Savage beasts and bizarre IPOs

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Silicon Valley is so surreal sometimes, it drives us out of bed in the morning without need of coffee. Our Mercury News carries pages of daily business news, but there’s no way it can cover all the quirky stuff going on here. Two items that made us stroke our virtual beard today, courtesy of VentureWire:

— The Oakland company Savage Beast Technologies, which seeks to understand the “DNA of music,” see VentureWire’s story (sorry, subscription required) says it has raised $7.7 million more in a second round of venture capital to build out its platform, which uses a musical attribute similarity technology to recommend music to users. In building its database, it assigns each song 200 to 400 characteristics related to the instruments used – tempo, lyrics and so on. What caught our eye is that they’ve appointed a guy from E-Loan (Joe Kennedy, the former president and chief operating officer) to run the company. So E-Loan and music go together? Turns out Kennedy may be more important in performing a “balance sheet cleanup”, for which $2 million has been assigned. Venture Wire says Savage Beast had raised some bridge financing since its $1.5 million Series A round, raised in 2000 from individual investors. (VentureWire might want to check this, though, because we noted earlier this year that Savage Beat had raised $8.7 million from Labrador Ventures, WaldenVC, and Selby Venture Partners, the same partners that VentureWire mentions. Either it’s a mighty bridge loan, or it’s a case of Savage Beast double dipping for publicity, or both. Note that Labrador Ventures even mentions the first-quarter 2004 round on its homepage)

–The IPO of Conor Medsystems, a medical device company in Palo Alto that doesn’t have a product on the market yet, and hence no revenue. Shares of the vascular drug delivery company rose 2% on its first day of trading Tuesday on the Nasdaq. Wow, this reminds us of the boom-days when networking company Corvis went public without any revenue and traded at a market cap in the billions. Still, the experts say it’s a “hot” sector. So it must be true.


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