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Site where you rate VCs… Excel 2007 miscalculates… SMEs ? SEM, SEO… Small business gets greener: survey

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Entrepreneurs gossip about investors

Venture capitalists have been instrumental in getting many web businesses and sites off the ground. How do they get thanked? With sites like TheFunded, where entrepreneurs can gossip and whinge about the venture capitalists that have invested in them.

TheFunded has a database of more than 3000 venture firms, and invites members to rate and review them after dealing with them first hand, according to TechCrunch. The firms are from all over the globe and include Australian VC firms Champ Private Equity, Allco Equity Partners and Gresham Private Equity, among others.

Other members can agree or disagree with the comments, and make their own observations. The end result is a list of the good and the bad for each VC, as well as an overall 1-5 rating for each fund on five different categories.

You can only read the ratings if you apply to be a member. The people who run the site do make efforts to verify the identity of applicants. In the future, TechCrunch says, TheFunded will only allow people who’ve been invited by other members to join.

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Excel 2007 spreadsheets great for everything… except maths

High placed tech-types at Microsoft have confessed that the Excel spreadsheet program in the much vaunted Office 2007 package makes calculation errors in a small, but significant, number of cases, Information Week reports.

In a blog posting on Tuesday, members of Microsoft’s Excel development team said the flaw occurs during calculations that would ordinarily result in, or be close to, the number 65,535. Instead, Excel produces a result of 100,000.

Apparently, Excel’s maths isn’t wrong, just the way it displays the answers; either way, though, a wrong answer is a wrong answer.

Needless to say, Microsoft IT gurus are beavering furiously to fix the problem, which they assure us they will be in a position to resolve very soon.

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SMEs don’t do SEM

Those who follow the search industry and actively market their internet presence in a variety of ways may be surprised to learn that a lot of their fellow entrepreneurs don’t do so.

A majority of SMEs in the US don’t do search engine marketing (SEM) or search engine optimisation (SEO), according to an Opus Research study reported by WebProNews.

The survey of North American SMEs found that 59% do not do online marketing, with a majority saying they prefer to rely on word-of-mouth or from referrals by other customers to draw traffic to their business and their website.

According to the study, most SMEs have websites and equate the importance of having an online presence to that of advertising in local newspapers. When it comes to maximising the effectiveness of websites, however, it seems many business owners aren’t aware of or can’t afford the options available to them.

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SMEs changing tune on environment

Small and medium businesses are getting more worried about environmental issues and they are doing something about it, a survey shows. The Sensis Environment Report found that 37% of SMEs surveyed were trying to reduce their impact on the environment.

The result follows a survey conducted earlier this year by international business coaching organisation Shirlaws, which found that only 2.5% of SMEs believed that “reducing environmental impact” would be a key challenge over the next five years.

Another survey, the latest Commonwealth Bank-CCI Survey of WA Business Expectations, found that 44% of respondents were unsure about the most appropriate way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Christena Singh, the author of the Sensis report, says: “The most popular change was to introduce recycling, followed by trying to reduce water and energy usage.” The main calls to action from Australians were for business to be more efficient with energy and water (14%) and to recycle and manage waste better (13%).

“These calls to action closely mirror changes already being made by SMEs,” Singh told The Age. Of the SMEs that responded, 44% reported an impact on their business from drought, flood or water restrictions.

 

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