February 15th, 2012 | Filed under: Motiv | No Comments »
On Monday, LivingSocial announced the grand opening of a “first-of-its-kind live events venue” in downtown Washington D.C., where the rapidly growing daily deals business will offer unique experiences to its customers, and serve as a testing ground for its merchant partners. The “retail experience” space is an innovative move for the company, which is looking to expand its image beyond that of a “coupon company.”
Attendees of a Painting and Wine Class (image courtesy of Washington Post)
LivingSocial’s new venture is notable for many reasons, and I am particularly anxious to see how it pans out, as I’ve long been bullish on the daily deals business model and do not think it is sustainable in its own right.
Even though the company has expanded its user base to more than 60 million members, and offers deals in 647 markets worldwide, LivingSocial and its closest competitor Groupon have yet to turn significant, sustainable profits; figures from Amazon’s 10-K report imply that DC-based LivingSocial suffered a net loss of $558 million in 2011, on revenues of $245 million (Amazon has a 31% stake in the company). Those 60+ million consumers are proving to be very expensive to acquire as repeat customers.
Is a retail experience venue like that of LivingSocial a one-off innovative initiative, or a game-changing model? Keep Reading»
November 16th, 2011 | Filed under: Motiv | No Comments »
When you hear the name Washington, DC, what comes to mind? The White House? The Capitol? The Pentagon? They probably should–not only is DC home to some of the most recognizable government buildings in the world, but the US government is also the single largest employer of DC residents. In total, 38% of DCers work for the government, and many others work for government contractors, big law firms and non-profit associations. So where do private businesses fit into the mix and what does AOL, a tired, old dialup internet provider have anything to do with the scene?
The truth is that Motiv’s location in DC makes us somewhat of an anomaly. Many of our competitors choose to be in places like New York, San Francisco or Chicago – business “hubs” that are also vibrant centers of education, culture and innovation. At times, I feel a bit isolated in DC, as there are few others who speak the same language, but recently things have been changing and I think DC is on the cusp of a revolution of innovation and startup activity.
Leading the charge is Living Social, the daily deals site now valued at $3 billion based on recent rounds of VC funding. Living Social’s 29 year-old CEO, Tim O’ Shaughnessy, cut his teeth at… you guessed it, AOL. After graduating from Georgetown University, he managed product launches at AOL before moving on to lead the consumer products team at Revolution, a DC-based VC/PE fund started by AOL Billionaires Steve Case and Ted Leonsis. In fact, Revolution is not the only local fund focused on the DC area, GroTech Ventures has made a similar commitment to local innovative startups too. Continue Reading»
November 7th, 2011 | Filed under: Motiv | No Comments »
“Cities only learn to be innovative by trying and failing – you’re not trying hard enough if you don’t fail” – DC Office of Planning Director Harriet Tregoning
I’ve always been fascinated with cities, and spend a lot of time thinking about how smarter urban planning can foster innovation and drive significant social and environmental change. When I saw a lecture called “Temporary Urbanism” on the schedule for Digital Capital week, I immediately signed up.
The engaging lecture at Washington’s National Buliding Museum this past Saturday discussed how cities can effectively activate empty storefronts, abandoned lots or even cultural institutions in order to create engaging neighborhoods, boost the local economy and push sustainability efforts – all noble goals for major urban areas.
DC Office of Planning Director Harriet Tregoning, RTKL architect and 24 Hour City participant Kashuo Bennett, and Christine Ewing, Regional Fine Arts Officer at the U.S. General Services Administration shared their ideas and insights around the subject, and discussed examples in which vacant spaces have been effectively utilized to build better cities. Here are a few highlights, many of which could easily be adopted in urban areas around the world: Continue Reading»