Tag Archives: index ventures

Four Reasons Index Ventures Invested In Grey Area

Earlier this week Grey Area announced a whopping 1.9 million euro series A round from Index Ventures, London Venture Partners and Initial Capital. This is one of the largest single rounds into the Finnish gaming companies in the recent years for sure. What makes this all the better for the whole country and Northern Europe for that matter, is that the financing came from overseas from globally respected investors. Ben Holmes from Index Ventures outlined four reasons why they invested in Grey Area. I think this is a good read for all entrepreneurs to keep in mind if they are looking for venture capital.

The four reasons Ben outlined in the Index Ventures blog post are also shown below:

* Exploding market – The iPhone and Android ecosystems have transformed and democratised mobile gaming. I have written in the past about how fragmentation and the operator channel made the whole mobile app business a nightmare. This is no longer the case, entrepreneurs can access vast audiences by being creative around marketing rather than using the traditional brute force approaches.

* The right monetization model – We have seen with existing investments in Stardoll, Moshi Monsters and Playfish as well as other companies such as Gameforge and Zygna that free-to-play with in-game purchase is probably the most lucrative business model in gaming currently. In-game purchases were rolled out by Apple last year and now a few of the “Top Grossing” titles in the iPhone appstore charts are free-to-play games. I would predict that over the next year that the majority of mobile gaming revenues will shift to free-to-play games.

* Positive early traction. One of the challenges with finding investments in this sector is that there are literally hundreds / thousands of developers writing for iPhone and Android. Those with substantial traction and monetisation tend to be valued stratospherically. Finding something which was early but was already showing its potential was what we were looking for. Shadow Cities fitted this criteria precisely. The early beta data from Finland showed very promising metrics around both engagement and monetisation. The app fairly quickly became the Top Grossing game in Finland soon after launch. Now just the rest of the world to conquer …

* Great team – Just four people when we first met, but already achieved a lot in a short timeframe and on a shoestring budget. If you want to see how effective entrepreneurs will be once they have money, see how much they can achieve without financing – that is always the best pointer.

From: http://www.arcticstartup.com/2011/02/25/four-reasons-index-ventures-invested-in-grey-area

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#MIDEM MidemNet Wrap-up: Day One

Stuart Dredge has been typing his little hands off….

The first day of MidemNet is done, following a mix of panels, speeches and startling industry moustaches. Here’s a rundown of what we, the official Midem Blog and our event partner Digital Music News have been publishing. What did we learn from day one?

The silver linings of cloud music
The cloud music session was sparky, as Sony Music, mSpot, simfy and Catch Media debated the challenges and opportunities of the cloud. Catch boss Harry Maloney picked a fight with mSpot’s Daren Tsui over licensing (or the lack of it in mSpot’s case), while simfy’s Christophe Lange stressed the importance of user engagement in building a successful cloud offering. Meanwhile, Sony’s Thomas Hesse had a request for Apple. “If you’re an iTunes user now, wouldn’t it be nice if you could stream or re-download all the music you’d bought on that to all your devices. Wouldn’t that be fabulous? And we’d wholeheartedly endorse that…”
Liveblog – http://tinyurl.com/6j8cgqp

Vivendi boss expects Spotify US launch
Vivendi CEO Jean-Bernard Levy called for more anti-piracy legislation, had warm words for ISPs, and held UMG up as a model for cost-cutting effiency in his keynote. And Spotify? “We expect Spotify to be able to find agreements with all its partners that it could launch as early as possible in the United States, but there are other streaming and subscription services available to American consumers. At the end of the day, the market is very complicated…”
Liveblog – http://tinyurl.com/68r563p

OK Go going HTML5, while Imogen Heap gets crowdsourced
This morning’s artist panel saw OK Go’s Damian Kulash and solo artist Imogen Heap talking about their social media success. Heap is planning to write songs with the help of fans, who’ll provide the audio samples, lyrics and video. Meanwhile, OK Go is working on an HTML5 music video with Mozilla, the company behind the web browser Firefox.
Liveblog – http://tinyurl.com/6xqufhz

Saul Klein gives Index Ventures’ view on music
Index Ventures has invested in firms including Last.fm, Songkick, SoundCloud, Sonos, DoubleTwist and RjDj. He talked about the company’s “Jekyll and Hyde attitude towards dealing with content owners”, praised startup culture in Europe (particularly London), and said music services shouldn’t get hung up on going global too quickly. “Look at Spotify in Sweden. It is the number one source of income for the labels, not just digital, but physical as well… Pick your market, win big and then go back and say ‘hey, what are you going to do for me now?’. Don’t obsess about this regional, global, intergalactic rights. Focus on a market, kill it, then go to another one!”
Liveblog – http://tinyurl.com/6hqpeow

Sony takes Music Unlimited more global (and to iPhone/Android)
Sony launched its Omnifone-powered Music Unlimited service last month in the UK and Ireland, but today it went live in France, Germany, Spain and Italy too. Sony Network Entertainment boss Tim Schaaff promised a US launch this quarter, and promised that it won’t be restricted to Sony devices, with plans to launch apps for iPhone and Android. The firm is certainly ambitious. “Our studies show that about 85-90% of the consumers aren’t really involved in the digital music revolution at all. That customer base is a customer base that Sony communicates to every day.”
Liveblog – http://tinyurl.com/6eaeh4f

Vodafone has 100k paying music subscribers
The Foursquare / Vodafone session was a big disappointment today: why no questions for Foursquare co-founder Naveen Selvadurai about, er, music? The audience were left to draw their own conclusions about how artists and labels can use the social location service. However, co-interviewee Lee Epting from Vodafone at least dished out some stats: “We are targeting one million paid subscribers for music in this calendar year, and in the UK we’re already in excess of 100,000…”
Story – http://tinyurl.com/6y5nc8p

Mark Mulligan thinks music services need more SPARC
What? Social, Participative, Accessible, Relevant and Connected. The Forrester analyst outlined the keys for success for new music services in his speech this morning. Also included: the claim that “YouTube is music’s killer app”; the fact that ownership matters much less to 12-15 year-old ‘digital natives; and that user experience is key. “Content is no longer king. Its throne has been taken by experience. Yet how many music services really focus on experience?”
Liveblog – http://tinyurl.com/657wqkg

Metric’s manager called for less doom’n’gloom
Crystal Math Management’s co-founder Mathieu Drouin predicted an industry shakeout this year, and criticised the woes around music sales. “We have to stop reading press about how bad the music business is. It’s a disruption that is not healthy for us… We have to just turn that noise down, because it really is misleading… Mindshare of the press is coming from people running multi-national corporations.”
Liveblog – http://tinyurl.com/6e8qr7o

Music Ubiquity talks are… ubiquitous
The five-minute talks in between sessions this year focused on music ubiquity, with Terry McBride, Gerd Leonhard and Ted Cohen among the speakers. McBride warned of the dangers of the ‘black cloud’ for artists, while Leonhard offered some examples of social commerce from outside the music industry. Meanwhile, Cohen warned the industry about dragging its heels (again). “What do music fans want? They want interoperability… We need to get to complete ubiquity. We need to start looking at the pie, not the platform.”
McBride – http://tinyurl.com/6abwr9h
Leonhard – http://tinyurl.com/6fr4txv
Cohen – http://tinyurl.com/67je2yv

ON DIGITAL MUSIC NEWS…
Tommy Boy’s Tom Silverman reckons Midem was 60% labels, 30% publishers and 10% other companies ten years ago. “Now, it’s 10 percent publishers, 5 percent labels, and 85 percent ‘other’.” Meanwhile, DMN has also picked up on the meme of Midem so far: Ted Cohen’s moustache.moustache. More seriously, it reflects the view of many audience members for the Licensing Crash Test session: “the licensing process in Europe – and worldwide – remains insanely complicated, and full of endless negotiations, demands, MFNs, and lurking litigants.  Just like before.  Just like ten years ago.”
Silverman – http://tinyurl.com/6zecp9s
Tache – http://tinyurl.com/6erdxos
Licensing – http://tinyurl.com/5rvtdep