Lee Greenhouse moderated the panel, After the Froth: How the Financial Markets Will Affect Information Companies. The panelists were John Suhler of VSS, Mike Tansey, CEO of Jobson Medical Information, Incisive Media CEO Tim Weller and Howard Morgan, Partner of First Round Capital.
The panelists all tended to echo the comments from the prior day's Previews in that they did not view the current lending crunch as having a big impact on information businesses. According to Suhler, for the mid-markets, the markets are basically unchanged from where they were over the past five years. He did suggest that terms are not as favorable as they were during the froth of early 2007, but that they've returned to the levels of 2005-2006.
Howard Morgan added that the post-froth period is good for venture capital firms. They were able to raise lots of capital during the froth, which they can put into play now. And, with lots of acqusitions at affordable 5-6x multiples, it's a great environment for rollups.
Morgan also adds that the search and technology industries are attractive in this environment as they are not capital-intensive industries, there is a great opportunity for outsourcing and you can build a business for a fraction of what it cost five years ago. While it still costs money to gain market share, the cost to launch is quite low.
In terms of markets, Morgan looks for disruptive companies where a company could make $1 by taking $5 away from a traditional business.
For more coverage of the IIS conference (including summaries of Tom Glocer's keynote and Hal Espo's interview of Washington Post/Newsweek Interactive CEO Caroline Little, read John Blossom's Content Blogger.