React: Test Your Reflexes On the iPhone/iPod Touch

I entertain no illusions when it comes to my reaction time. I won’t be catching any katana blades between my hands, that’s for sure. It’s my secret shame, since it means I’m not terribly good at video games, despite my professed love of them. There may be hope for me yet, thanks to DoApp’s new “skills-sharpening” game for the iPhone and iPod touch, appropriately titled React ($0.99).

React is a reflex and coordination game, using the unique multi-touch abilities of the iPhone and iPod touch to test your ability to complete a series of actions on your device. It’s actually kind of similar to Nintendo’s Wario Ware series, minus the crass, slightly vulgar main character. React has no characters, unless you count colorful shapes and contemporary, monochromatic design palettes as characters. In fact, it probably has more in common with Simon, although there is no pattern to memorize in this case.
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Vid-Biz: Sezmi, KickApps, SAG

Sezmi Secures $28 Million; influx of cash comes on the heels of the set-top box company laying off 20 percent of its staff. (peHUB)

KickApps Raises More than $13 Million
; white-label social networking site is working on Series C round. (peHUB)
SAG Seeks to Authorize Strike Vote; federally mediated talks between the actors’ union and the Hollywood studios broke down over the weekend. (Variety)
Sumner Redstone Under Pressure; tumbling share prices of Viacom and CBS hampering efforts to resolve debt issues of National Amusements, his family holding company. (Wall Street Journal)
MPAA Targets; web community of hobbyists who make variations on movies will take down much of its site. (TorrentFreak)
Crackle Announces New Season; will debut Dec. 1 with renewals of shows like The Groundlings and new ones like Star-ving, the new comedy series from Married…with Children‘s David Faustino. (emailed release)
Eisner Might Want Prom Queen Movie; and he’s loving being an indie in the current media market. (New York Times)

New York Times Magazine Does Special on “Screens”
; including How Napoleon Dynamite Stumps Netflix’s recommendations, an essay on becoming “screen literate,” and pictures of kids playing video games. (New York Times Magazine)

What I learned at SXSW

Editor’s Note: One of contributors, serial founder Aruni Gunasegaram attended SXSW Interactive for the first time this year, and she learned a lot. Aruni compiled a digest of takeaways, on funding, strategy, and using social media, on her blog entrepreMusings. She shares them with us here.

Interactive – Monday, March 10, 2008: The Care and Feeding of Your Startup

This panel was made up of some local entrepreneurs from Unwired Nation as well as a venture capitalist from Texas based DFJ Mercury and a couple of others. Some key insights:

* Someone needs to serve as the “Belief Engine” for your startup which I took to mean the “evangelist” but I thought that was a unique way of saying it.

* Make sure your product fits into your users way of life and they don’t have to drastically change what they are doing Read More about What I learned at SXSW

How to (Really) Use SEO Effectively

Aruni Gunasegaram is a popular contributor to Found|READ, so I’m now a regular visitor to her own blog, Tonight I ran across her current post, What They Don’t Tell You About SEO – Part 2. As you’d expect, it details Aruni’s adventures in hiring a “search engine optimization” firm to help her current startup, BabbleSoft, amp its search page rank on Google.

Aruni hired her SEO firm in December, and she finally details some of the things she’s learned from the experience, including the results of her investment and the (possibly more helpful!) perspective she gained from an independent site-ranking source, which she stumbled upon, called Website Grader.

We have seen an increase in trial account sign ups and a few more sales, but I’m still waiting for the landslide! 🙂
I know it is sometimes an experimental process with keyword selection, and I know since we aren’t selling cupcakes (i.e., a well understood product) that things might take a little longer. I know all of this and yet I still want (dare I say need) to see those results immediately because I’m fundraising

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Cost of Customer Acquisition – What Is It?

Editor’s Note: Contributor and serial founder Aruni Gunasegaram has written recently about her experiences fundraising for her current startup, BabbleSoft, in My Funding Toolkit and A Founder’s Tale: Angels vs. VCs. Today Aruni shares with us her insights on another major founder’s challenge: the cost of acquiring customers.

One of the interesting things about fundraising is the different perspectives you get from potential investors. If they spend enough time to really understand what you are trying to do, they offer great feedback, suggestions, and advice. They also sometimes ask a tough question or two.

I officially started the fundraising process a couple of weeks ago and have had a couple of meetings and a few more set up in the coming weeks. Since many of these angel investors are really busy, getting on their calendar can take weeks!

One question I was asked had to do with the cost of customer acquisition. It’s so hard to tell what that might be, given the uncertainty and newness of many business concepts out there (including mine) today. I searched and searched and oddly only found very dated ancient info (i.e., 1999 – 2001) figures for sites like At a high-level, the cost of customer acquisition is how much it costs to get a customer/visitor to your site. Read More about Cost of Customer Acquisition – What Is It?

A Founder’s Tale: Angels vs. VCs

Editor’s Note: Founder Aruni Gunasegaram has written about the virtues of ignoring “the experts” , things no one tells you about VCs, and her preparations for “shaking the can” for her current startup, BabbleSoft, in My Funding Toolkit. On her blog today, Aruni shares some insights from her funding experience. We offer the highlights.

Several readers asked me to write my experience raising funds from angels and VCs for my first entrepreneurial endeavor. We raised about $15 million of which $3.5 million was from angels or what I would call boutique VC firms (i.e. a group of angels under one investment roof). Keep in mind that was all before the bubble burst back in 2001. Here are some of my observations based on my experience and from stories I’ve heard from other entrepreneurs. Read More about A Founder’s Tale: Angels vs. VCs