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My friends at NewsGator have started a fundraising campaign to help victims of the Colorado wildfires. In addition to getting the campaign up and running, NewsGator has committed to a matching gift of $10,000. Amy and I decided to match that gift from our foundation, so the matching gift is now $20,000.
I’d like to encourage everyone involved in a startup in Colorado (or anyone in the world) to help your neighbors in Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, and Boulder who are victims of the current fires that are raging. There are two ways to do this:
1. Give a direct gift via my page. Amy and I are matching the first $10,000 of gifts.
2. If you are part of a startup, start a campaign for your company. It’s easy and will take a few minutes. Then – rally your gang to contribute.
While the current Boulder fire is getting under control, many people in Colorado Springs and Fort Collins are still at risk. And many others have been impacted. Here’s a note I got from a friend in Fort Collins.
hi, brad. yes, sadly, our ranch burned to the ground 2 weeks ago. we got the all clear to go back on thursday. even though it’s a giant scorched hole in the earth, we need to see it.
we’re fine. animals, horses, children all safe. we were on a motorcycle trip. so, literally have only the clothes on our backs (and some really cool motorcycle helmets). i’ve never had nothing and i’m learning a lot from it.
We are part of an amazing community. Be thankful for what you’ve got and send good karma out in the world. You never know when you’ll need it to come back to you.
While you might be interested in a
ego vanity iPhone app like the Brad Feld iPhone app, you are probably a lot more interested in an iPhone app for your business. NewsGator has become an expert at building these and has developed a superb framework for branded iPhone apps.
On March 31st they are having a Webinar titled Gain Revenue & Readership with Branded iPhone Apps – Reed Business Case Study Webinar. Walker Fenton from NewsGator and Brien Tate (Reed Business’ CTO) will walk through what they’ve done around the Variety iPhone app including:
- The differences between iPhone Apps and web applications
- The benefits of making your content available via an iPhone App
- How to monetize your iPhone App
- How to publicize your iPhone App
- An iPhone App case study featuring Reed Business/Variety.com
NewsGator has learned a huge amount about building, deploying, monetizing, and publicizing iPhone apps. Attend the webinar to find out more for yourself.
In case you don’t get enough of me, you can now download the Brad Feld iPhone app. Or – from your iPhone – just do an App Store search on Brad Feld. As a result of the Brad Feld iPhone app you can easily get the blogs from Feld Thoughts, Ask the VC, Foundry Group, Amy Batchelor, and Stan Feld all in one nifty app on your iPhone.
While my ego is satiated, at least for a few days, the really cool thing to me is how this came together. When the iPhone first came out, Brent Simmons created an iPhone version of NetNewsWire which was dynamite. He iterated quickly on this and realized that it could be the core of an iPhone app business built on top of the NewsGator / NetNewsWire framework. This has resulted in a new product for NewsGator – the NewsGator iPhone App Framework.
They needed a “test app” to harden the framework and I quickly volunteered (ah – the special privileges of a nerdy early investor.) The result is the Brad Feld iPhone app, but more importantly a deep iPhone app dev framework. Brent – who continues to do an amazing job on everything he touches – talks about the why and how along with announcing the deployment of a real iPhone app for Variety (vs just his cheesy
investor beta tester.)
Greg Reinacker, the founder/CTO of NewsGator, has a post up titled Enterprise RSS – the State of the Industry that is a continuation of the discussion that’s recently ensued around Enterprise RSS (reference my post from the other day – Enterprise RSS at NewsGator is Alive and Well). Following is the setup.
First, let me get this out of the way – RSS use in the enterprise is definitely alive and well. But it’s not in the obvious places. No one is writing articles talking about how their desktop feed readers are revolutionizing the way they do business. No one is talking about how they’re retiring their Exchange servers because so much content is delivered via RSS instead of email (and in fact, email is alive and well). No one is saying “if I only had Google Reader behind my firewall, I could save millions of dollars.” Few companies even say their users are clamoring for some sort of enterprise RSS application.
So if not all of that, then what?
My team and I, collectively, have detailed conversations with at least 50 different large companies every week, talking about the real problems they do want to solve. Many of these include 10 or more people on their side, ranging from IT folks to business owners with line-of-business responsibility. And these conversations rarely start with any mention of enterprise RSS.
Take a look at Greg’s post Enterprise RSS – the State of the Industry for detailed examples on what these conversations include.
Marshall says “It’s with a heavy heart and a sense of bewilderment that we conclude that the market for enterprise-specific RSS readers appears to be dead.”
Huh? Marshall, are we living in parallel universes?
NewsGator has built its business on Enterprise RSS. It has two primary revenue generating products around Enterprise RSS: Social Sites Professional and Social Sites Enterprise. There are now over 120 companies using these products representing over 800,000 users. Per the press release NewsGator issued today, customers that bought these products in 2008 include:
- Two of the world’s top three banks
- Two of the three largest banks in the US
- The world’s largest private public relations firm
- The second-largest advertising agency in the US
- Two of the top three US manufacturers of network and communications equipment
- The world’s second-largest law firm
- Four of the top 15 US pharmaceutical companies
- Two of the top seven US aerospace and defense companies
- One of the top five investment banks in Canada
- The fourth-largest generator of electricity in the US
In addition, NewsGator had a spectacular Q4. They solidly beat the plan for Q4 that they had established at the beginning of 2008 (and met their 2008 overall plan on the top line and were ahead of plan on the bottom line.) NewsGator added around 30 new customers in Q4, including six in the financial services sector, one of the areas most impacted by the economic downtown.
How many enterprise software companies can say that?
Marshall goes on to say “Newsgator, one of those three companies, announced today that it has closed another round of funding. Years after the company launched, it appears to us that the funding is a life-support line for a company that has largely left enterprise RSS behind and has been humbled into selling advertising widgets.”
For starters, when we did the first round of financing of NewsGator in mid-2004, the company consisted of one person (Greg Reinacker). 4.5 years later it is 55 people and dominates the market it plays in. You can call it “Enterprise RSS” or “Social Computing for the Enterprise” – I don’t really care. What I do care is that the customers that have bought NewsGator’s products love them, are using them, and are realizing Marshall’s words “Any company that steps up to make serious strategic use of such software should be at an immediate advantage in terms of early and efficient access to information.”
The notion that NewsGator’s funding “is a life-support line” is totally absurd. One of my goals with all of my “more mature” (e.g. older than three years) portfolio companies is to make sure they are “fully funded through becoming cash flow positive.” This financing unambiguously gets NewsGator to that point with plenty of room to spare. NewsGator still had cash in the bank prior to this financing; the last time I checked an incremental $10m of financing is a meaningful amount for any company.
Marshall, I invite you out to Denver anytime (or we will come to you) to spend the day at NewsGator, really understand their products, and get a deep understanding of how NewsGator is spreading “Enterprise RSS” to the corporate masses. Seriously, come spend some time, do some real research, and help the industry understand the value of this stuff.