If you want to learn a thing or two about failure, just talk to a venture capitalist. As August Capital’s David Hornik recently told an entrepreneurship class at Stanford, for every 1000 pitches he gets, he meets with 100 entrepreneurs and invests in about two companies.
“The odds suck,” he volunteers.
So, since the numbers show that you’re probably going to fail, what’s the best way to do it? We recently caught up with Hornik at his office on Sand Hill Road. Here’s what happened:
1) It’s a good time to fail: “It used to take a long time to figure out that something was a bad idea,” Hornik said. “Particularly in the consumer internet today, you can determine it was a bad idea on hundreds of thousands of dollars and months rather than millions of dollars and years.” (more…)
I had a chance to sit down yesterday with a friend who recently joined a top-tier venture capital fund. He humored me by sharing tidbits from his first months on the job.
What’s your favorite example of money being thrown around in the VC world?
We went to dinner and a colleague ordered a really expensive bottle of wine. He had a sip, didn’t like it, and ordered another. Again he tried it but didn’t like it. He ordered one more. The total wine bill for the night was over $30,000.
Walk me through your most extravagant work experience. (more…)
Go to Buck’s of Woodside at dinnertime and you’ll find a quirkily decorated family restaurant. But go there for breakfast or lunch and you’ll find something completely different: a VC meeting spot, “where the money meets the entrepreneur.”
That description comes by way of Jamis MacNiven, the owner of Buck’s. He opened the place in 1991, and by ’92 it had already become the go-to place for deals between entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. It’s certainly convenient for the latter group, located one exit on I-280 away from Sand Hill Road, at 3062 Woodside Road. (more…)
Tech sector stars speak today at a forum on the future of robotics in Silicon Valley:
Intel is hosting its Technovation National Pitch Competition tonight:
Sand Hill Road is best known for its many venture capital offices. But the road is also home to a luxury resort—The Rosewood. VCs and entrepreneurs are often seen meeting at the resort’s bar and restaurant, the Madera.
Usually Madera’s atmosphere is relaxed and professional. But not Thursday evenings. That’s when the bar’s legendary happy-hour scene attracts a large crowd, infamous for the abundance of “cougars.” A high-end escort service is rumored to operate out of the bar. (more…)
Frank Quattrone at ETL
“I was accused of a bunch of stuff I didn’t do,” tech investment banker Frank Quattrone said at Stanford last week as a part of the Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Seminar Series.
Quattrone was referring to his prosecution for interfering with a government probe into Credit Suisse First Boston’s behavior in allocating “hot” IPOs in the 1990s tech boom, but the case was eventually dropped. (more…)