Notes on Jeff Nolan’s Software VC Outlook for 2008

Jeff NolanBryan Stolle of Mohr Davidow Ventures wrote this piece on investment opportunities in software for this year. Here are my takeaways:

  • An innovative business model (ex. SaaS) is not enough. Focusing on solving an urgent, valued, critical business problem first and using/combining known models that fits well the solution requirements is the key of any successful venture. For instance, some companies like SaaS ease-of-setup but they don’t like having their data in the cloud. Their need can be answered by combining SaaS model with the appliance model. I think this should be particularly seducing to the ultra-conservative financial services industry.
  • Actual operations globalization and decentralization of improvements (“IT consumerism”) is a driving force behind new software investments. I wonder if that goes with corporate culture finally moving from a Stalinian management style to actually applying survival-of-the-fittest strategies to management, operations and innovation issues: instead of a management by committee where a handful of people that are not users are tasked with choosing a software product for the whole company, actual users can pick products from the Web for free, start to use them, integrate them with internal products, add new functions, have other easily build upon. In the end, the picked product(s) is the one that is most used and driving most user satisfaction and efficiency.

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