Follow the Money -- Venture Capitalists Share Their Big Bets for the Future
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Follow the Money -- Venture Capitalists Share Their Big Bets for the Future

San Francisco : CA : USA | Apr 04, 2012 at 2:13 PM PDT
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When millionaires talk, people listen. Especially when they discuss how they anticipate they will spend their next batch of millions in venture capital investment.

It was a packed house with standing room only when three venture capitalists with prestigious venture capital firms weighed in on which digital marketing companies are going to be the next Google, eBay or Facebook.

"I'm not sure if I knew what the next Facebook was, if I would share that information with you," quipped Jeff Crowe, general partner at Norwest Venture Partners and one of the speakers on the panel.

But then that's exactly what he did.

One of Mr. Crowe's hot picks is quirky. Not quirky-weird, but a company actually called quirky. Quirky does crowd-sourced design of household products. Individuals design products and post their homemade designs, then a community of hundreds of thousands of reviewers chimes in on whether they want that product. Quirky then manufactures these products and sells them to Target, Bed Bath and Beyond and beyond. These inventive products include swivel head power strips and dust pans with a built-in broom cleaner.

"It's really taken the e-commerce world by storm," Mr. Crowe said.

Mark Siegel, managing director at Menlo Ventures, is betting on companies integrating social with mobile. "These companies are growing faster than we've ever seen companies grown before," Mr. Siegel said. "The big question is how do you monetize."

Menlo Ventures has crunched the numbers and found that 16 percent of consumers' time online is spent on social network websites. But brands are spending only 6 percent of their ad budgets on social, because it's seen as an ineffective medium. "Conventional advertising does not work on social and mobile," according to Mr. Siegel. "You have to have tools that determine purchase intent."

Who does have the tools? Mr. Crowe mentioned Flurry, a targeted mobile advertising firm doing in-app advertising, and Media6Degrees, who target clusters of users who have affinity with brands to manage ad campaigns that triple and quadruple revenue for client brands.

This article is part of Allvoices’ series on ad:tech, the largest digital marketing and technology conferences and expositions. Check out allvoices.com/adtech for more of Allvoices’ ad:tech San Francisco event coverage. This series is supported by ad:tech.

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VCs at ad:tech
Jeff Crowe, Mark Siegel and Indy Guha at ad:tech
Joe Kukura is based in San Francisco, California, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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