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21 Oct 1999 NewMedia Spark, the UK's first quoted Internet incubator fund (that's what the FT says, at any rate) is raising £2.86 million on AIM. The founder investors, including Luke Johnson of Belgo and Pizza Express fame, are pumping in £2 million of their own money, delivering a pot of just under £5 million. Not a lot of money is it? That's the trouble with incubator funds, which tend to want an awful lot of equity from premature baby companies in return for very little capital. The baby companies are going to have to jump through a hell of a lot of hoops, to keep their VC paymasters happy. In an interview with the FT, non-exec director Johhnson said the fund would be ruthless in offloading companies that did not meet targets, keeping its losses as low as £300K. In effect, investors in the fund are being offered the chance to back the Net star picking capabilities of the NewMedia Spark management team, while spreading risk among many companies. And, of course it needs just one big hit for their investment to be returned many, many fold.


Lastminute.com's mega-rich Foxy lady not motivated by money


QXL auctions off Wembley Stadium


365 to IPO - but not exactly a pure Net company, is it?


Skill shortages multiply in Internet Economy


20 Oct 1999 ActivCard -- the authentication and electronic certification technology outfit -- Eric Tocatlian to head up its new UK office based in London.


Medi@Invest PLC -- which invests in Net related unquoted companies -- is looking to invest up to £3 million in a child-focused education-oriented ISP. The company said it has entered discussions which "may or may not lead to it being granted the right to acquire a majority holding" in a new children's' ISP.


The X-Stream Network has agreed a one-year advertising and content agreement with online auctioneers QXL.com. Conditions of the agreement were not made public.


Prudential's loss making Net bank, Egg, has attracted 50,000 customers in just four weeks, the company said yesterday.


Mondus seeks patent for way it does ecommerce


19 Oct 1999 Thomas Cook Interactive recently relaunched its Web site without offering Net users the opportunity to buy holidays online. It claims its customers have said this is "not an issue".


Nasdaq is planning to launch it techie stock exchange in London, according to a report by the Daily Telegraph.


Telinco's free Net service is a sitting duck Japanese Net company, Softbank, has paid $20 million for a 10 per cent stake in Dublin-based online trading technology company, Cognotec, according to the FT.


Management consultant, Michael de Kare-Silver, is the new e-commerce strategy director for Great Universal Stores. GUS is the parent to retailers including Argos.


18 Oct 1999 Online advertising is no pot of gold


Ignorant American red-necks boost US Net economy


17 Oct 1999 IT news service 'worth £800m'


15 Oct 1999 A regional consortium has launched a huge British classifieds Web site. Called Fish4, the site kicks offf with 30,000 jobs, 180,000 cars and 30,000 homes. It is backed by Northcliffe Newspapers Group, Newsquest, Trinity Mirror and a shed load of other regional paper groups.


Dialog Corporation is to buy the 30 per cent of Muscat, the high-end text retrieval/search engine that it doesn't already own for £2.5 million. Muscat is based in Cambridge, UK.


AIM-listed Affinity Internet Holdings reports its subscribers exceed 600,000, up from 175,000 in April. Pre-tax losses for the free ISP for the half year to June were £1.75 million on sales of £960K, against losses of £921K on sales of £167K for the previous full year. Ninety per cent of revenues currently comes from telco revenues generated by its Internet subscribers.


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