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socalTECH.com - SoCal TechNews - Thursday, January 6, 2000
Copyright (c) 1999 by Benjamin F. Kuo
ISSN: 1524-6736
http://www.socaltech.com

   -- Special: Interview with Timothy Fong, Founder of LassoBucks
   -- WSJ: Internet Companies Flocking to LA
   -- Tech Coast Angel Founder Starts Incubator
   -- Apple Invests in Earthlink
   -- Indie Filmmakers Hit the Web


   Upcoming Events http://www.socaltech.com/calendar/calendar.pl

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Special: Interview with Timothy Fong, Founder of LassoBucks
----
In my continuing interviews with local tech entrepreneurs and leaders,
I talked to Timothy Fong, founder of LassoBucks (http://www.lassobucks.com)
, a company funded by Tim Draper's Zone Ventures. LassoBucks is developing a web site for business to business barter.  (On a personal note, I first conversed with Tim over a year and a half ago, when LassoBucks was just a germ of an idea--and it's nice to see how far it's gone.)

Timothy Fong:

BK: What's LassoBucks all about?

TF: LassoBucks.com, nearly a year ago, saw an opportunity to do for barter
what eBay did for auctions: make it easy, fun, and web-enabled.  It provides
a value-solution for small-business' number-one concern: cash-flow.

BK: How did you get the idea for the company, and what's the history of
 how you got the idea off the ground and funded?

TF: I took a page from Jeff Bezos, who wrote a list of potential verticals he
wanted to enter and then analyzed them; I made a list of business
characteristics that I wanted a business to have for me to consider it a
viable concept.  I probably had about sixteen, and they included some of the
following:

- no logistics/warehousing costs
- revenue based on transaction fees, versus advertising, with clear
ROI-based value-proposition for customers
- proven business process (versus trying to create a whole new business
model)
- existing, fragmented, inefficient market (barter is conducted by over 400
locally-based barter exchanges in North America)
- globally scalable
- no clear, branded winner
- puts us in the b2b space, focusing on small-businesses
- a "big idea" I could be passionate about

I worked out of my spare bedroom, writing initial code to prototype; I
reviewed which VC would be the first step, and that was Tim Draper by far.
He's known for taking a shot at innovative players and had a huge portfolio
of other companies to tap into.  When he opened Zone Ventures, it became a
clear match and we got started!

BK: What are the next major steps for LassoBucks in the coming few months?

TF: We are closing some major relationships which I think not only establish
our leadership in the space, but also enable us to engage in the "total
solution" for customers and partners.  As an example, we've entered a
relationship with one of the largest software companies for small-business
software and are partnering with their new cash-flow management product.
Our total solution becomes: use the software for planning cash-flow needs;
LassoBucks.com -- by enabling you to barter out excess time, capacity, or
inventory -- helps optimize it.  I envision extending barter to a more
formalized business opportunity -- Leveraged Asset Optimization.

Second, although barter is at least a $2B industry (some say $16M), it still
remains at the intuitive level, under the radar, so we see ourselves as
evangelists for the field.  But people are getting it and find it
intriguing, so it's getting into the mainstream.  American Airlines'
in-flight magazine, for example, just contacted us cold about doing a
story --- a big change from a year ago.

BK: What has been the hardest part of getting your company up and running  so far?

TF: Finding great people.  I've set the bar pretty high, and finding the right
people is critical to building the strongest DNA for a company that wants to
be the gorilla.

BK: Thanks!

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WSJ: Internet Companies Flocking to LA
----
It's official: The Wall Street Journal reports that Internet companies are flocking to Los Angeles (and quotes half the readers of this list in the
process!). 
http://www.msnbc.com/news/353492.asp?cp1=1

Tech Coast Angel Founder Starts Incubator
----
Luis Villalobos, founder of the Tech Coast Angels, has formed a new
incubator in Irvine called GazelleLab, to open in Mid-January.
http://www.latimes.com/editions/orange/business/20000105/t000001273.html

Apple Invests in Earthlink
----
Apple Computer's Steve Jobs announced at his MacWorld Expo keynote that
they would be investing $200M in Pasadena-based EarthLink, and make the company its exclusive ISP on Apple products. In exchange, Apple gains a seat on 
EarthLink's board of directors and 4.4M shares.
http://www4.zdnet.com/intweek/stories/news/0,4164,2417560,00.html

Indie Filmmakers Hit the Web
----
Small independent filmmakers are using the web as a new outlet.
http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/00/01/biztech/articles/04indi.html

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Upcoming Events This Month
Full calendar at http://www.socaltech.com/calendar/calendar.pl

January 10, Irvine -- "TechNet Ed: What Venture Capitalists Really Want From 
You," a five-part interactive seminar series designed to prepare a
young high-growth technology companies for investment. Los Angeles Regional
Technology Alliance. See http://www.larta.org 

January 11, Woodland Hills - "Where is your business going and will you
have the financing, the people and the environment to take it there?"
Software Council of Southern California, Valley Chapter. Panel includes
Rohit K. Shukla, LARTA; Ellen Fitzmaurice, Valley Industry and Commerce
Association (VICA); Bill Manassero, Bizbuyer.com. See
http://www.scsc.org/valley.htm  

January 11, Beverly Hills -- A Special Presentation of Stuart Little.
LA Chapter SIGGRAPH. Presentation of the effects of Stuart Little with
Senior Visual Effects Supervisor John Dykstra, Visual Effects Supervisor
Jerome Chen, Animation Supervisor Henry Anderson, CG Supervisors Jim
Berney, Jay
Redd, Scott Stokdyk, more! Presentation will be followed by a special
screening of the movie. See
http://www.siggraph.org/chapters/los_angeles/newsletters/jan-2000-prelim.html

January 12, Santa Monica -- i-Hollywood Forum 2000: What's Next for
Interactive Hollywood. Speakers include Alex Thompson, Mixed Signal
Technologies; Nick Rothenberg, USWeb/CKS; and Michael Stroud, Hollywood
Interactive Wire. For more information contact Michael Stroud at 
[email protected]

January 12, Los Angeles -- "E-Commerce Privacy: Building Customer Trust"
Half-day seminar focusing on Internet Privacy. American Electronics
Association. See contact Dawn Garcia at (916) 443-9139 or see
http://www.aeanet.org/aeanet/MemberServices/caaddg0010_privacymain1of2.htm

January 17, Santa Monica -- "TechNet Ed: What Venture Capitalists Really
Want From You," a five-part interactive seminar series designed to prepare
a young high-growth technology companies for investment. Los Angeles
Regional Technology Alliance. See http://www.larta.org 

January 18, Pasadena -- "FUNDING YOUR VENTURE: An Entrepreneur's
Perspective" Caltech/MIT Enterprise Forum. Panel discussion includes Ursula
Schwuttke, High Tower Software; David S. Key, FieldCentrix; David
Fogelsong, Redpoint Ventures; Dr. Fred Haney, Tech Coast Angels; and Susan
Prado, Los Angeles County Business Technology Center. Moderated by Ira
Moskatel, Kimball & Weiner LLP.
See http://broccoli.caltech.edu/~entforum/current.htm 

January 18, North Hills -- "So, you have a web site... now what?" STC San 
Fernando Valley. What if you put up a web site and nobody came? Businesses 
hurried to put up sites over the past several years to gain visibility on the
web. But now they want sales. Is it time to start over and design a new site? 
Not necessarily. Doug Klein, XCentric.com. See
http://www.stc.org/region8/sfv/www/index.htm 

January 18, San Diego -- "Building Dynamic Web Applications End-to-End"
Ted Borawski, IBM. San Diego Java Users Group. Demo of VisualAge for 
Java and WebSphere.  See http://jug.dtai.com/meetings.html

January 19, Irvine -- ESRI:INSIDE THE INLAND EMPIRE’S GLOBAL SOFTWARE
GIANT. Jack Dangermond, Founder. Inland Empire Chapter Software Council of
Southern California. See http://www.scsc.org/inland.htm

January 19, Santa Barbara -- Central Coast MIT Enterprise Forum. See
http://www.aahightech.com/public/MITevent.htm 

January 19, Los Angeles -- Zone Club 2000 Event. Laurie McCartney, eStyle;
Frank Creer, Zone Ventures; Cindy Crawford, eStyle, Strategic Advisor. See
http://www.zoneclub.com/home.html 

January 19, Santa Monica -- "On-line Software Sales are Going in one
Direction - UP! Is Your Company Ready?" Software Council of Southern
California, impact! Sales and Marketing SIG. Jay Verutis, Digital River
Inc., addresses the changing landscape of on-line software purchasing and
explores the strategies and tactics used by companies successfully turning
web site traffic into profits. See http://www.scsc.org/mktg.htm 

January 19, San Diego -- "EMC Testing Per ANSI C63.18 of Electromedical
Equipment" IEEE San Diego. Herbert K. Mertel, Consultant. See
http://www.sdieee.org/sdieee/bulletin/chapter/emc0100.htm

January 20, Los Angeles -- Interactive Broadband Video Summit for content
developers and producers of rich media advertising and entertainment.
Keynote: John Sculley, Sculley Bros. LLC; Speaker: Christopher Zak,
[email protected] See http://www.veon.com/summit/  

January 21, Los Angeles -- "Old Marketing Models Are Collapsing" Jesse
Berst, ZDNet Anchordesk. How do you build a business for the next
millennium? Join the IPN and "the most influential journalist on the
Internet," ZDNet AnchorDesk's Jesse Berst, as he reveals the single best
method of harnessing the digital economy: "Spiral Marketing." Learn to
connect TV,
Web and email for the ultimate media play. See http://www.ipronetwork.com  

January 25-27, Palm Springs -- Upside Showcase 2000. Event to
demonstrate new technology products. See http://www.upsideevents.com/showcase 

January 26, Los Angeles -- Software Council of Southern California,
Entrepreneurial Repartee. See http://www.scsc.org/repartee.html 

January 31, Los Angeles -- Direct Capital Network Golf Tournament.
Investors, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs will
share golf tips and business ideas. Direct Stock Market. See
http://www.dsm.com/golf2000 

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Thanks to our continued sponsors:

Brobeck Phleger & Harrison LLP (www.brobeck.com)
BROBECK  --  Attorneys at law.  When your future is at stake.

Koffler Ventures (www.kofflerventures.com)
Specialists in the successful incubation of start-ups.

Deloitte & Touche (www.us.deloitte.com)  
Southern California's premier professional services firm.

Marsh Risk and Insurance Services (www.marshweb.com)

Human Capital Group ([email protected])
Two Roads Professional Resources (www.2roads.com)
Pacific Shore Resources, inc. (www.psresources.com)

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Legal Notices
----

While Benjamin Kuo and socalTECH.com used their best efforts in 
collecting and preparing the information published herein, socalTECH.com
does not assume, and hereby disclaims, any liability for any loss or 
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resulted from negligence, accident or other causes. 

socalTECH.com - Dedicated to High Tech in Southern California
http://www.socaltech.com/
All contents Copyright(c)2000 by Benjamin F. Kuo.

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