Archive for 2013

  • 2013 landing on a good note

    December 17, 2013

    Various topics have been tumbling around my brain about which to write in this last post of 2013 on France’s startup ecosystem. There’s the alarming passage of a wide-reaching French surveillance law, or yet another French fiscal flap like the Eckert proposal, and of course the depressing pronouncements by Arnaud Montebourg at LeWeb last week. […]

  • Know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em

    December 10, 2013

    During a panel at a tech conference several years back, a seasoned and respected French early-stage VC that I will not name boasted about how he (of course it’s a ‘he’) had never had a portfolio company go bankrupt. Needless to say, this remark was an eyebrow-raiser for me about France’s venture capital sector. My […]

  • Who wants my ticket to tomorrow’s party: The Other Night ?

    December 9, 2013

    This might well be the hottest party during this year’s LeWeb conference. Sponsored by TheFamily and Rude Baguette, The Other Night promises to be a night tech entrepreneurs will never remember. And I cannot attend. So I’m giving away my ticket for free. Interested ? Contact me on Twitter @markbivens with your answer to the […]

  • Holiday Toys for Tohoku Project

    December 8, 2013

    Here’s where I’ve decided to allocate my charitable giving this year: toy gift cards for children in Tohoku. By no means is this a solicitation for a donation, and I appreciate that many of you are already overwhelmed with opportunities for charity during this holiday season. With that caveat, if you’re looking to for another, […]

  • Why the latest RBS scandal smells so rotten

    December 3, 2013

    If claims in a UK government report published last week have any basis, then the latest scandal surrounding the Royal Bank of Scotland makes LIBOR manipulation look like just a rainy start to the cricket season. The Tomlinson report, established by UK Business Secretary Vince Cable, found evidence that RBS intentionally forced small and medium […]

  • More on Line

    November 28, 2013

    What a difference a month makes. Japanese chat app LINE has reportedly gained an additional 50 million users since I wrote Don’t Shoot the Messenger (App) last month. They haven’t officially embarked in France… yet.

  • Investing in competing firms

    November 26, 2013

    The other day my partner received a fundraising teaser from an intermediary which contained a section on the project’s competitive landscape. The competition mapping followed the common quadrant format, yet to my partner’s astonishment, included one of our existing portfolio companies smack in the sweet spot of this project’s competition. To solicit us for fundraising […]

  • The latest local example of how business model can go from sweet to bitter

    November 19, 2013

    It seems that almost on a weekly basis these days an emblematic French company falls into financial distress. The most recent which caught my attention is Hédiard. It’s impossible to wander through a chic quartier of Paris without seeing a Hédiard store. The venerable French brand synonymous with French gourmet foodstuffs counts nearly 200 years […]

  • Disruption here, there, everywhere

    November 12, 2013

    So with the announcement of PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ acquisition of Booz & Co. (formerly Booz Allen & Hamilton) the other day, another strategy consulting firm joins one of the Big 4 accounting firms. This announcement spurred me to think about the indisputable trend of the Big 4 scooping up strategic advisories. In 2010 PWC purchased Diamond Management […]

  • Tour de Tohoku

    November 7, 2013

    Although I generally conserve my limited athletic abilities and energy for triathlons rather than single bike or run races, the chance to cycle in the Tour de Tohoku was an opportunity that I could not pass up. A gorgeous ride through the rolling hills of the jagged coastline of northeastern Japan, the Tour de Tohoku […]

  • Maybe Local matters after all

    November 6, 2013

    Two years ago I wrote a short blurb entitled, “Does Local Matter?” in which I provocatively questioned the future relevance of the Local network component in the overhyped buzzwords of Social / Local / Mobile. We even jumped on the bandwagon by launching a tax-optimizing holding vehicle called SoLoMoCo to focus on this fad. So […]

  • Don’t shoot the messenger (app)

    October 29, 2013

    In continuity of last week’s piece on the arrival the Japanese mobile game models to Europe, I thought it appropriate to discuss another tech trend in Asia which makes me enthusiastic for potential investment opportunities, even here on the old continent: the next-generation of mobile messaging apps. Most Europeans are familiar with WhatsApp, Viber, Kik, […]

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