Somehow, in the middle of the great recession, the Bay Area technosphere is booming again. Diana Kapp explores the spirited new economy and the next-generation investors who are rebooting Silicon Valley ingenuity—and, quite possibly, the American way of life.
The lights dim, and the audience—every angel investor and VC partner of note in the Bay Area i. Despite the recession almost everywhere else, the people in this room are in the throes of a gigantic if still largely undetected outside the technosphere boom.
What they have done is remarkable, especially if your only point of reference is the instantly bloated startups of the dot-com era. A quarter of the 36 companies are already profitable. It also explains why the old guard of venture capital—the VCs who helped create some of the most transformational companies on earth—want in on the action. All you need is a good idea, some basic coding know-how, and a little money.
And guess who has enough money to fund these kinds of ventures in their earliest stages—to be guardian angels of the newest new thing? So here they all are at Demo Day, looking to place bets. Retired Googlers and PayPalers, of course. The LinkedIn cofounder put early angel money into Facebook and social-gaming phenom Zynga, which suddenly has 1, employees in Potrero Hill a few predict it could grow bigger than Facebook.
He invested in Flipboard and is now promoting the hell out of another investment, the Twitter-like photo site DailyBooth: With him is his wife, Demi Moore. Up front, Graham checks the sound. He wears his usual khaki shorts, blue Aydin senkut wife sexual dysfunction shirt, and Tevas, a fitting uniform for a guy who no longer has anything to prove.
Y Combinator now runs its Demo Day Aydin senkut wife sexual dysfunction triplicate to meet investor demand.
Silicon Valley is no longer that Silicon Valley, Graham contends—not the place where VC firms rule alone, not the place where middle-aged Republicans were the only angels, and they would invite their entrepreneur pals to their homes in Atherton or Woodside and write a check. The presentations are rat-a-tat fast. I watch as Andrew Sugaya touts his platform, Teevox, which turns an iPhone into a remote for selecting online movies and shows.
The three entrepreneurs behind Rapportive—a free browser plug-in that makes your Gmail account look and act like Facebook—report that Aydin senkut wife sexual dysfunction already have 40, users. One Valley veteran told me that this is how venture capital used to work, one entrepreneur helping another—a celebration of pure innovation.
Worse things we all remember. Tech as a whole has had serious problems since the dot-com implosion, but this ecosystem of lean-and-mean startups has rekindled hope. The chickens have just come home to roost. A handsome man of 36 with wavy jet-black hair brushing his shoulders, Ravikant becomes my guide to this new economy.
He is a prominent super angel—a VC firm of one—who, all told, has invested in almost 50 startups, including a dozen Y Combinator companies. The site has attracted angel participants and has led to nearly investments in startups. He works three devices simultaneously: The concept of benevolence resonates with Ravikant, given his own rather scarring experience with old-fashioned venture capital. At 25, he was a gifted young technologist who had started the consumer-review site Epinions, which was backed by VCs, the biggest two being Benchmark Capital and August Capital.
Light-touch angels have been floating around Silicon Valley for a Aydin senkut wife sexual dysfunction while. Oracle, Apple, and Genentech all started with the help of small checks from individuals. Unlike VCs, angels pride themselves on not wielding power. The concept recalls the s, when wealthy individuals backed Broadway productions and early Hollywood films.
Luckily, Twitter was on that list. A lot of what they do involves realizing the potential of an idea before others see it, which makes this a game with a slim playbook: Filter out the thousands of bad ideas, follow your gut on the best ones, then act early, spread your risk, and expect to fail. McClure views much of seed funding as an inexpensive way to see what might develop. One key to success is whether you are friends with other smart people with well-developed instincts.
Along the way, he has built an enviable portfolio of his own investments, including Zynga, Twitter, and Foursquare. He was kind enough to carve out a little space for me. After investing, Rose visited Dorsey at Square and found that they had plenty to discuss. So Schachter reallocated slices to allow Rose and other equally faithful investors to join.
Such incestuousness gets a bad rap, Ravikant says: He returned the favor, he says, by trusting them. When the closing documents arrived from one of the entrepreneurs, he signed without really reading Aydin senkut wife sexual dysfunction.
At least compared to VCs, angels are just as lax about expected rates of return. VC firms have a guaranteed way to make serious money: Another study, by the University of New Hampshire Center for Venture Research, estimates 25 to 30 percent annual return rates, but it counted only those angels who were profitable. But getting this ordinarily straight shooter to talk about return rates is like trying to grab a wet bar of soap.
But the only sure way to succeed is with one of the rare superstar companies. Google reportedly returned its seed funders times what they put in. Strangely, Ravikant argues that one key to making money is to be a lemming and to flock to the same startups where everyone else has clustered.
As in Aydin senkut wife sexual dysfunction high, being part of the cool group becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. McClure was chosen after he touted the company vigorously via tweets without having been solicited, then introduced the cofounders around.
They Aydin senkut wife sexual dysfunction constantly, using feedback real users. Nearly everything they need to launch can be outsourced, automated, or done in the cloud.
In a blog he writes called Startup Boy, Ravikant describes the new ease of operations: Marketing is done virally, or through SEO. PR is handled through tweets and blogging. Payments come via PayPal. This new model has given traditional Valley VCs fits. To be fair, the primo firms are still managing to post profits, but those are slim by historical standards. Chasing the mega-returns of those years, big-eyed hedge funds began pouring vast amounts of capital into Sand Hill Road, ballooning the size of old-line firms.
Then new shops created by B-school and finance types with no experience operating small companies came on like the year locust. The outcomes were too uncertain and the amounts too small to impact the bulging portfolios.
So VCs started waiting for a tech company to succeed before committing, at which point it would be valued much higher—thereby upping the price of any stake.
Even when Benchmark Capital wisely invested in personal-finance software company Mint, it waited until the much safer later rounds. But angels such as McClure, who took on the early risk, received returns of 10 to 17 times their original contribution.
As new Facebooks or Twitters have loomed, a few nimble firms, especially Sequoia Capital, have become regular seed funders. But other firms have taken angel-like steps that look suspicious to angels. Ravikant believes that such efforts may be doomed, because Foursquare-monitoring, FarmVille-playing technophiles dislike the relatively analytical, cloistered, expensive ways in which VCs tend to operate.
To wit, entrepreneurs used to brag about the size of their funding round; now they boast about how little money they need. That would be a very good thing, says Graham: Like most angels, he is a bona fide geek and a former web genius with a profoundly entrepreneur-centric view of the universe. Inhe founded Viaweb, an online-store-building app that he sold
Aydin senkut wife sexual dysfunction Yahoo! After getting a PhD in computer science at Harvard, Graham went to art school.
His chosen entrepreneurs all call him PG and drop everything when he calls. He has an idea every second and an analogy every situation on the negative effect of angel investments on VCs: Sometimes he is impressed with a team of founders but not with their idea, at which point he will spew forth a litany of intriguing business suggestions.
He uses it mostly to understand how an entrepreneur thinks. Over time, Graham has developed a set of indicators to help him pick his entrepreneurs—qualities that he believes correlate to a high likelihood of success. Now the company has listings
Aydin senkut wife sexual dysfunction 8, cities in countries. Y Combinator has been criticized for funding small niche concepts with dreams no bigger than becoming a quick acquisition target.
So far, 10 or so of its ventures have produced multimillion-dollar exits, but none have blasted into the stratosphere. To be accepted into Y Combinator, companies—many of whose founders are too green to know better—give up a 2 to 10 percent stake to Graham and his partners.
Sequoia Capital also has a stake in the incubator and so presumably gets a first look at companies like Rapportive. At a secret dinner party in
Aydin senkut wife sexual dysfunction at Bin 38, in the Marina, virtually all the big-name super angels met to discuss how to keep Y Combinator in check, as well as how to keep deals away from VCs and work collectively i.
Small—and relentlessly experimental, quick-footed, and determined—truly is beautiful now. Instead, they are the rocket ships everyone is clamoring to board. Whether the angel-touched companies of the Twitter age will endure, produce something of true value, and propel us all forward remains to be seen. That was the gold standard that the former Silicon Valley—including its VCs—judged itself by. Then he checks himself: Caffeinated Capital's Ray Tonsing, Felicis' Aydin Senkut, True Ventures' .
of child rearing, slimming, beauty makeup, emotion, delicacy, sexual health, etc. . Any+Times allows users to crowdsource solutions to everyday problems. Aydin Senkut, Felicis Ventures. Incorporation and .
be applied before sex for prevention of HIV infection. that can accurately measure internal hand function. Redwood City, California with his wife and two daughters.