Dear Friends of Fogbeam:
Just to be clear, no, we are not about to be acquired by LinkedIn. But I'll come back to why I say that, in a few moments.
On to the news and important stuff. It's been a lot longer than normal since our last status update email. If you follow the writings of Paul Graham, you may recall his famous "How Not To Die" essay, where he talks about how startups usually succeed if they can just avoid dying long enough. In this essay, he makes another interesting point, in these lines:
For us the main indication of impending doom is when we don't hear from you. When we haven't heard from, or about, a startup for a couple months, that's a bad sign. If we send them an email asking what's up, and they don't reply, that's a really bad sign. So far that is a 100% accurate predictor of death. Whereas if a startup regularly does new deals and releases and either sends us mail or shows up at YC events, they're probably going to live.
Given that, you might wonder if you should take it as a bad sign that we haven't emailed you in some time. As it happens, nothing could be further from the truth. While we haven't been sending a lot of emails, we have been blogging, tweeting, sharing content on Facebook and Google+, etc. But, far, far more importantly than all of that, is that we've been heads down, grinding away, working on moving things forward.
As a result of that hard work, we were recently able to proudly announce three new project releases, including our first every "simultaneous release" of three components of the Fogcutter project. We also launched our brand new website at http://www.fogbeam.com at the same time. We now consider our Enterprise Social Network, Quoddy, and our Information Discovery Platform, Neddick, as being in Limited Availability status. This means we have two products available for sale, with the caveat that we are only looking to make sales to customers that fit certain criteria, and who will engage with us in a "co creation" scenario as we move towards a "GA" release.
We have also been hard at work in terms of market research, and have chosen a target market to pursue as a "beach-head market" and have identified approximately 160 companies in North Carolina that we will be attempting to gain access to, and hopefully land those first few alpha customers. Also on the sales and marketing front, we are starting to see results from our content marketing strategy and are receiving inbound leads via email and Twitter.
Things have not been "sunshine and roses" since last time however. Sadly, one member of our founding team, Robert Fischer, chose to step down, due to issues in his personal life. We won't get into details out of respect for his privacy, but he had external situations that were imposing a great deal of stress on him, and left him feeling that he was not able to contribute to the level he would want. We certainly will (and do) miss Robert, but we continue to soldier on, despite this setback.
On the other hand, we are fortunate to be able to announce a new member of our team, Eric Stone. While not a "replacement" for Robert per-se, Eric brings our team back to three, and adds another wicked smart member who is going to be a tremendous asset for us. Eric received his Computer Science degree from UNC Chapel Hill, and is currently pursuing graduate studies in Statistics & Operations Research, also at UNC-CH. Eric interned with us this summer, and did such a bang-up job that we asked him to stay on as a permanent member of the team.
The other adversity we had to fight in 2012 was a serious health issue that I (Phil) encountered, when I was initially diagnosed as diabetic. Prior to being diagnosed, my blood sugar reached a level that caused a potentially fatal condition known as DKA, and left me in the hospital for three days, almost exactly one year ago. Thankfully the condition is very survivable with modern medical technology, and I'm still here and kicking. My diabetes is now well controlled and life is back to normal (or what passes for normal for a startup founder).
All of that said, let's get back to why we mentioned LinkedIn earlier on. This is a reference to a recent article that appeared in San Jose Business Journal, titled The Companies LinkedIn Should Buy With Its $1B Cash Infusion. In this piece, SJBJ listed Fogbeam Labs as one of their suggested purchases for LI. Now, as we said, we don't actually expect LinkedIn to come calling wanting to acquire us anytime soon. And, truth be told, we probably don't *want* to be acquired this early, as the valuation we would receive right now would not come close to meeting our expectations and goals (just to be clear, we plan on building a company here that can go public with a multi billion dollar valuation). This mention is notable however, as it demonstrates that people as far away as Silicon Valley are aware of what we're doing, and are paying some attention to us. And this despite the fact that we really haven't done any publicity or PR work that was targeted specifically at the West Coast.
So, to wrap this up: We are making great progress on the product front, we are receiving some recognition from media as far away as Silicon Valley, we have overcome some serious adversity, and we refuse to die - in more ways than one! As 2013 draws to a close, our focus starts to shift to engaging with our chosen "beach-head market" and trying to generate some initial revenue and clarify our short-term product roadmap.
Thanks for listening, and please feel free to ping us with any questions or comments.
Phil, Sarah and Eric