Posts Tagged ‘Foundry Companies’

StockTwits Ticker Link and Private Company Symbols

StockTwits announced two great new features in the last week that are worth checking out.

The first is a partnership with SecondMarket to expand the StockTwits platform to include private company streams. So just as you’d tag a post with $AAPL you can now tag private companies (think $ZYNGA,$4SQ, etc). Just as it is for public equitites, tagging your posts (tweets, blogs, etc.) with private company symbols is a much more efficient way to identify the company you’re talking about and become a part of the broader conversation about a company. StockTwits has put together an impressive database of private company symbols and is adding to this list daily.

The second feature was launched with less fanfare – a WordPress plugin that takes any ticker symbol in the body of a post and links them to the realtime discussion of that company at stocktwits.com. You can see how this works in this post – check out $GOOG, $CSCO and $AAPL. Very cool stuff. From a very cool company.

August 31st, 2010     Categories: Foundry Companies, Uncategorized     Tags: , ,

Join the search revolution! Introducing: Trada

image While search marketing is already a huge business, more and more companies each day are discovering the advantages of advertising directly to customers through search engines. Companies like that they can directly measure the impact of their spending – from the clicks they are generating all the way through the products they are selling as a result of those site visits and that they can quickly and easily scale up their spending on what’s working in their search campaigns. With different ad groups, ad copy and landing pages, search marketers can customize their campaigns to fit their business needs.

If there’s a downside to search, however, it’s that effectively managing search campaigns is extremely difficult. Even if you confine your efforts solely to Google the complexities of creating ad groups, generating keywords, pricing each keyword, creating deep links into your product catalogue, managing spend variants by day, figuring out broad match vs. phrase match vs exact match vs negative match, etc are daunting.

One of the ironies of search is that while technology of search itself is in many ways disaggregating the relationship between marketers and consumers (and bringing them directly together), the business of search itself isn’t something that can easily be disaggregated by technology in the same way.  Search is simply not something that lends itself well to machine automation. And while there are a few software platforms available for managing search campaigns (mostly focused on the high end of the market spending > $100k/month on search) these packages are primarily designed for people who are already search experts. It’s almost impossible to take search knowledge and put it into an algorithm. As a result, companies that lack this expertise are at a huge disadvantage in the search game (this is true of many agencies as well who use search marketing as a lead-in to offer other more lucrative services).

Today we’re launching Trada. And fundamentally changing the game in search marketing.

Trada has been working in stealth mode for the last 18 months to build a system that harnesses the power of a “crowd” of search experts to work on behalf of advertisers. The Trada system easily allows advertisers to upload campaign information and connect with hundreds of search experts. It’s not a referral site – the Trada experts work together, through the Trada platform, to create the broadest possible campaign for each advertiser. These experts get paid only for generating clicks and/or conversions for Trada advertisers (depending on whether a campaign is in pay per click or pay per action mode). We work in the middle to enable these campaigns and make our margin based on our search experts’ ability to beat your pre-determined CPC or CPA rates.

The company opened its system to a small group of advertisers in January 2009 as it worked out the specifics of the platform. Trada has served over 70 customers in that time period. The average campaign in the Trada system has over 100 ads (most proposed by Trada optimizers), 6,200 keywords and an average of more than 20 optimizers working on behalf of each advertiser. If you’re working in search marketing, these numbers blow you away. Advertisers can currently run campaigns – through a single Trada interface – on Google, Yahoo and Bing.

This company is near and dear to my heart, as I’ve been with CEO Niel Robertson and the rest of the Trada team from the very start of the business (and together with them am a co-founder of the company; read Niel’s post launching the company on the Trada blog). I’ve known Niel for almost 10 years now and one of our goals with Trada has been to step away from the traditional VC/CEO relationship. We’ve done that over the last 18 months of the business and developed an unusually close partnership – the initial result of which you see today. There’s a ton more to come with Trada. Stay tuned!

Learn more about the search revolution at www.trada.com.

March 18th, 2010     Categories: Foundry Companies, stealth     Tags: , ,

Our StockTwits Investment

This is a cross-post from our Foundry blog entry on our latest investment – in the microblogging company StockTwits. I’ve been working closely with Howard and Soren from the company as well as StockTwits investors Roger Ehrenberg and Tony Conrad as we’ve looked at the investment and worked on the financing. These guys are fantastic! For me it’s the chance to work with this team that’s the most exciting thing about today’s announcement. If you haven’t tried the service I’d encourage you to do so – there are links in the post below to grab the desktop client or directing you to the site. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Today StockTwits announced (release here) that it had raised a $3m Series B financing led by Foundry Group and returning investor True Ventures. For us, StockTwits represents a unique opportunity to leverage the increasingly active conversation taking place on (and off) the Twitter platform around stocks and markets. We’ve witnessed in other investments the power of 3rd party networks to drive the scale and reach of new businesses and we believe StockTwits represents a huge opportunity to harness the Twitter community’s ongoing conversation around stocks and investing.
If you’ve ever tagged a tweet with the $ tag or tweeted a stock symbol using that tag you’ve participated in the StockTwits conversation. StockTwits uses the familiar Twitter microblogging format (140 characters) and allows users to seamlessly cross-post from and to their Twitter stream. Users can tag their Twitter posts with the $ tag to be picked up in StockTwits, use the StockTwits web interface or download the StockTwits desktop for even greater functionality (we’d highly recommend the desktop client – you can get it here if you don’t already have it). Below is a screenshot of the desktop client to give you a sense of what’s available. This view can be customized to follow specific tickers or topics as they’re mentioned. You can also see StockTwitsTV on the right half of the desktop – look for more programming as we roll out additional content in the coming months on the StockTwits Network.

But can stock advice really be offered in 140 characters or less? The answer is a resounding yes. There is a large and extremely active conversation taking place in StockTwits (to get a sense of it click over to the StockTwits site and watch the dataflow). And large trading organizations are taking notice. The NASDAQ recently released an iPhone application that features StockTwits data (see the screenshot to the left). Look for other StockTwits integrations to be announced soon as the company uses this new round of funding to accelerate its pace of development as well as its work with partners. You’ll also see the company releasing additional features in its desktop client and on its site as well as rolling out new data features and the ability for users to create custom data feeds from the StockTwits datastore.
Of course great investments require great people. And we couldn’t be more excited about working with StockTwits founders Howard Linzdon (whom we’ve known for years) and Soren Macbeth. We’re joining Roger Ehrenberg of IA Capital Partners and Tony Conrad of True Ventures in this investment – two experienced entrepreneurs and venture capitalists with whom we’re extremely pleased to be teaming up.
Look for more announcements about the company soon.

December 2nd, 2009     Categories: Foundry Companies     Tags: ,

Welcoming the new Lijit Welcome Wijit

Lijit quietly released a very cool new widget for users of their service (that’s you, right?). The new Lijit Welcome Wijit greets site visitors who come to your site via a search term and gives them a relevant roadmap of your site as it relates to the search query that brought them there. It’s great for your site visitors who now have additional context for their interest in your content. It’s also great for publishers who can now create a more sticky experience for their users and expand the cross pollination of their content. From Greg Keller’s post on the Lijit blog, the Welcom Wijit is about:

  • Welcoming new readers to your site when they’ve linked in from somewhere else…e.g. a search engine, blogroll that includes your site, etc. They land on your property and they get a true ‘greeting’ to say thanks for stopping by!
  • Better content discovery: Readers landing on your site for the first time will have an initial experience right off the bat of mining your content. What is old to you is all new to your new readers! Welcome Wijit will help them find it easily.
  • Tools tools tools for your readers: The Welcome Wijit by design is about improved loyalty and return visits. The Wijit offers features to quickly add your feed to RSS readers, My Yahoo and iGoogle home pages to ensure they have you earmarked for return visits.
  • Pre-selected search results: When a reader is searching the web for something and they stumble upon your site, Welcome Wijit knows that search term and will provide a pre-selected list of the top 3 relevant items fitting that search on your blog, within your content and throughout your network…given them a true ‘feel’ of the Lijit search experience.
  • Advertising opportunities: We’re committed to doing what we can to make you more money! Similar to your Search Engine Results Page advertising, Welcome Wijit provides Google Ads to ensure more relevant ads are seen and clicked through by your readers.

Below is an example from VC Adventure, which shows what you might see if you come to my blog after searching about how to get a job in venture capital:

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You can see the Welcome Wijit under the main nav bar – set up with a welcome message, easy way to subscribe and a search box set to expand the search term the user arrived on to the entire blog. Readers can easily see my Lijit Network, view my RSS feed and search my site. The reader also has the option to expand the wijit view for even more information (the search is then populated with results from my blog and tabs to expand that to additional content I’ve generated elsewhere and my expanded network).

Installation is a breeze (it took me about 2 minutes) and can be done from your Lijit account (if you’re already using Lijit search there’s no new code to insert into your blog. Check out the Welcome Wijit page at Lijit for more info.

September 22nd, 2009     Categories: Foundry Companies     Tags: ,

Are you a PPC expert? Read on…

One of our portfolio companies (a heretofore stealthy one at that) is looking for Pay Per Click stars (Google AdWords Qualified or SEMPO Institute training preferred) to join their crowdsourced PPC marketplace. If you’re a PPC marketing expert click here to find out more and sign up.

Lots more on Trada (which we haven’t yet been talking about broadly) in the coming months as they really start to open up.

August 27th, 2009     Categories: Foundry Companies     Tags: ,