TiE SoCal: The Virsa story

TiE Monthly- The Virsa Story: An Entrepreneurial Journey

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007
6- 9 pm
UCI University Club , 801 East Peltason Dr, Library Room, Irvine , CA 92697
CM- Free, Members $30, Non Members $40, $10 will be added at the door
ONLY 10 Spaces Left!- Register Now

Event Overview:
Join us for an evening with industry visionaries Jasvir Gill and Kaval Kaur, founders of Virsa Systems Inc. Mr. Gill was the CEO and Ms. Kaur was CFO of Virsa. We willl hear their account of how they founded Virsa Systems, the leader in real-time compliance solutions and took it over to $100M in revenues before getting bought out by SAP in 2006 for over $400M. Its enterprise software solutions constitute the core of SAP’s offerings in the governance, risk and compliance market. Mr. Gill and Ms. Kaur recognized the need for fraud detection and prevention before Enron, Sarbanes-Oxley and government regulators riveted public attention to the prospect of CEOs going to jail. By shifting the risk management model from after-the-fact detection to real-time prevention, they captured the attention, admiration and patronage of corporate executives addressing the after-effects of Enron and WorldCom.

What major obstacles did the Virsa team face and how did they overcome them? What factors dictated the strategies for success? How did they manage the dynamics as business partners, marriage partners and parents?

We will also learn about their new venture, Startup Farms International, a startup incubator. Come, learn, and get energized to do your own startup!

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CalTech/ MIT Enterprise Forum


“Content is King”
Matching Entertainment Technologies with Artistic Content

Saturday, October 13, 2021

With the explosion of technological developments of the last decades, many new technologies have vied for positions in the entertainment industry. Whether the entertainment technologies are blockbusters like videotapes or DVDs or “merely” software platforms, history has taught us that the technology that wins the business competition is not always the highest performing or even least expensive technology. Rather, it is usually the technology that is coupled to the most compelling entertainment or artistic content that grabs hold and survives in the marketplace.
The October 13, 2021 session of the Caltech/MIT Enterprise Forum will explore the process by which technology entrepreneurs can match up their inventions with artistic talent in order to reach the marketplace. Doing so successfully requires a knowledge of the relevant entertainment industry, its structure, and its distribution channels, as well an understanding of how to meld the culture of the technologist with that of the artist. Our panel of speakers for this session will include individuals who have “been there, done that,” including one Oscar® winner. They will bring to us their insights as to the critical elements for success and the means by which the technology entrepreneur can put those elements together.
Keith Boesky
Boesky & Co.
Specialist in IP for the video-gaming industry
Head, video game department
International Creative Management
David Codiga
Executive Vice President
Universal Studios Recreation Group
Executive Vice President
Gary Demos
Former Technical Officer
Innovator in digital image creation for motion pictures
and three-time Academy Award winner
Larry Gerbrandt
Media Analyst
General Manager
Nielsen Analytics
Chief Content Officer
Kagan World Media
John Whitney Jr.
Digital Productions, Inc.
Ira D. Moskatel
Arnold & Porter LLP
Sponsor for this Program

Saturday morning, October 13, 2021
Registration and Continental Breakfast: 8:00 a.m. at Baxter Hall, Caltech
Program: 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Baxter Lecture Hall
Networking: 11:30 a.m. - 12:00 noon at Baxter Hall, Caltech
Directions/Maps: Directions to the Forum; Caltech’s Interactive Map
$40  ($10 for students with full-time student ID (must show ID at door); free to Caltech students.  Registrations are taken on-line up to 12:00 noon the day prior to the event. There are no refunds for no-shows.

Caltech Industrial Relations Center

Caltech Alumni Association

MIT Alumni Association

The Caltech/MIT Enterprise Forum is administered in
conjunction with Entretech

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Contact Information:
295 South Hill Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91106
ph: 626/356-9933
fx: 626/356-7515
email: events@entretech.org

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Startup LA

StartupLA is a new conference committed to building the startup community in Los Angeles. Different than other conferences for entrepreneurs, students, and investors, StartupLA is one that is structured yet free flowing, blending scheduled speakers and presentations with open topics that guests can sign-up for the day of the event.

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OAuth - Breaking down barriers

OauthThe “final draft” version 1.0 of OAuth was released yesterday. OAuth is an Open Authentication spec that is attempting to become the standard for cross-platform information exchange.
- The Problem -

Let’s say you have accounts on a wide number of websites: Facebook, Netflix, Flickr, Amazon, Twitter, etc. Combined you have a network of sites that perform unique functions as well as store your personal information. Currently, however, information about you that is available to one site is inaccessible to the next. For instance, Netflix has no idea what you’ve purchased on Amazon and vice-versa, information that would allow both sites to offer better, more personalized recommendations that would help you find more movies you want to watch while increasing sales at the same time.

Cross-functionality isn’t an option either; there’s currently not a way to automate a Twitter post letting your friends know that you have just posted a new photo album titled “____” on your Flickr account. In order for this to work, each account would need your personal login and password credentials of the other, giving both sites full access to sensitive information as well as the ability to modify it. While the sharing of unique personal data and the utilization of cross-functionality would be useful, the difficulty of safely transferring info from one site to another has not been surmounted, leaving each account existing in a vacuum.

- The Solution -

OAuth is a protocol that enables the secure transfer of login credentials across platforms, making the examples above easy tasks. With OAuth, people can enjoy cross-functionality among different accounts without ever exposing their passwords. In addition, people are able to select the level of access granted to other sites for each of their accounts. For example, a person could give Match.com access to their Facebook interests, but not to their wall posts or friends lists.

Programmers developed OAuth by combining what they saw as the best features from other protocols (such as Google AuthSub, AOL OpenAuth, Yahoo BBAuth etc.), and they hope to solidify it as the open authorization standard. One feature that really sets OAuth apart from the rest is that its built with support for not only websites, but desktop apps and mobile devices as well.

Microsoft releases new health website HealthVault

Microsoft has released a new site for storing health records, called Health Vault. It is generally acknowledged that in this day and age of mobility, it is necessary to have some way to digitally store medical histories, in a way that they are securely and permanently accessible. To be useful, however, health care providers have to buy into the system. That is where the challenge is going to lie for Microsoft and a host of other start-ups in this field.

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My friends went to a Web 2.0 conference and all I got was a Threadless T-Shirt


What has been the best use of the Web 2.0 collaborative features? Wikipedia? Facebook? Nope.. it is the T-Shirt site - Threadless.

Threadless is a t-shirt site that solicits designs that are rated by its members, sort of like Digg meets T-Shirt design. The winner gets a cash prize and bragging rights when it sees print. The projected sales for 2007 are expected to be around $30M. Last month Threadless opened its flagship retail store in Chicago.

Most of the t-shirts are sort of whimsical, like this one:


Two things surprised me about this story; their sales figures (I expected it to be closer to 5-10M, it is 30M) and that they want to have a brick and mortar presence.

Brady Forrest at O’reliey advances the following explanation for a physical presence by Threadless:

It makes more sense when you remember that Threadless is built on community. Having a physical space lets them give back to the community in ways a website never will. It helps them expand the brand beyond their current internet-found customer base, while maintaining the personal and respectful relationship with their t-shirt artists — something that they couldn’t do with many partners.

To me, the explanation is as whimsical and as haiku like as the t-shirts that Threadless sells.

They are already growing by a factor of 3 every year; if they want to expand, they should try affinity groups - schools, teams and like. Having a store in a cold, parking starved Chicago is somewhat puzzling to me.

As one of the slogan on Threadless t-shirt says, “I don’t want EVERYTHING, if I got it all, where would I put it?” There is a lesson in that quote somewhere!

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2007: Record breaking M&A year

2007: Record breaking M&A year

One more quarter to go, and already 2007 has become a record breaking year for M&A deals - a total of $3.9 trillion, catching up with last year’s (2006) record total. WSJ has a very nice interactive graphic of the M&A activity.

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ING gets the first of the spoils from the fall of NetBank

ING gets the first of the spoils from the fall of NetBank

ING is the first in line to acquire deposits of the failing NetBank - the first online-only bank in the US. ING will acquire $1.4 billion worth of deposits, as well as 104,000 customers for $14 million. Not a big surprise - they will not take on any of the bad subprime mortgage loans that got NetBank into trouble in the first place.

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Forensics of a Start-up

the frank peters showRecently, Frank Peters of the Frank Peters Show posted an item about his latest podcast interview. The title “Media Matchmaker: autopsy of a failed startup” caught my eye. Frank spoke with the two cofounders of Media Match Maker Betsy Green and Jim Mahoney.

It was a refreshing change to have someone talk about a company that did not make it, and to try and understand what lessons could be learned from it. It was also personal for Frank, as he is an investor in the company.

The interview is a must-listen for entrepreneurs, and angel investors. Frank, in his typical relaxed way, manages to get to the heart of the story. Betsy Green, a pretty engaging speaker as well, gives an honest account as to how personality issues affected (for the worse) a start-up that was otherwise destined for super stardom.

media matchmaker

When first conceived, the Media Matchmaker idea was believed to be disruptive. People who make movies need sponsors. Advertisers want to place their products in movies. Enter Media Matchmaker, an eBay type marketplace that would allow buyers and sellers in the media ad market to connect.

Frank spoke to the principals of Media Matchmaker separately, as they are not speaking with each other, as well as investors in the company, to try and understand what happened. It was a great interview.

But then there was the drama behind the drama.

An attorney from DLA Piper, claiming to represent Media Matchmaker left a threatening comment on the Frank Peters blog.

As I was saying before you hung up on me, we represent Media Matchmaker. We are concerned about a recent posting on your site “Media Matchmaker: autopsy of a failed start-up.” The title itself is deformity as it falsely suggests that the company is defunct. Moreover, as an apparently disgruntled investor and creditor in the company with apparent allegiance to other investors and creditors, you are acting with conflicted interests. Further, you illegally taped the CEO of the company without her consent, in violation of the laws of the State of California. See Cal. Penal Code Section 632……. You are have now been placed on notice of your improper conduct, and any continued posting of the story will demonstrate — without any possible question whatsoever — that your conduct was intentional and malicious.

Clearly the commenter had not listened to the entire interview, at the end of which the CEO says that she is looking for an additional $500k in funding and that “maybe this interview will help us (find the funding)”, so clearly the CEO was aware that she was being recorded.

This led one of our bloggers (Sunny) to leave a comment on Frank’s blog.

It does not seem that Mr. Zucker has listened to the interview, especially the last few minutes of it. The CEO, is looking for additional 500k funding and says “… and may be this interview will help us (find the funding)!” (See at 53:45) I think this particular statement is an affirmative consent for taping and broadcasting within the “four corners of the documents” or in this case, within the “four bits of the mp3.

So, please, stop waving Section 632 gun! It is as effective as a wet noodle.

No matter what the reasoning, the fact that someone would actually attempt to put someone on legal notice via comments on their blog, is, to be sure, somewhat distasteful. It is almost as bad as sending a Dear John letter via SMS.

It reminds me of a recent conference where one of the keynote speakers (Sean Parker) was served with a legal summons, at the conference (for Facebook). The person who had served him had actually bought a ticket to the conference, and attended with the intention of serving the summons!

Recently, the CEO of AnywhereCD Michael Robertson posted a very thought provoking article on why the CD selling site was “unfortunately on its last flicker of light before it officially flames out in a few days” (September 30th).anywherecd

Clearly, as entrepreneurs and investors, we all want to learn from not only the success stories, but also find lessons in the tales of failure.

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Netbank implosion - a failure of internet banking?

Netbank implosion - a failure of internet banking?

In an industry that has resisted virtualizing, NetBank brings the latest piece of bad news. The trail blazing internet-only savings and loan bank is being taken over by federal regulators, in what is being called the biggest bank failure in 14 years.

Started in the peak of the last boom, the bank saw its ups and downs as it debuted on Nasdaq and hit a high of $57 in 1999, only to get delisted in August of this year. The failure seems to have more to do with Netbank writing bad loans, rather than, necessarily, with consumers lack of trust of online banks.

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