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14
Jan
2014

What Nest Just Did for the Internet of Things

  This post is the first installment of a three-part series on the Internet of Things, along with Why the Internet of Things is also Industry 4.0 and Three Impediments to the Internet of Things. If you are like me, you might be wondering how large the “Internet of Things” could become, and whether it will get the press, hype
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11
Dec
2013

Q&A with TimeTrade’s Gary Ambrosino

The retail industry’s transition from “bricks to clicks” has once again been top of mind during the holiday season, as online retailers and traditional brick-and-mortar stores alike have targeted customers with Cyber Monday deals and other Internet shopping sales. While more mobile and online shopping has occurred this year than ever before, a recent survey by Ascent portfolio company TimeTrade
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05
Dec
2013

Ascent Index: Cybersecurity

According to a new study this week, 41 percent of global organizations will increase their IT security budgets in 2014. The increased focus on securing corporate data and devices probably isn’t surprising to most industry onlookers, given the amount of media coverage we’ve seen recently around attacks on enterprises, not to mention Edward Snowden and the NSA. Still, the increasing
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26
Nov
2013

Harnessing the Power of the Cloud

The enterprise technology landscape has seen tremendous evolution in the past several years as disruptive change has hit almost every corner of the market. Nowhere is this more evident than in the move to cloud computing, where momentum continues to build. Consider: • IT Cloud services spending is expected to reach $72.9 billion by 2015 • Spend on cloud computing
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22
Nov
2013

Acquisition is the New Innovation

This excerpt is taken from a post I wrote that was featured yesterday on Boston.com. I discuss legacy technology companies and how they are buying innovation today and in years to come. (L)ess than one in five global companies deems itself “very effective” at breakthrough innovation, according to a Bain Consulting survey. At current scale, it’s difficult for tech giants to grow faster than the
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31
Oct
2013

Why “Pivot” Isn’t a Four-Letter Word

By Matt Fates and Eric Schultz In 2011, Eric Ries first used the term “pivot” to mean a “structured course correction designed to test a new fundamental hypothesis about the product, strategy, and engine of growth.”[1] While Ries’s vision and best-selling book inspired startups everywhere to chart new paths to success, in some circles there remains a stigma attached to
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21
Oct
2013

Enterprise IT Security: The Wake-Up Call is Getting Louder

I attended two local industry events recently that highlighted the substantial gap that exists between hackers’ abilities and the average corporation’s information security defenses. While we’ve been watching the security industry closely and work with several portfolio companies in this area, it’s nonetheless unsettling how far behind the average corporation is, and how daunting the chasm is between where they
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01
Oct
2013

StartApp Hits the Billion Download Mark

Ascent portfolio company StartApp has been on an incredible ride over the last 18 months, and recently achieved its biggest milestone yet in its young history: one billion downloads. (As the linked video clip persuasively notes, this is a very big number.) The rapid growth of StartApp speaks to the mobile industry problem it solves. The Company offers an ingenious
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27
Sep
2013

Big Data is Big Hype, but Data Analytics Delivers

At Ascent, we have been focused on the growth of data analytics – or as we called it back in 2008, the ”Explosion of Data” – for close to a decade. In the early days we backed companies such as ZoomInfo, Cymfony (acq. by TNS) and Bizo that comb the web, collecting data to build professional profiles or understand customer sentiment
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29
Aug
2013

Ascent Index: BYOA

We’ve written frequently about BYOD, the consumerization of IT and their impacts on enterprise technology. As disruptive to the enterprise as BYOD has been, it’s also somewhat become the norm, with reports that as many as 70 percent of employees who own a smartphone or tablet choose to use it to access corporate data, and more than 60 percent of
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