Power To The People

The last paragraph of the New York Times story on our firm today was about places we are looking for new investments:

The partners said they planned to look at how Web services might transform sectors not yet touched in a big way, like education and the environment.

"We have only begun to investigate the impact of information technology on behaviors, habits, needs. We believe it can be profound", Mr. Burnham said.

Coincidentally, my partner Albert posted on that exact subject today on the Union Square Ventures blog, in a post called "Power To The People". It’s a great follow-on to the New York Times piece.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. MartinEdic

    First, congrats on the Times piece- I thought it was fair.Regarding your future investments and the spread of web services: It is happening now and it is happening really fast. We are a social media monitoring company and, in spite of the dire economy, demand for our software service is exploding, in part because an acceptance curve has been crossed. There is now, IMHO, a major broadening of use of social media that is equivalent to acceptance of the web ten years ago.BTW, if you’d like an SM2 account to play with let me know…

  2. dominique

    I really liked your article.I’m just out of an investor event where it seems like the focus has shifted towards cleantech and biotech and the internet is dead !In my view, the social web and its potential impact on behavior is where to look for solutions to the most critical challenges our world is facing . To name a few: terrorism, climate change , survival of capitalism as we know it.So it’s good to know some investors still find interest in that space !

  3. brooksjordan

    These are the very two lines that I shared into my Tumblr blog yesterday after I read the article.

  4. SSM

    The article drew me to this blog, and compelled me to send our Powerpoint on BluMail, a global email and content portal for the millions who will be coming online in developing countries.

  5. Martin Owen

    I am pleased that you see education as an important growth and innovative area. A lot of the work we (in education) did in the 1990s on collaborative learning prefigured so much of social media – however getting investors to take us seriously was impossible (and our own business model was winning the next grant). Education is an industry ripe for disruption: It is expensive and time consuming but the returns to investment are well understood. In the informal sector there is also a thirst for productive leisure.

  6. PaolaHernandez

    I’m so happy that the NYT drew me to this blog too. I’m a Biotechnology undergrad student in Mexico, and I’m really interested in these issues but sometimes is complicated to get to the right/useful sources of information. Congratulations about your blog! And I’ll keep an eye from now on 🙂

  7. mrclark411

    I very much agree with the web services changing the “environment” industry.So much can be done in reducing energy expenses and motivating ourselves to help the environment. Good reminder of a concept I’ve had brewing for some time – mixing retail with facebook and loyalty points.

  8. Aruni S. Gunasegaram

    It was a good piece in the Times. As I may have commented before, I’m taking a very long bet that the web from an application and social standpoint will dramatically change the way people care for, are involved with, and communicate with their babies and children.I would be very interesting to talk with one of the founders of a company you’ve funded behind closed doors and see if what they say and how they say it indeed matches what is written about you and your firm.

    1. fredwilson

      We encourage everyone we work with to talk to everyone we’ve ever workedwithThat’s the only way to know if you want to work with us

  9. MikeDuda

    I disagree at the end about the “shift away” statement on education. That’s like saying iPhon users will shift away from using the Internet and use apps.The “shift” will be more of an amplification. Education in the short term will be used to amplify education not shift away, imo.