Digital investment and financial analysis

Foursquare, the popular location-based social marketing app, is expanding its focus from growing its user base to generating revenue for the company. The Foursquare app is free for users to download and free for merchants to use as a basic marketing tool. This new venture, Promoted Updates, will charge merchants and brands for the ability to offer different types of actions to their users—say, an omelet available only to Foursquare customers and not on the restaurant’s regular menu, reports Tomio Geron in his recent blog post for, “Foursquare Launches First Revenue Product: Promoted Updates.”

The article states:

 “Foursquare for some time has had a free self-serve system for business to create check-in deals for consumers. But that feature, while bringing about 1 million businesses onto Foursquare’s platform, does not generate revenue. The new Promoted Updates product is designed as a revenue product. It will be a key test for Foursquare, after the company raised $50 million in new funding last year.”

The key question is whether Promoted Updates offer a marketing advantage to the small-business Foursquare user. It’s difficult to see why I would pay for a Promoted Update if I can offer a free check-in deal to my customers. Why buy the cow when the milk is free?

Laura Abrahamsen July 31, 2012

BGR’s Zack Epistein recently posted an article that offers advice to the struggling smartphone vendor Research in Motion (RIM). “How to Save RIM: ‘Pull a Reverse Apple” is the solution offered by EarthWeb/Dice co-founder Jack Hidary in a July 20 article that he contributed to Fortune

According to the article, back in 2006 Apple ditched PowerPC in favor of Intel chipsets across its PC line, allowing Apple to focus more on its own software and the associated user experience. RIM, Hidary suggests, should consider doing the opposite. Since RIM users love the look of the BlackBerry, the company should keep its hardware and hire Google or Waterloo to take care of the software.

Hidary writes:

“RIM can easily jettison its software platform, which has failed to attract developers, and license Google’s (GOOG) Android while keeping its unique line of Blackberry hardware. RIM can add value on the Android platform by delivering a business version of the OS. This would include built-in hooks for, Oracle, SAP and other enterprise platforms.”

While no one likes to hear unsolicited advice, if RIM listens to Hidary’s suggestion it might just pay off for them.

Jasmine Ashton, July 24, 2012



The IDC, a global provider of market intelligence for the information technology field, recently released the first of a series of reports analyzing open source search vendors. The company analyzed in the first report was Lucid Imagination, a commercial search vendor with strong venture backing, revenue growth, and a full-time professional open source search technology team. The IDC report presents new information plus an informed analysis of the LucidWorks’ technology.

The research and analysis for the report was conducted by several members of the IDC research team including Research Vice President Sue Feldman and Research Manager Dave Schubmehl as well as members of the ArnoldIT research team including Constance Ard and Dr. Tyra Oldham.

In order to provide a thorough analysis of the firm’s business model, the team of expert researchers interviewed principals of Lucid Imagination, conducted a technical analysis of the Lucid technology platform, and used a range of data analysis methods to pinpoint key information from open source content.

Stephen E Arnold, who contributed to the analysis, said:

The landscape of search has been reworked in the last 36 months. Proprietary technology vendors now find that open source search and content processing solutions have emerged as an alternative to the technology available from such companies as Autonomy (Hewlett Packard), Endeca (Oracle), Exalead Dassault Systèmes, Fast Search (Microsoft), InQuira (Oracle), and RightNow (Oracle). IDC’s research initiative in this area breaks new ground and sets the stage for deeper strategic analyses. Sue Feldman and her team are among the first of the blue chip consulting firms to put open source search in a business context.

This is just the first of a series of reports on open source search vendors. I’m looking forward to seeing what else IDC researchers have in store. For additional information about the for-fee report visit IDC’s “Get Doc” online service or visit the company’s Web site.

Jasmine Ashton, June 23, 2012

Business First recently reported on company that has received venture-capital funding in the article “Symantec Joins $9M Series C Round for Backupify.”

Cambridge based Backupify Inc. uses web-based software to provide online backup and local download for cloud based web applications including Google Apps and social media services like Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.

Backupify has raised $9 million in Series C funding from Symantec and three current investors, taking its total funding to $19.5 million.

According to Backupify’s founder Rob May:

“his company’s new round of funding is a signal that providing backup for cloud-based apps is starting to go mainstream. ‘I think this is a validation for the space, with a large publicly traded company coming in and saying, ‘This is important, we want to be part of this,’  May said.”

We agree with May’s assessment and look forward to seeing what this startup does with the funds.

Jasmine Ashton, July 17, 2012




Detroit, Michigan is one of the cities hardest hit by the economic collapse. Over the past 50 years, the city has lost 60 percent of its population. With many pockets left dilapidated and abandoned, the Detroit Works Project has been trying to figure out what to do with the areas of the city left severely underpopulated. These neighborhoods, homes and factories have been left to crumble. One of the ideas currently on the table has been to simply abandon chunks of the city that they no longer consider viable. DVICE’sVideo of the Day: Abandoned Detroit Neighborhood to Become Zombie Theme Park”  is showcasing a creative idea that may just revitalize the area and create jobs for Detroit residents.

According to the video, a group is looking to raise $145,000 to revitalize a neglected Detroit neighborhood by creating a 200-acre Zombie theme park called Z World Detroit. A portion of the funds accrued will also go towards demolishing abandoned buildings in the city.

The Web site states:

“While zombies are great, the real neat thing about this project is the potential to inject some life into a forgotten neighborhood – with the opportunity to work with neighborhood groups and organization.  In short, Z World Detroit would become part of the neighborhood, the center of the neighborhood, rather than something sitting outside the neighborhood.  A big inspiration for this effort is Detroit’s Heidelberg Project (, where an artist transformed an east-side street into a massive art installation.  This has has a profound effect on that neighborhood and made it a destination.”

This is certainly a unique and innovative way to address the issue. It has the potential to turn one of America’s most dilapidated cities into a huge tourist attraction. Unfortunately, based on the $6,716 currently raised, this project is far from reaching its goal.

Jasmine Ashton, July 10, 2012