Adventures in Venture Capital
Yesterday, word leaked that former Mashable editor Ben Parr is launching a seed stage VC fund targeted at celebrity investors. The cofounders of Tracks.by, a platform for music artists, are also partners in Mr. Parr’s fund. The tech world, as it’s wont to do, erupted into a collective scoff: A star-studded investment firm helmed by a “disgraced” journalist, who was fired for blabbing about his salary, doesn’t sound like the stuff of Sand Hill Road.
Unwilling to let an opportunity for backseat quarterbacking pass them by, tech bloggers immediately swooped in to offer their analysis of Mr. Parr’s newest venture.
Startups like to build big syndicates of investors so they can draw on a wide network and range of special skills. But GroupMe’s Jared Hecht thinks having too many backers can make life hell for a startup. After all, would you prefer to focus on managing the business, or run around trying to lock down a dozen signatures and votes for every big decision.
Caught In The Webb
Holiday season is here, and that means your startup needs to have a holiday party! I was just hanging with some Midwestern, non-techie friends of mine who work in “normal” jobs, and they were all going on about how they all skip their office holiday parties. They’re the cool kids after all, and, as they say “I spend enough time with those people at work. I don’t want to spend my personal life with them.”
But startups are crazy backwards land, and you basically live and breathe and poop and shower with your coworkers. So you’re going to holiday party with them too. This isn’t a recommendation from me, it’s a practical fact. I mean, really. You probably go out drinking with your coworkers two to three days a week already, at minimum. So it seems safe to say you’re going to have a holiday party with them, even if it’s just the five of you drunkenly realizing at 2 a.m. that oh hey, this could be your holiday party and woooooooo!
It’s actually kind of an interesting logic puzzle. If you and your startup cohorts go out practically every night together already, what makes a holiday party different than any other night of the year? Santa hats play a part. But really, the question should be turned on its head: “If we’re going to have a holiday party, what do we do to make it special?”
And so I am here to help you. I have thrown a fair number of holiday parties in my day. Some have reached the status of legend. Some failed miserably. The have ran from 10 to 1,000 people. Here’s what I’ve found that works.
This is a guest post from Eric Wiesen, a general partner at RRE. It originally appeared on his blog.
The recent acquisition of Gowalla by Facebook is just the latest incidence of the potential tension between investors and founders when a company is acquired primarily for the team rather than for the technology, product or business that they’ve built. People around the web will take the opportunity to observe that in situations where a company is acquired in this way, the founders typically get a package of equity to motivate them to join (and remain at) the acquiring company, while investors usually get anywherefrom zero to a small return on invested capital. Look around and you’ll find people willing to condemn the founders for unethically “selling out” their investors and you’ll find people who say the exact opposite, that such a company didn’t have saleable assets anyway, and so investors are owed nothing because the business failed.