After a brief interlude, wherein an organizer appealed to whichever publicity-seeking startup might have released the still-chattering bird high aloft in the rafters, TechCrunch marched onward. M.G. Siegler (formerly of TechCrunch, currently of CrunchFund) opened with what sounded like an invitation to coffee, rattling off the overlap between their respective organizations’ portfolios and concluding, ”We should probably talk more.” Betaworks CEO John Borthwick didn’t bite: ”We probably should, but we’re doing just fine.” He also added rather pointedly that, “as you know, we are not a fund,” though Betaworks, of course, has investments.
Mr. Borthwick proceeded to, at Mr. Siegler’s inquiry as to how they work with investors on the sunnier side of the country, essentially dismiss any notions of conflict: ”This bicoastal thing, I think it’s fun and games” but added that “the market is bigger because of the complementary skills that both coasts offer the market and entrepreneurs and so it’s not, it’s fun to sort of pit one coast against the other, but companies are better for having East Coast and West Coast investors.” Some companies might be a better fit for one coast or the other or both, but regardless, more options are better.
Well, there went our high hopes for another massive East vs. West linkbait shitstorm.
But wait! He did have a little bit of comparing and contrasting to offer. Asked about the investment scene at the moment in New York (loaded question, much?), Mr. Borthwick basically suggested that while New York is very busy, the scene isn’t as… inflated as the Valley. To wit:
“What happened last time in 1998, 1999, 2000, sort of the incredible flood of capital brought a lot of lazy entrepreneurship,” he said, continuing, “I haven’t seen that yet.” “I think that New York is still not as heated as the West Coast, which I think is a good thing.”
“We’ve got a ton of things we need to build, right, in this market. At the end of the day we’re, at Betaworks, we’re makers. We love building stuff,” he added. “I think we’re just at the beginning of this. We’ve got so much more to build. And when you think about how to humanize the computing experience… I think there’s a lot more than has to be done.”