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Posts Tagged ‘Monty’

Ex-MySQL, Nokia Execs Close $60 M Fund For Europe-Focused VC Firm Open Ocean

May 25th, 2011 05:18 admin View Comments

Exclusive - Open Ocean, a recently established venture capital firm co-founded by the investors who closed the $1 billion sale of MySQL to Sun Microsystems, has just finalized its Fund Three with approximately $60 million (40 million euros) in capital in the first closing, TechCrunch has learned.

The fund kicks off the first widespread outreach from the former MySQL and Nokia team members to founders and startups primarily based in Europe; the focus of the new fund will be squarely on community and open source software ventures.

Open Ocean’s strategy is to start investments at approximately $1 million – with additional performance-based rounds totaling up to $8 million – usually translating to a 10-40% stake in portfolio companies. The target size for the fund is $80 million (60 million euros).

Current investments include SkySQL, WOT, MoSync and Ironstar Helsinki.

The firm is led by partners Patrik Backman, Ralf Wahlsten (who both previously worked for MySQL) and former Nokia executive Tom Henriksson, as well as Michael “Monty” Widenius, the original developer of the MySQL database and co-founder of MySQL.

For your further reading pleasure:

MySQL founders invest in Swedish mobile tech startup Mobile Sorcery (Sept 2009)

Former MySQL CEO Marten Mickos Joins Benchmark As EIR (Sept 2009)

Former MySQL CEO Marten Mickos joins Index Ventures as EIR (Jan 2010)

Source: Ex-MySQL, Nokia Execs Close $60 M Fund For Europe-Focused VC Firm Open Ocean

Which Startup Is Cleared For Launch As Europe’s Next €100+ Million Exit?

May 16th, 2011 05:01 admin View Comments

This is a guest post by Monty Munford, blogger at Monty’s Outlook and freelance Mobile/social consultant is (also a Bollywood actor, next movie out April 2011). He tweets @montymunford.

Eighteen entrepreneurs from around the UK recently spent a week on the West Coast of the US as part of Webmisson. As part of the visit, the group attended the TechCrunch offices in San Francisco and were part of an impromptu Q&A with TechCrunch’s Sarah Lacy.

In a good-natured discussion, the question was posited to Lacy that perhaps business people in Europe, and especially London, were ‘nicer’ than their Silicon Valley counterparts. Lacy, somewhat witheringly, replied that maybe that was so, but which London-based companies had $10+ billion valuations?

Quite… Europe has no extant pretenders to the likes of Google, Twitter or even Salesforce and Zynga. Perhaps it should embody the attitude of rock legend Alice Cooper in his (great) song No More Mister Nice Guy and become more obsessed, but perhaps things are fine as they are.

There are a number of European companies that could soon exit for a more modest $100+ million or the localised equivalent in Euros. More pertinently, is it possible, even likely, that it will be a start-up that does so?

When I crowdsourced this question on Twitter, there were a number of proffered candidates, most of whom I knew about and a couple that I didn’t. While I’m sure TC Europe readers won’t hold back in suggesting ones I should have included and apologies for any glaring omissions, here’s my short-list. So it goes.

Let’s start with the UK. where the most obvious contender is Spotify. Recent winner of the Start-Up 100 Awards in London, the ad-supported music-streaming service has revolutionised the way music is delivered and has set itself firmly as the bulwark against pirated music. With a move into the US seemingly imminet, Spotify’s value could be exponential.

However, there are warning signs ahoy. Amazon launched a music service in March and this week (May 10th), Google launched Music Beta to join the battle against Spotify. While both companies have struggled to bring record labels on board, Spotify’s current relationship with these record labels may enable it to prevail. But, to bowdlerise a well-known maxim, nobody ever got fired for using Google and Amazon products.

Then there’s Shoreditch-based Mind Candy and owner of Moshi Monsters, self-styled by its founders as the ‘Facebook for kids’. The site is such a phenomenon that even a €100+ million exit may be a woefully inadequate valuation. Just about skint and heading for bankruptcy two years ago, it proves how quickly things can change with a start-up. Consequently after going through all that pain, it may be some time before they decide to sell up.

So enough of the behemoth start-ups in the UK, what of the smaller and more nimble companies? The list is endless, but one UK company that stands out from this particular crowd is social media monitor Brandwatch. Operating across multi-languages, the company uses online tools that measure the buzz around a company or its competitors. It gathers, cleans, analyses and then presents that data to its customers that include some of the world’s biggest brands.

As the market leader in Europe, the recent $240 million acquisition of Brandwatch’s US rival Radian6 by Salesforce underscores how valuable this sector is. Brandwatch also claims that its proprietary social tools can measure ‘sentiment analysis’ more effectively than Radian6′s outsourced model, so the auguries appear aligned for the company.

Under the Channel Tunnel across to Continental Europe, Berlin-based Soundcloud now has more than four million users. Founded in 2007 by Swedes Alexander Ljung and Eric Wahlforss in an effort to ‘unmute the web’, SoundCloud’s audio file-sharing service for music professionals is becoming the standard audio platform for musicians, producers and record labels.

Soundcloud is also used by non-professionals to record any type of sound and disseminate it immediately, be that through a mobile application or the website, and then embed that content within blogs and social networks. It sounds (groan) so good that I might finally use it myself.

Finally, and on a more topical note, Paris-based professional social network Viadeo may be the immediate beneficiary of LinkedIn’s recently valuation of $3.5 billion. Viadeo has more than 35 million customers, mostly in the non-English-speaking world and is the market leader in France, Italy and Spain.

Profitable since 2009, Viadeo has made shrewd acquisitions in India, China and Brazil, leading CEO Dan Sefarty to claim that the company is ahead of LinkedIn in these territories. Viadeo recently set up an office in San Francisco, less than 40 miles from LinkedIn’s head office, a pugnacious move that may be a challenge too far for LinkedIn. Perhaps some of that IPO money will be spent ridding themselves of this turbulent social networking beast. What price Viadeo, LinkedIn?

So there it is. Three countries, four sectors and enough potential for all five companies to head for the exits. Whether that will be enough for TechCrunch’s Sarah Lacy in Silicon Valley, who knows? But at least it’s a significant start. The Europeans are coming, really, they are, and
there’ll be no need for them to act like Alice Cooper… probably.

Source: Which Startup Is Cleared For Launch As Europe’s Next €100+ Million Exit?

Gillmor Gang 4.10.11 (TCTV)

April 10th, 2011 04:46 admin View Comments

The Gillmor Gang — Robert Scoble, Doc Searls, Kevin Marks, Andrew Keen, and Steve Gillmor — dive deep into the reasons why Google has its work cut out for it in the fight for social credibility. @scobleizer thinks it’s because the engineers of the search startup don’t understand the value of wasting time. Doc Searls, who arrived late in the show due to a failure to understand how clocks waste time, thinks there’s room for failing at social.

In a week where Netflix paid a million dollars per episode for the full Monty of seven seasons of Mad Men, the new challenger to HBO and Showtime puts a price tag on the value of the model formerly known as the rerun. British philosopher and TCTV interviewer Andrew Keen agrees with In The Plex author Steven Levy that Google’s future lies with mastering Artificial Intelligence. Watch for a secret revealed about new CEO Larry Page. Hint: he doesn’t need a microwave.

Source: Gillmor Gang 4.10.11 (TCTV)

First Installment of Xiph.org’s ‘Digital Video Primer For Geeks’

September 23rd, 2010 09:47 admin View Comments

Ignorant Aardvark writes “Xiph.org just released the first installment in its video series ‘A Digital Video Primer For Geeks,’ which covers digital audio and video fundamentals. The first video covers basic concepts of how digital audio and video are encoded, and does so in an understandable fashion. The video is hosted by Monty, the founder of Xiph.org (the people who brought you Ogg), and explains a lot of concepts (FourCC codes, YUV color space, gamma, etc.) that many watchers of digital video have long been exposed to, but don’t quite understand themselves. The intent of the video series (in addition to general education) is to spur interest in digital encoding and get more free software hackers involved in digital audio/video.”

Source: First Installment of Xiph.org’s ‘Digital Video Primer For Geeks’

Breaking Open the Video Frontier, Despite MPEG-LA

July 23rd, 2010 07:54 admin View Comments

JimLynch writes “Did you know that nearly every video produced for Web viewing has been, at one point or another, in MPEG format no matter in what format the video is ultimately saved? According to Chris ‘Monty’ Montgomery, nearly every consumer device outputs video in MPEG format. Which means that every software video decoder has to have MPEG-licensed technology in order to process/edit video.”

An interesting snippet: “But there’s hope on the horizon. Besides the codecs and formats from the Xiph.Org Foundation, the new WebM format announced by Google in May will ideally provide consumers and developers with another alternative. Montgomery has thrown Xiph.Org support behind WebM, because Google’s financial muscle (not to mention their free license) will have a real chance to break the hold MPEG-LA has on the market.”

Source: Breaking Open the Video Frontier, Despite MPEG-LA

Theora Development Continues Apace, VP8 Now Open Source

May 19th, 2010 05:32 admin View Comments

SergeyKurdakov writes “Monty ‘xiphmont’ Montgomery of the Xiph Foundation, says the latest action-packed, graph- and demo-clip-stuffed Theora project update page (demo 9) is now up for all and sundry! Catch up on what’s gone into the new Theora encoder Ptalarbvorm over the last few months. It also instructs how to pronounce ‘Ptalarbvorm.’ Ptalarbvorm is not a finished release encoder yet, though I’ve personally been using it in production for a few months. Pace on improvements hasn’t slowed down — the subjective psychovisual work being done by Tim Terriberry and Greg Maxwell has at least doubled-again on the improvements made by Thusnelda, and they’re not anywhere near done yet. As a bonus Monty gathered all Xiph demo pages in one place.”

Also on the video codec front, and also with a Xiph connection, atamido writes “Google has released On2′s VP8 video codec to the world, royalty-free. It is packaging it with Vorbis audio, in a subset of the Matroska container, and calling it WebM. It’s not branded as an exclusively Google project — Mozilla and Opera are also contributors. Builds of your favorite browsers with full support are available.”

Source: Theora Development Continues Apace, VP8 Now Open Source

Ogg Format Accusations Refuted

April 27th, 2010 04:21 admin View Comments

SergeyKurdakov sends in a followup to our discussion a couple of months ago on purported shortcomings to the Ogg format. The inventor of the format, Monty “xiphmont” Montgomery of the Xiph Foundation, now refutes those objections in detail, with the introduction: “Earnest falsehoods left unchallenged risk being accepted as fact.” The refutation has another advantage besides authoritativeness: it’s far better written than the attack.

Source: Ogg Format Accusations Refuted

Gillmor Gang 4.10.11 (TCTV)

November 29th, 2001 11:00 admin View Comments

The Gillmor Gang — Robert Scoble, Doc Searls, Kevin Marks, Andrew Keen, and Steve Gillmor — dive deep into the reasons why Google has its work cut out for it in the fight for social credibility. @scobleizer thinks it’s because the engineers of the search startup don’t understand the value of wasting time. Doc Searls, who arrived late in the show due to a failure to understand how clocks waste time, thinks there’s room for failing at social.

In a week where Netflix paid a million dollars per episode for the full Monty of seven seasons of Mad Men, the new challenger to HBO and Showtime puts a price tag on the value of the model formerly known as the rerun. British philosopher and TCTV interviewer Andrew Keen agrees with In The Plex author Steven Levy that Google’s future lies with mastering Artificial Intelligence. Watch for a secret revealed about new CEO Larry Page. Hint: he doesn’t need a microwave.

Source: Gillmor Gang 4.10.11 (TCTV)