Last Blog Post

This might be my last blog post here on    Why?    Because I do most of my short form updates on Twitter at @chrisfralic (which you can also find on the bottom of this blog), and most of my long form writing on LinkedIn or occasionally on Forbes.    Then I saw my inclusion on this list of the Periodic Table of Venture Capital Bloggers.


It reminded me how infrequently I post, and @dougbernstein said it well, it could have been called the PeriodicALLY Table…

So for now, I’ll do my best to live up to the title of the blog.

Two non-Apple Watches/Gadgets – one is the best of its kind…

The other one is still worth criticizing.


The Samsung Gear Fit is the one on the right – it takes your pulse, counts your steps, connects with your Samsung phone and does notifications and has a really nice screen and overall look and feel.   And it was only $129 on eBay.   But it ONLY works with the Samsung, and the strap doesn’t always stay on, and it’s nice to try out and show people, but it feels like it will be run off the road from Apple and other tech watch makers in the coming weeks and months.   But a very nice effort by Samsung, and you know they will never give up.

But the Garmin Forerunner 220 on the left is the real deal – it’s the most useful running watch that I’ve ever tried.    It looks great, fits great, and the battery lasts well over a week for me so far.   It connects via GPS for accurate measurements of how far you’re running, split times, average miles per hour, etc while you’re running.  Then it connects to your smart phone for more detail about your run after you run, like a map of where you ran, elevations, etc.   It’s not cheap at $249, but the price will likely come down, and it really works as great as it looks and feels.

I’ve been critical of a lot of the previous generation of these kinds of gadgets – but these are worth looking at, and it’s about to get a whole lot more interesting next week with Apple getting into the game.



Yahoo! to acquire Flurry

Exciting news just hit, First Round Community member Flurry is set to be acquired by Yahoo!

Flurry-logo yahoo-original

This is a great combination of an iconic Internet company where more than half their monthly audience visits on a mobile device, with one of the market leaders in mobile analytics and monetization.

We’ve been lucky enough to be involved since early 2008 (originally via Pinch Media), and  CEO Simon Khalaf and his team have done a great job building and scaling the company since then.   When I think of the Flurry story, I think of a few things.

The Founding Story – I absolutely love the founding story of Pinch Media founder Greg Yardley and his co-founder Jesse Rohland.  They saw Steve Jobs announce the new App Store, and the very next day they quit their jobs at Right Media to launch Pinch Media to directly jump into the opportunity.   Talk about conviction and seeing seeing where the world was heading…

Private to Private Mergers sometime work – My friend Alan Patricof of Greycroft has said that private to private mergers are “like me trading my cats for your dogs.”     In this case, Pinch Media and Flurry combined exceptionally well into a company that created real value.

Scale – Flurry has achieved immense scale and reach.  They see over 1.4 billion devices a month, over 5.5 billion app sessions per day, and have over 8,000 publishers monetizing with Flurry and over 170,000 developers using Flurry Analytics.

That time with Steve Jobs.  I’ve had 2 direct interactions with Mr. Jobs, and this one in 2010 was quite memorable.  I didn’t intend it to be specifically about Flurry, but it ended up that way…


Congrats to the Flurry team!


Wearable Gadgets of Various and Dubious Value

A friend of mine was kidding me that I used to buy every “gadget of dubious value” that came out, which is pretty much true.   But he also remembered that one of them was the first iPod, and that turned out to be a pretty good one.



Here’s a rundown of the current crop of wearable tech gadgets that I’ve had a chance to use.


Nike FuelBand and FuelBand SE.   Probably the best of the bunch, looks and feels great, the SE now synchs nicely and wirelessly with Bluetooth LE.  But is missing the boat on Sleep/Wake functionality – they hint at it with the SE but don’t really do anything with it yet.

Jawbone Up - looks and feels great, the Sleep/Wake function might be the best out there, but the original version had really bad synching (physical plug into your phone) and limited battery and you’d lose the end cap all the time.   But I think the new version fixes a lot of that, and others I know that use it love it.

Fitbit Flex – This one was one of the first wireless synching devices, and it looks and feels good on the wrist, but the UI is a little limiting and it’s a pain to take it out of the wrist strap to charge it every time.  But it looks like the upcoming Fitbit Force could be great.

Misfit Shine – the design is beautiful and the UI is intriguingly simple, and the first time you synch it feels like magic.  But that wears off really quickly and then the clip on band breaks and you realize the synching was a magic trick and the UI isn’t that helpful.

Withings Pulse – probably the best UI of all of them and it does support sleep/wake, but for some reason they don’t offer it as a watch or with a wrist strap – it should be a watch too.  They do offer a sleep wristband but it’s too much work taking it in and out of that and explicitly setting sleep modes.


The Pebble looks great with a very cool interface and I really love the notifications from the phone.  But it just doesn’t work well enough, whether it’s synching problems or the charging cable is broken – but at least they give good customer service on Twitter.

The Cookoo is a great looking looking watch that I’d wear even if the notifications and synching to the iPhone didn’t work.  Which is good, because it literally doesn’t work as advertised – the software and connection to the phone are useless.

I’ve played with the Continue reading "Wearable Gadgets of Various and Dubious Value"

#FloridaToCuba #XtremeDream

You’ve heard about Diana Nyad’s incredible swim.   When you watch this amazing and inspiring TEDTalk, you’ll be less surprised that she was able to do it.


Warby Parker on MSNBC

Here’s a great story on FRC Community Member Warby Parker and how they’re moving from online to opening physical stores.


Tremor Video’s IPO and 5 lessons learned from ScanScout to $TRMR

Today is a big day for our portfolio company Tremor Video as they achieve an important milestone – they had their Initial Public Offering and their stock is now listed on New York Stock Exchange under the symbol $TRMR.

This is big achievement for the Tremor Video team, including Waikit Lau and Steven Lee who were the original ScanScout founders, later joined by CEO Bill Day, then eventually merging with Tremor Media which was founded by Jason Glickman.    The combined company has survived and thrived over the years, grew sales to over $100 million last year, and they’ve really earned their leadership role in the online video market.


ScanScout was the first company I joined the board of and started working with when I joined First Round in 2006.   I learned a lot and had the chance to work closely with Waikit and Steve and the early team, and incredible seed investors and partners including Ron Conway of SVAngel who introduced us to the company, David Lee who at the time was working at Google Video before YouTube, and Chris Dixon who was an early and active seed investor

Here are are some lessons learned and observations on the road from ScanScout to $TRMR:

1) Enterprise sales businesses can take a lot more time and money to develop, but when they do they can create real value.

2) Markets like Online Video Monetization can take a while to develop.  Now it’s a fast-growing multi-billion dollar market, but back in 2006 ScanScout was definitely early.

3) At ScanScout and for many Online Advertising businesses, it’s nice to have both Direct/Brand sales and Partner/Backfill revenue.   There were many times in the early quarters where both were needed in combination and balanced and supported each other.

4) The power of Private to Private mergers.  Tremor Media and ScanScout really made sense – it was 1+1=3.    And they also acquired Transpera, another First Round company.  It showed great vision.  Startups don’t consider it often enough.    This really a topic for another whole blog post.

5) This is another exit for the NYC tech community, and now Tremor Video has joined some great company exits like Makerbot, Tumblr, Buddy Media- and there a lot more in the wings.