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About Home Calendar Forums Services - SoCal TechNews - Thursday, October 7, 1999
Copyright (c) 1999 by Benjamin F. Kuo
ISSN: 1524-6736

   -- Special: Interview with Tony Hung, Dynafund Ventures

   -- Launch in Deal with NetZero
   -- Spreading the Draper Way
   -- Analyst Speculates on GM Hughes Spinoff
   -- Gemstar Wins Arbitration Against General Instruments
   -- Litex Wins Award
   -- Sonoma Systems Announces Advisory Board Member, Deal
   Classifieds: CTO and Marketing Director - LA

   Upcoming Events

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Special: Interview with Tony Hung, Dynafund Ventures
In my continuing series of interviews with notable local high tech leaders,
I talked with Tony Hung of Dynafund Ventures. Tony serves on the board
of eToys, and was responsible for adding eToys to the Dynafund portfolio. Prior to Dynafund, Tony was involved in strategic planning and corporate finance projects for the Walt Disney Company.  

Tony Hung:

BK: Dynafund has had quite a few great successes recently, including
your own blockbuster, in eToys.  What do you attribute your recent
string of successes to?

TH: I think creating a successful VC fund requires (1) an ability to attract
the best deals, (2) an ability to pick the right opportunities, and (3) an
ability to actively help companies succeed.  At DynaFund, my partners and I
all come from diverse backgrounds so together we have been able to build a
very broad and strong network of relationships from which to cultivate our
deal flow.  Since we all have different areas of expertise such as
engineering, marketing, manufacturing, finance, etc., our firm is also able
to evaluate opportunities from a variety of different perspectives.  We've
also tried to closely monitor markets so that we can identify and bet on
emerging trends like e-commerce, storage area networking, etc. earlier than
most people.  And finally, when we do invest, we work hard to make ourselves
available to our companies and help them with whatever they might require
including management advice, financing, recruiting, strategic partnerships,

BK: Do you think the recent upsurge in VC deals here in Southern California
has changed how entrepreneurs deal with you? And if so, how?

TH: For the most part, the recent upsurge has had a positive influence
because entrepreneurs seem more knowledgeable about how to get a VC's
attention, how to properly structure a company, how to present an idea, etc.
On the negative side, however, there seems to be a lot more entrepreneurs
these days who have unrealistically high expectations about their company's

BK: Are you finding good prospects here for future investment?

TH: I think Southern California is a great breeding ground for start-ups and
we've run across a lot of good prospects.  My expectation is that this is
only going to get better over time as people who are involved with today's
successful companies decide to spin-off and launch their own start-ups in
the future.

BK: Where do you see Dynafund and other VC funds here in So Cal going
in the next few years? Do you think we'll ever get the kind of density
they have on Sand Hill road?

TH: Southern California is a lot more spread out than Silicon Valley so I
don't think you'll ever see the kind of VC density around here that you can
find at one location such as Sand Hill Road.  I do believe, however, that
you will continue to see a rise in the number of VC firms in the area and an
increase in size from the already existing ones such as DynaFund.

BK: Finally, what advice would you give local entrepreneurs who are looking
for attention from VC funds such as yours?

TH: Wow, this could be a long list.  I guess one point I would stress is that
VCs are usually all flooded with business plans so try to get an
introduction from someone who knows the VC so that your plan can get to the
top of his or her pile.  Also, target the right VCs.  For example, some VCs
like early stage Internet deals while others like later stage health care
deals.  Make sure you know what the firm likes before you pitch them.  And
finally, fund raising always takes longer than you think so make sure to
plan ahead and budget your time appropriately.

BK: Thanks for the great insights!

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Launch in Deal with NetZero
Santa Monica-based Launch Media is in a deal with Westlake Village based
NetZero to make it the default web music site on NetZero's ZeroPort
application.  The deal, expected to be announced today, has Launch
acquiring more than 62,000 shares of NetZero for $1M, according to
Launch CEO David Goldberg.

Spreading the Draper Way
Draper Fisher Jurvetson's Tim Draper is spreading throughout the country
with his "affiliate network" of VC partners, including Zone Ventures here
in Los Angeles. Red Herring looks at what he's trying to do, and how he's
doing it...

Analyst Speculates on GM Hughes Spinoff
Merrill Lynch analyst Tom Watts speculates that GM is likely to spin off
its Hughes Electronics division, maker of DirecTV, in the next six months.

Gemstar Wins Arbitration Against General Instruments
Pasadena-based Gemstar International has won an arbitration case against
General Instruments for breach of contract.  Gemstar was awarded $25 million to $36 million, plus additional 50 percent for punitive damages, plus attorneys
fees and costs.  Gemstar had accused GI of misappropriation of its television
guide technology.

Litex Wins Award
Litex, the Westlake Village-based manufacturer of advanced emission
control technology, announced that it was awarded the Powertrain Excellence
First-Place Award in Stuttgart, Germany. The award is given to 
companies whose products are selected by a panel of senior executives at
automotive companies worldwide. The company will be donating the $2000
cash reward to a university for a scholarship fund.

Sonoma Systems Announces Advisory Board Member, Deal
Marina Del Rey-based Sonoma Systems, a provider of Internet Access Devices,
announced the appointment of Dr. Rick Bubenik to their Advisory Board. Bubenik
is CTO/Exec VP of Network Engineering at SAVVIS Communications. Separately,
Sonoma also announced that SAAVIS will be using Sonoma's devices in their
global network.

------------------------Classified Job Postings---------------------------

Welcome to our new classified job posting section!  The purpose of
this section is to help you find your next job, or your next employee--
email if you'd like to add your own job ad.

CTO and Marketing Director - LA

Well funded Los Angeles area Internet start-up focused on action oriented
Gen Y market has openings for Chief Tech Officer and Marketing Director.
Partnerships, revenue stream and site traffic already established. For
further information go to


Upcoming Events This Week
Full calendar at

** Am I missing your event? Tell me about it!
   Attend one of the events? Let them know you heard about it
   from the SoCal TechNews!

October 7, Newport Beach -- SCSC Orange County Chapter "Getting Your
Story Told: The Public Relations in Technology Companies". Examine the
role Public Relations plays in developing a technology company's
strategic direction, key messages and differentiators and the value of
communication with the press, industry analysts and customers. See

October 7, Los Angeles -- Tech Talk Live - A Series on High Technology.
Alfred Mann, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, MiniMed Inc.

October 7, San Diego -- "Developing an E-Com Site is Getting Easier!" Joe
Austin, President of Miva Corporation. San Diego World Organization of
Webmasters. See

October 7, Riverside --  Diamond Venture Forum. Pre-coached entrepreneurs 
present their business plans. See

October 8, Costa Mesa -- "Facilities: Issues for Growing Companies" Software
Council of Southern California CFO Forum.

October 8, Menlo Park -- "A View From the South" Panel discussion on
Southern California's booming technology and new media market.
Demonstrations by Man vs. Machine, PeopleSupport,,, Inquizit Technologies, FCB Information Sciences. See

October 8, Pacific Palisades -- "Bringing New Media into the Community"
Women's New Media Alliance. See

October 9, Pasadena -- "Growing a Business in the Internet Age"
Caltech/MIT Enterprise Forum 10th Annual Workshop for Entrepreneurs. See

October 12, Burbank -- "Heads Up Troopers" An Evening with Foundation
Imaging. Join Foundation Imaging for a behind the scenes look at the new
CG TV animated series, Roughnecks: The Starship Troopers Chronicles, based on
the book "Starship Troopers," by Robert Heinlein. Los Angeles Chapter

October 13, Irvine -- "Traditonal Strategy Advisory Firms -The Next Casualties of the New E-conomy?" Discussion. Primordial Soup networking group. See 

October 13, Los Angeles -- Dinner and a Deal. Association for Interactive Media. Come to this dinner to network, make deals and meet people. See 

October 13, Irvine -- "Holiday Shopping Online  What to Expect, How to Cope" William C. (Bill) Fisher, President, Quicksilver Software. Software Council of Southern California Electronic Commerce/Extranet SIG. See 

October 14, San Diego -- San Diego Internet Roundtable: Phil Trubey, enonymous. See 

October 14, Pasadena -- "The Marketing and
Advertising Expert Panel" Internet Professionals Network. See 

October 15, Los Angeles -- Luncheon with Dr. Joseph Vardi, founder of Mirabilis/ICQ. Venice Interactive Community & California Israel Chamber of Commerce. Email 

Welcome to our newest sponsor!
Brobeck Phleger & Harrison LLP (

Also, thanks to our continued sponsors:
Koffler Ventures (
Deloitte & Touche (
Human Capital Group (
Two Roads Professional Resources (

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