Monday, December 05, 2005

Web 2.0 & VC 2.0

Clarence Wooten from Venturepreneur Partners wrote an interesting piece titled "Less Venture Capital: The New Model" in which he applies 37signals well-known "Less is Better" principle to Venture Capital.

There are several other interesting articles on Venturepreneur's site. In "Strategic Approach: Building value not excess" he asks:

Is it taboo to build a company with the intention of selling it early?

It sounds disillusioning and I think he may underestimate the negative effects which a "build to flip" attitude can have on employees and the whole company culture. The team needs a more imaginative vision than "getting acquired" (although I'm sure that Clarence would agree with that).

In any case there's truth in what he says. From a founder's perspective I always found it questionable to chase the IPO dream if it means giving up the opportunity of getting acquired at the right price. There can be a conflict of interest between the VC and the entrepreneur with regard to the exit preference (Stefan wrote his diploma thesis about this topic, got to read it soo), since the former in contrast to the latter has a diversified portfolio and possibly a different ROI expectation and a different time horizon.

For a VC, one home run and nineteen zombies might be a good yield on balance, but a founder might prefer a 30% chance of achieving a nice acquisition over a 5% chance of going public even if the latter has the higher expected value. The reason is the diminishing marginal utility of very large amounts of money for an individual. It's for a kind of similar reason that you buy an insurance although it has a negative expected value.

Gosh! I started this post with Web 2.0 and ended it with buying an insurance. Enough disillusionment for today. Oh, by the way, that was just my professional opinion. My heart says that we'll beat the GYM with my new startup and become the next Microsoft. ;-)

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