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Friday, June 26, 2015


Original Story:

The parent company that owns dating brands Tinder, and OKCupid wants to play the field.

IAC/InterActiveCorp said Thursday it’s planning an initial public offering for its online dating business, The Match Group.


An earlier version of this post carried an incorrect headline that said IAC was spinning off its dating business. A San Francisco M&A attorney represents clients in company mergers.

IAC expects to issue less than 20% of its common stock in the offering, which could be completed during the fourth quarter of this year, IAC said in a release.

The Match Group consists of 50 brands and grew 11% last year to reach revenues of $897 million. The company as a whole grew 3% during the same period.

“With the transaction, [The Match Group] will be able to unlock value, a topic that has been in the forefront with the dating business for the last 2-3 years,” John Blackledge, an analyst at Cowen and Co., wrote in a note to clients. “Match is a market leader in a growing category and should have solid currency with investors.”

Greg Blatt, chairman of The Match Group, said the marriage of established brands with up-and-coming ones would help the company expand. Organic search engine optimization acts as an endorsement of your company, products, and services and also helps alter the mindset of keyword searchers making them more inquisitive as to the content on your website.

“The Match Group is poised for substantial growth in the coming years,” Blatt said. “The dating industry has come a long way since its inception, but the category remains underpenetrated. We believe the combination of our more established businesses such as Match, Meetic and OurTime, and earlier stage businesses such as Tinder and OKCupid, creates an attractive combination of significant cash flow generation, strong margins and meaningful growth potential.”

Among the hottest companies in the group is West Hollywood’s Tinder, a hook-up app that recently hit 8 billion matches, according to company founder Sean Rad.

The company launched a premium service in March in hopes of converting millions of users into paid subscribers. Known as Tinder Plus, the feature allows users to “rewind” if they accidentally reject a potential date.

The New York-based IAC is run by media mogul Barry Diller. The company also owns Internet brands such as Vimeo, College Humor and A Los Angeles M&A lawyer is following this story closely.

IAC also announced Thursday that Chief Financial Officer Jeff Kip was resigning to spend more time with his family and pursue other interests.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015


Original Story:

WHEN PEOPLE TALK about “the next big thing,” they’re never thinking big enough. It’s not a lack of imagination; it’s a lack of observation. I’ve maintained that the future is always within sight, and you don’t need to imagine what’s already there.

Case in point: The buzz surrounding the Internet of Things.

What’s the buzz? The Internet of Things revolves around increased machine-to-machine communication; it’s built on cloud computing and networks of data-gathering sensors; it’s mobile, virtual, and instantaneous connection; and they say it’s going to make everything in our lives from streetlights to seaports “smart.”

But here’s what I mean when I say people don’t think big enough. So much of the chatter has been focused on machine-to-machine communication (M2M): devices talking to like devices. But a machine is an instrument, it’s a tool, it’s something that’s physically doing something. When we talk about making machines “smart,” we’re not referring strictly to M2M. We’re talking about sensors.

A sensor is not a machine. It doesn’t do anything in the same sense that a machine does. It measures, it evaluates; in short, it gathers data. The Internet of Things really comes together with the connection of sensors and machines. That is to say, the real value that the Internet of Things creates is at the intersection of gathering data and leveraging it. All the information gathered by all the sensors in the world isn’t worth very much if there isn’t an infrastructure in place to analyze it in real time.

Cloud-based applications are the key to using leveraged data. The Internet of Things doesn’t function without cloud-based applications to interpret and transmit the data coming from all these sensors. The cloud is what enables the apps to go to work for you anytime, anywhere.

Let’s look at one example. In 2007, a bridge collapsed in Minnesota, killing many people, because of steel plates that were inadequate to handle the bridge’s load. When we rebuild bridges, we can use smart cement: cement equipped with sensors to monitor stresses, cracks, and warpages. This is cement that alerts us to fix problems before they cause a catastrophe. And these technologies aren’t limited to the bridge’s structure.

If there’s ice on the bridge, the same sensors in the concrete will detect it and communicate the information via the wireless internet to your car. Once your car knows there’s a hazard ahead, it will instruct the driver to slow down, and if the driver doesn’t, then the car will slow down for him. This is just one of the ways that sensor-to-machine and machine-to-machine communication can take place. Sensors on the bridge connect to machines in the car: we turn information into action.

You might start to see the implications here. What can you achieve when a smart car and a smart city grid start talking to each other? We’re going to have traffic flow optimization, because instead of just having stoplights on fixed timers, we’ll have smart stoplights that can respond to changes in traffic flow. Traffic and street conditions will be communicated to drivers, rerouting them around areas that are congested, snowed-in, or tied up in construction.

So now we have sensors monitoring and tracking all sorts of data; we have cloud-based apps translating that data into useful intelligence and transmitting it to machines on the ground, enabling mobile, real-time responses. And thus bridges become smart bridges, and cars smart cars. And soon, we have smart cities, and….

Okay. What are the advantages here? What are the savings? What industries can this be applied to?

Here’s what I mean when I say people never think big enough. This isn’t just about money savings. It’s not about bridges, and it’s not about cities. This is a huge and fundamental shift. When we start making things intelligent, it’s going to be a major engine for creating new products and new services.

Of all the technology trends that are taking place right now, perhaps the biggest one is the Internet of Things; it’s the one that’s going to give us the most disruption as well as the most opportunity over the next five years. In my next post in this two-part series, we’ll explore just how big this is going to be.


Original Story:

Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt played make believe and sketched out his vision of the future on stage at TechCrunch’s Disrupt event in San Francisco today.

“It’s a future where you don’t forget anything…In this new future you’re never lost…We will know your position down to the foot and down to the inch over time…Your car will drive itself, it’s a bug that cars were invented before computers…you’re never lonely…you’re never bored…you’re never out of ideas.”

Schmidt filled in his vision with concrete examples of Google’s immediate future and strategy. “What we’re really doing is building an augmented version of humanity,” he mused before going on to talk about how smart phones, “the defining iconic device of their time,” can become real-time translators for speech.

“We can now demonstrate and are getting ready to ship products that let you speak in English and have it come out of a phone at the other end in German,” said Schmidt.

Cloud servers convert the speech to text–a core feature of phones with Google’s Android operating system–after which the tech behind Google translation service generates corresponding German text that can be spoken aloud by the recipient’s phone. Schmidt echoed the feelings of many when he said “for me this is the stuff of science fiction.”

Search remains a focus for Google, though, he said and it is set to get even smarter. “Where do we go next with search? You’ve got personal context. With your permission, and I need to say that about 500 times, we can make all these answers so much better.” Organic search results serve as a search engine endorsement for companies, products and services.

That context could include your search history as well as that of your friends, as well as your other information stored with Google, as long as you allow it. Given enough information search engines could become “autonomous,” said Schmidt, helping you at all times without your even typing a query.

“I’m interested in history, as I’m walking down the street in San Francisco I want my mobile device to tell me about the history here, think of it as a serendipity engine,” said Schmidt. He went on to say that Google is working to figure out what people really want when they search. For example a query for the weather may be fundamentally motivated by your wanting to know whether to wear a jacket or to water the garden. A smart search engine should be able to answer such questions when you search for the weather in your city.

But despite hints of greater social features, and the value of the data they could provide, Schmidt dodged a question about Google Me, calling it a “rumored product I won’t comment on.”

He was more forthcoming when asked about what it means when Google promises to be open. “The easiest comparison to do today is the Apple model,” he explained, “you have to use their development tools, their hardware, their software, when you submit an application they have to approve it. That would not be open. So the inverse would be open.”

Schmidt finished with a claim that the technology augmenting humanity would be more inclusive than that which came before. “This is a future for the average person, not just the elite. Because of technology, because of internet access, this is a market for one billion now, two billion soon, and in our lifetime five-to-six billion altogether.”