Newspaper circulation on the increase

U.S. newspaper circulation is on the increase despite all of the doom and gloom projections, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, a media industry group.

The Los Angeles Times reported that circulation increased 1.9% to 616,575 daily, and 0.4% to 952,761 on Sunday. Most of the increase was in digital readership, which is a great sign that the industry is just evolving. The Wall Street Journal remained No. 1, holding steady with an average weekday circulation of 2.1 million.

Study names top financial publications and journalists

A recent survey of 349 financial journalists by Gorkana Group highlights The Wall Street Journal as the most influencial publication, with 72 percent nominating the paper. Following the Journal: Bloomberg News, The New York Times and Reuters.

The study also looked at the individuals who have the most influence. Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times placed first.

Brentwood Associates partner to speak at 2012 Dow Jones Private Equity Analyst Outlook Conference

Every year, leading institutional investors, buyout professionals, venture capitalists and industry experts meet for the Dow Jones Private Equity Analyst Outlook Conference. Hosted by top editors at Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal, this leading forecasting event consistently delivers accurate predictions and trend analysis. It is the only private equity event in the country dedicated solely to predicting the future of the asset class.

On January 26, Brentwood Associates partner Bill Barnum will speak on the panel: “The $400 Billion Overhang: Will Private Equity Become More Active In 2012?” Barnum will be joined by Philip A. Canfield, principal at GTCR, and Tully M. Friedman, Chairman & CEO at FF. David Barry, managing editor of the Dow Jones Conferences, will moderate. The panel will address the fact that while private equity firms raised record amounts of capital between 2006 to 2008, much of it has remained un-invested. As a result, LPs are nervous that firms will try to put it to work in a less-than-prudent manner. The panel will discuss what it will take to continue to get deals done in the upcoming year and what will happen with all the capital.


Study: Number of female entrepreneuers on rise

Despite the recession, female entrepreneuers are becoming more prevalent in the United States, according to a study conducted by the University of New Hampshire’s Center for Venture Research and reported in a recent Wall Street Journal article and video post by Emily Glazer. Glazer calls attention to a number of female-centric mentoring and investing organizations that have grown significantly over the past few years.

The percentage of women grew to 20 percent last year among those seeking start-up capital, a significant rise from 12.6 percent just 10 years ago. The number of women who actually received funding grew from 9.5 percent in 2008 to 13 percent in 2010. The two top fields where female entrepreneurs are thriving are, unsurprisingly, fashion and e-commerce.

While great strides are being made to level the playing field, there is still a long way to go. Women currently represent just over 15 percent of angel investors and only 5-7 percent of partners at high-tech venture capital firms.

Cleantech Feeling the Love from Venture Capital Firms – The Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times

According to Ernst & Young and data from DowJones Venture Source, cleantech venture capital jumped 54 percent in the first quarter of 2011. While the number of deals decreased from 79 in Q1 of 2010 to 69 this quarter, total money raised increased to $1.1 billion from $743.3 in the same period last year.

From The Wall Street Journal Venture Capital Dispatch …

U.S. venture capital investment in cleantech companies increased by 54% to $1.14 billion in the first quarter of 2011 from $743.3 million in last year’s first quarter, despite a 13% decrease in deals year on year from 79 to 69, according to an Ernst & Young analysis based on data from Dow Jones VentureSource. Solar power companies accounted for 32% of the total dollars raised for the quarter with $362.7 million, a 162% gain from Q1 2010.

Read the full The Wall Street Journal article

From The Los Angeles Times …

In the lead since at least 2005, California had by far the most deals — 30, compared to seven in Massachusetts. The state’s clean-tech companies attracted $637 million in investment in this year’s first quarter, nearly 42% higher year over year. The energy-generation sector was the major player over the quarter, reeling in $450 million compared to $158 million year over year. Solar power companies alone hooked $363 million compared to last year’s $139 million pot.

Click here to read the full Los Angeles Times article

Operating in the Clouds: The Benefits of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing promises to change the way companies and consumers view information technology, and some bullish industry experts have even likened it to the Industrial Revolution. Most of us are familiar with the term and have likely used a “cloud” service is the past. But what exactly is cloud computing? In simple terms, cloud computing describes computation, software, data access, and storage services that do not require end-user knowledge of the physical location and configuration of the system that delivers the services. Maybe more importantly, what cloud computing symbolizes is a paradigm shift from IT infrastructure and software to enabling IT products to be consumed as services. 

A conceptual diagram of cloud computing.

Michelle Price’s recent Wall Street Journal article “Pinning Down the Cloud” delves into the growing importance of cloud computing for businesses. One of the top benefits of operating in the cloud is cheaper IT. These third party services can be consumed on-demand and on a pay-as-you-go basis, allowing businesses to determine how much they want to spend. Second, cloud computing improves business agility. According to Alan Goldstein, chief information officer of BNY Mellon Asset Management, “[Companies are] able to more rapidly deploy infrastructure and applications and to scale-up horizontally.” Third, cloud computing allows company employees to access their IT services and the data stored in it from any location. In today’s increasingly global world, this makes doing business easier.

Businesses are starting to notice these benefits; a recent Gartner Inc. study shows that by 2015, 50 percent of Global 1000 companies are expected to use cloud computing for their top 10 revenue generating processes. Cloud computing is still a relatively new concept and will continue to evolve over time. And while companies are still trying to figure out how to incorporate cloud computing into their daily work life, there is no doubt cloud computing is growing rapidly.

Legal Advice…on a Budget

By Rob Johnson
The Wall Street Journal
Click here to read the full article

For many entrepreneurs, phoning an attorney summons images of a ticking clock and mounting bills. Now law firms are trying to win new customers by offering deep discounts for start-ups.

Some firms are offering small businesses a flat monthly fee rather than charging them by the hour. Others offer flat rates for certain services, such as handling the paperwork for starting a company.

Many small companies say the discounts are a big help at a time when budgets are tighter than ever. Ray Case, a plumbing contractor in Ann Arbor, Mich., says flat fees from attorney Ken Gross proved precious as he journeyed through bankruptcy court, folding one company and forming another. He paid $10,000 total for at least 100 hours of work, and estimates he saved at least $15,000 over typical hourly rates.

“When you’re basically out of money,” says Mr. Case, “you can’t give an attorney a blank check.”

Creative Financing

By Eric Hintz
The Wall Street Journal
Click here to read the full article

To understand the history of innovation over the past several centuries, it helps to remember a familiar refrain: Follow the money.

Earlier this month, for instance, three teams shared the Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize—a $10 million bounty awarded for the first production-ready car that can achieve a fuel efficiency of 100 miles per gallon or its energy equivalent.

The contest was one of a growing portfolio of competitions managed by the X Prize Foundation, a 15-year-old nonprofit organization that partners with philanthropists and corporations to stimulate technological breakthroughs by sponsoring high-stakes challenges. The foundation is also co-sponsoring the Archon Genomics X Prize—which will pay $10 million for reaching certain targets in high-speed, low-cost gene sequencing—and the Google Lunar X prize, which will pay $30 million to the first privately funded team to land a rover on the moon.

These contests may seem like a recent fad, but in fact, they have a long history. In 1714, the British Parliament passed the Longitude Act, offering awards to inventors who could solve the problem of measuring longitude at sea; from 1737 to 1765, clockmaker John Harrison earned a series of awards totaling £14,315 for improvements to his marine chronometer. In 1800, the French government established the Food Preservation Prize to help supply Napoleon’s army, and 10 years later, Nicolas Appert claimed 12,000 francs for demonstrating his vacuum-packing method, which is still used in today’s canned foods.

After disappearing for much of the 20th century, such prizes have recently re-emerged as a strategy for stimulating innovation. And that resurgence says much about the nature of innovation today, as well as the economic times we live in.

Twitter to Include Photos and Video

By Amir Efrati
The Wall Street Journal
Click here to read the full article

Twitter Inc., the micro-blogging service that is one of Silicon Valley’s hottest start-ups, on Tuesday showed a new version of its website designed to attract more visitors and better compete for advertisers with, the social-networking service.

Evan Williams, Twitter’s chief executive, said the redesigned will allow people to click on links to videos and images that are posted on Twitter and see that content directly on the Twitter website, instead of being redirected elsewhere.

Previously, Twitter photo and video links connected to the sites where the content was created. Google Inc.’s YouTube online video site and Yahoo Inc.’s Flickr, among others, now will let their content be shown on, as is the case with Facebook.

Beware That New Credit-Card Offer

By Jessica Silver-Greenberg
The Wall Street Journal
Click here to read the full article

Amid all the junk mail pouring into your house in recent months, you might have noticed a solicitation or two for a “professional card,” otherwise known as a small-business or corporate credit card.

If so, watch out. While J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.’s Ink from Chase card, Citigroup Inc.’s Citibank CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Mastercard and the others might look like typical plastic, they are anything but.

Professional cards aren’t covered under the Credit Card Accountability and Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, or Card Act for short. Among other things, the law prohibits issuers from controversial billing practices such as hair-trigger interest rate increases, shortened payment cycles and inactivity fees—but it doesn’t apply to professional cards.

Until recently professional cards largely had been reserved for small-business owners or corporate executives. But since the Card Act was passed in March 2009, companies have been inundating ordinary consumers with applications. In the first quarter of 2010, issuers mailed out 47 million professional offers, a 256% increase from the same period last year, according to research firm Synovate.