Dispatch From Venture Summit East: More Seed Funding in the Works from Kodiak?
In the halls, I ran into David Andonian from DACE Ventures (who told me his two most recent investments were Howcast in NY and EveryScape here in Mass.) ... Flybridge Capital Partners blogger Jeff Bussgang ... M&A guy Paul Bowen ...former About.com CEO Scott Meyer ... Mr. Punchbowl Matt Douglas ... and Intel Capital's Lucy McQuilken.
My panel was titled "So You Want to be a VC." After a quick, poll, it turned out that only one person in the audience did....so we focused on what the panelists (all representing relatively new VC firms) are doing differently.
One interesting snippet that I wanted to share with you related to seed funding -- especially seed funding of unproven young entrepreneurs.
Bijan Sabet of Spark Capital said his firm had put money into Tumblr, an NYC start-up founded by 22 year-old David Karp. Sabet observed that "seed deals will inevitably have a high mortality rate...and we're not comfortable with that here." (Here presumably meaning Boston/New England.) He mentioned Y Combinator (based in Cambridge & Mountain View) and Tech Stars (Denver) as firms that are trying to build a model around very early, very small seed deals.
Chris Greendale of Kodiak Venture Partners said he thought it'd be smart for VC firms to take a million bucks, and put it into ten ideas. I asked him what would happen if he proposed that at his next Monday morning partners meeting. Greendale said "we're talking about it," and he told me afterward that some news could be forthcoming in the next 90 days. "Why is it such a bloody long process to give away $100,000 to a new company? We can give $100,000 to our existing portfolio companies at the drop of a hat," he mused.
The biggest (and only) applause line of the panel came from Drew Lipsher from Greycroft LLC. Someone in the audience asked about entrepreneurs moving west to find money. Lipsher said something to the effect of, if the entrepreneur doesn't believe in his company enough to believe it can succeed here -- they need to move it to Silicon Valley -- then we don't need to invest.
Labels: AlwaysOn, Bijan Sabet, Chris Greendale, conferences, DACE Ventures, David Andonian, David Karp, Drew Lipsher, Greycroft, Kodiak Venture Partners, seed funding, Spark Capital, Tumblr, venture capital