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Apple helps launch $100 million iFund venture capital pool

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
Apple has revealed that a major venture capitalist firm is making $100 million available to entrepreneurs looking to jumpstart businesses based on the iPhone and iPod touch.

Launched by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) at Apple's iPhone Software Roadmap event, the money is placed into a collective pool known as the iFund, which will be used to provide early financial support for promising new companies using the software development kit to create software for Apple's handhelds.

Most of the investment will go to teams developing location-based services, mobile commerce, social networks, and other communication or entertainment add-ons for the mobile version of Mac OS X.

KPCB doesn't say whether it has established a particular system for distributing the money, but says it will invest venture capital to help the companies become completely independent. It also plans to lend its experience in both building startups as well as networking the young companies with partners they may need to expand.

The finances will be distributed chiefly by KPCB venture capitalist Matt Murphy as well as several other notable investors, including former Intel marketer and current Google board member John Doerr. To him, the SDK is an unusual chance to invest in a new and potentially successful category.

"A revolutionary new platform is a rare and prized opportunity for entrepreneurs, and that's exactly what Apple has created," Doerr says. "We think several significant new companies will emerge as this new platform evolves."

More news from today's Apple event

Apple's iPhone takes on the Enterprise
Apple posts iPhone Software Roadmap event stream
Coming to iPhone: Instant Messenger, EA's Spore, SEGA games
Apple announces iPhone 2.0 software and SDK beta
Notes from Apple's iPhone Software Roadmap event
post #2 of 35
That's one big bang of a startup fund.

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post #3 of 35
Now this is impressive, and more like the Apple I grew up with! Is the Great Woz in charge of the fund allocation?
post #4 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The finances will be distributed chiefly by KPCB venture capitalist Matt Murphy as well as several other notable investors...

Matt "guitar" Murphy, Duck Dunn, Bones Malone......
post #5 of 35
This $100M iFund, Apple fronting the bill for Exchange support instead of charging for it per person, and the very low $99 developer fee means that total cost of ownership for the iPhone will be lower than the competition.

Apple really seems to be gunning for RiM's marketshare.
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post #6 of 35
Huh? What connection do the iFund and Exchange support have with each other? I'm not following you.

Oh wait, never mind, you weren't connecting them, you were just listing them. my mistake.
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post #7 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

This $100M iFund, Apple fronting the bill for Exchange support instead of charging for it per person, and the very low $99 developer fee means that total cost of ownership for the iPhone will be lower than the competition.

Apple really seems to be gunning for RiM's marketshare.

I agree. I watched the quicktime presentation at the Apple website and several references were made to RIM.
post #8 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

I agree. I watched the quicktime presentation at the Apple website and several references were made to RIM.

There was a remark that seemed to speak directly to teh RiM outages taht have recently happened. I'd like to know more about how RiM is setup and how Apple is able to by pass those extra steps while RiM doesn't. Of course, I may have easily misinterpreted that portion of the keynote.
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post #9 of 35
Watch the price of RIMM tomorrow. They should be getting very, very nervous.

UPDATE: I just checked their stock price... whoa. Not good.

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post #10 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Watch the price of RIMM tomorrow. They should be getting very, very nervous.

UPDATE: I just checked their stock price... whoa. Not good.

It would appear to me that Apple now match RIM in enterprise features but I'm guessing that the iPhone is a more robust platform to write apps for.

I can see a lot of companies writing apps for their business on the iPhone.

And the costs to develop for the iPhone seem reasonable, but I'm not a developer. There isn't even a lot of bitchin' at Ars, which is unusual. They usually rag heavily on the iPhone over there.
post #11 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

It would appear to me that Apple now match RIM in enterprise features but I'm guessing that the iPhone is a more robust platform to write apps for.

I can see a lot of companies writing apps for their business on the iPhone.

And the costs to develop for the iPhone seem reasonable, but I'm not a developer. There isn't even a lot of bitchin' at Ars, which is unusual. They usually rag heavily on the iPhone over there.

According to some of the posts I read here, the cost is really cheap. Some companies charge thousands to develop for their platform.

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post #12 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

According to some of the posts I read here, the cost is really cheap. Some companies charge thousands to develop for their platform.

$399 for private enterprise apps is amazingly cheap. Not to mention that apps can be made wuicker and cheaper than many other platforms.

Though I have no use for it, it's too bad Apple didn't showcase cut and paste for v2, as it would have covered everything I can think of that people have been bitching about software-wise.
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post #13 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

It would appear to me that Apple now match RIM in enterprise features but I'm guessing that the iPhone is a more robust platform to write apps for.

I can see a lot of companies writing apps for their business on the iPhone.

And the costs to develop for the iPhone seem reasonable, but I'm not a developer. There isn't even a lot of bitchin' at Ars, which is unusual. They usually rag heavily on the iPhone over there.

As a WM and BB developer - and now iPhone - I can tell you right now that RIM's is the one that in real life is least robust.
post #14 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Akac View Post

As a WM and BB developer - and now iPhone - I can tell you right now that RIM's is the one that in real life is least robust.

What's your impression of the SDK, enterprise features and development platform of the iPhone?

I watched the presentation at Apple's website and came away very impressed but I'm not a developer and have limited insight into that area. Maybe I'm just easily impressed...or the events of today were impressive.

Your thoughts.
post #15 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post

Matt "guitar" Murphy, Duck Dunn, Bones Malone......

Don't forget "Blue" Lou Marini, and "Mr. Fabulous", Alan Rubin!
post #16 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post

Matt "guitar" Murphy, Duck Dunn, Bones Malone......

Oh man you hurt me with that
post #17 of 35
They had someone from Kleiner Perkins onstage and they didn't ask them about EEstor? Would anybody be interested in a 200-hour battery for the MacBook Air?
post #18 of 35
I'm incredulous there aren't more comments about this iFund. This is really huge news.

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post #19 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

I'm incredulous there aren't more comments about this iFund. This is really huge news.

I couldn't agree more.
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post #20 of 35
Ouch. Given the RIM share price slipping somewhat, and the fact that RIM penetration (ooh, that sounds soooo gay) outside of the US is actually quite low... iPhone FTW.
post #21 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

I'm incredulous there aren't more comments about this iFund. This is really huge news.

Quote:
Originally Posted by [alloc init] View Post

I couldn't agree more.

Since I am not an AAPL shareholder, I'll be an a55 and say this is good use of Apple's massive cash load. 100 million is a drop in the lake. The fact that it is a long-term investment, especially in times of US and Western "OMFG China is going to leave us in the dust!11!!" thought, is quite astounding.
post #22 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

...And the costs to develop for the iPhone seem reasonable, but I'm not a developer. There isn't even a lot of bitchin' at Ars, which is unusual. They usually rag heavily on the iPhone over there.

Given Ars is usually so far up its own arse (yes, I am on fire today)... This is really unusual for them. Must be Apple's iPhone "Enterprise" push, this is quite unexpected given how much "Steve Jobs hates business users".
post #23 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatesbasher View Post

They had someone from Kleiner Perkins onstage and they didn't ask them about EEstor? Would anybody be interested in a 200-hour battery for the MacBook Air?

Watch the video, and you'll see why. This wasn't a free-for-all. There was no Q&A while that man was talking. I'll go on record myself here and say that listening to that guy (Jim Doerr) was easily the most memorable part of that video for me. I love SJ to death and think his keynotes are some of the best things in life. But listening to Doerr, you suddenly feel like history is really happening. Not just The Next Cool Thing. But a genuine epoch-changing moment in history.

Q&A was done after the affair. At the end, refreshments were offered outside the auditorium, and reporters were invited to stay. Jim Doerr probably hadn't stayed. But even if he had, would you really have asked a question like "When do I get a 200 hour battery for my MacBook?" Surely you're smarter than that. Every single person on this forum knows what the answer to that is. Hopefully if you were there, you'd have asked a genuine question and not wasted everyone's time.
post #24 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

I'm incredulous there aren't more comments about this iFund. This is really huge news.

I don't think there's enough information about it yet, except for the amount. When Jim Doerr was talking about the iFund, there was no discussion about details of how to apply. I think it was sufficient to say it's there and it's happening.

To realize that it took $8 million to start Amazon, and $24 million to start Google... if that doesn't make you pause to think about a $100 million fund... yeah, you're right. It's huge.
post #25 of 35
How much money would it take to fund a startup to write apps for the iPhone?

I wouldn't think it would take a lot from what I've seen so far. $99 to get onto the apple app store. Free SDK. Apple doing the distribution, ect..

Would 5 million do it for most? If so then the iFund can seed 20 companies. Not bad.
post #26 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Watch the price of RIMM tomorrow. They should be getting very, very nervous.

UPDATE: I just checked their stock price... whoa. Not good.

People are selling RIM stock and buying APPL?

No, actually they aren't. I would have expected Apple's stock price to jump at this news, but I guess the stock market is just dumb.
post #27 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Akac View Post

As a WM and BB developer - and now iPhone - I can tell you right now that RIM's is the one that in real life is least robust.

Are you serious? I have absolutely no knowledge on the matter but would appreciate you expanding on this. If RIM is the least robust, then why is it everyone seems to speak about them like they have the most robust platform? (Since this is the internet and you can't hear my tone, this is a genuine question)
post #28 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronbo View Post

Are you serious? I have absolutely no knowledge on the matter but would appreciate you expanding on this. If RIM is the least robust, then why is it everyone seems to speak about them like they have the most robust platform? (Since this is the internet and you can't hear my tone, this is a genuine question)

Oh, they have a robust OS. Its the development side that's far from "robust". Here are some of my reasons:

1) Installation of apps is pathetic. Unlike ActiveSync or iTunes, installation of BlackBerry apps from a desktop is very weak, has a lot of steps, and especially for anything that syncs, is too fragile. If you're doing most simple apps - its OK. But when you add a sync conduit, its a nightmare.

2) RIM changes things under you. Here is an example. One of our apps uses the Java Media kit on the 8300, 8800, and 8100 series models to record audio. Depending on the device you have certain audio types allowed. When RIM introduced CDMA devices they changed some of this stuff under us without telling anyone so that it just simply crashed. No docs.

3) The way you have to have multiple SDKs installed and multiple JDEs because if you write an app under 4.2 it won't run under a device with 4.1. But you can't conditionally access an interface that is only in 4.2 under 4.1. So you end up having to have two separate builds.

In normal C/C++/Obj-C apps I can test for a feature/API and then use it if it exists or not use it if it doesn't without having to have 5 builds of my app.

So those are just 3 things that personally bug me.
post #29 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

What's your impression of the SDK, enterprise features and development platform of the iPhone?

I watched the presentation at Apple's website and came away very impressed but I'm not a developer and have limited insight into that area. Maybe I'm just easily impressed...or the events of today were impressive.

Your thoughts.

First impression is very good. Its hard to say until we get into it more. Enterprise features I think, based on the presentation, not based on what I can personally see, mean that its fewer reasons for BB or WM devices. Which I think is great. I personally believe that half our income will be iPhone based by the end of the year. And frankly, I love the new App Store and iTunes distribution. Its not much different than what we end up with on the dark side, yet its much more open and usable I think.
post #30 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

Since I am not an AAPL shareholder, I'll be an a55 and say this is good use of Apple's massive cash load. 100 million is a drop in the lake. The fact that it is a long-term investment, especially in times of US and Western "OMFG China is going to leave us in the dust!11!!" thought, is quite astounding.

Most impressively, the iFund does not involve any of Apple's cash.

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post #31 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

How much money would it take to fund a startup to write apps for the iPhone?

I wouldn't think it would take a lot from what I've seen so far. $99 to get onto the apple app store. Free SDK. Apple doing the distribution, ect..

Would 5 million do it for most? If so then the iFund can seed 20 companies. Not bad.

If you're a one or two man shop, your cost to develop could be very low. One never knows where the next big thing will come from.

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post #32 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronbo View Post

Q&A was done after the affair. At the end, refreshments were offered outside the auditorium, and reporters were invited to stay. Jim Doerr probably hadn't stayed. But even if he had, would you really have asked a question like "When do I get a 200 hour battery for my MacBook?" Surely you're smarter than that. Every single person on this forum knows what the answer to that is. Hopefully if you were there, you'd have asked a genuine question and not wasted everyone's time.

Sorry, I didn't realize this was a humor-free zone.
post #33 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatesbasher View Post

Sorry, I didn't realize this was a humor-free zone.

No, I apologize. If you'd shown evidence of humor, I'd have picked up on it. Providing a link to something that might potentially be a target for wry observations is quite different from actually having made such an observation yourself. I'm sure you were saying something very funny at the time; you just forgot to type it.
post #34 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Most impressively, the iFund does not involve any of Apple's cash.

I was talking to my dad today explaining to him the iFund. Then it hit me. Apple is not using *any* of its cash!!! Oh iLord, thy brilliance is indeed all-encompassing...

Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

How much money would it take to fund a startup to write apps for the iPhone?

I wouldn't think it would take a lot from what I've seen so far. $99 to get onto the apple app store. Free SDK. Apple doing the distribution, ect..

Would 5 million do it for most? If so then the iFund can seed 20 companies. Not bad.

Or 100 companies each at 1 million. Like someone mentioned if it is say, a 3-person company, given all hosting and marketing is done by Apple, and that the iFund itself will inject more cash if things are promising... how does 1 million USD sound? nice.

I was thinking of drawing up something to apply. This could be big in Asian countries (excuse being iPod Touch as platform)... 1 million USD can get you a good setup, bright people, and so on. Even 100k USD is pretty impressive.

In Australia I helped a friend with a small business government fund. They had a pretty easy template to fill out though, for the business plan. The iFund, now, that is totally different. Competition is going to be stiff.

I am working with an Apple Premium Reseller here in South East Asia, I have some access to the managment, I wonder if they would be interested in the iFund through say a subsidiary or partner new company to push the iPod Touch (and soon MacBook Touch?) platform through the next few years. Big ideas include tourism, education...

A long shot. In the meantime I am downloading the iPhone SDK. Will be nice to demonstrate and test iPod Touch/ iPhone stuff on my Mac without needing them. I wonder how calls and SMS are simulated on the laptop?
post #35 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronbo View Post

I don't think there's enough information about it yet, except for the amount. When Jim Doerr was talking about the iFund, there was no discussion about details of how to apply. I think it was sufficient to say it's there and it's happening.

To realize that it took $8 million to start Amazon, and $24 million to start Google... if that doesn't make you pause to think about a $100 million fund... yeah, you're right. It's huge.

Looks like you can apply here: http://kpcb.com/initiatives/ifund/index.html
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