Thanks again to Sam Angus and the panelists for the first BEF of 2015! Stanley Hall was packed with students and community members who connected and got current on the state of investing in Silicon Valley.
In case you missed it, here are some highlights:
Steve Bengston, Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers: Shaking the Money Tree
-This could easily be the 2nd or 3rd biggest year in VC history.
(on track for $50-60B) in 2015.
-About 80% of the market is in 4 cities in the US…50% in the Bay Area
-Series A…typical round is $5M.
-None of the top 10 deals in 2014 was south of South San Francisco
-One of the top 10 deals was in Berkeley (Aduro Biotech)
Samuel B. Angus (moderator), Partner, Fenwick & West LLP
Rob Coneybeer, Managing Director, Shasta Ventures
Tripp Jones, Partner, August Capital
Abe Yokell, Partner, RockPort Capital Partners
Rob & Tripp: Fundamental infrastructure has changed and that’s what’s really driving the trend of companies staying private for longer.
Tripp: Many entrepreneurs and investors are making the mistake of being too enamored by massive scalability…this results in magical thinking. It might be magical because it’s too good to be true. Too good to be true never lasts.
Abe: Stick to what you know and what gets you excited. But if it’s a messaging app, go find something else.
Q: How do you find deals? Where do you get leads? And how has that changed?
Rob: The types of intros we get are warm referrals. The most recent deal I signed, though, was someone I met on a bus…a fellow conference attendee.
Abe: Leads can come from anywhere along the way, although I’ve only ever funded one completely cold one (submitted through website) and only because I was studying the space at the time.
Q: What’s it like working with board…what are some of the issues that you face?
Rob: The relationship between investor and founder is a lot like going on a road trip. As an investor, you’re sitting in right front seat. As a founder, you want someone who’s going to help you with the radio, directions to where you’re going, but not who’s going to give you feedback abut how close you are to the semi-truck the whole way.
Tripp: If it’s a successful road trip, it will be a long trip…so it’s a long relationship.
Abe: Occasionally it turns into a bus and they mutiny.
Q: Do you invest in entrepreneurs and companies originating outside of the US?
Tripp: All the time.. Proximity matters, so usually the companies like that we invest in have raised seed or Series A somewhere else and then move to Silicon Valley before we invest in them.