Yesterday, Crain’s reported on some eye-popping Tumblr numbers from PrivCo, suggesting VCs reaped huge rewards, including a 5,000 percent return of $253 million for Union Square Ventures, $154 million for Spark Capital, and $77 million for Spark partner Bijan Sabet.
Almost immediately, Bijan Sabet and Fred Wilson fired back, calling the report “garbage” and refuting the specifics (without coughing up what they actually made). Dan Primack (who’s tangled with PrivCo before) calls the report “a load of Yahoo.” He says USV and Spark actually put $13 million each into the company ($350,000 of it seed funding) and got around $192 million each. Not too shabby, but not the jackpot PrivCo alleges, either.
Well, this morning PrivCo responded to the critics, on Twitter, with all the rancor appropriate to the medium.
For starters, the firm responded to Mr. Sabet’s sniping with a barrage of criticism about Spark’s portfolio:
And Fred Wilson:
Then there’s this exchange with Business Insider writer Alyson Shontell:
How is PrivCo allowed to exist and how has it not been sued to death by all of these terrible, false reports?—
Alyson Shontell (@ajs) May 22, 2013
And the grand finale:
Did PrivCo hire the social media geniuses from Amy’s Baking Company to run their Twitter account?
Update: Looks like PrivCo has deleted the Tweets. But of course Betabeat screencaps compulsively, so they’re below. Also, Dan Primack says PrivCo has blocked him:
Meanwhile, PrivCo just tweeted that “a @Tumblr VC just called us to bury the hatchet & gave us the precise figures. Despite blanket denials our calcs were very close,” and, “Thanks guys for calling & for realizing we’re giving PROPS for yr success not criticizing Tumblr. No horse in race.”
Update 2: PrivCo says they’ve talked to a Tumblr VC and updated their numbers accordingly. Now that must’ve been an awkward convo.