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Big News: Filtrbox media monitoring service launched today!

Monday, June 30th, 2008

I’ve been looking forward to writing this post for the last year! Today, Filtrbox launched publicly and released an entirely new version of our media monitoring service. There have been crickets here at the NVA blog for the last few months because we’ve been working around the clock to reach this milestone. Pretty exciting times, I must say. Please do check out Filtrbox and see what I’ve been up to! If you rely on up-to-date information and news to do your job, or are simply suffering from information overload, this just might do the trick.

One of the things that drove me to start the company was the frustration I had with RSS when I tried to track a non-trivial number of early stage companies and their venture firms. I never knew where the next piece of news was going to come from, and when a new deal came across my desk that looked interesting, I wanted to be able to just pull together news on them and keep an eye on things until I was ready to dive in.

Old Model:

  1. Manually search for company name, person, or “space” in 2-3 search engines
  2. Bookmark a bunch of decent pages
  3. Find an RSS feed or two to subscribe to, unsure if the founders had their own blogs or sites
  4. End up marking my 750 unread RSS items as read because there was no way I could tell what was new or relevant. RSS bankruptcy!
  5. Go find those old bookmarks and see if any of the articles were useful

I could go on, but you get the point. I tried subscribing to FeedBlitz daily RSS updates via email, I tried Google Alerts (good for 2-3 keywords but more than that and it gets to be a pain fast). I knew there had to be a better way and something that I could use to quickly hone in on what was important and filter out what wasn’t.

New Model

  1. Enter keywords into Filtrbox
  2. Scan Daily Briefing emails in 5 minutes over morning coffee
  3. Go about my day, already in-the-know

I can even read my Daily Briefing on my iPhone and know what’s up with everything I need to track…

filtrbox daily briefing

Filtrbox is great for private equity investors, VCs, angels, and entrepreneurs because it offers article history, search, trending and noise control. Brad Feld is a fan and has blogged about the service before and uses Filtrbox to track his portfolio. Check out some of our video screencasts, and the “Colorado Venture Buzz” widget I have set upon the sidebar. These widgets are automatically provided when you create a FiltrFeed (custom RSS feed) in Filtrbox. BTW, if you like the widget you can build your own, I can give you my insert code, or just grab the feed!

Filtrbox is FREE for up to 5 Filtrs (searches), and only $20/month for 25 Filtrs, and there is a Team version this is great for a Ibank or VC office and you can even import your Google alerts if you use that service. Sign up here: https://www.filtrbox.com/signup.php

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Techstars 2008 - now accepting applications

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

D50EBF16-D926-412C-9DF1-46EB0E632B7D.jpg
Techstars, the Boulder based startup mentorship program, is now accepting applications for the 2008 session. Check it out here. Filtrbox (a content monitoring company I started last year) was one of the 2007 Techstars companies and we had a great experience.

Techstars is an impressive program, and the 2007 inaugural edition was well run, and surprisingly smooth for its freshman effort. If you’ve got a great idea, a team, and a prototype (or you could in a few months) it’s worth your consideration. Yes, Techstars takes an equity stake (5%) and gives you some early seed capital ($5k per founder). You might be wondering…Why give up a chunk of your company? Why move to Boulder for the summer? Does the 5k get you anywhere?

  • Techstars is like a linear accelerator for your idea; you are given the resources, advice, and help you need to get from “coming along” to “going mach 10″. You either get it together and come out the other end far ahead of where you’d be w/o the program or you get to failure faster. Either way there’s a big benefit.
  • If you don’t already have a strong network (or a firm like NVA helping you), Techstars creates opportunities to meet advisors, investors, and service providers you
    probably could never get in front of, or know how to find.

  • The summer program happens in Boulder, and it’s a full-time gig. We thrived in the work-hard/play-hard environment. Starting a company is exciting, nerve-racking, and quite a ride…sharing that experience with 9 other companies and 30 other people is amazing. Boulder is an awesome spot and the intellectual capital here and “buzz” that happens throughout the summer is refreshing and motivating. Not to mention the weather is great and there is tons to do when you aren’t heads-down working.
  • Validation: there is something to be said for the validation you get when being selected to participate in the program. The selection process is carefully managed, and in the first year there were over 300 applicants. By no means does being selected mean your company is pre-ordained to be successful, but it does mean you’ll have many advantages and resources at your disposal if you are smart and capitalize on them.
  • If you are wondering about the equity and cash element, I suggest looking at the big picture. Sure, 10 or 15k isn’t much but it might be just enough to cover your moving costs to Boulder or to get your prototype built. Giving up 5% of the company may seem like a lot up front but realize that if you become a real business, raise more capital, or even carve out an option pool this means you are creating far more value in the business (and of course suffering much more dilution). Down the road if you are lucky enough to be running a start up with customers, revenues, and investors the 5% you gave up to help get you off the ground and get you funded will seem well worth it. Just ask any of the other Techstars companies.

My co-founder at Filtrbox, Tom Chikoore, has some awesome advice for the 2008 class here. Don’t miss it.

Also, if you are in the bay area and want to learn more, the David and Brad and bunch of the Techstars mentors are hosting a party in the valley on Thursday.

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media temple (mt) launches iPhone control panel

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

Ok, this is just cool… ipemailfinala_05.jpg

You know, when Steve Jobs announced the iPhone wouldn’t support 3rd party apps, (but that anyone could develop apps via Safari), a lot of people groaned and said it was a failed strategy. Not so fast, I see new iPhone apps appear daily. Web app developers just create a iPhone friendly CSS versions of existing or web-based apps and control which features are exposed. This (mt) control panel is a good example.

A few other cool iPhone apps I use:
Leaflets lots of little apps in one place
FlickIM IM chat client
PocketTweets iPhone twitter - save your txt msgs!
iPhoneNetworkTest bandwidth test

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Filtrbox update

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

fbox logo 218w
Back in April this blog mentioned Tru.Vu, a new company started by myself and Tom Chikoore. A few quick updates for those that have been tracking the company.

  • The company is now Filtrbox, Inc. We changed the name recently for a variety of reasons, but suffice it to say we are happy with the new name too.
  • New site is up, as is the blog. Check out http://filtrbox.com and blog.filtrbox.com for news and info on our progress. You can sign up for access to the preview version when we launch it later this year.
  • TechStars is going very well. The program has been very well run and been immensely valuable to us. The program wraps up mid-August with a big demo/pitch day and we are all working our butts off to get ready.
  • Another TechStars company, MadKast, has a cool social bookmarking/link sharing service they recently launched in Beta. It’s running on the filtrbox blog, and a whole bunch of other sites. Give it a try or get it for your own blog!

 

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Parallels 3.0 just killed your last reason to stay on a PC platform

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

If you are one of those people on the fence about switching to a Mac but you have PC only software or are an addicted gamer hanging on your Dell XPS, check this out. The new version of Parallels, which enables you to run XP or Vista on an Intel based Mac within a window is now going to support OpenGL and DirectX for 3D graphics. Check out this blog post from Ben @ Parallels where he shows Doom running full-speed on his Mac. Another super-cool feature is SmartSelect. Lets say you really like Word/Windows better than Word/Mac. You can assign Word compatible file types to open in any app on either the OS X or Windows side. Run your Exchange client and Office suite in Windows, and do everything else in OS X. Or, this means you can be reading email in Apple Mail, click on the attached Word doc and Parallels can open it in Word in your Windows VM. Brilliant! A better alternative to BootCamp also since you don’t have to reboot to jump to Windows…

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