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Venture Capital Funding for Local Search #ILM09

December 9th, 2009
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VCs from Canaan Partners (Warren Lee), Trinity Ventures (Patricia Nakache) & Comcast Ventures (Michael Yang):

Patricia Nakache:
no one has cracked local impulse purchases – mentions Groupon

Warren Lee:
Skeptical that growth will happen as fast as Kelsey predicts because access to venture capital is not as easy. Venture capital is going to contract by 20-30% and fragmented nature of local with big capital requirements makes it harder to fund. (sounds like a lot of VCs will be getting into SEO next year)

Michael Yang:
It is not for the faint of heart on the VC side to spelunk in the local space (truedat)

Patricia Nakache:
Making shopping fun has a lot of opportunity.   A more curated, better matching experience than Craigslist is needed.  See care.com

Warren Lee:
Video.  Oh yeah and did I mention video?

Michael Yang:
Stay away from search and ad networks.  Video.  Leadgen & email are still interesting.  Commerce is more interesting than directory/media in local.  You need to be >1MM uniques/mnth to be interesting.  SEOd directories are a dime a dozen.

Warren Lee:
Invested in Associated Content at 1MM uniques/mnth.  Need 10MM uniques/mnth to get attention of brand advertisers.  Need to break top 100 mark on Comscore to get attention of ad agencies.

Michael Yang:
slightly backpedaling on his “not interested in SEO plays” but likes Associated Content/Demand Media because they have systems v. 2-3 people start ups which don’t.  IMO AC & DM started with no systems but used SEO to justify building them.

Warren Lee:
Shared risk models with contributors helps you scale up because the upfront costs are lower.  Content on the web has a remarkably long shelf-life which makes the biz model more scalable/sustainable.

Michael Yang:
Streetview technologies that allow users to have a virtual experience with the merchant before they go there are interesting

Patricia Kanache:
There’s an opportunity for the companies that owns customer relationships to be the advocates for the SMBs to help them figure out the right mix and manage their reputations

Warren Lee:
There are too many options out there for SMBs. A large group of startups out there that haven’t been consolidated yet.  Over the next couple of years we’re going to see a lot of start-ups fail.

Nice cheery ending to the panel.


Tags: BIA/Kelsey · ILM

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