Interesting Start-ups: Pinterest, Ness, Everlane, Shaker

A v2.0 of Ma.gnolia and Del.icio.us, Pinterest is an interesting start-up.  And judging from the number of “new follower” e-mails I get daily, it’s interesting to a lot of my friends, too.  But I’m not totally sold on this one.  Do we need another source for content curation in addition to Twitter, Facebook, RSS, LinkedIn, and traditional media websites?  For the sake of the company’s impressive list of investors, I hope I’m wrong, but nevertheless it will be interesting to see the evolution of this site along with the cadre of recently launched competitors: Canv.as, Snip.it, Svpply.com, Nuji.com and Pearltrees.com.  UI and speed to scale are going to be the keys to success in this space – and in this regard Pinterest seems to be doing a great job. (more…)

Quote: Warren Buffett on Ignoring Stock Market Chatter

“We don’t buy and sell stocks based upon what other people think the stock market is going to do, (I never have an opinion) but rather upon what we think the company is going to do.  The course of the stock market will determine to a great degree, when we will be right, but the accuracy of our analysis of the company will largely determine whether we will be right. Who would think of buying or selling a private business because of someone’s guess on the stock market?”  -Warren Buffett

My dad recently sent me this quote.  I like it because it helps keep short-term commentary from affecting long-term analysis and opinion, the true focus of investing (in my opinion).  Through the SIF, I have had the chance to hear similar thoughts on investing from people such as Dave Iben at Tradewinds; he doesn’t want to hear anything unless it will be meaningful in five years.  It’s nice to hear that others try to ignore CNBC and the like, too.

Entrepreneurship: Picking A Co-Founder

I’m sitting in my entrepreneurship class, Cases in New Ventures, taught by Professor Steven Mednick.  The first half of each class is a series of student presentations, which are little boring to be honest, but the second half of class is great.  During the second-half of each class, an entrepreneur speaks to us about their entrepreneurial journey.  Last week we heard from an entrepreneur that had a $160mm deal fall apart during the 2008 financial crisis.  This week, we heard from an entrepreneur whose partner cratered a $100mm deal.  My big takeaway this week was one key item: Pick your co-founder carefully.  Below is the advice that the entrepreneur gave us. (more…)

Update: Stock Pitch Template for the MBA Crowd

Last year while applying to USC’s Student Investment Fund, I put my stock pitch on my site to be used as a template by others.  Admittedly, that model was a bit of a hackjob given my time constraint.  But thankfully it was good enough to help me get into the Student Investment Fund (I now co-manage the California Small Cap Fund).

I recently created an updated stock pitch template for my SIF classmates at the request of Professor Ku based on my valuation background.  Here is the new Excel valuation template.  This model is much simpler, and it does a better job with sensitivity analyses.  If you are going to use this model for a pitch, I would recommend creating a revenue build sheet to build up to forecasted sales.  This will show your interviewer that you know the business’s revenue model. (more…)

Quotes from the Late Steve Jobs

I didn’t fully appreciate how much I admired Steve Jobs until he passed away yesterday.  This man lived life and revolutionized three industries: Computers, music and cell phones.  Steve was impressive and inspiring not just because of his accomplishments, but also because of his perspectives.  I thought it would be nice to share two of Steve’s quotes that I find particularly salient and timeless to commemorate his passing.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” (more…)

Venture Capital Overview: Industry Stats, Top Funds, Investment Structures, and How to Get Into the Game

Yesterday I held a session on the venture capital market for some of my Class of 2013 classmates.  Getting into VC is elusive, if not nearly impossible, so I held this session to pass along the knowledge I have acquired through my limited background with the industry.  My hope is that this information will help them get into the industry.  I thought it would be helpful to also post this information here for a broader audience.  The discussion below is intended to serve as a jumping off point for someone trying to learn more about venture capital, not a definitive guide.  Also, there are many exceptions to VC rules or “standards” (if you can call them that); so if you have information to share, please don’t be shy about adding to the discussion in the comments section. (more…)

Interesting Start-ups: Gigwalk, Bloomspot, Gogobot, Hotel Tonight

I’m back to blogging after a hiatus due to my internship. I thought a good way to kick-off the fall would be to highlight some of the interesting start-ups I’ve observed over the last few months.  So, in no particular order, here are some interesting consumer internet start-ups which are appealing for different reasons: Gigwalk, Bloomspot, Gogobot and Hotel Tonight.

Gigwalk, an app, is an interesting play on distributed mobile workforces.  As a public equity investor, there are some compelling applications for this technology in the area of market research.  I could see this being used in a manner similar to the research performed by organizations such as Grassroots Research.

Bloomspot, a site referred to as a Groupon clone by others, is interesting not because of its deals, but because of its closed loop commerce platform.  Enhanced analytics is the future of the deal space, and these guys seem to be onto something.  Apparently (more…)

Software Industry Analysis, August 2011: My USC Student Investment Fund Summer Project

As a part of my involvement in the USC Student Investment Fund, I had to write an analysis of the software industry.  This report was due during my second week of school, so I had to quickly crank this out after my internship.  Given my time constraint and the high-level scope of this report, it likely isn’t too insightful to anyone who is already familiar with the software industry.  However, if you are unacquainted with the inner workings of software, this report provides a good starting point.  I realize the Industry Overview and Industry Size sections are a little dry, but hopefully you find the rest interesting.  Enjoy. (more…)

Summer Hiatus Due to Internship

It’s time to switch gears from school to work.   I will be spending this summer interning as a Summer Associate in the investment banking division of Credit Suisse, focusing on mergers and acquisitions, IPOs and private placements.  As a result of the increased workload, and more importantly because of the private nature of the work that I will be doing, I am taking a summer break from blogging.  I am looking forward to posting again in the fall when it’s appropriate.  In the meantime, if there are any topics you would like me to post about in the future, please drop me a line.  Have a great summer everybody.