Growth5 Blog

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Investing in Real-Time

This VentureBeat article describes where prolific internet investor (Google, Ask Jeeves, PayPal) -- Ron Conway -- is putting his money these days. Real-time data companies.

Conway believes "the market will experience astronomic growth and a value reaching at least a billion dollars within three years." In this article, Conway explained, "The technology for instantly being able to share information back and forth is now where Google was in 1998, the beginning of a huge rise." He went on to list ten monetization possibilities of the real-time space:
10. Lead generation
9. Coupons
8. Analytics
7. Enterprise customer relationship management software (CRM), like CoTweet
6. Payments: “If I was PayPal today I would be studying this sector,” Conway says.
5. Commerce
4. User authentication: verifying accounts, like corporate accounts
3. Syndication of new ads
2. Content-sensitive display advertising
1. Acquiring followers.
The place to make money in real-time data is search. As the VentureBeat article points out, services like Twitter are creating a huge amount of content that is there to be mined. The fact that Twitter shuts Google out from this search opportunity means there is room for other players.

Conway has invested in companies that have a real-time component:
-Twitter: share and discover what's happening right now, anywhere in the world.
-Rupture: keep up with your gamer friends. And enemies.
-HeadMix: social business software connects your employees to communities of information, experts, and expertise through your enterprise.
-Docverse: enhances Microsoft office so you can share and edit documents with others.
-Kyte.tv: an online and mobile video platform for live and on-demand content.
-Scoopler: real-time search. Constantly indexing live updates from Twitter, Flickr, Digg, Delicious and more.
-Topsy: a search engine powered by tweets.
-Bit.ly: a simple url shortener.
-CoTweet: how business does Twitter.
-Fliggo: create a video site in seconds.
-Factery: answers your questions by semantically extracting the highest utility results from activity streams, vertical search and link search.
-TweetDeck: a simple and fast way to experience Twitter.
-Twitvid: share videos on Twitter.
Some have described Conway's investment approach as "spray and pray" -- but the way I look at it, anyone that can come out of the dot.bomb era giving more money back to investors than he took in either sprays well or prays well or both.

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