Posts from Tim O’Reilly

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

Startup Showcase

I want to let everyone know about an opportunity to showcase your startup at Web 2.0 Expo in NYC in late September. On Sept 29th in the late afternoon/early evening, the Web 2.0 conference will have 30 startups demo their products/services to the attendees and a number of investors.

The way this will work is each startup will be given a demo table. And the Web 2.0 attendees and investors will move from table to table. Each demo will last about five minutes long. So if you are participating, you'll give about ten demos in less than an hour.

At the end of the hour, Tim O'Reilly and I will each pick our favorite startup. And the audience will pick one. And then those three startups will each be invited up to the stage for a conversation with Tim and me.

It sounds like a fun format and I am looking forward to it. Tim has one of my favorite minds in the web/tech space so I am particularly excited to be doing this with him. If you want to participate, you need to apply by August 2nd. The details are here.

This is aimed at young startups that are in need of attention, not startups that are well known and heavily funded already.

#VC & Technology