Undressing demand for wearable technologies

Contact: Ben Kolada

Still in the fad phase, wearable technology is gaining market interest, driven by new devices being introduced both by tech companies and old-school consumer goods firms. The advent of these new Internet-connected form factors, such as ‘smartwatches,’ fitness and health devices, will spur the creation of new application markets in the technology industry.

Demand for wearable technology is specifically being seen in interest for an Apple iWatch, a smartwatch that many expect will be released later this year. According to a recent report by ChangeWave Research, a service of 451 Research, prerelease demand for the iWatch already matches what the iPad and Intel Mac saw before their respective debuts.

The likely launch of the iWatch and overall emergence of new wearable technology devices, such as Google’s Glass, Nike’s FuelBand, Jawbone’s UP and various devices from Fitbit, will create new markets in application software. For example, there’s already an investment syndicate, called Glass Collective, made up of VC firms Google Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, that are ready to fund companies building new ways to use Google’s Glass device.

Our senior mobile analyst, Chris Hazelton, believes these devices will create extremely tight bonds between users, the cloud and very likely new technology players. For example, unlike smartphone and tablet apps that are used infrequently or once and discarded, Google Glass apps will be persistent, following and advising a user throughout their day.

If you already own a wearable tech device, or are planning to buy one, let us know what you think of this sector and which applications you think will become most valuable. You can tweet us@451TechMnA or contact us anonymously.

For more real-time information on tech M&A, follow us on Twitter @451TechMnA.

A quickly to Z

Contact: Ben Kolada

Rather than go for the quick exit, Andreessen Horowitz’s investing thesis focuses on the long haul, investing in companies that have the potential to become tech giants. Its investment in anti-fraud startup Silver Tail Systems counters that thesis, but that’s what happens when the money comes knocking early.

Andreessen Horowitz first disclosed that it invested in Silver Tail in June 2011. The thought was that, like the malware wave, sophisticated fraud attacks would first hit the largest enterprises and eventually move downwind to SMBs. However, the market has greatly expanded, as a variety of fraud attacks are now hitting businesses of all sizes.

Noticing the market’s potential, EMC moved to take Silver Tail’s capabilities in-house. Terms were not officially disclosed on EMC’s acquisition of Silver Tail, although the price was reported to be in the $300-400m range.

As we understand it, though, Silver Tail was initially looking for the opposite of an exit. The story we’re hearing is that Silver Tail was out on the fundraising circuit, looking for upward of $30m, but EMC made a table-clearing offer. That reported price, if true, would have been about twice the post-money valuation Silver Tail was seeking in its round. As it is, the midpoint of the reported price is actually about five times the post-money valuation it took in its last round, according to our understanding.

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