Opening Up Our Research
When Brad Burnham and I started USV back in 2003 and I had just started blogging, we spent a lot of time talking to potential investors in our first fund. One of their big questions we got from them about the kind of open firm we wanted to create was "how will you be able to make money if you share all of your proprietary insights?"
We really didn't have a good answer to them but our bet was that by sharing our ideas and insights broadly with the market, we would attract entrepreneurs to our firm who shared those insights and ideas. And we thought the startup community would engage with us around these insights and ideas and make us smarter in the process.
It was a good bet. That is exactly what happened. I think it is now best practice in VC and possibly some other investment disciplines to be broadly open with your investment ideas and insights. At least I hope it is.
But we are not as open as we can be and should be. We get together as a firm roughly once a month to do a "deep dive" on a sector that interests us. We work as team to produce a reading list and some preliminary research on that sector. And we identify a couple people who are deeply involved in that sector to come sit with us or skype with us. These sessions last roughly two hours but can often go on longer.
Christina decided last week that we should put all of this "research" out there on the Internet. And of course she is right. She has posted the first set of research on usv.com today and we will continue to do this under the "Researching ……" headline. I think this will be really useful for us and everyone who enjoys participating in a dialog about new ideas and insights in the tech startup market.