VC funds in US stay put… Grey nomad boom… Debtor day cash crunch… Ads on computer games… Video kills the search engine star?



US venture capital stays at home

Most US venture capital funds do not invest funds overseas, and many of those that so do only invest a small amount, according to the Global Venture Capital Survey 2007 produced by Deloitte and the National Venture Capital Association.

Of 528 venture capital funds that responded to the survey, 54% have invested only in US-based companies. Of the 46% that have invested overseas, 66% said they had less than 5% of their capital invested offshore.

And not withstanding the present wobbles in the US economy, it appears the US VCs are not planning to change tack anytime soon. Of those not currently investing overseas, 73% say they have not intention of changing in the near future.

However, money invested in the US does have some flow through to the rest of the globe, with the venture capitalists reporting that 88% of the US companies they invest in have branch offices overseas.

The countries that the more adventurous US venture capitalists are most likely to invest in are Canada, China, India and Israel. Of these, Israel, China and India are cited for high-quality deal flow, while India and China are attractive because of their emerging entrepreneurial environments and vast markets.

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Grey nomads

Caravans and recreational vehicles (RVs) are becoming increasingly popular in Australia as older Australians retire from work and take to the road.

The share of buyers aged 55 years and older is growing, from 57.9% in past years to 63% in 2007, according to figures from the Caravan, RV & Accommodation Industry of Australia lobby group.

The number of new motor homes and similar products being registered has risen from 5317 in 1996 to now number 18,440.

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Debtor day cash crunch

The latest figures in Dun & Bradstreet’s Trade Payments Analysis reveal that business-to-business trade payments are showing signs of improvement, but they continue to have a negative impact on Australian businesses by remaining at an alarmingly high level of 53 days.

Slow payment means cash flow problems for many. SmartCompany’s SME Opinion Leaders poll, a survey of 315 SME owners across the country conducted by SmartCompany in conjunction with Roy Morgan Research and Dun & Bradstreet, found more than a third of SMEs are being left to struggle with cash flow difficulties as a result of late bill payments from clients, while 44% report that the problems with late bill payments are getting worse.

The majority of SMEs say they no longer regularly expect clients to pay on time. Just over 30% of SME owners surveyed say very few clients pay their bills on time, while the number who say they have customers that do pay on time is just a little higher at 41%. Just 28% report that most of their clients comply with the payments terms asked of them.

Read our top story: Avoid the cashflow crunch for tips on coping with slow payers.

Other findings from the Dun & Bradstreet trade payments analysis:

  • Despite a decrease in payment periods since the March quarter of 2007 and the June quarter of 2006, the average time taken to pay accounts across all industries remained more than three weeks above the standard 30-day payment term.
  • Agriculture retains its position as the fastest paying sector, averaging 49.2 days to pay accounts in the June quarter.
  • The construction sector is currently the slowest to pay accounts, averaging 53.7 days in the June quarter.
  • State-based breakdowns show that Tasmania is the quickest paying state at 49.7 days while NSW is slowest at 54.4.

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Local in-game ads coming closer

Placing Australian brands and products in computer games to reach men 18 to 30 is a step closer. The MediaSmart digital marketing arm of Telstra’s Sensis division will sign its first deals over the next month to place Australian brands and products in the global game network run by US-based IGA Worldwide, reports The Australian Financial Review.

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Video will attract visitors to your search results

If you want to get noticed in Google and Yahoo! search results in future, you may have to consider adding video to your site.

One online media consultant told The Australian newspaper that with search engines being optimised to capture video content – Google video and images is being included in all Google searches – video clips and pictures are likely to rank higher than words because they attract attention and have a higher click-through rate.

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SmartCompany Quote of the Day

“Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there.”
Will Rogers


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