Its a Bear Market, but Not Everyone Is Hibernating
The Nasdaq continues to slide, and the mood at last week's Network Outlook conference was somber.The Nasdaq continues to slide, and the mood at last weeks Network Outlook conference was somber. VCs and investment bankers clustered anxiously around CNBC to watch the numbers drop, while concurring that the downturn is the most severe in 10 years. So what are those companies that are still getting funded doing (or not doing)? Find a problem in the Internet world that looks like a problem in the real world. Disappearing Inc. makes e-mail disappear, a solution that comes too late for Bill Gates. Oracle veteran and CEO Mike Burklandwho joined the company in November to oversee the techies and closed a third round this monthsays the idea is no different from shredding paper documents. He says companies should have granular policies on e-mail retention just like they do on document retention. Disappearing Inc. is partnering with platform providers like Microsoft and policy consultants like Ernst & Young, which also can advise companies on how to recover e-mail in case of a subpoena.
Use infrastructure and technology that already exist. Worldwide Packets closed a $44 million first round in January on plans to partner with electric utilities to offer Gigabit Ethernet access to homes. Founder Bernard Daineswho sold two previous startups to Alcatel and Cisco, respectivelyargues that utilities are an efficient way for rural customers who may not have Internet access or even telephones to cross the digital divide. He says many utilities have fiber grids installed because they are prohibited by federal law from using telco communications circuits, so they can extend that fiber to customers easily. Utilities also are accustomed to making investments in infrastructure and recovering the cost over several years, and Ethernetat around 28 years oldis ubiquitous and well-developed.