Where I draw the line on transparency

A reporter sent me an email yesterday;

Fred, are you investing in seesmic?  We’ve been covering the company a lot.

First, no we are not investing in seesmic, at least not any time soon. Loic has plenty of money and fantastic investors. He doesn’t need money. He needs more users and he’s going to get a bunch more when I get to sending out all the invites you all have requested at some point this weekend

Second, I would never disclose that we are considering, making, or have made an investment on this blog or to a reporter until the company has announced it

I believe the venture business needs more transparency and have been pushing that envelope for the past four and a half years on this blog and elsewhere

But deals and dealmaking is a private matter and should remain so. So please understand that some things are off limits


Comments (Archived):

  1. rick

    they probably won’t be getting the users they’d like anytime soon. all 3 of the people this appeals to are already using youtube 🙁

  2. CoryS

    Well, good or bad, you do have a tendency to blog on concepts and start ups you find interesting, and then (in what seems like many cases) disclose an investment. What I’ve enjoyed is that you have shown a way of defining your own destiny via the interests you cover (e.g. I never know whether your topical blogging is first or the investment discussions). That is enough transparency IMO, the rest is for the formal announcement.

  3. Philippe Bradley

    Fred, what makes you feel the VC business particularly needs more transparency?

    1. fredwilson

      Because I think entrepreneurs are served better if they know what different vcs are like, what they are good at, what they typically invest in, etcIts also helpful for entrepreneurs to understand terms and other aspects of venture deals. Brad Feld and his partners’ service, Ask the VC, for example is great in that regardVCs also benefit from more information about what entrepreneurs are thinkingI think all markets function better when there is more transparencyFred

  4. Stephen L. McKay

    Fred,Yea, but you do let the cat out of the bag when you praise a business (Wasabi, for example), just before you make an investment (I just knew that a USV investment was coming after your posts). Nothing wrong with that at all, and I like it. Your not doing anything unethical, and your giving a little insight into what kind of investments you believe in, and why. All are good things, and one more reason I read you faithfully!

    1. fredwilson

      I think I have praised other non usv companies like youtube, facebook, hypemachine, seesmic, etcI really try to keep it balancedFred

  5. Loic Le Meur

    Hi Fred. Of course you can’t be transparent about this too much, it would immediately create competition for you. It happened to me once on a business angel deal I wanted to make, I blogged so much about it (and put it on stage at LeWeb3) that instead of taking my business angel money they directly sold the company with a great deal 🙂 Good for the founder, not as good for a business angel investment… I do not feel bad about it though, happy for the founder, but I learnt there.

    1. fredwilson

      i think we were both involved in that one Loic, right?

      1. Loic Le Meur

        Disqus is really cool I also have it on my blog you should invest but don’t tell anybody :)Fred, ah ! I was actually thinking about a french startup which was sold for good money and I really was disappointed for me 🙂 Now you remind me of this other one yeah, see, I also speak too much on my blog… I had fueled a nice french userbase for them as I adopted it on my blog.

        1. fredwilson

          Loic, there are no secrets anymore with you commenting on my blog!!!

          1. Loic Le Meur