Some highlights from the WSA’s 2008 predictions dinner, with outlook provided by a panel including venture capitalists Enrique Godreau III, Matt McIlwain and Kelly Smith; analyst Steve Lidberg, and Jonathan Sposato, a serial entrepreneur and veteran of Microsoft and Google.
What sort of company would they start if they had $1 million?
Godreau: Develop self-charging batteries that recharge using mechanical motion, similar to the way pedometers work and tidal energy is being harvested.
Lidberg: A Chinese-to-English translation company, or a company involved in digital mapping.
McIlwain: A “personal shopper” that aggregates and communicates things he intends to buy.
Smith: An operating system for email that lets users drag and drop applications such as widgets and autopublish applications into an email platform.
Sposato: “Zeromeout.com,” a consumer focused site to help people evaluate their carbon footprint and purchase offsets, and “howtobeagentleman.com,” a site providing advice for young men how to be polite and conduct business.
Where would they not invest now?
Godreau: Said he’s concerned about less attention being paid to sales and revenues and more to “eyeballs and eardrums.”
McIlwain: ” I think cleantech is completely overhyped.”
Smith: Said there are plenty of options now for people to consume high-def video, and he wouldn’t invest in a maker of Facebook applications any more.
Sposato: “Any company that’s creating a social networking application on Facebook.” Also overhyped are tools for pulling together messaging and social networking accounts.
Lidberg: Mobile gaming. While casual gaming is seeing interesting new models, the “mobile arena seems way overhyped and overcrowded.”
Where will Google’s stock be at the end of 2008?
Lidberg: “We have an 850 target price on it right now.”
Godreau: $874 – said they’ll hit four figures after a blowout quarter, but will have a quarterly miss due to the macroeconomic environment. “As you start to see a crack in the armor you end up at $874.”
Sposado: “Low sevens by the end of 2008.”
Smith: “I’m going to say $901 and the reason is because I think it’s extremely rare in a person’s lifetime when you see a company with the characteristics of Google.”
McIlwain: Said Microsoft and the aQuantive team shouldn’t be “so heavily discounted” so he expects Google to be at $725.
The next big Microsoft acquisition?
McIlwain: Virtualization – perhaps Citrix – and on the wireless side perhaps RIM. Also vertical search companies.
Smith: Eyeball acquisitions, perhaps a photo sharing or video sharing site or a social networking platform like Beebo.
Goudreau: Virtualization infrastructure.