A Wired article this month features a tactic being employed by Allen Morgan of Mayfield Fund. Morgan has been analyzing Mayfield's dealflow, as well as the tech press, from the Dotcom boom to see if there are companies or ideas that may have failed at the time, but would work well today. It is an interesting thought.
However, the article made me think of a different issue. Is the VC business increasingly about ideas? There has been somehigh-profilediscussion in the VC community regarding the changing dynamics of the business. Some contributing factors have been identified as:
Relative ease of fundraising due to humble returns elsewhere
Decreasing need for capital in some startups, due to open-source, offshore outsourcing, etc.
Competition from large companies acquiring startups earlier than usual
I have heard various prioritizations of the attributes one needs in the VC business, including corporate finance knowledge, quantitative skills, analytical strength, patience, and good gut to filter BS. In the face of the changes described above, I suspect the ability to develop (or recognize) themes and filter ideas will gain precedence as the prime quality of a successful VC.
I see Fred Wilson and Brad Burnham's USV as good example of a theme and idea based VC outfit (and we'll see if it's a successful one, as well.) Nivi, a prolific idea generator, recently joined Bessemer Venture Partners, as Entrepreneur-in-Residence.
I have been reading thereports on Auren Hoffman's Connector Showcase in San Francisco, and I am very jealous that I live about 8K miles away. The list of companies that presented represents some of the most interesting as of late.
Auren's Showcase is an ideal model for our modest Istanbul NEG.
I (and manyothers) wrote about AOL and Yahoo's announcement regarding the enhanced emailer whitelist and the use of Goodmail last week, and now it seems like there has been a misunderstanding, and that the enhanced whitelist will remain in effect. From my perspective, this mitigates the issue to a point, but does not resolve it.
I still have a problem with AOL, if it charges me for a mailbox, and makes me subject to spam, just because a spammer thinks I am worth the fraction of a penny to reach. I have much less of a problem if Google displays ads on the side, without cluttering my inbox.
The second method, if anything, should be the ONLY way I should be marketed to.
My good friend Jessica Hirsch has launched her new company Octopus. While it's not the typical web/tech/media company I tend to follow or write about, I love ventures evolving out of real-life experiences. The Octopus definitely qualifies as an example of a great product borne from a genuine need.
We have set the date for the Istanbul New Economy Group meeting in February. The details and the RSVP channel is at this link. To be informed of the developments at the Istanbul NEG, I recommend joining the Yahoo Group. Alternatively, you can subscribe to this blog, either via the Bloglet utility on this page, or the RSS feed, both on the right hand column. I will keep blogging about the developments here, as well.
The February meeting will incorporate a few presentations by companies. If you'd like to present, please let me know.
Via Dave Beisel of Masthead Venture Partners, I have discovered the wiki used by a group called Boston Web Innovators Group. I think a wiki is an ideal way of organizing communications for a group like this. If anyone can volunteer to set up and host a wiki, let me know.
UPDATE: For those who have not been following this topic, here are the previous posts on the Istanbul NEG: