Sean Parker had some choice words for early stage Silicon Alley investors on stage at the Techonomy conference today. And when we say choice, we mean Aaron Sorkin couldn’t have written his lines better.
As AllThingsD reports, Mr. Parker seemed to have number of misgivings against the froth he sees among Valley investors right now, which he says damages a startup’s ability to have major impact.
“A lot of those early stage investors, they’ll fund literally anything” said Mr. Parker said, who referred to the current model as “the assembly line approach to investing.” As in: an idea comes in, an investment comes out. Meanwhile, he noted, in order to tap into that deal flow, VCs and other later stage investors are plunking down cash much earlier.
Mr. Parker was sharing the stage with his host and friend David Kirkpatrick, author of The Facebook Effect and recent Vanity Fair profile of Mr. Parker, as well as Jim Breyer, a Facebook board member and investor in Mr. Parker’s pre-launch startup Airtime. (Presumably, none of Mr. Parker’s criticism applied to Mr. Breyer’s investment strategy.)
For his part, Mr. Breyer predicted that the bubble around early stage investing “will end badly.” He pointedly used the term “spray-and-pray” mentality, a phrase often associated with Ron Conway’s investment style, which Mr. Breyer said was prevalent in the Valley and, with less intensity, in New York and Beijing.
Mr. Conway, of course, has been an investor in every company Mr. Parker has ever started. On stage, Mr. Parker admitted Mr. Conway was a friend, then added, “It’s fine if there’s a few guys doing this, but there’s so much capital now in the early stage.” Nice save, kid.