Thursday, December 15, 2011

Southeast Venture Conference - Call for Applications to Present

Here's an excerpt from an email I received:

The deadline for companies to apply to present at the next Southeast Venture Conference is next Wednesday, December 21st.

Conference will be held Feb 29th - March 1st, 2012 at the Ritz Carlton in Tysons Corner, Virginia.

We'll have close to 60 presenters again this year from a range of industries such as Internet, Gaming, Bio-IT, GreenTech, Software, Communications, Medical Devices and Mobile.

If you think your company, one of your portfolio companies, a client or someone else you know is a good prospective fit to present, just have them drop us a line - we make applying super easy and quick.

We look forward to hosting some of the best emerging tech companies from the region again at SEVC 2012!

Details on submitting:

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Process Credit Cards on the Go



I was reading American Express' newsletter article, 12 Cool Holiday Gift Ideas for Business Owners,

when I saw something of interest. I don't think it qualifies as a gift idea. Well, maybe if you give gifts like a frying pan to your wife or a battery powered screwdriver for your husband. (Yes, I'm stereotyping here. There are some of us who could go with either and others for whom it's the opposite!)

Anyway, there's a portable credit card reader that's available from Look at the photo to see how easy it is to use. This reader allows you to utilize your "smartphone to process credit cards on the go". You don't need a credit card processing machine...which you'd have to connect to power somewhere and set up at a table. And you definitely don't need a cash register!

This is probably great for those who are having a yard sale. (Whoever heard of credit cards at a yard sale?! Well, this makes it possible/easy.) Or great for a business owner or employee who is selling only a few items, say at a conference, seminar, etc. If you will potentially be scanning tens of credit cards, obviously it's better to go with a credit card processing machine.

And oh, by the way, this handy dandy gadget by, called a Square, is free! You just pay a 2.75% processing fee per transaction.

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Another Struggling Retailer to Be Purchased by PE Firm

If you pay attention to women's clothing retailers, you'll know that Talbots is struggling and has been doing so for some time. Their stock price keeps trending downward. Well, help may be on the way. According to TermSheet (that again!) Sycamore Partners, a private equity firm, "has offered to acquire struggling women’s retailer Talbots (NYSE: TLB) for $212 million. The $3 per share offer represents a 92% premium to yesterday’s closing price for Talbots". That means Sycamore Partners is offering nearly double what the stock has been trading at. Why would they do that?

Apparently, per TermSheet again, Sycamore already owns close to a 10% stake in Talbots. In order to induce the other shareholders, including large institutional and small individual investors but especially the former, to sell without incident or a fight, they have to pay what shareholders would consider a "fair" price. The things you have to do when you have many, many shareholders, some with serious clout.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Private Equity in the Last Decade

According to TermSheet which, in turn, is quoting PitchBook Data, there's some interesting statistics coming from the private equity world during the last decade ending 2010. That includes the following:

Although ~81% of the actuals DEAL QUANTITY originated from medium to mid-sized businesses, over 90% of the actual CAPITAL INVESTED went to large corporate deals of >= $1 billion.

EBITDA multiples peaked in 2008, which was the market peak for private equity. Money was pouring into PE firms and a number of them were chasing the same deals. That led to an egregious inflation in multiples, up to a high of 11.5x EBITDA!!! Wow! What happened to the 3-5x EBITDA that was the de rigeour at the beginning of the decade? Oh, what's that? That's the sound of the glass breaking as those low multiples were thrown out the window!

For more information and statistics, check out PitchBook Data's study.

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Profitability - A New Tool to Analyze Your Quickbooks Data

According to, Profitably is "a Web tool that automatically pulls QuickBooks financial data and generates reports on employee performance, customer profitability, cash flow, channel profitability, etc. You’ll get more charts and spreadsheets than you can imagine, all without manual data entry."


I also like this excerpt from the same article: The author's friend, an accounting expert and business owner "went straight to one of the dots in the “dog” section of the chart; “dogs” are high-volume, low-profit customers. He clicked to see detail, saw the P&L (more L than P by far) for that customer, and started cussing." Hah! I'd say that speaks volumes.

Always wanted to more deeply analyze your Quickbooks data but didn't know how to slice and dice the numbers? Looks like the Profitably tool can do it for you. (

To read the entire article, click on the title: Master Your Financials: No Financials Required.

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Buddha Quote for Entrepreneurs

"We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts.With our thoughts we make our world."

Buddha (c. 563- c. 483 BC)

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