Mark. You disappeared? What the fork happened to you?
And what’s up with this crazy new blog design? Well … more on that next week. I will tell more.
But for now …
Every year we run a big VC, LP & Tech Summit in Los Angeles (this year downtown) to showcase the best of our community and invite others from around the country. Our event this year will feature many portfolio companies and also emerging LA tech companies such as Tinder & Whisper. It is a CEO & founder gathering.
The Mayor will come and talk about LA innovation. And every year it seems a celebrity or two sneaks in.
I look forward to being back to blogging next week. And maybe sleeping, too.
Have a quick view below for what is in store at our Upfront Summit – a little bit of LA startup energy and creativity. Whaddayathink? (not that I can take any credit for it, but I’ll pass along the credit when I talk about my new spiffy blog).
Link here if image not turning up.
If you like it, spread the word with that little Twitter button up there – go on – give it up. And either way, join me in the comments section down there. We’ll be publishing a lot of data soon on LA Tech.
I often talk about what I’m looking for when I meet with an entrepreneur. Above all else I’m looking for a genuine passion for what the entrepreneur is doing. It’s even a direct quote in my Twitter bio.
Of course passion isn’t enough. You need a set of innate skills that differentiate you from the thousands of others who set out on your similar journey. You need a great concept in which you will build something that is truly unique and that will be valued by your customers. But without a passion for what you do I am dubious about your chances for success.
If I had to put a number on it I’d say 1 in 20 pitches – maybe 1 in 30 – are by an entrepreneur who comes across as truly passionate about her project. You can sense when it is a “mission” for this entrepreneur to succeed and she will continue the journey even if success isn’t easy or immediate. It is in her blood to see this journey through and try to launch her product or service to the world.
I wrote this on my flight home from f.ounders & web summit in Dublin, Ireland late last year. I think I was too hung over to finish it, hit publish and move on. So here is attempt two now that the alcohol is mostly out of me.
The Magic of the Irish.
Scenes from my counter-top on my last night in Dublin. I recently returned from a 5-day visit to Ireland, my first time back in 10 years and the start of what I hope will be a more regular travel schedule there. Between 1995-2002 I visited often – especially since I founded my first company there.
My trip was scheduled around the annual Web Summit and the f.ounders conference, both of which have become the hottest must-attend event in Europe and rivaling any great conference in the US.
Tom Perkins is one of the founding members of the venerable venture capitalist firm Kleiner Perkins. He just had his Mitt Romney moment and his name will forever be etched in the collective consciousness of the tech community for this terribly insensitive and tone deaf letter to the Wall Street Journal.
The headline of Mr. Perkins letter to the WSJ?
Progressive Kristallnacht Coming?
“I would call attention to the parallels of Nazi Germany to its war on its “one percent,” namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the “rich.””
Picking a VC is hard. You don’t really have much to go on to decide who would make a good fit. Reputation of firm? Of partner? Deals done in your industry? It’s a bit of all of these.
I had an enjoyable conversation this morning with a young team straight out of college this morning and they were calling to ask advice on how to approach fund raising (angels vs. VCs, how to select a VC, etc.) and I realized that without years of experience it is tough to answer this question.
So I thought I’d write about out with what I would look for in a VC knowing what I know now and why.
Most VCs are book smart. It’s insanely competitive to get into our industry so most have degrees from institutions like Stanford, Harvard, Wharton and University of Chicago (blatant plug ;-). Smart is simply not a differentiator. In fact, book smart can be a negative. The last thing you want is a know-it-all telling you what to do when they are at 50,000 and haven’t had to deal with your exact circumstances.
I call them “VCs Seagulls.” (you know … fly in, shit on you and then fly away).