Toshiba: Nanotech Battery Charges 60 Times Faster

Toshiba is using nanoparticles to some how charge lithium-ion batteries 60 times faster than today. This will be commercialized beginning next year. This is one of the first commercialized nanotech announcements I have seen; but in the coming years we will see of thousands of nanotechnology ideas getting to market. I think by 2020 much of our material world will be influenced by nanotechnology: housing, energy, clothing, transportation, communication, agriculature, medicine and manufacturing.

XM Satellite Radio Targets Cell Phones, PDAs, MP3 Players

In five years will we be carrying a portable device with 1 terabyte of storage that contains all of the text, audio, and video content that we want–wherever we go? Or will we carrying a portable device that has XM satellite radio channels and high-speed wireless access to all the content we will ever want on web servers around the planet?

USA Today: Gadgets on College Campuses

Here\’s a USA Today article that reviews the feverish adoption rate of technology on college campuses and some of the innovative experiments that are taking place. Duke provided 1,650 freshmen students iPods last year–for educational purposes. University of Maryland provided 400 MBA students with Blackberries. UNC-Chapel Hill requires all students to own a laptop. IT spending is way up at colleges.

Acquisition and Turn-Around Strategy

Being so focused on starting businesses from scratch, I have overlooked one mode of value creation which others have used very effectively: buying a company with great products or services but poor marketing, and turning on the growth engines.

I recently met two businessmen who systematically find underperforming companies and turn them around. Last week I also talked with two companies that are raising capital, going public, and then using their stock to do a \”roll-up\” strategy (where they acquire multiple companies) to create value.

Free Web Analytics for All Advertisers?

NetIQ is selling WebTrends, one of the older and more popular web analytics applications, to a SF-based private equity fund for $94 million in cash. This surprised me, since NetIQ acquired WebTrends in 2001. Then again, their 5-year stock chart doesn\’t look so good.

But far more interesting is Google\’s acquisition of Urchin, one of the well-known low-cost web analytics solutions. The price was reportedly $30 million. I haven\’t used Urchin for a few years. I helped a client switch from Urchin to SiteCatalyst, a far better commerce-oriented web analytics solution. But in September 2004 Urchin launched a hosted solution in version 6, which represents a major step forward.

Zopa: The eBay of Person to Person Lending

One of my Junto friends sent me a link about Zopa, a new UK-based company backed by Benchmark Capital (a top tier VC fund–check out the Benchmark Portfolio). Zopa apparently allows individuals to lend money to other individuals with good credit ratings–from 2,000 pounds to 15,000 pounds. Zopa takes a 1% transaction fee. There are insurance provisions and a spreading of risk among 50 borrowers so the lenders money should be safe.

Notes from Seminar: The Power of Angel Investing

I attended the first half of a seminar yesterday at the University of Utah by the Kauffman Foundation on angel investing. Kauffman does a lot to promote entrepreneurship. They have presented this \”Power of Angel Investing\” seminar more than 20 times. Led by Entrepreneur-in-Residence Bill Payne, the presentations and materials were designed to help people become angel investors or to learn how to be a smarter angel investor.