Provo Lab’s Eleven Bets

So in the past 7 months, Provo Labs has started or invested in 11 companies. It’s been a bit wild.

So for the next 6 months at least, we are going to stop investing and incubating new ideas and focus 100% of our energies on helping our current portfolio with revenue growth, with the goal of getting each company to cash flow positive without any additional investment from Provo Labs.

Our companies are in the following areas: online genealogy (vital records), online history, LDS search, ebook publishing, corporate networking and relationship management software, mp3 audio books, angel investing, entrepreneurial training, Web 2.0 development outsourcing, real estate web tools, internet marketing (including SEO) and audio messaging services.

I emailed all the portfolio company CEOs yesterday with a success that one of our companies had using Craigslist. I shared the case study with each of them and asked them to come up with a quick-to-implement craigslist strategy for promoting their products and services. I intend to spend most of my time finding sales and marketing strategies that work and then encouraging all the companies to test them as well. Almost all of the companies use web analytics from Omniture and I’ll have an assistant who works in the Philippines compile daily key metrics for each of them, using a shared spreadsheet from Google.

So the focus now is on execution, not new ideas. This is a big shift for me, but one that I’ve done before and look forward to doing again. It’s all about tactics that work, that are easy to implement and measure, and trying new marketing and sales tactics every day. It’s about resurrecting my old 10x Marketing Scorecard and making sure that each company gets an "A" with each element of their online marketing strategy — that they are using PPC, SEO, affiliate marketing, email marketing, conversion rate marketing, web analytics, online PR and online auctions in the best possible ways. It’s about testing, learning, sharing and executing, portfolio-wide.

Wish us luck!

6 Comments

  1. Most people may not know that Craigslist opened a Provo site recently. (Most people probably don’t know about the Salt Lake one yet either. But the Provo one is, like any not-yet-popular sales forum, a buyers market for those who go there. I just found a great cheap car there (and am looking for another, if anyone has one.)

  2. I am excited Paul! I wanted to mention that PaulAllen.net has grown in unique back link URLs tremendously!

    In only 18 days you have gone from 413 on 06-27-2006 to 1185 on 13-07-2006.

    Thats growth! Congratulations.

    Also in a mmonths time,WorldHistory.com has almost doubled its unique back links. Cheers!

  3. […] On Saturday I got a big spike in traffic to my blog (which I didn’t post to all last week because I was on vacation), because I got two mentions in the Daily Blog Watch at TheStreet.com. He linked to my post about Provo Labs 11 investments and how we are using Craigslist, and he also linked to my post about Yahoo Finance containing errors. […]

  4. Marty Fahncke

    Paul,

    Interesting you should mention Craigslist as a marketing tool. A friend of mine, Nancy Mills is conducting a Teleseminar class next Tuesday on just this very subject!

    It

  5. Russell Page

    I know many of the people on your Provo Labs teams personally, and I think you have much more than luck in your coffers. You have excellent people.

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