Struggling to keep up with all the emerging consumer related technology out there? Join the club. Check out the post by venture capitalist Brad Feld about what he calls the “Me Too Zone.”
Every emerging market hits a point where there is a mad rush of early stage entrepreneurs and VCï¿½s piling in. In some cases, it drives rapid innovation; in most it creates near term over-saturation, lots of irrational financings, and plenty of carnage as the laws of Darwin play out over the next couple of years…Iï¿½m afraid we just hit that point with RSS/Blogging. (Some of the comments and trackbacks are interesting).
He’s limiting his comment to RSS/Blogging, but look at all the VC fundings in every other conceivable consumer related technology, from niche search engine developments to digital living-room plays. We wrote a piece for the Merc today mentioning some of the latest deals, some like Become.com already covered in this space. (As for the company we couldn’t mention in the piece, our editors at the Merc wouldn’t let us write “F***edCompany.com,” even with the asterisks.)
The question is, when do we hit the “Me Too Zone” in these other sectors? The good thing is, we consumers can leave that thorn to the VCs. For most of us, there’s all this interesting innovation going on, and we can sit back and enjoy the relatively cheap offerings. One example is the cool product development at LinkedIn, which we wrote about in the above linked Merc story. To get it from the horse’s mouth, LinkedIn’s key announcements are here and here, and for anyone looking for a job right now, they’re worth playing with.
Here’s another recent case of innovation, the link up between San Francisco’s Blinkx and Santa Monica’s Movielink to form a search engine that lets you find movies and TV episodes ï¿½ and then buy or rent them. See analysis by LA Times here (sub req).
As for recent VC fundings, Palo Alto’s Avvenu, the start-up that has developed a file sharing technology that allows consumers to access files from any device connected to the Internet, has raised money from Motorola, according to VentureWire (sub required). Its product won’t ship until April, according to the report, and the exact amount of investment wasn’t disclosed. Apparently, Charles River Ventures and Worldview Technology Partners invested $5 million in a first round last September. It competes with Orb Networks and OurPictures, among others.
For now, we don’t really have to worry about when this wave of consumer-driven innovation will end; it looks set to continue for some time. With all the news, you’d think we wouldn’t have to fret about whether all these new tech-related blogs will survive (check out the controversy surrounding one Web site, as it struggles to raise money). Let’s encourage Jeffrey Nolan, though, to hang in there; he confesses that he’s considered giving up. Would be a big loss.
UPDATE: Here’s Delevett’s original story about F***edCompany.com (see comments below).