Good morning, All,
First, a big thank you to Kelly Hoey, who spoke at our investor breakfast last week and was awesome, as usual. Our next Breakfast with An Investor will be Wednesday, May 20th and our guest investor is Nnamdi Okike, Co-founder & Partner at 645 Ventures, a seed and early-stage venture capital fund that invests in software and Internet companies. While they launched just over a year ago, they’ve already invested in 15+ companies – and are actively looking to invest in more!
Nnamdi is an experienced venture capital investor, having spent eight years at Insight Venture Partners, where he sourced and invested in several successful companies, including Folhamatic (acquired for $300 million), Astaro (acquired by Sophos), and Hitwise (acquired for $240 million). He served on the boards of Kabum, CSSN and Folhamatic. He currently works closely with 645 Ventures’ portfolio companies Keaton Row, Trendalytics, Hire an Esquire, and Poshly. He serves on the board of AbbeyPost and Rifiniti. He received a BA in Biology, MBA and JD degrees from Harvard.
Bonus Breakfast this month: We’re also co-hosting a Brunch and Q&A with Brian Cohen, Chairman of the New York Angels, on Sunday, May 17th. It’ll be a small group, so get your tickets now, and when are you going to have another opportunity to have brunch with the Chairman of one of the most active angel investing groups in the country? Register here.
Dave McClure wrote an excellent post on Medium last week. It’s a must-read, and he’s mostly right: Bubble, My Ass: Some Unicorns Might Be Overvalued, But All Dinosaurs Gonna Die. “While it may be easy to predict the future demise of many unicorns and gorillas, we are probably overlooking the fact that many public companies (hereafter “Dinosaur Companies”) are substantially overvalued as well.”
We don’t disagree, and while we’re an industry that prides ourselves on our rebel attitude – does a day go by when someone somewhere doesn’t say the word ‘disruption’ at least once, and we’re being kind – it’s time for synergies, not Us vs Them.
In the days of web 1.0 – and we purposely recall history, for those among us who were not there at the time and, believe it or not, this history still affects you: reality is never optional – there were many companies that were built and funded on fumes and hopes, and the promise (made by them) that they were going to disintermediate every brick and mortal on the planet, and we’re not just talking retail. Most of them were quickly relegated to the dot com dead pool, when the bubble burst – if they lasted that long.
We are seeing a disproportionate number of unicorns and even gorillas of late – disproportionate, considering that their bottom lines tend to be in red, rather than black – and the dinosaurs do have to embrace technology or perish.
Then there’s the elephant in the living room, and as one of our SOS readers often points out, what happens when tech is no longer a protected species and has to play by the rules, which the dinosaurs have had to do for quite a while now? The regulators and the legislators are coming: Google is having its problems in Europe and you have to admit that they’ve had a good run. Uber is having problems all over, on all fronts, and their problems are piling up – pun intended. As Brian Cohen pointed out on a panel recently: “Comcast is still bigger than Google and Walmart makes more than all of ecommerce.”
There’s your reality check and again, reality is never optional.
All of which leads up to believe that the tech industry and its place in the world at large is in transition right now. It’s a teenager who is starting to find out that the rules apply to them as well. No one’s paying for your lunch anymore, kid: time to grow up and take responsibility.
And welcome to the jungle. Onward and forward.