Monday, June 15, 2009

VC Larry Cheng on the Facebook Investment That Didn't Happen

Larry Cheng, a partner at Fidelity Ventures, serves up a blog post well worth reading today, about the early days of Facebook -- and his initial 2004 meeting with Facebook's two founders at Henrietta's Table in Cambridge.

Cheng writes:

    Mark [Zuckerberg] and Eduardo [Saverin] had a complementary aspect to their partnership. Mark struck me as the alpha male. He had a profound confidence about him that exceeded his youth. He exuded killer instinct. He was not shy about sharing his aspirations of dominating the college market. He was also the technical visionary behind the scenes. Eduardo was polite and unassuming. He could have been your college roommate. He was jovial, relational, and likeable. He seemed to be the fast follower. He was also apparently the business mind. While both exuded a certain naivete, they were both convinced that they were going to change the world. They were right.

As far as I can tell, Cheng was the first VC in Boston to talk to the founders of Facebook while they were still at Harvard, and the firm he was at at the time, Battery Ventures, may have been the only Boston area firm to have had a chance to invest in Facebook. I wrote about what happened in September, 2007.

But the biggest unanswered questions remain unanswered by Cheng's blog post: why exactly didn't Battery invest in Facebook? And if they had invested, would Facebook have stayed in Massachusetts -- or was Zuckerberg determined to build his company in the Valley?

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