Verified Expert Lawyer: Mike Lincoln


This post is by Eric Eldon from TechCrunch


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In 1999, Mike Lincoln co-founded the first East Coast office of top Silicon Valley law firm Cooley LLP. Over the last two decades, he has built out the practice to extend well beyond the region, today covering Boston and New York too, while also heading up the firm’s business department, and serving as an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia.

Along the way, he has collected an impassioned group of founder clients, more than two dozen of whom had a lot to tell us about how he has helped them.


On being a startup lawyer:

“[I]f you really believe you can make dreams happen and that you can help create jobs and you can help cure disease and other things that startups do, then your practice will flourish and the money will follow because people will see it in your eyes. They’ll see that you’re passionate about helping to

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Talk about the big news from GDC with TechCrunch writers


This post is by Eric Eldon from TechCrunch


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The Game Developers Conference concludes today in San Francisco but that doesn’t mean our coverage is over.

TechCrunch writer Lucas Matney and Extra Crunch contributor Eric Peckham were at the Moscone Center and got a first-hand glimpse into what is coming up for gamers and developers alike. And at noon PT today they’ll be sharing what they saw with Extra Crunch members on a conference call.

First, there can be no discussion about gaming news this week without mentioning Google’s new game-streaming service Stadia. As Lucas wrote this week, the service will let gamers leave their hefty GPUs and expensive systems behind … and the service can be used on devices with a Chrome browser and an internet connection.

They’ll also be discussing the latest about game engines, VR and voice-based gaming.

To listen to the call and the opportunity to participate in future conference calls, become a member of

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Pre- and Post-Money SAFEs: Choosing the right one for your startup


This post is by Eric Eldon from TechCrunch


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With Y Combinator’s Demo Day taking place at Pier 48 in San Francisco next week, its largest batch of companies ever is getting ready to present to an audience of select investors. Having taken Atrium through Demo Day myself, I have first-hand knowledge of the process. When the founders have finished their pitches, the time to talk numbers will closely follow. Chief among the many decisions founders will face during this time is whether to opt for the Pre-Money SAFE or the new Post-Money SAFE, the two standardized legal documents that YC has introduced in recent years.

Both versions are meant to make the process fast, easy and fair for both parties in the early-stage fundraising process. But there are crucial

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Verified Expert Lawyer: Mital Makadia


This post is by Eric Eldon from TechCrunch


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Mital Makadia’s legal career began on the East Coast, with Big Law firms, but she moved into early-stage startup work with long-time Silicon Valley boutique Grellas Shah nearly a decade ago. She’ll work with companies on a range of usual startup issues, but she and the firm also focus on individual founder representation (when it comes to that).

As part of the interview below, we got into a conversation about contentious terms in term sheets — and she ended up writing a guest post for us about the biggest gotchas that she sees in Series A docs. Read up on her here, then go check out What To Watch For In A VC Term Sheet.


On the founder focus:

“We approach the practice with a view to protecting the founders. So we’re not looking to please the VCs. And if that means reviewing the transaction a little bit differently then

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Verified Expert Lawyer: Jared Verzello


This post is by Eric Eldon from TechCrunch


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TechCrunch is profiling great startup lawyers wherever they may be working — and that includes within new companies built from the ground up around tech. Today, we’re interviewing Jared Verzello of Atrium. While even the most old-line of law firms have begun integrating document automation and analysis software, Atrium started that way. Around two years old, it’s both a full-service corporate law firm, Atrium LLP, and a technology startup, Atrium Legal Technology Services, that focuses on building tech for its clients and lawyers.

For his part, Verzello joined Atrium 18 months ago from Silicon Valley law firm Cooley LLP, and heads up the seed stage practice. In the interview below, he tells us how he got into this position, how he works with startups from within Atrium, and trends he’s seeing in the market today.


On common founder mistakes:

“Having represented over 20% of Y Combinator (YC) companies for the

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Verified Expert Lawyer: Sam Angus


This post is by Eric Eldon from TechCrunch


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Sam Angus has been a lawyer in Silicon Valley since the 1990s. Today, he represents some of the biggest names in the startup world, from their earliest days through acquisitions and IPOs, and including four acquisitions last year: TSheets, GitHub, Glint and HelloSign.

But his startup experience actually goes back to the 1980s, when he and some friends built a booming calendar publishing business out of their dorm room during college. In the interview below, he tells us about the ups and downs of the tech industry over the decades, how he helps clients through the good times and bad, and how he works within Fenwick & West, one of the leading tech law firms in tech. We also discuss long-term trends, like the shift towards founder-friendly terms in this era versus past decades in the Valley.


On early-stage problems:

“I’ve represented hundreds of early-stage companies. It is not

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Verified Expert Lawyer: José Ancer


This post is by Eric Eldon from TechCrunch


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José Ancer is first of all a startup lawyer, with a client portfolio of startups of various stages based around Texas and other similar ecosystems outside of Silicon Valley. He’s also the CTO of Egan Nelson LLP, a boutique firm, where he actively is also building automation software to help the firm compete against larger firms. He also writes on his blog “Silicon Hills Lawyer” publicly and pointedly about his profession — and often takes shots at certain practices common among startup law firms, including Silicon Valley firms. You can get a sense of what’s in the full interview via these excerpts.


On not being “owned” by VCs and repeat players

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         “José has a depth of expertise in startup/company formation/funding issues and is very founder-friendly. He was able to guide us through our seed stage while staying efficient and keeping the billing reasonable.”                           <cite>Mary Haskett, Austin, <div class="post-limited-image"><img class="aligncenter vertical wp-image-1787535" src="https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/overview-jose-ancer.png" alt="" width="729" height="864" srcset="https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/overview-jose-ancer.png 2200w, https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/overview-jose-ancer.png?resize=127,150 127w, https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/overview-jose-ancer.png?resize=253,300 253w, https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/overview-jose-ancer.png?resize=768,910 768w, https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/overview-jose-ancer.png?resize=574,680 574w, https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/overview-jose-ancer.png?resize=42,50 42w" sizes="(max-width: 729px) 100vw, 729px" /></div>

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Introducing the Verified Experts of Extra Crunch


This post is by Eric Eldon from TechCrunch


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TechCrunch is launching something a little different today. We’re going to help startup founders find the best outside experts to work with — so you can build a better company, faster.

From lawyers to accountants to executive coaches and a dozen more categories, the mesh network of service providers in Silicon Valley and other startup ecosystems is a vital part of how companies succeed.

But many early-stage founders don’t even know that this sort of help exists. Or maybe, you think you don’t need help yet. Or maybe, you know you need help — you just aren’t finding the right people through your own network.

Starting today, with our coverage of startup lawyers and startup law, we are beginning a long-term effort to solve these problems. It’s part of Extra Crunch, our new membership program that we launched last week.

Here’s what’s coming today, and beyond.

The verified experts

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Meet a great startup lawyer: Cynthia Hess


This post is by Eric Eldon from TechCrunch


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In late December, we launched our startup lawyer survey and to date we’ve received more than 1700 responses from startup leaders about hundreds of lawyers around the country and the world.

“Cynthia just gets it! She has ‘your’ hat on. She is not just doing a transaction. She is representing and working for you. Amazing!” Kara Goldin, founder and CEO of hint, inc.

Today we begin to publish the results of that survey, beginning with our first verified expert, a seasoned Silicon Valley attorney who has been working with all sizes of companies for two decades.

Cynthia Clarfield Hess has been a lawyer in Silicon Valley since 2000, working with all sizes of companies across their needs from company formation on. While you may see her name on various legal rankings services, she still splits her time between all stages of clients. 

Read on for more from Cynthia

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How we’re finding the best lawyers for early-stage startups


This post is by Eric Eldon from TechCrunch


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We’re nearing 1,000 submissions from startup founders and leaders in Silicon Valley and across the world about the best early-stage tech lawyers to work with. As we’ve sorted through survey responses and begun scheduling interviews with the first qualified nominees, we’ve gotten a bunch of questions. We love questions.

First of all, why are we creating a living list of great tech startup lawyers? Lawyers don’t create startups, but they can help great startups succeed. They can also kill promising ventures before they have time to get off the ground. Who you use as your lawyer matters, and yet, there are no great resources to help early-stage founders navigate this decision.

Need more detail before you take the survey? Read on.

A living list

We are not making a listicle or an occasional ranking like what you might see on other news sites or legal review services. Instead, we are

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Help us find the best startup lawyers


This post is by Eric Eldon from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




We’re looking for the best lawyers who are working with startups today, and we’d like your recommendations.

Right now, it’s hard to find the sort of attorney who can help you see around corners as a young company, negotiate tricky situations, and connect you to other legal experts when you need to go deep on a topic.

Help us by filling out this two-minute survey.

If you’re like me, you’ve spent hours researching online, working your network for word-of-mouth recommendations, and going through a trial-and-error process. TechCrunch is trying to save you time and money here by publishing a list of lawyers who other founders have had great experiences with.

Since we began the project last month, we’ve already heard from nearly 600 founders and early startup leaders about lawyers they recommend, across booming local startup scenes and top Silicon Valley companies. We’ve also gotten great feedback about lawyers

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Help TechCrunch find the best lawyers for startups


This post is by Eric Eldon from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




TechCrunch is working on a new project to help you build a better company.

We’re looking for the great service providers in the startup world: the lawyers, accountants, recruiters, human resource managers, project managers and other experts you need to help you succeed. We’re putting together detailed lists of experts based on recommendations from our readers, and our own research, so that you can quickly find the right person to bring on — so you can go back to focusing on your core product.

We’re kicking off this project today by trying to identify the startup lawyers that founders love to work with.

Have you worked with an attorney who, say, helped you clean up a messy business contract, or set up a compelling compensation structure for your team, or saw around a corner on a big legal issue you didn’t know about?

Tell us more by filling out this

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Why so many tech companies are creating shows


This post is by Eric Eldon from TechCrunch


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Editor’s note: Jay Acunzo is the author of the new book Break the Wheel, which explores how the world’s best creators break from conventional thinking to think for themselves. He’s a former digital media strategist at Google, head of content at HubSpot, and VP of brand at the seed VC, NextView.

The deep tones of synth music begins to play. A crackling sound emerges, as if from static electricity, followed by a single strum from an electric guitar that shatters the silence. A man’s voice booms.

“I really didn’t get fascinated with design until I learned what it was and what it could actually do.”

These are the opening moments of InVision’s “Design Disruptors,” a now-famous film within the design community. This hour-long video features some of the biggest and brightest names in software design today, hailing from companies like Google, Lyft, Netflix, Dropbox, and more.

Continue reading “Why so many tech companies are creating shows”

Solve, MIT’s take on social innovation challenges, may be different enough to work


This post is by Eric Eldon from TechCrunch


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Since McKinsey released a report on how best to use prizes to incentivize innovation nearly a decade ago, an entire industry has grown around social innovation challenges. The formula for these “save the world” competitions has become standard. Drum up a lot of buzz around an award. Partner with big names to get funding and high-profile judges. Try and get as many submissions as possible from across the world. Whittle down the submissions and come up with a list of finalists that get to pitch at a glitzy event with a lot of media attention.

On the final stage, based on pitches that last for mere minutes, judges typically pick one winner that can get upwards of millions in prize funding. Don’t have a software platform to run a challenge of this kind? No worries, numerous for-profit vendors have sprung up that can do all the work for you—for anywhere

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Betterment keeps growing as fintech competitors rise


This post is by Eric Eldon from TechCrunch


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Betterment, which Barron’s recently declared the largest independent online financial adviser, is betting that the future of online investing includes a blend of robot and human advisers. And the plan is working, according to chief executive Jon Stein.

However, incumbents like Vanguard have leveraged existing strengths to move in to the market, and other startups like Robinhood have carved out swathes of the fast-growing market.
In response, Betterment has launched a series of new high-touch features on the platform, including “advice packages” that its users can buy to receive one-time advice from professional human experts.

In the interview below, Stein shares new details on the company’s growth, its plans to fend off the rise of commission-free trading, an eventual bear market and the many other challenges in the space, and eventually going public.

Gregg Schoenberg: Things have changed a lot for Betterment and the entire sector since we first sat

Continue reading “Betterment keeps growing as fintech competitors rise”

Betterment keeps growing as fintech competitors rise


This post is by Eric Eldon from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Betterment, which Barron’s recently declared the largest independent online financial adviser, is betting that the future of online investing includes a blend of robot and human advisers. And the plan is working, according to chief executive Jon Stein.

However, incumbents like Vanguard have leveraged existing strengths to move in to the market, and other startups like Robinhood have carved out swathes of the fast-growing market.
In response, Betterment has launched a series of new high-touch features on the platform, including “advice packages” that its users can buy to receive one-time advice from professional human experts.

In the interview below, Stein shares new details on the company’s growth, its plans to fend off the rise of commission-free trading, an eventual bear market and the many other challenges in the space, and eventually going public.

Gregg Schoenberg: Things have changed a lot for Betterment and the entire sector since we first sat

Continue reading “Betterment keeps growing as fintech competitors rise”

Fixing cities


This post is by Eric Eldon from TechCrunch


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 Exciting news for people who live, well, everywhere: Incremental changes happening across tech, local news and local government are finally making the world around you transparent. This isn’t some “smart cities” concept fantasy, like those corporate marketing videos you see. This is about all of us finally getting answers to the real problems facing cities today that affect… Read More

It’s Never Too Early To Say Goodbye


This post is by Eric Eldon from TechCrunch


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photo (6)

“You can’t just quietly slip out the door,” I’ve been told by too many people I trust. So okay, fine, here’s this post about my departure!

Since you asked, TechCrunch is in a really good place right now.

The various numbers we use to measure ourselves — from traffic to revenue to some leaderboard provided by a tech news aggregator site whose name I forget — are once again quite healthy or even record-setting.

That’s despite widespread predictions of doom a couple years back, about the time I took the co-editor job.

But measurements are a means to find the essence of something, they are *not the essence itself*. That’s particularly true for a qualitative craft like news.

The essence, of course, is writing great stories that help people make better decisions in life and in work, that create accountability in the world, and that maybe even delight and entertain readers from time to time.

My goal from the start has been to build a new system for greatness at TechCrunch. To put the writers in front and create something that could survive any number of staffing changes while getting better and better.

This has happened, gradually at first, but faster over time. From gadgets to tech policy, long-time TechCrunch writers and a whole bunch of new people have come together and formed something new and strong.

Today we’re publishing posts like Ryan Lawler’s exposé of a startup that was screwing over its investors, or Kim-Mai Cutler’s first-person exploration of Silicon Valley’s boom-and-bust cycles over the years — and a lot more that you’ll just have to find on the site, or wait for in the coming weeks and months (I am privy to what’s in the pipeline).

Beneath the surface, we’ve added about as much editorial structure as the team would collectively tolerate. This has meant normal newsroom stuff like a fleshed-out weekend plan and mandatory vacations, and more aggressive journalism efforts like allowing writers to take lots of time away from the day-to-day grind to go after the big stories.

For me, though, it’s time to try something pretty different. I’ve been in tech since everybody wrote it off as a dying industry town about to be fully outsourced, to a scarily mainstream phenomenon. Back in the old days when my media-tools startup got covered by TechCrunch, or over the years when I’ve competed against this publication, we all seemed a little innocent, hopeful and idealistic.

The dreams came true. Almost too true.

Now the industry has to ask itself the baroque sorts of questions normally reserved for politicians, celebrities, old-line industry executives and the rest of the traditional elite.

As engineers say about a server melting from too much traffic, this is a good problem to have.

How can the tech industry use its incredible power to do good? (I mean beyond the good it already does with the products it creates.)

How can it benefit all people in the world, most of whom still live in poverty? That includes people who live and work in the Bay Area, who are ending up with more of tech’s costs than benefits.

How will the industry preserve the dignity of citizens while working with governments to keep them safe?

The list of these sorts of questions keeps growing. The global scrutiny is only going to increase from media, from governments, and from normal people who just want to know what’s going behind their favorite apps and devices.

The industry has been too caught up in the boom — which is understandable when it’s all you can do to keep your servers from melting. But it’s not 2009. And unlike the last boom, the users are real and so are the revenues. And tech as a “thing” is here to stay.

Now is the time for it to take a step back and listen, have conversations with its critics, and think of creative new solutions.

TechCrunch’s role, first as the original tech blog back in 2005 and now as a tech media mainstay, is both to support the great things that tech builds *and* to wrestle with the big global issues of the day.

The team, I’m happy to say, is already in the middle of this big new challenge. Knowing what I know about their ambitions and abilities, well, you’ll have to keep reading.

….

Oh, and one more thing. You can follow me on my overused Twitter account at @eldon and my underused Tumblr at Otherwise E.

Why Accel Is Leading A $40M Round In Vox Media, A Digital Content Company (!)


This post is by Eric Eldon from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Screen Shot 2013-10-15 at 4.11.50 PM

“At some level, it is still contrarian,” Accel Partners’ Andrew Braccia admits about leading a $40 million fourth round of funding in Vox Media, the publisher of hundreds of major league sports fan blogs as well as tech/culture site The Verge and gaming site Polygon. Coming on top of $30 million in previous rounds, the Washington, DC-based company will have the most venture backing of any high-end content creator when the round is finalized in the coming weeks.

There are precious few other examples on this scale. Viral-oriented Buzzfeed has raised nearly $50 million in total. Politically-focused Huffington Post had reached $37 million before Aol (TechCrunch’s parent company) bought it. Silicon Valley investors, at least, are still not very optimistic about startups that put content first.

But Braccia has been leading venture rounds in Vox since its first in 2008. What does he like? Vox’s long-term strategy, which it has been building out for a decade.

It was founded in 2003 by Markos Moulitsas and others from The Daily Kos, his namesake political commentary blog. That site had grown into a pillar of the progressive blogosphere in that turbulent political era because it focused on big issues and let readers publish their own posts. But instead of expanding into other parts of the political world, the founders stepped back and wondered how the model might apply more broadly.

The answer they found was sports. Co-founder and sports writer Tyler Bleszinski decided to focus on a personal passion, Oakland baseball, and launched Athletics Nation. Readers loved it, and from there the company slowly built out a content management system, more sports sites, the start of an ads business, and eventually attracted a former Aol executive, Jim Bankoff, as an advisor. Braccia, who is known in these parts for finding unusual, big-time deals (Braintree, Lynda.com and 99Designs are some fresh examples), first met the company through Bankoff when Vox had around 75 sites.

He quickly got the big idea, he tells me today, as he’d already been a long-time reader of two of the sports sites, McCovey Chronicles for the S.F. Giants baseball team and Golden State of Mind for the Golden State Warriors basketball team.

“Building a media company is not as well understood in Silicon Valley as building a software company, or building other types of companies that scale differently based on network effects, virality, or whatever it might look like,” he explains. “You have to take a longer view of this category, and fundamentally ask the question: ‘Billion dollar media franchises have continued emerging through all the technology change over the last 50 years, so why should the next 5 to 10 years be any different?’”

When Vox raised venture money and made Bankoff the CEO in 2008, the focus went towards building out the tech and ads. Today, the manifestation of the plan includes Chorus, a versatile software system featuring content management, forum software, analytics, site layout formats, and much more. Its advertising, meanwhile, is comprised of traditional inventory like banners and background takeovers, as well as newer products like sponsored video series – Vox added its own in-house agency earlier this year to help with that effort.

On the content side, the plan was always to look at other big verticals outside of sports, where the community + tech + brand ads formula could apply. The Verge launched in 2011 and has distinguished itself for tech reporting, commentary, production quality plus traffic and monetization growth, as somewhat direct competitors like me are obliged to acknowledge. Polygon, launched late last year for the video gaming world, appears to be on a similar track.

Overall traffic has been booming, too, with web measurement firm Quantcast now showing nearly 60 million global monthly unique visitors to Vox properties (this number is more reliable than most third-party stats because Vox uses Quantcast tracking software to directly measure its own traffic). Bankoff also confirms to me today that Vox will hit profitability this year, repeating his promise from when we’d talked at Disrupt New York in April.

So Vox’s odds of survival — a big question at most media companies — look good, particularly with all this extra money in the bank.  It has the tech built out even as many companies struggle with older systems. It has the in-house ads system running pretty well, apparently, which should help the company continue making money as more of its content is read on mobile devices, even as many publishers face new business struggles because of poorly performing mobile ads.

Vox will be investing the new money in its current products and properties, particularly in its new focus on video and video ads, Bankoff says.

The question will be if it, or really any content site, can actually get to the size that it dreams of.

“It’s about that moment in time, about capturing emotion with a certain voice,” Braccia says about the media companies that reach the billion dollar mark. “In my generation it was MTV. For my parents it was Time and Life and magazines like that. In this next generation, it’s Vox Media, TechCrunch, Gawker, Buzzfeed.” The lower production and distribution costs of online media, and the hoped-for eventual migration of brand advertising from TV to web and mobile, are what he thinks will make the difference.

All of these sites still have a long way to go for that sort of valuation. Many other types of companies could eat into that kind of potential ad revenue, for starters. But whatever competitiveness we all might feel, the fact that tech investors are going all-in is a great sign. As Bankoff puts it, ”VCs aren’t for or against media or any other industry, they look for companies that use tech and innovation to disrupt existing industries, including media and brand advertising. No one has really approached it the way we have.”

Accel isn’t the only Silicon Valley firm putting money into Vox. $33 million of the planned $40 million round has closed already, and Bankoff confirms that long-time existing investors Khosla Ventures and Comcast Ventures are both participating. He won’t say who else, though, and won’t say whether any of the other participants are strategic or not.

What about the specific liquidity event, that any investor has to care about? With around $70 million in venture money, Vox’s valuation is likely too high for what most potential buyers would want to pay, leading many to speculate that an IPO is the plan. Bankoff demurred on that question, too, so I bet some people will be watching to see if any new strategic investors are added before close.

CrunchBase Has A New Mobile Site, Is Bigger Than Ever


This post is by Eric Eldon from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




CBase_01a_HomePage_1136

We have some updates today from the other side of the TechCrunch office. The growing team at CrunchBase, our free database of tech companies, has a new mobile site available for your browsing pleasure. The site basically didn’t work in mobile before, but the new one is great. Check it out at m.crunchbase.com.

The homepage is mainly a search box for that one hot startup you’re trying to look at, with links for trending companies, news and funding below. The top nav bar reveals a few more options like “newly funded.” When you click on a company, you’ll see a chronological list of all the main info you’d want — general info, people, acquisitions, investments, funding and competitors. If there’s a lot of info in any segment, like a long list of executives, just swipe to scroll through.

Here’s the kicker. This mobile site is temporary. Our growing team of engineers, designers, community managers and analysts (which we need to hire more of —  info here if you’re interested) has a big overhaul coming next year, and it’ll include a fully responsive site for any mobile device. Stay tuned for that.

Since this is iterative news, I also asked the CrunchBase team for some non-vanity stats about how they’re doing so far. Turns out August was its biggest traffic month ever, according to president Matt Kaufman, with 1.7 million monthly uniques, 2.5 million visits, and 6.6 million pageviews. Traffic has been growing well ever since the team got going at the beginning of the year, and with it hitting records this summer, we think it’ll be huge down the road.