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Summary:

Nearly ten years ago, long before the Internet madness started, I met Danny Rimer. At the time at-least, he was one of a kind – an Internet analyst. He toiled away in the not-so-posh offices of Hambrecht & Quist, trying to make sense of a stillborn […]

Nearly ten years ago, long before the Internet madness started, I met Danny Rimer. At the time at-least, he was one of a kind – an Internet analyst. He toiled away in the not-so-posh offices of Hambrecht & Quist, trying to make sense of a stillborn industry. Rimer was there long before Mary Meeker brought her “diva act” and bullish prognostications. And long before Henry Blodgett bumbled his way into over-the-top price targets. Rimer did not have the gift of the gab (thank god) but he was a believer. He believed in the disruptive power of the “connected economies.”

danny rimerAs the years went by, Rimer went through a career transition, and became a general partner at The Barksdale Group, a venture capital firm started by Jim Barksdale and other Netscape refugees. As the dot.bomb hit, the firm and its partners spread like feathers from a broken wing. Rimer, however, went back home to Switzerland, and became a general partner at Index Ventures, a London-based VC firm, that manages about a billion dollars. The four Rimer brothers along with three others are general partners at the firm.

So why bring up Rimer now? Well, you heard of this little deal where eBay (supremely overpaid) for a little company called Skype… Rimer was one of the investors in Skype. Unlike his more vocal and visible counterpart, Tim Draper from the first of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Rimer has been keeping it on the D-L. Index and DJF had co-led the $18.8 million investment in Skype. That it has been a home run, well that’s like saying Barry Bonds is just another San Francisco Giant.

Rimer, who now lives in London has been making steady investments in a lot of intriguing and what seem to be difficult business ideas. MySQL, Source Labs, and Zend are some of his other investments. He admits, he is an “open source” believer. I chatted with Rimer this morning, and he was quick to point out that like Skype, there is a lot of innovation bubbling in Europe. In his opinion, the hot-house like environment of Silicon Valley the phenomenon of very-alike start-ups is widespread.

So what next? Rimer is pretty excited about his new start-up, Thought Spot Runner, which is still in stealth mode. This one is so stealth that I could not find a website for the company.

  1. Om, could you please follow up with Danny and ask him to clarify his comments regarding innovation bubbling up in Europe? It seems like such a dichotomy for him to say this after reading these comments on David’s (of 37 signals) blog about European startups:

    http://www.loudthinking.com/arc/000509.html

    Cheers,

    -Ed

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  2. Om, nice post.

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  3. It’s good to see that Danny has learned a few things. I worked for a Barksdale Group portfolio company during the late 1990′s and Danny added such limited value, I wondered who he was. I am being more polite here than Mr. Rimer’s behaviour at the time warrants.

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  4. Skype’s Investors: It’s Good to be a VC

    One of the more fascinating parts of the eBay-Skype mega-deal are the investors who hit the jackpot. Everyone knows about Draper Jurvetson Fisher’s role given Tim Draper’s willingness to talk about the company and his quasi-serious comment at the Alw…

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  5. Om, I think the company is Spot Runner — not Thought Runner. :)

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  6. thanks for the profile on Rimer. as for spot runner, they have launched today. the website is up at http://www.spotrunner.com.

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  7. Hi Om, I’d love to see you write a piece on the public launch of Spot Runner that you mentioned here. For example, why did they launch with the traditional T.V. model rather than the hot online video ad space? Obviously they have this capability but they don’t use it as their lead? As an online marketer and online Ad Ops guy with rich media advertising background this really surprised me. They have a good idea here that leverages the power of the web and could havee some really interesting impact on the burgeoning local advertising space. You can read my thoughts on Spot Runner at my blog post here http://www.exceler8ion.com/2006/01/13/see-spot-run/

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  8. julian,

    i am going to ping him and find out what’s the story there. i have been busy with trade shows and also down with the flu which makes it difficult to stay on top of everything

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  9. [...] FON a wireless services company started by European entrepreneur Martin Varsavsky has just raised $21.7 million from Google, Skype, and Sequoia Capital. The cash infusion has been led by Index Ventures, the same company that had also backed Skype. [...]

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  10. Funny, but did anyone read the fine print on Spot Runner’s web site? Did Rimer? No 60 second ads or national airings permitted. There’s more: Spotrunner keeps the ad you paid for and forces you buy air time only from them. They do not permit you to air your own ad with some other agency. They will not give you a web version to put on your own web site or to send out freely via e-mail without a big watermark across it. Spotrunner will resell your ad to your competitors if you stop airing with them, and they actually charge more money for air time than just about anywhere. If Google wanted to get in the game they should buy Spotrunner’s largest direct competitor, the semi-automated ad national agency Cheap-TV-Spots.com because Cheap TV Spots does everything that Spotrunner should, but doesn’t, including internet and mobile. And Cheap TV Spots does it faster, better and cheaper with national TV airings to millions of households as low as $10 (USD). CheapTVspots.com national airings are better for web-based businesses that require a national presence. Maybe Google, Yahoo or ASK.com should buy them both and combine them into one hyper-functioning unit. Recently heard or read that CheapTVSpots.com was raising capital to attempt a bid for Spotrunner. Maybe that is Google’s real strategy. Wait a bit, then they could buy one and get them both. That way quality TV and web ads could easily air concurrently. Total one-stop media saturation. This is not for Madison avenue clients, but it would work for everybody else.

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