Archive for June, 2011
For businesses that don’t normally ship much or don’t regularly ship large orders, it is important to develop a plan for shipping in order to save money for your business. Below are some tips that will help expedite the shipping process and save money at the same time, for example: match delivery requirements and fees for common shipments, establish transportation cost charge-back policies, use a postage meter, know when to consolidate, and track carrier performance. Following these tips will make shipping easier, make your customers happier, and will save money on the bottom line.
By Jason Fell
Shipping merchandise can be one of the most complicated operations for any small business. Poor or no planning can result in owners overpaying, as well as losing sales if the company can’t provide consistent and cost-effective delivery to customers.
For businesses that don’t often send larger shipments of several pallets at a time or can’t afford to hire a logistics provider to manage its shipping services, developing a set of guidelines can be essential.
“Effectively managing shipping costs directly affects a small business’s bottom line,” says Don Anderson, vice president of transportation services atTompkins Associates, a Raleigh, N.C.-based supply chain and distribution operations consulting firm that works with large and small businesses. “Every dollar saved in transportation translates to an equal improvement in financial performance.”
Here’s a look at several factors business owners should consider ahead of time before shipping their products to customers:
Match delivery requirements and fees for common shipments.
Once you’ve chosen a shipping service provider — such as UPS, FedEx, DHL or the U.S. Postal Service — work with its small-business specialist to match the carrier’s fees and services with common shipping requirements for your business, such as mode of transportation and delivery timing. According to Tompkins Associates, businesses that don’t work with their carrier to map out shipping criteria can spend as much 40 percent or more in fees than those that do, Anderson says.
One factor to discuss with a specialist is when to ship a package by air or by ground. “How much can be saved by using ground services versus air services can depend on distance shipped, the weight and size of the package and its value,” says Anthony Pagano, director of the Center for Supply Chain Management and Logistics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “Look at the carrier’s tariff schedule and compare prices.”
Pagano also recommends that business owners institute rules so that their staffs know when to ship orders, and avoid paying higher “express delivery” fees. “If you need to ship at the last minute, air might be the only alternative, but at an increased cost,” he says.
Establish transportation cost charge-back policies.
Let customers know when they will pay for shipping and when your business will, Anderson advises. “For example, three-day parcel service may be the standard level of service that’s paid for by the company, and any premium services — such as overnight air or two-day parcel — are paid for in part or entirely by the customer,” he says.
Once these policies are set, inform your sales and customer services staffs, as they generally deal directly with customers, Anderson says.
Use a postage meter.
A postage meter is a portable machine equipped with a scale that weighs packages, assesses exact postage charges and prints shipping labels. Systems like these can help eliminate the need for mailers to guess the weight of a package and purchase additional postage “just to be safe.”
“Using a postage meter can eliminate over-postage and is much easier than going [directly to your shipping carrier] and waiting in line,” Pagano says. Postage meter provider Pitney Bowes contends that postage meters can save small-business owners as much as 20 percent annually on postage.
Leasing a postage meter can be affordable, Pagano says, with monthly fees starting at about $20.
Know when to consolidate.
When sending shipments weighing between 150 pounds and about 20,000 pounds (usually referred to as “less than truckload” shipments, or LTL) consider working with a freight consolidation service, which will combine yours with other shipments to create a full truckload.
“Less than truckload or container load rates are usually much higher than full truckload or container load rates,” Pagano says. “LTL shipments have to go to a truck terminal to be consolidated [by the carrier] into a full truckload for shipment. If the small business has a full truckload shipment, then the carrier can pull up to the company’s terminal and load the truck and go, saving time.”
Track carrier performance.
One way is to have your carrier keep a “scorecard,” which usually tracks service and cost. Service factors can include pickup, delivery, response to customer service inquiries by shipper, access to online status data, accuracy of that data, meeting pickup or delivery appointment times and meeting agreed-upon in-transit times (from time of pick up to time of delivery), Anderson says.
Cost factors usually include baseline by weight or distance, cost by service level (premium overnight or expedited, standard service, for example), non-essential fees such as special handling or meeting time-specific delivery times.
Work with your carrier to identify and resolve lapses or failures in service or cost performance. Anderson also recommends soliciting input from your customers.
“It’s critical that shippers not rely solely on carrier data [since the data comes directly from the carrier],” he says. “Another option is to poll your customers or vendors who are receiving your shipments.”
In other words, good shipping practices should result in lower fees — and happy customers.
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Most phone plans these days come with a 2 year contract. But what if a company is busier some parts of the year and not others? What if there is a high turn around rate on employment? Sometimes a contract can actually be a more expensive proposition for a company than using pre-paid phones. And, as an added bonus, pre-paid phones are easier to manage with no contract fees and less worries about overages on minutes or data plans.
By Jonathan Blum
Paying for minutes in advance can help you cut mobile costs. Here’s a roundup of options for business owners.
For many consumers, the desktop telephone is going the way of the dinosaur. With unlimited calling plans, dumping your land line can make sense. But for small businesses that still depend on such phone service, finding the right balance between service in the office and mobile service for employees can be a challenge.
As staff and customers become more mobile and travel picks up during the warmer months, demands for mobile business phone service grow. However, two-year mobile contracts force firms to commit to paying for minutes they might need this summer but maybe not this winter. What’s more, business phone contracts run for several years, but most employees don’t. Just one disorganized or disgruntled worker with a company cell phone can run up a large bill or fail to return the device, pushing a business into a credit-dinging spat with its wireless carrier.
But there’s now another option for mobile phone service for small firms: prepaid phone plans.
In the past, cell phone plans for which the buyer pays for minutes and devices in advance have been lousy ones, usually reserved for people with poor credit or no credit. Typically, the minutes have cost more, the calling features were sparse, and email and Web access rare.
Not anymore. Prepaid phone packages are now a hot niche of the cellular market. All of the major mobile operators can offer solid value for small businesses — including quality phones, convenient payment options (some of which let you pay in cash), and business-friendly features like email and Webbrowsing.
Here’s a roundup of prepaid options for small businesses:
Plans: Starting at the top — in terms of both feature sets and costs — Verizon boasts a broad line-up of devices ranging from plain-vanilla flip phones to BlackBerry models and other smart phones. But, as usual with Verizon, you’re going to pay for the privilege of superior network coverage. The most affordable monthly plan starts at $45 per month for 450 minutes — and that’s just for a basic phone. Unlimited talk and text will cost you $75 per month. The same goes for a smart phone, where data and email are included for $65 per month. Top-end plans run $95 per month.
Hardware: If you can get past the pricey plans, there are some great phones to be had, including more than a dozen BlackBerry and Android phones that start at around $200. I’m partial to the Motorola Citrus. At $195, it’s economical, sleek and comes preloaded with plenty of business-friendly apps like sticky notes and calendars.
Inside tip: Mobile-to-mobile calling on the Verizon network is unlimited, so if your company’s phone use is mostly within your group, sign up for a low-end plan. Daily use rates are a little better — $2 per day — but you’ll have to add a texting bundle that runs between $10 and $20 per month. The only data option costs $30 for unlimited use.
Don’t make this mistake: Don’t even think about exceeding your minutes, or you’ll be looking at charges of around 40 cents per minute for all but the premium plans (an unlimited plan for a smartphone runs about $95 per month).
Related: A New Conference-Call Tool Makes Group Calls from the Road Easier
Plans: If your employees use their phones a lot, AT&T has several good offerings with unlimited talk and text. There are two basic plans, and both are $60 per month or $2 per day for unlimited voice and texting. The top-tier plan, which runs $75 per month, comes with 200 Mb of monthly data usage.
Hardware: If you’re on a budget, AT&T offers at least a dozen sub-$100 no-frills prepaid phones. It also has many feature-rich phones, including smartphones like the HTC Freestyle GoPhone ($299), with its touch screen and full HTML Web browser. But few of those are likely to knock your socks off. For small businesses, I recommend the LG Thrive ($179), which sports Android 2.2, which means access to plenty of useful apps through the Android Market. The phone also syncs with your Google Apps account, including Mail and Google Talk.
Inside tip: AT&T has a unique feature: Its per-day plan charges only on days the phone is actually used. So if you’re strictly a Monday-through-Friday operation, you can bring your expenses down. There’s also a 10-cents-per-minute plan with text packages available (unlimited texts cost $20 per month).
Don’t make this mistake: The pay-per-use data rate, at one cent per 5 Kb of data, has the potential to ding you if employees do much more than check their email on their phones. Data packages for smartphones are separate and cost $25 per month for 500 Mb, which is a far better deal than the pay-per-use rate.
Plans: T-Mobile offers a good range of plans with options to pay by the month or by the minute. But they’re far from inexpensive. While pay-by-the-minute plans get more affordable the more minutes you buy, you may have to spend $100 to get the reasonable rate of 10 cents per minute.
Hardware: If you need an affordable phone, T-Mobile’s prepaid phones retail for less than $150. The T-Mobile Comet Black costs $130 and has Android, so it syncs with your Google Apps account. Another good buy, at $105, is the Nokia X2, which sports social-networking apps like Facebook and Twitter and can be ideal for on-the-go email with its QWERTY keyboard.
Inside tip: Overall, T-Mobile offers good value for monthly plans. The midlevel plan is $50 per month for unlimited talk, texting and Internet. If your business happens to be big on texting but does less voice, $15 per month buys unlimited SMS, plus 10 cents per minute for calling, which is about as good as you can get in pre-paid.
Don’t make this mistake: Be realistic about your data needs. If you’re on the pay-per-minute plans, an unlimited day pass for data will cost about $1.50. That can add up fast.
Related: Four Ways to Save on Calling When Abroad
Plans: If you’re looking for a pure-play, prepaid mobile provider, make Virgin Mobile your pick. The company, a unit of Sprint Nextel, offers inexpensive plans that come loaded with features. All of Virgin’s “Beyond Talk” prepaid plans, which start at $25 per month for 300 minutes, include unlimited texting, email, Web surfing and data — all stuff you’d have to buy as add-ons with plans from the bigger players.
Hardware: Virgin goes for quality, not quantity. It offers only about a half-dozen phones to pick from, ranging from about $80 to $200. But they’re all feature-rich, web-enabled and social-networking-friendly, with even the most basic phones pre-loaded with at least a Facebook app. For businesses, I like the BlackBerry Curve 8530. At $180, it’s got just about everything you may be looking for: email, Web browsing, Wi-Fi access and the BlackBerry app store. However, BlackBerry service will cost an extra $10 per month. Also, look this summer for the Motorola Triumph (not yet priced). It’s a first-tier Android device, expected to meet the needs of the typical small-business user.
Inside tip: If you’re looking for basic phone service, Virgin’s “payLo” plans offer plenty of cheapskate options. The plans top out at $30 per month, including 500 texts plus 10 Mb of data, which is a good deal.
Don’t make this mistake: With Virgin, mistakes won’t cost as much. Virgin prices its plans so additional minutes cost just 10 cents each. If an employee goes only slightly over their allowance, it won’t ruin your budget the way it would on a Verizon phone.
For more information please read more here
By Olivia Oran
Each new tech IPO announcement and report of rising early-stage funding furthers the cheery proof that finally, following the recession, young tech is back.
But inevitably, with the good comes the bad. In this case, as the market for venture financing heats up to pre-recessionary levels, a few troubling investing trends have emerged that are impacting both entrepreneurs and investors — some for the worse.
First, let’s set the stage. Around 67% of start-ups in the first quarter of 2011 raised money at a higher valuation than their previous funding round, according to a new study from Silicon Valley law firm Fenwick & West, which surveyed 122 companies. And only 16% of these companies raised financing at a lower valuation than their last funding — the largest gap between so-called “up” rounds than “down” rounds since 2008.
In terms of the recent growth of early-stage investing, last year funding rose 15% to $5.2 billion, while the number of deals leapt 25% to 1,147, according to the National Venture Capital Association.
Much of this deal making focuses on the tech sector, where early-stage investors hungry for a piece of the next Facebook, LinkedIn(LNKD_) or Twitter have created a gold rush-like scenario for social media-related firms. The problem: the funding mania sees some investors pouring money into start-ups with products that may not be ready for primetime.
“You’re got a fair amount of companies who would normally test something at an angel stage who are now going to bigger rounds when they haven’t necessarily proven their product,” said Charlie O’Donnell, a principal at First Round Capital in New York, who has noticed the average seed round increase from $500,000 to $1 million as investors have become more aggressive.
“Sometimes a company [that's received early stage funding] hasn’t cooked enough and it’s kind of raw,” said Paul Holland, a general partner at Foundation Capital in Menlo Park, Calif. “As a consequence you don’t know what you have with the company until it has proven itself … sometimes you’re chasing smoke up a chimney.”
As a result, some investors are finding their capital tied to concepts that differ greatly from what they initially bet their money on.
Take the recently-launched startup LocalResponse, a social advertising platform founded by entrepreneur Nihal Mehta that helps companies figure out how best to ping consumers with local ads and offers.
Mehta initially raised $4 million from several prominent venture firms in 2007 to found Buzzd, a mobile location-based city guide and social network. But as the sector became more crowded and other check-in companies like Foursquare, Loopt and Gowalla became more popular, Mehta decided to shift his company to focus on the business-to-business market instead.
According to Mehta, some of his investors — those that had taken a stake in his company under the assumption they were investing in a consumer mobile-based product — were not pleased.
“It was a struggle,” he said. “They wanted the business that they invested in initially to succeed.”
After months of negotiations with his investors, Mehta launched LocalResponse in April, where he works with former rivals like Foursquare — providing them with data — rather than competing with them head on.
“It used to be that market feedback would guide entrepreneurs away from the pursuit of bad opportunities toward something worth pursuing, but now the market doesn’t push back as hard on mediocre ideas,” said Jordan Cooper, a venture partner at Lerer Ventures in New York.
Shervin Pishevar — an entrepreneur and angel investor with no formal venture capital experience — is now No. 3 after joining the team this week, in a sign that Menlo is planning a major push into the social Web.
“We’re seeing more opportunity in consumer than we can keep up with, which is why someone like Shervin will be a huge asset,” said Shawn T. Carolan, a managing director at Menlo Ventures. “The digital social fabric that binds people will affect Internet services in many different ways. This is not a few-year trend, this is a decades-long trend.”
Menlo, which has $4 billion in assets, has excelled in finding start-ups in the less glitzy corners of technology like enterprise software and networking solutions. It was the largest investor in 3Par, a data storage company bought by Hewlett-Packard for $2.35 billion last year after a heated bidding war with Dell.
But unlike some of its fellow deep-pocketed rivals on Sand Hill Road in Silicon Valley, Menlo is not a big player in the much-hyped social networking space. The firm doesn’t have stakes in Facebook, Zynga or Groupon — all of which are expected to have big offerings in the next 12 months.
Now, Menlo is playing catch-up.
With the addition of Mr. Pishevar, the firm is hoping to improve its stature among young Web entrepreneurs, who have built the core of the social Internet. Mr. Pishevar’s main focus will be to create an incubator to nurture talent and identify investment opportunities early.
“Today, entrepreneurs need less capital to start their businesses, which means that there is a higher volume of companies getting started,” Mr. Pishevar said. “In that noise, it’s going to be incredibly important to have a great eye for exceptional founders and to build a circle of trust that connects all those people.”
With capital sloshing around the market, Menlo and other players are under pressure to court start-ups long before their first funding rounds. To help attract talent, firms are hiring well-known entrepreneurs and Internet executives. The founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman, is at Greylock Partners. Matt Cohler, one of the earliest Facebook employees, is a general partner at Benchmark Capital.
Mr. Pishevar, 37, fled his native Iran during the country’s brutal war in the 1980s. He later became a serial entrepreneur. At 23, he introduced a Web-based operating system called WebOS, following soon after with Webs, a publishing platform, and later SGN, which he sold in April to MindJolt. As an angel investor, he has invested in roughly 40 start-ups including Aardvark, a social search service that was sold to Google, and Milo, a local shopping application that was sold to eBay for $75 million last year.
Mr. Pishevar is often described as energetic and philosophical, and his Rolodex includes a global mix of investors, politicians, celebrities and founders in Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, Washington, London and Moscow. Mr. Pishevar, for example, connected Russian billionaire Yuri Milner with Evan Reas, the founder of LAL, more popularly known as LikeALittle, a college social networking site. Both Mr. Pishevar and Mr. Milner ended up investing in the site.
“Shervin has a good instinct for successful entrepreneurs and deeply understands current Internet trends,” Mr. Milner said.
As he did with Mr. Reas, Mr. Pishevar often helps young entrepreneurs navigate Silicon Valley, dispensing words of advice on financing and operations. He will even drive them to investor meetings.
Mr. Pishevar recently introduced the founder of Klout, Joe Fernandez, to Bobby Yazdani, an angel investor. Mr. Yazdani eventually bought a stake in Klout, a start-up that measures the influence of Twitter users, and initiated a meeting for it with venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which is now a top investor.
Last year, Mr. Pishevar also helped secure a visa for Andrey Ternovskiy, the teenage founder of Chatroulette, a video-chatting site. He collected letters of support from his friends, including the actor and technology investor
Ashton Kutcher and Sean Parker, the former Facebook president.
“What sets Shervin apart is that he cares more for people than technology,” said Mr. Kutcher, who has invested alongside Mr. Pishevar. “He has all the understanding of technical infrastructure and social gaming mechanisms, but most importantly he has an understanding of people and a genuine care for their well being.”
Mr. Pishevar said he hoped to formalize his work with entrepreneurs at Menlo by creating a “people-focused” incubator, allowing founders at various stages to connect with other entrepreneurs and learn about best practices. Although the structure is still being worked out, Mr. Pishevar says the program will begin later this year.
“We want to bring founders into a trusted circle and help them incubate their ideas,” he said. “We also want to develop a structure and methodology that can help incredible founders scale across the stages.”
As part of the program, Mr. Pishevar is putting together an elite network of mentors to create a “Jedi council of incredible entrepreneurs.” The exclusive network will host gatherings, work together to solve problems and help the founders in the program.
“The greats are going to be harder to find in this world,” Mr. Pishevar said. “This is an incredibly human endeavor.”
Read more http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/06/13/moving-into-social-web-menlo-ventures-adds-partner/?partner=yahoofinance
By Erin Zlomek
Mike Norelli, a 2010 MBA graduate from MIT, experienced a collegiate entrepreneur’s dream when an investor pledged seed capital for the startup he and a few classmates had founded to convert food waste into fuel. Just as the venture was to receive that financial boost, however, Norelli backed out to accept a job at GE Energy, whose recruiter met with him after Norelli arrived at MIT’s Sloan school of Management (Sloan Full-Time MBA Profile).
“No matter what I do afterwards, I’ll be in a better position — and that includes doing a startup,” Norelli says of his GE experience.
Like Norelli, numerous business students are experimenting with entrepreneurship while at school. But most of those who will do something entrepreneurial in their careers — join startups or venture capital firms, found their own companies, or become early stage investors in companies — are unlikely to do so until years after they have graduated. A growing number of large public companies are trying to appeal to this group, reframing job opportunities to align entrepreneurial ambitions with corporate interests and prompting schools to make entrepreneurial students more aware of those options as they decide how to pursue careers after graduation.
In a 2011 survey of second-year entrepreneurship students at the Harvard Business School (Harvard Full-Time MBA Profile), 70 percent said they expected to wait one-to-seven years after graduation before pursuing an entrepreneurial project.
“The question then becomes ‘What is the best way to be spending the next five years or so in preparation for that?’” says Timothy Butler, director of career-development programs at Harvard Business School.
The topic resonates strongly with students, many of whom are exploring positions at startups, consulting firms, and large companies. The students from the 2011 HBS survey were enrolled in “Founders’ Dilemmas,” an HBS course started in 2009 by entrepreneurship professor Noam Wasserman after he had spent a decade researching early choices founders make that tend to cause problems later.
Enrollment in the class exploded to about 250 students across four sections in 2011, up from a single section of 42 students at its debut. The course won Wasserman an HBS Faculty Teaching Award.
A 2008 study of the collegiate backgrounds of more than 650 U.S.-born tech entrepreneurs also explored how long MBA graduates wait before starting companies. In that sample, the 31 percent who held MBA degrees started companies fastest, waiting an average 13.1 years after graduation. This compares to an average wait time of 14.7 years for all masters degree holders, 16.7 years for those with bachelor’s degrees, and 20.9 years for those with PhDs.
Many business schools are seeing more graduates take startup jobs after graduation. In 2010, 7 percent of HBS grads went to work at startups, up from 3 percent in 2008. Surveys of about 90 business schools found that more startups recruited MBAs for full-time positions in spring 2011 than in 2010, according to data from the MBA Career Services Council.
As interest in startup careers grows, schools are offering greater resources to help students consider all available career options. In Wasserman’s class, for example, students examine two case studies: one of an entrepreneur who worked in a corporate environment for 25 years before starting a company and another of an MBA who turned down a job at a consulting firm to start a company right after graduation. Students examine the pros and cons of each path. “Being aware of the minuses will hopefully enable students to avoid them,” Wasserman says.
Wasserman also polls his students to gauge their immediate career plans when the course begins. In 2011, 22 percent planned to take jobs at large private or public companies, 20 percent planned to join startups, 17 percent expected to enter consulting, 16 percent had plans to found a company immediately after graduation, and 12 percent planned to enter private equity.
“Some of my students who normally would have been an early hire at a startup — and on their way to becoming a founder — are showing interest in the rotational programs at large public companies,” Wasserman says.
Norelli joined this type of program at GE Energy after completing studies at MIT. “They are able to get this broad base of skills that they can then see applying down the road in a startup,” Wasserman adds.
At the South by Southwest annual technology and arts conference in Austin, Tex., in March — the event known for the debuts of Twitter and Foursquare — the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business (Ross Full-Time MBA Profile) sponsored a mixer for students interested in startup jobs.
GE (ge.) advertised job openings at the SXSW event, part of its strategy to target potential MBA startup talent. The company has spent years honing its strategy.
Initially, a GE recruiter would visit a school such as the Stanford Graduate School of Business (Stanford Full-Time MBA Profile) and pitch student entrepreneurs. “But there wasn’t much appetite for it. They would basically say ‘Why don’t you let us come up with the ideas and start the companies, and then you guys buy it,” says Erin Dillard, GE’s director of commercial development programs.
Since then, Dillard says, the company has developed a better sense of the kind of MBA entrepreneurs who are most open to their offer. The company now devotes campus trips to programs with those candidates. GE has had the most success pitching to MBAs focused on marketing and entrepreneurship, she says, and frequently hires from Cornell (Johnson Full-Time MBA Profile), Duke (Fuqua Full-Time MBA Profile), Indiana (Kelley Full-Time MBA Profile), Northwestern (Kellogg Full-Time MBA Profile), and the University of North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler Full-Time MBA Profile), among other schools.
Dillard says that this year, GE has doubled the number of MBAs it hired from entrepreneurship programs for its Experienced Commercial Leadership Program, in which Norelli chose to partake. ECLP targets MBAs with five-to-seven years of work experience and puts participants through three eight-month rotations within a GE business.
Microsoft (msft.), too, tailors its recruitment pitch to entrepreneurial MBAs. Half the candidates the company targets for openings say they hadn’t previously considered applying to the software giant, say company recruiters. Microsoft’s corporate development area, which was responsible for the company’s $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype in May, often competes with startups and venture capital firms for talent.
“Even if they are only here for three-to-five years, that is actually a huge amount of work and return we are getting out of them,” says Stacey Stovall, Microsoft’s university staffing manager.
Indeed, large tech companies usually have an easier time drawing parallels between working in their smaller units and working at a startup, says Cheri Paulson, director of career development at Babson College’s Olin Graduate School of Business (Olin Full-Time MBA Profile).
Still, health-care, consumer-products, and financial-services companies are also willing to hire students with entrepreneurial goals and Paulson focuses on finding unexpected opportunities among them. She sorts through job listings across industries and searches for those with titles such as “market intelligence analyst” and “internal consultant” — anything that might describe a position evaluating internal strategy or identifying opportunities for new markets. These positions usually replicate the responsibilities of entrepreneurs, she says.
Maria Halpern performs a similar function at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School (Wharton Full-Time MBA Profile).
As the number of Wharton students looking for jobs at startups has increased, Halpern has developed new ways of identifying job opportunities for those students as the school’s senior associate director of MBA career management. A big part of that effort involves tracking which startups are receiving the largest injections of venture capital, which often leads to new hires. A further strategy is to track emerging industries in search of smaller units created by — or acquisitions made — by large companies.
Many Wharton students are interested in cleantech, for example. With startup hiring scarce in that field, Halpern will often make candidates aware of parallel opportunities within the energy units of Cisco Systems (csco.), IBM (ibm.), or at the energy practice of a Houston consulting firm, for example.
BY MATTHIAS RIEKER
When Pat Chan, the chief executive of small Beijing software company Borqs Ltd. needed a multimillion-dollar line of credit, he didn’t go to a Chinese bank—he got his money from a Santa Clara, Calif., bank with a growing business abroad.
SVB Financial Group’s Silicon Valley Bank is a specialist for entrepreneurs, start-ups and venture-capital firms. In recent years the bank has been expanding abroad, following its customers and, in China in particular, seizing on the underserved start-up niche.
Read more http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303745304576359390414756596.html?ru=yahoo&mod=yahoo_hs
* KT to hold 51 pct stake in $65 mln joint venture
* Japanese firms looking at Korea to run data centers after quake
* KT shares down 0.4 pct, Softbank shares down 0.33 pct (Add details, background, share prices)
SEOUL, May 30 (Reuters) – KT Corp , South Korea’s second-biggest mobile operator, said on Monday that it had agreed with Japan’s Softbank Corp to set up a cloud computing joint venture worth $65 million.
KT will hold a 51 percent stake and Softbank the remaining 49 percent in the joint venture, to be created by September with 70 billion won ($65 million) in investment, a KT spokesman said.
KT said Japanese companies were looking at building power-hungry data centers in neighboring Korea as energy use was restricted in Japan and safety concerns heightened following its March earthquake and tsunami.
The joint venture will build by October an internet data center in the South Korean city of Gimhae offering cloud-computing services to Japanese companies, KT said in a statement.
Cloud computing, which allows remote access to computing power and data over the Internet, can drive down costs and save energy and has been touted as the next big trend in the technology sector.
Cloud computing generates a fraction of KT’s revenue, but the seller of Apple’s iPhone is betting big on the technology to drive growth, targeting 700 billion won in revenues from cloud computing services in 2015.
KT said last week that it and its affiliates aimed to achieve 40 trillion won in sales in 2015, with 45 percent of the sales coming from “non-telecom” areas as it moves to create new revenue streams in a nearly saturated domestic market. [ID:nL3E7GQ00Z]
Shares in KT were in line with the wider market , dropping 0.4 percent as of 0451 GMT. Softbank shares were down 0.33 percent. ($1 = 1082.400 Korean Won) (Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Chris Lewis and Jonathan Hopfner)