Skip to main content

Let a 1000 startups bloom...

Via the usual sources, I learnt about Charles River Ventures Quickstart program. The idea is simple: provide seed funding for a lot of small startups. Its not a bad idea: it's been done before. Y!Combinator has been the best example of this most recently. They provide amounts in the few thousands, generally to college kids along with some basic resources for generally a 5% stake in the company.
This portfolio approach seems to have worked pretty well for them so far.

This program is a similar idea, but different in that they're providing amounts to the tune of $250K as seed funding to startups. Here's the problem: this role is typically taken on by angel investors, and has been taken on by angel investors for ages. VCs typically come in a little later with larger investments and more (warning: b-school phrase coming) "value-add."

Michael Arrington has a theory that given the low capital requirements and increasingly quick turnarounds of Web 2.0 startups, VCs will be at a disadvantage compared to angel investors, who will increasingly reap larger rewards from these companies. So, this could be a play to encroach into that space. You could argue that by doing that they're giving up what they're best at (i.e. focusing on a small number of companies and making a real difference based on their skillsets); alternatively you could believe that they're bringing their skills to a larger market, where they're still very useful. It'll be interesting to see how that plays out...

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Yup - humans still lack humanity

Every once in a while, I'm reminded that humans can be completely lacking in humanity.

My wife had the following experience yesterday on her ride back home. She got on the train and found a seat. The train was unusually crowded and it looked a lot of people had to stand for a long ride. An elderly Asian gentleman carrying a few things in both hands, was looking for spot, started to complain smilingly about the train being so full and stood in the aisle at the back of the carriage some seats away from her.

She expected someone closer to gentleman in the aisle (lots of younger people on the train) to give him their seat.

No one did.

The train started, and it was clear the man was having a lot of trouble standing up. Then at the next stop there was actually an announcement saying the train was full so please give up your seats to people who needed them.

Still nobody moved.

My wife got up walked to the end of the train and asked the gentleman to go over to her seat. She still couldn&#…

Whimsy when I changed my profile picture...

I changed by profile picture at work.



Later in the day, two people on my team had changed their profile pictures to these.. :-)



It made my day!

I changed my profile pic again today. Let's see how fast anyone catches on this time. :-)

Measure f-ing everything, and assume f-ing nothing!! - Or how mentoring ruined lives :-(

I've been really enjoying the Freakonomics podcast of late. This episode and the lesson we should take a away from it, was a stark reminder of one of the most important things we should be doing - but often don't - in building products or making any decisions: measuring the impact of absolutely everything we do, including the things that seem obviously good.

I recommend listening to the podcast if you have the time, but here's the summary. Stephen Dubner describes the Cambridge Sommerville Youth Study. The impact of social intervention programs in general is hard to measure and so they seldom are. This was the first attempt at measuring the impact over a long period of time.

It's a great story and there are a few good take-aways, but here's the main one: troubled or at-risk youth that received mentoring (good mentoring!) had worse life outcomes across every dimension than the kids that were left alone. Despite the recipients saying that the mentoring was incredibl…