Unruly Media CEO Talks About Raising $25M

Jan 9, 2012, 11:51 am EDT

While Europe might be mired in economic problems, a growing entrepreneurial community still exists. Just look at Scott Button. Based in the U.K., he sold ad-serving operator Connextra in 2006. That same year, he launched another company — Unruly Media — and currently serves as its CEO. Unruly Media recently snagged $25 million in funding, and I had a chance to interview Button about his entrepreneurial efforts:

Q: So, you bootstrapped the company?

A: Yes, I sold my prior company and invested about $500,000 in Unruly Media. This was deliberate because of the advantages of discipline and rigor. I also wanted to be independent and have the agility to experiment. But now with our funding, we can go into “execution mode” and max out. We’ll also benefit from the help of our investors, who have backgrounds in scaling companies. Read 

Infoblox: Building Networks for the Data Explosion

Jan 9, 2012, 10:50 am EDT
Infoblox: Building Networks for the Data Explosion

While at the National Center for Data Mining, Stuart Bailey saw the opportunity to build next-generation data networks. So in 1999, he left academia to create a company, Infoblox.

But to grow the company, Bailey realized it was important to hire a top-notch CEO. This came to pass in 2004 when Robert Thomas joined the company. Before this, he was the CEO of NetScreen, which was sold to Juniper Networks (NASDAQ:JNPR) that same year.

Things have worked out well for Thomas and Bailey, and now Infoblox is ready for a public offering. The company filed last week for an IPO of up to $125 million, and the lead underwriters on the deal include Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS). Read 

Millennial Media: An IPO for the Mobile Advertising Revolution

Jan 6, 2012, 12:58 pm EDT
Millennial Media: An IPO for the Mobile Advertising Revolution

More and more, people are moving away from their PCs and instead using their smartphones. Consider that according to research from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, mobile traffic on Facebook has gone from 1% of total traffic in 2008 to 33% in 2011.

So far, there have been few opportunities for IPO investors to tap into this mega-trend. This might change in 2012. This week, Millennial Media filed the necessary papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a $75 million public offering. The lead underwriters include Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and Barclays (NYSE:BCS).

Based on the surveys from IDC, Millennial Media is the No. 2 player in the mobile display advertising segment in the U.S., with a market share of 17%. The top operator is Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), which has 23.8%, and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is No. 3 with 15.1%. Read 

Big Business Still Built on … Email?

Jan 6, 2012, 11:05 am EDT
Big Business Still Built on … Email?

After serving as an executive at Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE), in May 2006, Ivan Koon went over to a startup called YouSendIt. As its CEO, he tried to find ways to make money from the company’s cloud-based collaboration system. Keep in mind that his company’s core product was free!

So far, Koon has been a success. YouSendIt is attracting 1.2 million users per month, with 35,000 converting to paid offerings.

To learn more about the business, I had a chance to interview Ivan: Read 

Wall Street Turns Dour on IPOs

Jan 5, 2012, 11:30 am EDT
Wall Street Turns Dour on IPOs

As a top accounting firm, BDO has some good insight on the expectations for IPOs. To this end, the firm put together a survey of more than 100 executives at top investment banks to gauge overall sentiment.

The results were not encouraging. About 35% of the respondents think IPO activity in 2012 will be flat, and 15% believe there will be a decline. Half think activity will increase, but only 16% think that increase will be booming. The company called it the “least positive forecast we’ve seen in the three years we’ve conducted the BDO IPO Outlook survey.”

However, respondents still believe the markets will see strength for tech and energy deals, and they think the keys will be long-term growth potential and stable cash flows. Read 

Dunkin’ Brands’ 20-Year Plan

Jan 4, 2012, 1:35 pm EDT
Dunkin’ Brands’ 20-Year Plan

When Dunkin’ Brands (NASDAQ:DNKN) went public in mid-July, investors piled on as the stock price shot up by 46.6%. But as is common with hot IPOs, the enthusiasm quickly subsided (the travails in Europe were certainly a factor). The aftermarket return is now -11.2%.

But the management of Dunkin’ really does not want to focus on short-term noise. In fact, it is looking at projections for the next 20 years! That’s right — the company’s leadership believes the U.S. store count will more than double, to 15,000.

In today’s hyperactive world, it’s reassuring to see a company take such long view of things. But in the case of Dunkin’, it does seem a bit ridiculous. Is it realistic to know where the world will be in two decades? Forecasters can barely get a sense of what the trends will be for the next couple of years. Read 

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