Interessante punto di vista di alcuni investitori e imprenditori: non sempre il Venture Capital risponde adeguatamente alle esigenze delle startups.
Io, piuttosto, direi che non sempre le startups sono in grado di individuare i Venture Capitalists adatti al proprio business e allo stadio del ciclo di vita dell’azienda.
Cloud computing, mobile devices, social networks and other hot Internet technologies are producing waves of new start-ups, but for many of these young companies, venture capital is the wrong answer, at least in the beginning.
- So said a panel of investors and entrepreneurs who spoke last week at Microsoft in Silicon Valley at an event sponsored by the Churchill Club.
With Amazon Web Services and a myriad of other free or low-cost technologies, start-ups are cheaper than ever to start, the group said. But they fail faster too, and very few of them will become the next Facebook.
As an investor, Draper Fisher Jurvetson Partner Heidi Roizen said she tries to talk people into taking venture capital, but as a lecturer in Stanford University’s Department of Engineering, she tries to talk them out of it.
“All the students in my class want to raise money and go public, and I say, ‘Are you building a restaurant or McDonald’s?’” Roizen said. If you’ve built a great website around your passion and can make $25,000 a month when you’re one person, “that’s a huge lifestyle success,” she said, “but when you’ve raised $5 million in venture capital, you’re toast,” because venture capitalists will expect at least 10 times their money back.
Those Internet start-ups that are successful will need just as much money as they would have 10 years ago when they had to raise millions of dollars to get started, according to SoftTech VC Managing Partner Jeff Clavier, but now they need it later in their lifecycles after they’ve proven “a ton of assumptions”—such as whether customers want their products, or how well they can grow to meet greater demand.
The Internet also allows entrepreneurs to innovate in ways that are not technical, Roizen said—one of the speakers in her class, for instance, discovered a different way to sell soap and now runs a company that makes $100 million in revenue per year.
Some of the money that used to be invested by venture capitalists has been redistributed and is now in the hands of angels and other early-stage investors like SoftTech that invest in Internet companies, according to Microsoft Corporate Vice President Dan’l Lewin, who oversees Microsoft’s programs for start-ups.
Also, certain types of start-ups—life sciences companies, for instance, or engineering companies like Tesla Motors that had high start-up costs—will continue to need millions in venture capital to get started, Roizen said.
Entrepreneurs who want to start Internet companies, though, should look for as many free services as they can find, said Don MacAskill, the co-founder and chief executive of SmugMug, a 10-year-old photo sharing website for professional photographers that has become profitable without venture capital.
There are thousands of services for start-ups, according to MacAskill—one of them, for instance, automatically calculates sales taxes when you sell to customers in different states. “If you think you need it, somebody will likely host it and provide it for you,” he said.
By Deborah Gage (Wall Street Journal)