprise 3.0 event last night:
* If you are an entrepreneur looking for opportunities to focus on, there are white spaces in the portfolios of larger players like Microsoft, Google and Cisco, especially in the area of Prosumer productivity and collaboration. Probably more built-to-flip models.
* SME is a big open space, and Software-As-a-Service (SaaS) coupled with subscription-fee business model, web/phone sales model, and internet-based delivery models makes SME business apps viable.
* Verticals, especially those with discontinuity, are good places to look. Media industry is full of discontinuity. >>>
Last month-end when Navteq (NYSE:NVT) reported a blistering Q2 results and subsequently started moving northward, the other notable GPS stock that too began rising was Garmin (NASDAQ: GRMN).
At first this rise seemed to be a bullish sentiment working in favor of GPS stocks across the board, but it soon became clear that GRMN too has a strong growth story to tell.
Its Q2/07 revenue stood at $742.47 million (+72% Y-o-Y) that translated to a net income of $214.38 million, the latter being nearly 42% that of the whole year 2006.
The GRMN management expects 2007 revenue to exceed $2.8 billion (+58%) surpassing earlier estimate of $2.5 billion. EPS too is expected to grow by at least 34% up to $3.15 a share exceeding earlier estimate of $2.70 per share.
What continues to drive GRMN’s fortune? >>>
Web 3.0 formula discussion (4C, P, VS)
Most auto sites are targeted at meeting specific user needs. I liked the contextual split of new and used cars on Yahoo! Auto. This apart, users can find localized listing of car dealers. I would like auto sites to include special sections for first time buyers or luxury buyers. Also more contextual integration is required between car searches, dealers, car loans and payment mode.
The content on most auto sites is impressive. The users can buy or sell cars, look for car descriptions, car stores, accessories, price listings. They can compare prices and features, place a bid, read reviews. They can access new articles on the auto market, seek advice on car finance or find information on car insurance. They can research tips on car safety and a host of other car related information. >>>
SM: When you look around today, around us here in the Valley, are you involved in any of these clean tech / energy companies? PC: I have some friends who are involved in the clean tech, and that is interesting. I love and follow carefully the development of clean energy, or cleaning up dirty energy which is perhaps going to be even more important. I think it is going to be easier and cheaper to clean up fossil fuels and sequester CO2 than to develop new renewable energy sources over the short term. I also believe than nuclear energy is going to be necessary as an economic source of energy as well. >>>