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In the News

News from December, 2007

Mobile TV ‘superstars’ could emerge from dragged-out writers’ strike

Saturday, December 29th, 2007

Television just isn’t the same these days. The writers’ strike in Hollywood, now in its ninth week, has given millions another reason to turn off the tube. Unless reruns and reality TV are your thing, the TV set has essentially become a content wasteland where late night and scripted TV shows are nearly absent altogether (well, except for sports programming).

It’s too soon to determine how the strike will affect the momentum wireless carriers and content providers are experiencing with the growth of mobile TV services. But the Writers Guild of America argues it is fighting for big stakes in the emerging new media space. That umbrella term for the newest forms of distribution, including mobile TV services, is the name of the game—and largely considered the future—for TV, and writers understandably want to secure their slice of that action going forward.

Impact on mobile TV
It’s difficult to argue that the dispute between the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers is having no impact on mobile television. While most mobile TV service providers and networks either decline to comment or brush the strike aside as a minor nuisance, those in the industry who don’t get their paychecks from a major entertainment company see things somewhat differently. But, it’s not all crash and burn either. The impact is nuanced and relatively unnoticed by most.

“In the sense that mobile television content is re-purposed, yes, there will be some impact,” said Karen Allen, general manager of Mobile Entertainment Forum Americas. Indeed, she believes most viewers that get fed up with the lack of content on TV will turn to the Internet first, primarily because it’s more in sync with their existing behavior.

As for mobile becoming an alternative platform for those viewers, the medium is clearly waiting for them with open arms. Overall, Allen estimates that around 1 million users are being added to mobile video services each month. “We are seeing great increases in all of that,” she said. Still, she believes there are enough mobile content providers to fill the slots for the likes of MediaFLO USA Inc., MobiTV Inc. and GoTV Networks Inc. (Read More)

groSolar Just Keeps on Growing

Monday, December 24th, 2007

groSolar, innovative leader in the still-green market of photovoltaic cells, received a $10 million-dollar boost in financing this month. No longer a mere installation business, the Vermont-based company is catching the interest of venture capitalists and environmentally conscious consumers alike by offering superior quality, aesthetically pleasing solar panels for customers while training distributors in technical and business development at the same time.

Solar panels from groSolar, technically referred to as photovoltaic (PV) cells, provide a tremendous amount of energy utilizing only natural sunlight. Founders Jeff and Dori Wolfe, both degreed engineers with a history in large building design, first launched the company in 1998 as Global Resource Options. Committed to doing something about global warming, the couple went to work in earnest selling renewable energy products out of their home. Starting with small off-grid solar projects and moving into on-grid projects as technology became available, groSolar made a mark with customer service and strong engineering abilities. Within a short time, one employee grew to five, which grew to twenty-five, and eventually the couple found themselves moving into the largest ex-supermarket warehouse in Vermont. Their decision to concentrate on solar energy resulted in the name change to groSolar in 2001 and they set about “installing as much solar as fast as we could” said Jeff Wolfe. Business competition, however, never became an obstacle to the “do-gooder” mentality that inspired them from the beginning. groSolar was awarded the 2005 Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility Award, and in 2006, they were named by “Vermont Business Magazine” as one the 10 Best Places to Work in Vermont. (Read More)

groSolar Raises $10 million in Growth Equity Financing

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

Solar Energy Leader Continues Rapid Growth

groSolar, a national solar energy firm, announced today that it has secured $10 million in a Series B financing that will enable it to continue growing rapidly. NGP Energy Technology Partners, L.P. (“NGP ETP”), one of the premier energy technology private equity funds in the United States, led the investment round.

Each of the company’s original investors (SJF Ventures, Calvert Social Funds, and Allco Financial Group) also participated in this latest round of funding.  groSolar closed its $2.25 million Series A financing in September 2006.

“The new investment will allow us to continue our rapid growth and expansion in solar distribution, residential installation and commercial services,’’ groSolar CEO Jeff Wolfe said.  “We are especially pleased that our Series A investors all participated in this investment round and are thrilled to have NGP ETP as the lead investor in the Series B. In addition to their strong financial expertise, NGP ETP brings a long and successful track record in the energy and renewable industries that will be beneficial to groSolar.’’  NGP ETP has created a strong portfolio of leading energy technology companies and groSolar is their first downstream investment in the solar value chain.

“We are impressed by groSolar’s rapid growth and national reach in the highly fragmented downstream solar market”, said Chris Sorrells, Managing Director at NGP Energy Technology Partners.  “In addition, the experience and leadership of CEO Jeff Wolfe and his team were key reasons for our investment.”  Chris Sorrells will join groSolar’s Board of Directors, along with Jamie Resor, the company’s Chief Financial Officer.

David Kirkpatrick, Managing Director at SJF Ventures, and groSolar board member noted “In the last year, groSolar has tripled sales, strengthened its management team, acquired Energy Outfitters, launched a commercial services division, and built a leading national solar integrator with sales in 45 states.  We are delighted to have NGP ETP join the groSolar team to help us achieve the next stage of expansion.”

Keibi Moderation Suite Combines Images, Animations, Text and Video for Holistic Moderation of UGC

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Keibi Technologies, Inc., provider of the only comprehensive moderation and classification solution for user generated content (UGC), today announced enhancements to the holistic scoring technology underlying the Keibi Moderation Suite and services.

Keibi quickly identifies UGC that violates publisher’s terms of service through the analysis of individual elements including images, animations, text, and video, allowing human moderators to focus on content and accounts most likely to be in violation of terms of service, greatly improving productivity.

“Since we started using Keibi, we are removing 90 percent of problem content, while only reviewing 55 percent of the site’s total UGC,” said Keith Crowell, Director of Member Services and Safety at Piczo. “Everyone’s struggling with how to improve moderation efforts. I have no doubt that Keibi will soon be the standard for content moderation for anyone with UGC.” (Read More)

Land of Opportunity

Saturday, December 1st, 2007

Over $1 billion in venture capital flows to North-American solar Start-ups in 2007.

To read the full article from Photon International please click here  Land of Opportunity