Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Too Early to Call Time on Web 2.0

It's fascinating to see the mainstream business press calling time on "Web 2.0". Presupposing that the Web 2.0 tag constitutes a definitive cohort of businesses who must be earning substantial revenues today, if they are ever to be successful...

This as just another consequence of the credit crunch, rather than evidence that it's suddenly crazy to start a web business dedicated to enabling users to take control of their retail, entertainment, financial and other personal affairs. It's a sign that the institutional herd is headed for safe havens and wants a slow summer at the beach, free of write-offs and any doubt that it might be missing key opportunities through its inability to invest in the current tidal wave of innovation.

But the curtain is barely up on Web 2.0, and at this rate the FT's core readership will miss the whole show.

There is plenty of non-institutional money to be had - and you don't need much of it - to help start a Web 2.0 business. The angel world is also still awash with pre-Crunch bonus money and the likes of ex-Googlers cashing in their options to do help Facebook or do their own thang. Seedcamp is happening again, and (the ironically named) Techcrunch is alive with plenty of news, even from Europe. Remember, too, that venture funding is not required to build any of the infrastructure necessary for Web 2.0 businesses to flourish. The big corporates in the internet game have taken on that job, and are still investing heavily to create the bandwidth and computing capacity on which low cost, web development start-ups like Ooyala are feeding greedily.

Seems to me that September is going to see a whole new tidal wave of innovative business launches - so it's gonna be a pretty intense summer for some!
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