Everyone's A VC

As Tim O'Reilly and I were walking on stage last night at Web 2.0 Expo, I said to him "I've got the best job in the world. I get brilliant and creative people walking in our door every day and spending an hour teaching me about something new."

It can be exhausting to have that much creativity coming at you in a firehose. But I wouldn't trade it for anything else.

If you look at the comment thread on yesterday's post, it is clear that you all like to evaluate new ideas too. Your feedback on that list helped me a lot. I was able to give a quick look at each website and then read the comment thread and I was very up to speed on the entire group of companies by the time I showed up on stage with Tim.

Then we went into a room full of entrepreneurs with laptops pitching their wares. It was like a trade show or expo except instead of pitching for customers, they were pitching for investors. And everyone got to be a VC along with me and Tim.

It was a great format. I loved it and judging from the amount of enthusiasm in the room, so did everyone else who was there.

An evening like that makes me think that the crowdfunding model has legs. I've been tapping into your collective wisdom for over seven years now. It has made me a much better investor. But that is not a crowdfunding model. Our firm is capturing most of the value in this system.

A true crowdfunding model, like Kickstarter, is a much better approach. In fact, a startup crowdfunded by Kickstarter, Diaspora, was in the group of companies we evaluated last night.

The part of the crowdfunding model I have not figured out is the investment management part. I spend less than half of my time looking at new opportunities. I spend the majority of my time working on the companies we have already invested in. That is not something you can crowdsource. Not everyone has the experience and leadership skills to be a strong and valuable board member.

So I can't currently see the picture of the crowdsourced VC firm. But I certainly can see the seeds being sown that will enable it.

#VC & Technology