In 2003 the venture capital industry started blogging, opening up the kimono just enough to give entrepreneurs and others insight into how this traditionally opaque industry works. VC blogs shared investors’ perspective on different sectors, how to pitch your business, trends in the economy, and what they look for in a founder. In the five years since, dozens more VC bloggers have jumped into the fray, to the point now where there is even a consolidated RSS Feed that aggregates 84 different VC bloggers.
So why start a VC blog now, in 2008, and what are we looking to say with this one?
First off, we think that 2008 is pretty similar to 2003 in some important ways, and like that year represents a good opportunity to start some conversations. In 2003, we were collectively about 3 years into the “nuclear winter” that followed the excesses of the 1990s. The robust IPO market had disappeared, funding was harder to come by, and people dismissed the businesses that had been such darlings just a couple of years before. Today, as then, there is a drumbeat growing louder and louder telling us that technology, venture capital and the economy (particularly here in New York) is dead. That many of the companies the venture industry invested in these last five years (“Web 2.0”) were just another bubble, and that many of the companies being funded today (in Cleantech) are the next one. We think at times like this it’s more important than ever to ensure that clear voices are heard. Plus, we disagree with a lot of that stuff, but think the discussion is one worth having.
Secondly, we think New York is really hitting its stride as a technology nexus. As a New York City venture capital fund these past fifteen years, we’ve watched the community here grow in fits and starts, and are genuinely excited about the companies being founded in our city. We are very focused on helping build out the ecosystem here, and will be spending time here talking about what we’re seeing as New York (“Silicon Alley” if you like that sort of thing) continues to develop as an entrepreneurial community.
This blog will have two voices. We work together as investors here at RRE Ventures, but have distinct voices and points of view. Most often we’ll write together and blend our thoughts (we’ll see how that goes…) but from time to time you’ll hear one or the other of us independently, as the mood strikes. Just by way of introduction:
Stuart Ellman: I co-founded RRE when I was 27. That is probably too young but now I have 15 years experience and I am only 42. I have been through all of the bubbles and busts, have invested and founded B2B, B2C, enterprise software, hardware, in the cloud, as a service, tools, software platforms, testing devices, incentive systems, wireless companies, semiconductors, mobile platforms, payment platforms, and some really cool clean tech companies. I have had really great years and some that seemed like a black cloud was following me. I have never seen the venture industry as unsure of its future as now and the time just feels right to blog out my thoughts.
Eric Wiesen: I was an entrepreneur in college, then a Silicon Valley lawyer, and then an entrepreneur again after leaving the law but prior to moving to New York, getting my MBA and joining RRE Ventures. I am hugely optimistic about and excited by the possibilities of the web, mobile technology and distributed computing and media, but at the same time I’m something of a skeptic. You can find me at most NYC tech events, or follow me in the various webby ways available today (see my tumblr, follow me on twitter, or connect on LinkedIn).
Welcome to Five Years Too Late. We’ll be around, talking about tech, VC and New York. Happy to have you.