My New Stealth Startup – Yelp, Meets Groupon, Meets Foursquare, Meets Twitter, Meets

I am seeing a LOT of startups that make up my headline. I quickly pass.

Right now it just makes sense to own $open (I did) or $intu (long). They are the liquid, public versions of my stealth and fictional startup.

Nobody liked when they went public in 2009. It has only tripled in 2010. has the distribution with the restaurateurs and the brand name with the consumer. It took 10 plus years to get there. With $80 million in sales and $1.5 billion in market cap most smart people I know think it’s overvalued. That was 30 points ago. will buy any talent and feature it needs. It is a much smarter way to own these fancy new start-ups and that is what the big money is doing. These momentum spurts can last much longer than you think. They are not that complicated. It helps to understand what’s happening in the start-up world at any given time and that’s why I love the intersection where I sit.

It’s not just shmendricks like me that are trend following. Lars Rasmussen of Google Map fame is practicing it. “I think if you were to ask me two or three years ago if Facebook was going to be this big, I wouldn’t have picked it.’ He is heading from Beautiful Sydney to so so San Francisco to follow the trend.

Interesting times.


  1. Anonymous says:

    nice post, amazing to go back and read all these shorts in the 40s, i wonder why $TSCM doesnt realize this and use their cash to buy useful startups so theyre not such dinosaurs?

  2. dherman76 says:

    I absolutely could not agree more. 60% of what I’m seeing is cross referenced with these days. It’s all about data and ways to harness it for personal consumption and optimization.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    With a little ingenuity one could have come up with a one stop mash up of foursquare (something I still do not use), Opentable,Twitter,Facebook, and have it all tied to banking or credit (but now with new financial regulations the banking side of it would be hard to maneuver) all tied to grab the consumer dollar.. Had you been fast enough, you could have named it One would have to buy $HSY now to own that name (as it owns it now).

    Ease of consumer selection is only beginning though. I guess it started with iTunes tagging, but with some imagination and research, those kind of choice apps could be endless.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Do you get a feeling of a very large bubble with these startups? It seems like a lot of money is going to ideas that don’t really make a lot of long term financial sense. A lot of VCs seem to send money at these companies because “I don’t get it now, but I didn’t get twitter either, so I’m not making that mistake again. I’ll send money at it”. Yes, no?

    • there is always ‘dumb’ lazy late money but this is not a bubble. go look at
      some price charts from 1999. Bubbles happen once in a lifetime. we have
      had two witht he vcredit bubble so obviously 3 and 4 and 5 COULD happen.

  7. Dave Pinsen says:

    Shorting a rising stock just because you think it’s overvalued is a masochistic strategy. I prefer to short stocks with weak fundamentals (e.g., Altman Z-Scores indicating financial distress) and weak charts.

  8. ivanhoff says:

    You have pointed out many times in the past that there are so many hands before the regular public shareholder. It is true that the latter has the convenience of liquidity and for many, owning a stock is the only way to participate in the growth of a business that tries to capitalize on an ensuing social trend. but what made you change your mind and decide to stick with the public companies?

    Are the private companies that are interesting too expensive from valuation point of view? Does momentum exist in the venture capital world?

    On the other hand if recent IPOs can triple and quadruple in value in 2 years, either the VCs were too quick to exit and transfer part of the risk or the investment banks that initiated those IPOs did a horrible job. At least in hindsight looks like it. The point is that even Goldman Sachs cannot discount for the power of momentum. No one can.

    • there is no momentum in venture capital. there is supply demand issues and
      capital constraints. good thoughts. i need to delve deeper into this.

      Fred wilson always now sells if a company he invested in like Mercado Libre
      goes public.

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