Posts tagged ‘News Report’

April 20, 2011

We’re Looking For America’s Most Promising Companies [News Report]

by Avinash Saxena
Have a fast-growing small business? Know someone who does? Forbes needs your help.

For the second year we are assembling a list of dynamic, privately held businesses with truly scintillating growth prospects—the kind of companies investors love to bet on, customers love to buy from, and talented employees love to work for. All industries and geographies are welcome. The best will earn a spot on Forbes’ ranking of America’s Most Promising Companies. That means serious exposure—to customers, investors and talented job applicants. Forbes magazine reaches nearly 5.5 million readers every two weeks, and Forbes.com attracts an average 18 million unique visitors each month.

The search begins with a short, free survey that takes just a few minutes to complete. Entrepreneurs can nominate themselves or be nominated by those familiar with their companies. Click here to make your submission. Some applicants will earn short profiles on Forbes.com, even if they don’t ultimately appear on our final AMPC list. Forbes also intends to recognize the most prolific AMPC scouts–those who turned up the most AMPC candidates–on Forbes.com.

Gallery: Updates on America’s Most Promising Companies Class of 2009

Greatest Lessons Learned:  America’s Most Promising Companies Class of 2009

The business press loves company lists. Many are based on a few metrics, if even that many. But that’s not remotely how professional investors evaluate the health and potential of any growing company.

To sharpen our search, Forbes teamed up with CB Insights, which tracks investment in high-growth, privately held companies. With financial support from the National Science Foundation, CB Insights has created software–called Beacon–which mines millions of online documents and applies statistical models to form a more detailed, nuanced and real-time view into a company’s health and prospects. From myriad information sources (government filings to social media), Beacon extracts company-specific information, such as product development, new partnerships, customer sentiment and employee turnover, and marries it with industry-specific information, including number of competitors, growth rates and merger activity.

Companies that meet our initial criteria will be asked additional questions to further assess their prospects. Beacon will pull all of that data, combine it with information obtained directly from the companies, and run it all through an algorithm to arrive at a ranking.

How have previous AMPC list members performed? The last 18 months have been rough on plenty of small companies, but for the most part, the 20 members of Forbes’ America’s Most Promising Companies class of 2009 came through stronger than ever. Thirteen companies raised a combined $92 million in fresh capital, including equity, debt and grants. (Recall that money wasn’t exactly sloshing around during this period.) No. 8, Auri Inc., (formerly called Auri Footwear), a men’s shoe manufacturer, did a reverse merger to go public and recently sported a $52 million market capitalization. The biggest casualty: No. 20–1st Products, maker of microwavable pastries–went bankrupt. (Click here to see how the AMPC class of 2009 has fared since appearing on our list.)

“People still introduce us as an America’s Most Promising Companies company,” says Jeff Ready, founder of Scale Computing, No. 16 on the 2009 AMPC list. “It helps our brand tremendously. Competing against folks like EMC and HP, we are at a disadvantage. So we play it up big.”

To make this year’s list bigger and better, Forbes aims to corral a huge pool of candidates from which to make our selections. That’s why our survey allows people who know and work with lots of entrepreneurs to nominate those companies on their behalf–so we can cast as wide a net as possible.

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April 20, 2011

We're Looking For America's Most Promising Companies [News Report]

by Avinash Saxena
Have a fast-growing small business? Know someone who does? Forbes needs your help.

For the second year we are assembling a list of dynamic, privately held businesses with truly scintillating growth prospects—the kind of companies investors love to bet on, customers love to buy from, and talented employees love to work for. All industries and geographies are welcome. The best will earn a spot on Forbes’ ranking of America’s Most Promising Companies. That means serious exposure—to customers, investors and talented job applicants. Forbes magazine reaches nearly 5.5 million readers every two weeks, and Forbes.com attracts an average 18 million unique visitors each month.

The search begins with a short, free survey that takes just a few minutes to complete. Entrepreneurs can nominate themselves or be nominated by those familiar with their companies. Click here to make your submission. Some applicants will earn short profiles on Forbes.com, even if they don’t ultimately appear on our final AMPC list. Forbes also intends to recognize the most prolific AMPC scouts–those who turned up the most AMPC candidates–on Forbes.com.

Gallery: Updates on America’s Most Promising Companies Class of 2009

Greatest Lessons Learned:  America’s Most Promising Companies Class of 2009

The business press loves company lists. Many are based on a few metrics, if even that many. But that’s not remotely how professional investors evaluate the health and potential of any growing company.

To sharpen our search, Forbes teamed up with CB Insights, which tracks investment in high-growth, privately held companies. With financial support from the National Science Foundation, CB Insights has created software–called Beacon–which mines millions of online documents and applies statistical models to form a more detailed, nuanced and real-time view into a company’s health and prospects. From myriad information sources (government filings to social media), Beacon extracts company-specific information, such as product development, new partnerships, customer sentiment and employee turnover, and marries it with industry-specific information, including number of competitors, growth rates and merger activity.

Companies that meet our initial criteria will be asked additional questions to further assess their prospects. Beacon will pull all of that data, combine it with information obtained directly from the companies, and run it all through an algorithm to arrive at a ranking.

How have previous AMPC list members performed? The last 18 months have been rough on plenty of small companies, but for the most part, the 20 members of Forbes’ America’s Most Promising Companies class of 2009 came through stronger than ever. Thirteen companies raised a combined $92 million in fresh capital, including equity, debt and grants. (Recall that money wasn’t exactly sloshing around during this period.) No. 8, Auri Inc., (formerly called Auri Footwear), a men’s shoe manufacturer, did a reverse merger to go public and recently sported a $52 million market capitalization. The biggest casualty: No. 20–1st Products, maker of microwavable pastries–went bankrupt. (Click here to see how the AMPC class of 2009 has fared since appearing on our list.)

“People still introduce us as an America’s Most Promising Companies company,” says Jeff Ready, founder of Scale Computing, No. 16 on the 2009 AMPC list. “It helps our brand tremendously. Competing against folks like EMC and HP, we are at a disadvantage. So we play it up big.”

To make this year’s list bigger and better, Forbes aims to corral a huge pool of candidates from which to make our selections. That’s why our survey allows people who know and work with lots of entrepreneurs to nominate those companies on their behalf–so we can cast as wide a net as possible.

April 5, 2011

Pandora gets subpoena in grand jury app probe [News Report]

by Avinash Saxena

Online music provider Pandora Media disclosed in a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission today that it has received a subpoena related to a federal grand jury investigation about sharing customer information in its smartphone app.

The company, which filed for an initial public offering with the SEC earlier this year, added the latest tidbit of information regarding the grand jury subpoena to its S-1 today. The disclosure was listed under potential risk factors for investors interested in participating in the IPO.

Pandora said in the filing that it believes it is one of several Internet publishing companies with mobile apps to receive the federal grand jury subpoena. The company didn’t disclose the location of the grand jury or any other specific information related to the grand jury investigation.

“In early 2011, we were served with a subpoena to produce documents in connection with a federal grand jury, which we believe was convened to investigate the information sharing processes of certain popular applications that run on the Apple and Android mobile platforms. While we were informed that we are not a specific target of the investigation, and we believe that similar subpoenas were issued on an industry-wide basis to the publishers of numerous other smartphone applications, we will likely incur legal costs related to compliance with the subpoena, management’s attention could be diverted and there is no guarantee that we will avoid costly litigation. Any claims or allegations that we have violated laws and regulations relating to privacy and data security could result in negative publicity and a loss of confidence in us by our listeners and our advertisers, and may subject us to fines by credit card companies and loss of our ability to accept credit and debit card payments.”

Several smartphone applications, including Pandora, monitor consumers’ behavior to get more information that helps advertisers target individuals. For example, Pandora collects information such as gender, ZIP code, music preferences, and other information contributed to a user’s profile to provide more targeted advertising.

These applications have recently come under fire as officials question whether these apps violate consumers’ privacy. Several civil lawsuits have been filed against application companies, such as Pandora. And Apple, which certifies mobile applications for its App Store that provides mobile applications to the iPhoneiPad, and iPod Touch, has also been named in several class action lawsuits.

The subpoena that Pandora disclosed in its filing is an indication that the government is now looking into the case as a criminal matter. The Wall Street Journal reported late Monday that an unnamed source said that federal prosecutors in New Jersey are investigating whether smartphone applications illegally obtain or transmit information about their users without proper disclosures.

The newspaper reports that the investigation is looking into whether the application makers disclosed to users that their data was being collected and why that data needed to be collected. Collecting information about a user without proper notice or authorization could violate a federal computer-fraud law, the paper reports.

The criminal investigation and class action lawsuits were likely prompted by an article by the Wall Street Journal published in December. In that story, the paper examined 101 mobile applications and found that many were sending information to marketers without the consent of users.

The article highlighted privacy concerns and since then class action lawsuits have been filed against Apple and other companies, including Pandora, Paper Toss, Weather Channel, Dictionary.com, Yelp, NPR, and WebMD. Mobile advertising and analytics providers Flurry, Medialets and Pinch Media, have also been named in a lawsuit filed in February in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose.

The lawsuits allege that Apple and the other defendants have violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.

In the suit filed in February, the plaintiffs claim these companies had gained unauthorized access to mobile devices Apple, including the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch to “access, collect, monitor, and remotely store, electronic data,” including the user’s unique device identifier (UDID). This is similar to a serial number in that it belongs to each specific iOS device. Furthermore, the suit alleges that Apple is at fault for not making it clear that this information was being passed along to the makers of these apps and services, thus giving the companies an easier way to track user activity.

Along with the privacy implications, the lawsuit alleges that the underlying technology, which is transmitting this information elsewhere, is actually slowing devices down. This is something made worse, the plaintiffs say, because said services could not be disabled.

Pandora was specifically mentioned in the Wall Street Journal article in December. In that article, the newspaper said it found that the app sends age and gender information to marketers to target advertising.

The Mobile Marketing Association, an industry association for marketers, has also begun calling for best practices to be used among its members to help protect consumer privacy. The group has asked marketers and app developers to provide consumers with a more transparent view of the process of how they gather information and what they do with that information. The MMA has also called on more companies join its privacy committee, which sets up certain guidelines for online data collection.

The government is also getting involved in the issue. In January, the Federal Trade Commission released a report on online privacy in which it discussed the idea of a “do not track” for the Web policy, similar to the current “do not call” list that bans telemarketers from calling people.

 

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