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Showing posts from March, 2006

"Scarcity" of venture capital?

The CVCA -- Canada's Venture Capital and Private Equity Association -- today came out in support of the Ontario budget, praising it for addressing "the scarcity of venture capital" in Canada.

Oh please. VC funds across Canada have hundreds of millions of dollars they would love to invest, if only they could find fundable companies. If they go through that, there's more where it came from. There is no scarcity.

If anyone at the CVCA would like to name a fundable company in Ontario that can't find VC funds, please let me know and I'll be happy to put it in touch with some VCs desperately searching for deals.

Additional sources of funding are always welcome -- different sources have different funding criteria, and the more sources there are, the better a company's odds of finding investment dollars. As much of a farce as LSIFs are in some dimensions, at least they increase the number of sources of VC money. LSIF managers like GrowthWorks and VenGrowth provide a…

Ontario budget - supporting startups?

In its budget yesterday, the Government of Ontario announced that it will spend $160 million over the next four years to "accelerate commercialization and growth of innovative startups."

At first blush, it sounds great that the province is paying attention to the needs of startups -- and I'm still hopeful that this will help in the creation of promising new companies -- but some of the details have me wondering if the government has allocated the funds in the most effective way.

Of the $160 million, the biggest chunk -- $90 million -- has been earmarked for direct investment in early-stage companies "in partnership with venture capital funds, pension funds and the federal government."

The problem is, there's no shortage of VC money out there now waiting to be invested. Startups can find it difficult to reach the point where there are VC-fundable, but once they get there, there's more than enough money to go around. I don't see the point of allocating m…

The appeal and perils of alternative markets - the Sandvine IPO

Shares of Sandvine will begin trading tomorrow on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange. The IPO is expected to raise £20 million, or about CDN$40 million. That will make it the first significant IPO from a tech company in this area since Descartes was listed on the TSX over eight years ago. (ARISE pulled off an IPO in 2003 -- no small feat for a company in its position -- but it only raised about $1 million.)

AIM and some other international exchanges have become increasingly popular with companies in North America. In Sandvine's case, since it isn't profitable, I don't think that it would yet meet the requirements for a TSX listing, and with that option not available, AIM becomes an alternative to the TSX Venture Exchange.

The allegedly onerous requirements of the U.S. Sarbanes-Oxley Act ("SOX," as it has become known) is usually cited as the main factor in AIM's rise in popularity. Even in Canada, where we don't force compa…

What I did on my winter (blog) vacation

When it comes to DVDs, we've always been a bit behind the times in my house, and just after I started my blog in December we bought our first DVD recorder (a Pioneer DVR-633H-S).

And now, with the next generation of DVDs poised to change the world, we've gone from from having zero first-gen DVD writers to having three in about two months, with the subsequent addition of two DVD-writing drives.

So I've been drowning in the arcane world of DVD recording. Learning about VOB and MPEG and DVR-MS (Microsoft's pointless MPEG replacement) and VRO (Pioneer's MPEG replacement) -- and all the esoteric elements of DVD authoring that I've been missing out on.

I soon learned that the Pioneer appliance had spoiled me. The longest it takes to create a finished DVD that can be played on any standard player is about 11 minutes (single layer).

When I got a new computer with Windows XP Media Center Edition and hit the button to create a DVD, a pop-up let me know that this could take &…