Adventures in Venture Capital
Venture capital returns follow the power law, according to Peter Thiel. He’s right. Look at your favorite venture capitalist, then look at her exits. You may see many names you know, but start to break down for how much each one sold or how much they are valued. You’ll see just one or two big wins swamp the rest.
Peter Thiel himself made almost all of his startup returns from Facebook, not directly from his years at PayPal. Even the venerable Y Combinator sees almost all future profits deriving from just two companies: AirBnB and DropBox.
Letter From San Francisco
Many entrepreneurs can’t even remember to feed themselves. How can they take care of a baby?
I remember a time in 2011 when I was watching Paul Graham,
That’s a curve PG draws. The launch of excitement and users, and then there’s that damn “trough of sorrow”.
Creating a business is full of rejection Read More
The business climate in Argentina is so tough that an entrepreneur who can make it there can make it anywhere. Read More
Hulu is close to selecting 21st Century Fox exec Mike Hopkins as its new supreme leader. [AllThingsD]
“Investors are showing increasing hunger for initial public offerings of unprofitable technology companies,” because that doesn’t sound like a sign of a bubble or anything. [Wall Street Journal]
The Google TV brand is being eliminated. [The Verge]
Y Combinator is opening a San Francisco outpost. [TechCrunch]
For the twentieth time this year, Facebook is screwing with your privacy settings. [Business Insider]
Twice as many households have “smart tvs” as streaming devices–but only 69 percent of them are actually connected to the Internet. Grandparents! [GigaOm]
“When I got here, I was very emotionally touched by all the great companies in this area….These were all the companies I had heard of since I was a kid. I felt like I should be here. Like I belong.” [New York Times]
Here is how you remove tagged Instagram posts from your profile. [Wired]
Earlier this year, Mt. Gox and CoinLab teamed up in a partnership to reach the American market more efficiently. Now CoinLab is suing for $75 million in damages. [Gawker]
Do you trust your friends enough to give them the extra set of keys to your Facebook account? [L.A. Times]
Teach Me How to Startup
At this point, it seems fair to say that celebrity-associated tech startups occupy their own stratum of Startupland. There’s the celebrity-backed startup, benefitting from the digital ambitions of investors like Scooter Braun, Ashton Kutcher, and Lady Gaga. Then there’s the celebrity “cofounded” company (see: half the startups in Los Angeles). There’s even startups that help brands harness the buying power of, say, Team Breezy.
Coming soon: a celebrity-backed venture capital fund, with a hashtag in the title, of course.
Teach Me How to Startup
Yesterday, Y Combinator (Silicon Valley’s ur-accelerator) hosted its biannual Demo Day at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.
As cofounder Paul Graham announced last fall, YC downsized both the number of startups and the size of the investment in this current class. And fears that the accelerator bubble is about to pop were not lost on the 47 startups who presented, nor the 500 or so investors in attendance.
So the tech world likes incubators. Indeed, even as new players enter the field, there are signs that the incubator model is bursting at the seams. Y Combinator downsized to less than 50 companies in its most recent class, from 84 last summer. When 500 Startups decided to establish a base in New York, it opted for a coworking space instead of an incubator. TechStars keeps growing, but its most recently announced additions have been abroad or in more narrowly-defined niches.
The Real TechStars of New York
As 2011 came to a close, we looked back at our most popular posts. But this year, we’re a little older (a mature year and nine months!), a lot wiser, and thought we’d try something a little different. Thank you for reading!
Ultra-Orthodox Jews Take a Hard Line on the Internet at Rally of 40,000 Men (And Me) In which our intrepid reporter sneaks into Citi Field in drag.
Faith, Hope, and Singularity: Entering the Matrix with New York’s Futurist Set It’s the end of the world as we know it, and they feel fine.
At any startup accelerator, Demo Days are a relentlessly upbeat affair–a parade of promotional pitch decks and stats about market size that somehow always reach up into the billions. But in New York City, Techstars’ biannual showcase takes the cake.
Founded in Boulder, the program launched in New York in 2011 (just as the startup scene cried out for tent poles to rally around) and easily fills auditoriums. Companies often announce “soft-circled” funding or even that the round has already closed. Mayor Bloomberg even called the number of investors who fly to New York to check out presentations, “proof positive that the TechStars is going to change this world and certainly change America and this city.”
Or as TechStars mentor Joel Spolsky put it before introducing one of the startups at Webster Hall: “Time to get my company oversubscribed.”