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Cashew foie gras? Big Food jumps on ‘plant-based’ bandwagon
MAY 18, 2019 | Financial Times | by Leila Abboud in Paris and Emiko Terazono in London

* Boom in meat and dairy substitutes sets up ‘battle for the centre of the plate’
* Nestlé recently launched the Garden Gourmet's Incredible burger in Europe and plans to launch it in the US in the autumn in conjunction with McDonald’s.
* Burger King has partnered with a “foodtech” start-up to put meat-free burgers on their menu.
* Pret A Manger is considering a surge in its roll-out of vegetarian outlets as it looks into buying UK sandwich rival Eat.

A change is afoot that is set to sweep through the global food industry as once-niche dietary movements (i.e. vegetarians, then the vegans, followed by a bewildering array of food tribes from veggievores, flexitarians and meat reducers to pescatarians and lacto-vegetarians ) join the mainstream.

At the other end of the supply chain, Big Food is getting in on the act as the emergence of plant-based substitutes opens the door for meat market disruption. Potentially a huge opportunity if the imitation meat matches adoption levels of milk product alternatives such as soy yoghurt and almond milk, which account for 13% of the American dairy market. It is a $35bn opportunity in the US alone, according to newly listed producer Beyond Meat, given the country’s $270bn market for animal-based food. 

Packaged food producers, burdened with anaemic growth in segments from drinks to sweets, have jumped on the plant-based bandwagon. Market leaders including Danone, Nestlé and Unilever are investing heavily in acquisitions and internal product development.

Laggards are dipping their toes. Kraft-Heinz, for example, is investing in start-ups via its corporate venture capital arm and making vegan variants of some of its products. Even traditional meat producers, such as US-based Tyson Foods and Canada’s Maple Leaf Foods, are diversifying into plant-based offerings to remain relevant with consumers.......“Plant-based is not a threat,” said Wayne England, who leads Nestlé’s food strategy. “On the contrary, it’s a great opportunity for us. Many of our existing brands can play much more in this space than they do today, so we’re accelerating that shift, and there is also space for new brands.” .....a plethora of alternative protein products are hitting supermarket shelves... appealing to consumers for different reasons....(1) reducing meat consumption for health reasons... (2) others concerned about animal welfare...(3) concern over agriculture’s contribution to climate change......As Big Food rushes in, it faces stiff competition from a new breed of start-ups that have raced ahead to launch plant-based meats they claim look, taste and feel like the real thing. Flush with venture capital funding, they have turned to technology, analysing the molecular structure of foods and seeking to reverse-engineer versions using plant proteins......Not only are the disrupters innovating on the product side, they are rapidly creating new brands using digital marketing and partnerships with restaurants. Big food companies, which can struggle to create new brands, often rely on acquisitions to bring new ones onboard.....Aside from the quality of the new protein substitutes, how they are marketed will determine whether they become truly mass-market or remain limited to the margins of motivated vegetarians and vegans. The positioning of the product in stores influences sales, with new brands such as Beyond Meat pushing to be placed in the meat section rather than separate chilled cabinets alongside the vegetarian and vegan options.....Elio Leoni Sceti, whose investment company recently backed NotCo, a Chile-based start-up that uses machine learning to create vegetarian replicas of meat and dairy, believes new brands have an edge on the marketing side because they are not held back by old habits. 

“The new consumer looks at the consequences of consumption and believes that health and beauty come from within,” said one industry veteran who used to run Birds Eye owner Iglo. “They’re less convinced by the functional-based arguments that food companies are used to making, like less sugar or fewer calories. This is not the way that consumers used to make decisions so the old guard are flummoxed.”...Dan Curtin, who heads Greenleaf, the Maple Leaf Food's plant-based business, played down the idea that alternative meats will eat into meat sales, saying the substitutes were “additive”. “We don’t see this as a replacement. People want options,” he said. 

 
animal-based  Beyond_Meat  Big_Food  brands  Burger_King  Danone  digital_strategies  food_tech  hamburgers  Impossible_Foods  Kraft_Heinz  laggards  Maple_Leaf_Foods  McDonald's  Nestlé  plant-based  rollouts  start_ups  Unilever  vegetarian  vc  venture_capital  CPG  diets  meat  new_products  shifting_tastes 
28 days ago by jerryking
‘We Know Them. We Trust Them.’ Uber and Airbnb Alumni Fuel Tech’s Next Wave.
March 13, 2019 | The New York Times | By Erin Griffith.

......“There are just not that many places to find people who have seen that kind of scale,” said Ryan Graves, Uber’s former senior vice president of global operations and a member of the company’s board.

Each city that Uber, Airbnb, Lyft or Postmates expanded into created a new set of operational, regulatory and business challenges. Regulators balked. Rival business operators resisted. Neighbors protested. And people abused the platforms, over and over.

Uber managers ran each city like a mini-start-up. “If you were the general manager of San Francisco or of Atlanta, you were the C.E.O. of your region,” ..... “It led to a really entrepreneurial approach from everyone.”......
Airbnb  alumni  Andreessen_Horowitz  gig_economy  IPOs  networks  new_businesses  on-demand  scaling  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  Uber  vc  venture_capital 
march 2019 by jerryking
Jeff Bezos’ family office invests in Chilean plant-based food start-up
March 1, 2019 | Financial Times | by Leila Abboud in Paris.

The family office of Jeff Bezos is among the investors in a $30m funding round for a Chile-based start-up that uses machine learning to create vegetarian alternatives for animal-derived products such as mayonnaise and ice cream.

Four-year old NotCo on Friday announced the financing round led by The Craftory, a fund co-founded by consumer industry veteran Elio Leoni Sceti, as well as Bezos Expeditions.....The funds will be used to finance product development and help NotCo expand to Mexico and the US later this year. It sells its plant-based mayonnaise, which is made with chickpeas, in grocery stores in Chile......NotCo has developed a software platform that analyses the molecular structure of foods, such as beef or milk, so as then to derive combinations of plant-based alternatives that most closely resemble the original in taste, colour, and texture. The technology seeks to map the similarities between the genetic properties of plants and their corollaries in animals, so as to more accurately mimic the properties.....“The potential is massive because NotCo is not just a meat-replacement company or a milk-replacement company,”.....The technology can be applied to all foods derived from animals,” he said, adding that if successful, the opportunity was there to create a major food company to compete with the likes of Nestlé and Danone......the approach of analysing the molecular structure of foods to engineer vegetarian versions of meats, cheeses and dairy products is similar to that of US-based start-up Just Inc, formerly known as Hampton Creek.....The company changed its name after a series of setbacks, including an alleged food safety issue that led to it losing distribution at retailer Target. Nevertheless, Just Inc is well-funded; it has said that it has raised $220m from investors.....Venture capital investors have been pouring money into start-ups to create plant-based or lab-grown alternatives to traditional meat and dairy. Impossible Foods — which is backed by Bill Gates and Alphabet’s GV, formerly Google Ventures, among others — has raised $387.5m,
Chile  Chileans  Danone  family_office  flexitarian  food  Jeff_Bezos  machine_learning  Nestlé  plant-based  start_ups  vegetarian  vc  venture_capital 
march 2019 by jerryking
How to Navigate Investing in A.I., From Someone Who’s Done It
March 2, 2019 | The New York Times | By Katie Robertson.

Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn and a prominent venture capitalist, said at The New York Times’s New Work Summit in California that he looked very carefully at A.I. ventures to see how they were making new, interesting things possible and how he could bet on them early. He said current machine learning techniques, which are transforming fundamental industries, gave an amazing glimpse of the future.

“My ideal investing is stuff that looks a little crazy now and in three years is obvious or five years is obvious,” Mr. Hoffman said.....voiced some concerns around how A.I. could transform the global landscape, likening it to the shift from the agricultural age to the industrial age.

“You’ll see enormous changes from where the bulk of people find jobs and employment,” he said. “The first worry is what does that transition look like. That intervening transition is super painful.”....Mr. Hoffman recently released the book “Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies,” which details his theory that the rapid growth of a company — above almost all else — is what leads to its success.
artificial_intelligence  blitzscaling  books  competitive_landscape  machine_learning  Reid_Hoffman  scaling  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  vc  venture_capital 
march 2019 by jerryking
Michael Moritz, the tech investor backing books
March 1, 2019 | Financial Times | by Richard Waters.

Michael Moritz, the biggest individual investor in funds managed by Sequoia Capital, the blue-chip venture capital firm where he has worked since 1986. Forbes estimates his wealth at $3.4bn, but Moritz himself puts it “a bit higher”.

Some of that wealth was put to work this week when Crankstart, the charity he set up with his wife, Harriet Heyman, agreed to provide financial backing for the Booker Prize, one of the top awards for English language fiction, for the next five years......Moritz continues to court controversy, writing approvingly in the Financial Times of the relentless pace of Chinese tech start-ups, where workers put in so many hours they barely see their children. He contrasted them with “soul-sapping” debates about work/life balance in the US, calling them “concerns of a society that is coming unhinged”.

It is tempting to ascribe his success as an investor to tireless networking, luck and timing....entrepreneur Randy Adams tipped him off to Yahoo, which was creating one of the first web indices. That led him to Google. He took over leadership of Sequoia from Don Valentine — one of Silicon Valley’s first start-up investors — in the mid-1990s.

The firm then moved well beyond its venture capital roots, setting up arms to manage family endowments and handle public market investments. While he was at the helm, it became the most successful foreign start-up investor in China. “We understood that the world had changed and that Silicon Valley was not going to be the centre of the universe for the next 50 years,”....he still works full time making investments and sits on 10 corporate boards.

Through Crankstart, Sir Michael and his wife have made substantial gifts to education, including £75m in 2012 to fund scholarships for the poorest students at Oxford university, where he was an undergraduate. He said that the financial support his father had been given after fleeing Nazi Germany as a teenager was his motivation.....After funding some of the world’s most disruptive companies, it might seem perverse that Sir Michael is now backing something as traditional as a literary prize. But he says: “Like music and video, I think the future is brighter than the past.” Printed book sales are rising again, and audio books allow readers to consume them in new forms. “The novel is the underpinning of many forms of entertainment,” he says. “I don’t think anyone’s lost their appetite for good storytelling.”
books  charities  contrarians  Don_Valentine  fiction  Google  investors  Man_Booker  Michael_Moritz  Oxford  novels  philanthropy  prizes  Richard_Waters  Sequoia  sponsorships  venture_capital  vc  Yahoo 
march 2019 by jerryking
Venture capital firms have a gender problem. Here’s how to fix it - The Globe and Mail
JULY 24, 2018 | THE GLOBE AND MAIL | MICHELLE MCBANE AND LAUREN ROBINSON

Investing in women entrepreneurs isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing to do. Companies with a female founder have been shown to outperform all-male competitors. Despite this, when StandUp Ventures was founded last year to back female-led tech startups, many in the industry were skeptical that there even was a pipeline of women-led firms worthy of funding. Turns out there are plenty – StandUp has already made five investments. If more funds step up to the plate and back female entrepreneurs now, we won’t be having this conversation about female VCs again in a decade.

Change isn’t going to happen overnight. VC firms are very different creatures from the startups they fund: They’re conservative and built for stability, not agility.
gender_gap  venture_capital  vc  women  angels  start_ups  large_companies  under-representation  entrepreneur  founders 
july 2018 by jerryking
SoftBank: inside the ‘Wild West’ $100bn fund shaking up the tech world | Financial Times
Arash Massoudi in London and Kana Inagaki and Leo Lewis in Tokyo YESTERDAY Print this page67
In the summer of 2014, SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son
Masayoshi_Son  moguls  Softbank  venture_capital  vc 
june 2018 by jerryking
Former Google CFO Patrick Pichette sets his sights on keeping Canadian tech talent at home - The Globe and Mail
TAMSIN MCMAHON U.S. CORRESPONDENT
PALO ALTO, CALIF.
PUBLISHED MAY 13, 2018

As the chief financial officer of Google, Montreal native Patrick Pichette would often make the trip home from Silicon Valley with the message that Canadian companies were too slow in fully embracing the digital economy. These days, he’s offering a different message for Canadian startups: Stay home.

Nearly three years ago, Mr. Pichette quit his US$20-million-a-year job as a senior executive at one of the world’s most powerful internet companies with plans to explore the world.

Now, after almost two years of steady travel, Mr. Pichette, 55, is focusing on the next chapter of his post-Google career. For that, he has set his sights on Canada, where he hopes to invest in building the next generation of entrepreneurial talent.

Earlier this year, he joined Canadian venture firm iNovia as a general partner, attracted by both its strategy to fund Canadian startups in order to keep them at home, but also by the firm’s global ambitions. Mr. Pichette is in the process of moving to Britain for the next several years, where he will establish a London office for iNovia and help steer the firm’s European expansion.

Persistent fears over a brain drain to the United States flared up again this month when researchers at the University of Toronto and Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., published a study showing that as many as two-thirds of software-engineering graduates from the top Canadian schools were heading abroad to work, often to established firms in Silicon Valley, where they can earn significantly higher salaries.

Mr. Pichette argues that Canada has other advantages for its homegrown tech talent: an expanding tech ecosystem to support entrepreneurs, a more affordable work force for growing startups to tap into and a drastically lower cost of living than the San Francisco Bay Area.
Patrick_Pichette  Google  alumni  iNovia  venture_capital  crossborder  vc  talent  software_developers  brain_drain  Silicon_Valley  CFOs 
may 2018 by jerryking
Silicon Valley Is Over, Says Silicon Valley - The New York Times
Kevin Roose

THE SHIFT MARCH 4, 2018

By the end of the tour, the coastal elites had caught the heartland bug. Several used Zillow, the real estate app, to gawk at the availability of cheap homes in cities like Detroit and South Bend and fantasize about relocating there. They marveled at how even old-line manufacturing cities now offer a convincing simulacrum of coastal life, complete with artisanal soap stores and farm-to-table restaurants.....For both investors and rank-and-file workers, one appeal of non-coastal cities is the obvious cost savings. It’s increasingly difficult to justify doling out steep salaries and lavish perks demanded by engineers in the Bay Area, when programmers in other cities can be had for as little as $50,000 a year. (An entry-level engineer at Facebook or Google might command triple or quadruple that amount.)......And the hot demand for engineers in areas like artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles has led companies to expand their presence near research universities, in cities like Pittsburgh and Ann Arbor. ......Venture capitalists, who recognize a bargain when they see one, have already begun scouring the Midwest. Mr. Case and Mr. Vance recently amassed a $150 million fund called “Rise of the Rest.” The fund, which was backed by tech luminaries including Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Eric Schmidt, the former executive chairman of Alphabet, will invest in start-ups throughout the region.
coastal_elites  Silicon_Valley  venture_capital  vc  Rust_Belt  midwest  Red_states  industrial_Midwest  J.D._Vance  Pittsburgh  Ann_Arbor 
march 2018 by jerryking
Silicon Valley would be wise to follow China’s lead
January 17, 2018 | FT | Michael Moritz.

*The work ethic in Chinese tech companies far outpaces their US rivals
*it is quite usual for managers to have working dinners followed by two or three meetings
*Fewer complaints about the scheduling of tasks for the weekend, missing a child's game or skipping a basketball outing with friends.
*There is a deep-rooted sense of frugality.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
In a recent Financial Times op-ed, Mr. Moritz argued that Silicon Valley had become slow and spoiled by its success, and that “soul-sapping discussions” about politics and social injustice had distracted tech companies from the work of innovation.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
As an investor and now the CRO in a recently failed startup, I think this article has many merits so long as these tireless first employees are rewarded with equity and a great compensation plan once the enterprise is profitable.  I, along with my other investors are working tirelessly to put this project back on track. Unfortunately for many small businesses to survive this type of effort is essential at least until the enterprise is profitable.
workplaces  work_life_balance  vc  Michael_Moritz  China  soul-sapping  Chinese  start_ups  hard_work  Silicon_Valley  frugality  organizational_culture  work_ethic 
january 2018 by jerryking
As Silicon Valley Gets ‘Crazy,’ Midwest Beckons Tech Investors
NOV. 19, 2017 | The New York Times | By STEVE LOHR.

The rationale for investing in the Midwest combines cost and opportunity. A top-flight software engineer who is paid $100,000 a year in the Midwest might well command $200,000 or more in the Bay Area. The Midwest, the optimists say, also has ample tech talent, with excellent engineers coming out of major state and private universities in the region.

But they also point to technology shifts. As technology transforms nontech industries like health care, agriculture, transportation, finance and manufacturing, the Midwest investors argue that being close to customers will be more important than being close to the wellspring of technology.

“The value will come from marrying industry knowledge with technology,” said Mr. Olsen of Drive Capital. “There’s an arrogance in Silicon Valley that we don’t need industry expertise. That’s going to be less and less true in the future.”.....Referring to the troubles chronicled in his book, Mr. Vance said that “at least a partial solution is to get more investment capital into this part of the country.”....Mr. Case and Mr. Vance talk of the need to create “network density” by bringing together more entrepreneurs, customers, partners and investment capital. The trips can and do yield investment candidates for Revolution, but start-up evangelism is the main theme.
investors  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  Hillbilly_Elegy  venture_capital  vc  Midwest  Steve_Lohr  J.D._Vance  industrial_Midwest  rust_belt  Steve_Case  industry_expertise  network_density 
november 2017 by jerryking
Bryan Roberts of Venrock on Seeing Problems as Opportunities - The New York Times
by ADAM BRYANT OCT. 13, 2017

Bryan Roberts always tries to interact with people who put other people front and center, rather than themselves. His reasoning....People who are self-directed generally gather accomplishments and accolades and are very happy to tell you about them. When people are company- or mission-directed, it manifests as humility, and they generally push credit off onto other people.....You’ve been at Venrock for 20 years. How many pitches have you heard from entrepreneurs over the years?

Probably about 25,000. I hate getting pitched, by the way. The part of the job I love is when you and I have decided to work together to go solve a problem that the world thinks can’t be solved.

I don’t like sitting on one side of the table trying to discern the problems you’re leaving out while you give me the world-is-a-bed-of-roses version of what you’re trying to do.

The pitches are just a means to a small number of relationships where we can go do something extraordinary.

I imagine you interview executives for your portfolio companies. How do you hire?

I start off most interviews with, “What can I answer for you?” It tells me a lot, including how knowledgeable they are about the company, how much they’ve thought about the interview and what they care about. I leave it very open-ended and listen to where they go. I can tell an enormous amount from that.

Then I say to them, “If we take the next step, I’m going to do a bunch of reference checks. I’ll find 10 people who know you, including names you won’t give me. How will they describe you?”
vc  venture_capital  Venrock  problems  problem_solving  opportunities  serving_others  hiring  open-ended 
october 2017 by jerryking
A Day in the Life of Silicon Valley Power Player Kirsten Green
Oct. 3, 2017 | WSJ | By Francesca Mari.

HE DRIVER’S SEAT Kirsten Green, founder and general partner at early-stage venture capital firm Forerunner Ventures, Although Green formalized her venture capital firm Forerunner Ventures with its first institutional fund only five years ago, she has already built one of the most recognizable portfolios in the tech world. And with the sale of two of her early investments last year—Jet.com to Walmart for $3.3 billion and Dollar Shave Club to Unilever for $1 billion—she’s become one of the most prominent players in venture capital, an industry dominated by men......In 2008, she invested in a company started by two Stanford business grad students: Bonobos. She liked the founders, and they agreed to share their insights with her. “I couldn’t lose other people’s money, but I could invest in my own learning,” .......
Silicon_Valley  women  vc  retailers  Kirsten_Green  Warby_Parker  Bonobos  Dollar_Shave_Club  Unilever 
october 2017 by jerryking
Hearst ‘Incubator’ Focusing on Women-Led Startups - WSJ
By Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg
Aug. 17, 2017

HearstLab has looked at more than 700 companies, Ms. Burton said.

For HearstLab to invest, a business must be led by a woman, have a product generating at least some revenue, and be willing to move to Hearst Tower. “It’s a seed that has been created and we put it in the greenhouse,” she said.

HearstLab usually invests $250,000 to $500,000 through the form of a convertible note that typically converts to a 5% to 7% equity stake after a startup lands outside capital.

A separate women-focused, early-stage investment fund, Female Founders Fund, invests primarily in e-commerce, technology services, web services, and new platforms. It has invested in 30 companies through two separate funds since launching in 2014, including Zola, a wedding registry, and Maven, a digital clinic for women’s health.

“It’s typically been quite difficult for women to raise startup financing,” said Anu Duggal, the fund’s founding partner. “We’re proving you can get great returns by choosing this investment thesis.” Ms. Duggal declined to say how much Female Founders Fund has invested altogether.

Lindsay Jurist-Rosner, Wellthy’s co-founder and chief executive, said in an interview that she moved into Hearst Tower in June 2016. Wellthy has since struck a corporate sponsorship deal with Hearst that enables Hearst to offer its services as an employee benefit.

That deal, she noted, has helped Wellthy land other contracts with major employers. “It’s been a validator,”
Hearst  incubators  brands  start_ups  women  venture_capital  vc  founders  funding 
august 2017 by jerryking
After Leaving Google, Bill Maris Is Set to Open New Fund - The New York Times
By MICHAEL J. de la MERCED MAY 16, 2017
Mr. Maris announced on Tuesday that he has opened a new fund, Section 32, with about $150 million under management. It will invest in a variety of industries, from health care to agriculture technology.

“I left GV and knew that I wanted to start a fund of my own,” he said in a telephone interview. “My whole career has been about building things from scratch. I just wanted to do it at a different scale.”
venture_capital  vc  Bill_Maris  Google_Ventures 
may 2017 by jerryking
Naive entrepreneurs at risk of losing out to venture capitalists
Jan. 20, 2016 | The Financial Times News: p6. | Murad Ahmed

Tech start-up financing is often structured to protect venture capitalists, not founders, says Murad Ahmed

Nicolas Brusson and Philip...
entrepreneur  founders  vc  venture_capital  France  BlaBlaCar  trustworthiness  relationships  funding  asymmetrical  investors  naivete  connected_cars 
april 2017 by jerryking
Retail Instincts Propel Investor to Venture Capitalism’s Top Tier - The New York Times
By KATIE BENNER and MICHAEL J. de la MERCEDMARCH 26, 2017

Ms. Green is an unorthodox venture capitalist for several reasons. Apart from having never worked at a venture capital firm before starting her own in 2012, she is also a woman in a male-dominated field. (Of the top 20 venture investors this year, only two were women.) And unlike many generalist venture investors, who work in a range of areas, Ms. Green focuses specifically on commerce and other retail-related start-ups.....Ms. Green’s roots in retail run deep. She began her career as an accountant auditing retailers. In the late 1990s, she covered those companies as a stock analyst for Montgomery Securities, studying wonky measurements like customer traffic in retail locations and a store’s profitability per square foot. She also observed the rise of brands like Abercrombie & Fitch, Coach and Ugg.

She soon concluded that online commerce would underpin the next generation of important retail brands, but that consumers would not rely on just one way to shop. With the rise of Amazon and other online retailers, Ms. Green saw more bankruptcy filings from traditional retailers, as well as news of store closings and reports of market share shifts. But she also saw stores do well when companies could make an emotional connection with shoppers and better analyze their behavior.

“Retail is now totally propelled by consumers and their needs,” she said. “People can buy what they want in any way that they want it. That trend started a long time ago, and it has really changed everything.”.....In 2003, Ms. Green decided to jump from analyzing this shift to investing in it. For a time, she worked as a consultant to a private equity firm before turning to venture capital because of her interest in young companies. In 2010, she raised an angel investment fund to make one-off investments in companies like Birchbox, a cosmetics subscription service, and Warby Parker, an eyeglasses retailer, while she studied how to raise a venture fund. In 2012, Ms. Green raised a $40 million venture fund. The investment firm Cendana Capital contributed $10 million, despite the fact that she had never worked as a traditional investor or tech entrepreneur.
venture_capital  vc  women  retailers  angels  exits  e-commerce  emotional_commitment  brands  emotional_connections  Kirsten_Green  Birchbox  Warby_Parker  top-tier  investors 
march 2017 by jerryking
China’s Firms Strive to Gain a Foothold in U.S. Venture Capital - WSJ
By LI YUAN
Nov. 23, 2016

“In an era when information and capital are commoditized, brand and network become more valuable,” she says. “It takes years to build them. The venture industry is a long game, not a sprint.”
vc  venture_capital  Silicon_Valley  China  Chinese  long-term  long-range  commoditization_of_information 
november 2016 by jerryking
Venture Capitalist Bill Gurley Warns of Dumb Money - WSJ
By ROLFE WINKLER
Oct. 25, 2016

Unsophisticated investors continue to pour money into Silicon Valley startups.....fueling companies with weak business models and preventing a big downturn......new investors flooding startups with money in recent years, arguing that the rising valuations and aggressive spending by startups are caustic for Silicon Valley [Tom Friedman would argue that dumb money sloshing in "blocks signals" that otherwise would lead to a housecleaning, firings, and a re-deployment of capital] .......new money is not as educated as the previous money, so even though some lessons are being learned,” the “corrective mechanism” that should go into action following big startup failures hasn’t kicked into gear....At the same time.....risks remain in the financial system. Because global interest rates have been so low for so long, investors are seeing “asset bubbles” appear in many places, including real estate.....there's been an increase in “bankruptcies, layoffs...shutdowns,” but you haven’t had the kind of “wholesale” decline that happened in 2001 that “scared everyone out of the water.”
venture_capital  vc  Silicon_Valley  failure  liquidity  bubbles  course_correction  start_ups 
october 2016 by jerryking
Inside the mind of a venture capitalist | McKinsey & Company
August 2016 | McK | Steve Jurvetson is a partner at Draper Fisher Jurvetson. Michael Chui,
(1) entrepreneurs who have infectious enthusiasm.
(2) sector of the economy believed to be experiencing rapid growth/ massive disruptive change.
(3) wide range of industries, from synthetic biology to rockets to electric cars to a variety of sectors that weren’t ripe for venture investment in prior decades but now are becoming software businesses.
(4) attributes and people somewhat similar to what I look for in the team at work: enough self-confidence to be humble about what it’s proposing and respect for the team over individuals
How should large companies respond? The large companies that are most exciting to me are the ones that innovate outside their core. big companies need to innovate outside their core businesses. The biggest start-up: Space.
Steve_Jurvetson  McKinsey  DFJ  venture_capital  teams  vc  disruption  space  large_companies  software  core_businesses  Moore's_Law  machine_learning  passions  Elon_Musk  accelerated_lifecycles  space_travel  innovation  self-confidence  humility 
august 2016 by jerryking
Artificial Intelligence Swarms Silicon Valley on Wings and Wheels
JULY 17, 2016 | - The New York Times | By JOHN MARKOFF.

Funding in A.I. start-ups has increased more than fourfold to $681 million in 2015, from $145 million in 2011, according to the market research firm CB Insights. The firm estimates that new investments will reach $1.2 billion this year, up 76 percent from last year.
machine_learning  Silicon_Valley  deep_learning  artificial_intelligence  funding  venture_capital  vc 
july 2016 by jerryking
What’s Driving VC Firms to Take Bigger Risks - Digits - WSJ
Sep 3, 2015 STARTUPS
What’s Driving VC Firms to Take Bigger Risks
ARTICLE
COMMENTS
BILLION DOLLAR STARTUP CLUB
NEU VENTURE CAPITAL
STARTUPS
VALUATIONS
VENTURE CAPITAL
72 154
By ROLFE WINKLER
risk-taking  vc  venture_capital  valuations  start_ups 
september 2015 by jerryking
Sam Altman
July 12, 2015 | The New York Times | by Kate Murphy is a journalist in Houston who writes frequently for The New York Times.
Sam_Altman  Y_Combinator  vc  venture_capital  profile  start_ups  entrepreneur 
july 2015 by jerryking
Startup activity ramps up in the U.S. Rust Belt - The Globe and Mail
ANWAR ALI
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Jun. 23, 2015
start_ups  rust_belt  Ohio  venture_capital  vc 
june 2015 by jerryking
Semiconductor Startups Face the Flip Side of Moore’s Law - WSJ
By DON CLARK
April 17, 2015

Dow Jones VentureSource....because of Moore's Law, designing products with more transistors takes more time and money, as does testing them....International Business Strategies, a Silicon Valley consulting firm, estimated that it costs $132 million to design and test a typical chip at the current state-of-the-art width of chip components, 14 nanometers, or billionths of a meter. At 65 nanometers, a component size introduced about a decade ago, a comparable chip cost $16 million. Consequently, chip ventures require more startup capital than many types of early-stage company. They are also less likely to pay off quickly or reliably. For instance, a chip made using the latest 14 nanometer process would need to bring $987 million in revenue to meet a return benchmark of 7.5 times the cost of its design, IBS estimates. A 64-nanometer chip would need to take in $123 million to meet the same benchmark.
semiconductors  Moore's_Law  venture_capital  vc 
june 2015 by jerryking
The Mind of Marc Andreessen - The New Yorker
MAY 18, 2015 | New Yorker | BY TAD FRIEND.

Doug Leone, one of the leaders of Sequoia Capital, by consensus Silicon Valley’s top firm, said, “The biggest outcomes come when you break your previous mental model. The black-swan events of the past forty years—the PC, the router, the Internet, the iPhone—nobody had theses around those. So what’s useful to us is having Dumbo ears.”* A great V.C. keeps his ears pricked for a disturbing story with the elements of a fairy tale. This tale begins in another age (which happens to be the future), and features a lowborn hero who knows a secret from his hardscrabble experience. The hero encounters royalty (the V.C.s) who test him, and he harnesses magic (technology) to prevail. The tale ends in heaping treasure chests for all, borne home on the unicorn’s back....Marc Andreessen is tomorrow’s advance man, routinely laying out “what will happen in the next ten, twenty, thirty years,” as if he were glancing at his Google calendar. He views his acuity as a matter of careful observation and extrapolation, and often invokes William Gibson’s observation “The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed.”....Andreessen applies a maxim from his friend and intellectual sparring partner Peter Thiel, who co-founded PayPal and was an early investor in LinkedIn and Yelp. When a reputable venture firm leads two consecutive rounds of investment in a company, Andreessen told me, Thiel believes that that is “a screaming buy signal, and the bigger the markup on the last round the more undervalued the company is.” Thiel’s point, which takes a moment to digest, is that, when a company grows extremely rapidly, even its bullish V.C.s, having recently set a relatively low value on the previous round, will be slightly stuck in the past. The faster the growth, the farther behind they’ll be....When a16z began, it didn’t have even an ersatz track record to promote. So Andreessen and Horowitz consulted on tactics with their friend Michael Ovitz, who co-founded the Hollywood talent agency Creative Artists Agency, in 1974. Ovitz told me that he’d advised them to distinguish themselves by treating the entrepreneur as a client: “Take the long view of your platform, rather than a transactional one. Call everyone a partner, offer services the others don’t, and help people who aren’t your clients. Disrupt to differentiate by becoming a dream-execution machine.”
Marc_Andreessen  Andreessen_Horowitz  Silicon_Valley  transactional_relationships  venture_capital  vc  Peter_Thiel  long-term  far-sightedness  Sequoia  mindsets  observations  partnerships  listening  insights  Doug_Leone  talent_representation  CAA  mental_models  warning_signs  signals  beforemath  unevenly_distributed  low_value  extrapolations  acuity  professional_service_firms  Michael_Ovitz  execution  William_Gibson 
may 2015 by jerryking
Female-Run Venture Capital Funds Alter the Status Quo - NYTimes.com
APRIL 1, 2015| NYT | By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER.

Venture capitalists are, in a way, the gatekeepers to Silicon Valley, and if they are a group of white men who studied at places like Stanford, it is no wonder that most of the entrepreneurs fit the same mold. Venture firms with women as partners are three times as likely to invest in a company with a female chief executive and twice as likely to invest in one with women on the management team, according to the Babson College report.

The lack of female investors has cascading effects. Start-ups’ boards are composed mostly of venture capitalists, so they are often all men. A recent Fortune analysis found that of the 81 start-ups worth more than $1 billion, 5 percent had a female chief executive and 6 percent had a woman on the board. Other studies have found that male founders and directors are less likely to hire women as executives and engineers, or pay men and women equally.

“Honestly, there will be more female entrepreneurs if there are more female venture capitalists,
venture_capital  Silicon_Valley  vc  entrepreneur  founders  start_ups  women  gender_gap  boards_&_directors_&_governance  angels  gatekeepers 
april 2015 by jerryking
Peter Thiel on Why Big Companies Don’t Think Like Startups - WSJ - WSJ
November 3, 2014 | WSJ | Interview of Peter Thiel by Mr. Dennis K. Berman.

Changing the World
MR. BERMAN: The term you use in your book is that a startup is an excuse to change the world. How do people inside big companies take that idea and make something of it? MR. THIEL: There are a number of larger companies that are still innovating fairly aggressively. I’m very biased, as an investor, to be pro-companies that are still led by the founders. The founders are often able to make more choices and take more risk and have more inspiration than more politically minded CEOs. The old founders don’t always live forever, that’s true. You need a figure that’s as close to a founder as possible.

In theory, large companies could do far more than small companies. They have more capital. They have longer time horizons. They can take more risks. I tend to think it’s always that the internal politics somehow get in the way.
bubbles  founders  internal_politics  large_companies  Peter_Thiel  risk-taking  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  time_horizons  valuations  vc  venture_capital 
november 2014 by jerryking
Humanity’s Last Great Hope: Venture Capitalists - WSJ - WSJ
By CHRISTOPHER MIMS
Oct. 20, 2014

as government has pulled back from spending on basic R&D, in general so too has big business. Long gone are the days when large corporate research campuses like Bell Labs came up with fundamental breakthroughs like the transistor.

This is where venture capitalists could step up—if they choose to fund the right startups.

Much of the basic research that used to be conducted within companies is now resident in startups, which technology companies gobble up at every opportunity. Acquisitions are the new R&D, and “acqui-hires” are the new staff development. Successful venture capitalism is about managing risk, so partners at most VC firms invest in businesses they think will become viable, or at least worthy of an acquisition, in the shortest time possible.
acquihires  Bell_Labs  breakthroughs  Christopher_Mims  fundamental_discoveries  hiring  innovation  mergers_&_acquisitions  risk-management  R&D  start_ups  vc  venture_capital 
october 2014 by jerryking
Economist.com
Dec 4th 2003
From The Economist print edition
Eugene Kleiner, pioneer of venture capitalism, died on November 20th, aged 80
obituaries  Kleiner_Perkins  vc  venture_capital 
october 2014 by jerryking
Silicon Valley innovation: Venture capital is not the problem.
JULY 9, 2014 |Slate | By David Auerbach.

Are venture capitalists ruining Silicon Valley? Has Silicon Valley jumped the shark? Wall Street Journal tech writer Christopher Mims thinks so. “The entire Bay Area appears to have given up on solving anything but its own problems,” he writes. Instead of revolutionizing the world with basic research in safety, energy, and medicine, Mims writes, venture capitalists are unimaginatively chasing advertising dollars and focusing exclusively on the first-world segment of twentysomething yuppies. T
Christopher_Mims  innovation  Marc_Andreessen  Silicon_Valley  unimaginative  vc  venture_capital 
july 2014 by jerryking
Venture Capital Firm Focused on the Midwest Raises a $250 Million Fund - NYTimes.com
February 4, 2014, 7:33 am
Venture Capital Firm Focused on the Midwest Raises a $250 Million Fund
By WILLIAM ALDEN
venture_capital  vc  Midwest 
february 2014 by jerryking
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