Where are the Venture Capitalists?

Last night I attended the Young Person networking event hosted by the BVCA (British Venture Capital Association). Lots of young people, but none of them in Venture. Every single person that I spoke to, except Stephen Wilson from Unilever Ventures, was with Private Equity/Buy-out Funds.

I know the BVCA get tired of me complaining about the same thing every time: where are the VCs and why are you not called the BPEA (British Private Equity Association)?

If you’re under 35 and working in VC in the UK, drop me a line at techbytes [at] mac [dot] com and we’ll set up our own networking event.

Continue reading “Where are the Venture Capitalists?”

New “About” Picture

Jason_ball
I switched out my "About" picture to a caricature that was given to me earlier this week.

I was a judge in the Running the Gauntlet program. As a thank you, they had caricatures of each judge drawn during the 3 day event and have sent all of us a collage of all judges. I thought it was a great "thank you" and decided to replace my mugshot with the caricature.

Thanks again to Matt Pieterse for inviting me to participate…

New “About” Picture

Jason_ball
I switched out my "About" picture to a caricature that was given to me earlier this week.

I was a judge in the Running the Gauntlet program. As a thank you, they had caricatures of each judge drawn during the 3 day event and have sent all of us a collage of all judges. I thought it was a great "thank you" and decided to replace my mugshot with the caricature.

Thanks again to Matt Pieterse for inviting me to participate…

New “About” Picture

Jason_ball
I switched out my "About" picture to a caricature that was given to me earlier this week.

I was a judge in the Running the Gauntlet program. As a thank you, they had caricatures of each judge drawn during the 3 day event and have sent all of us a collage of all judges. I thought it was a great "thank you" and decided to replace my mugshot with the caricature.

Thanks again to Matt Pieterse for inviting me to participate…

VC Blogger Meetup [Updated]

Fred’s posted a brief recap of Thursday night with the Five Horsemen (Fred, Nic, Shantanu, Paul and me). Max couldn’t make it, but hopefully he’s a proud new father now…

As Fred highlights, one of the issues discussed was the poor state of blogging tools. I’ve been trying out one of Fred’s suggestions- Flock– since Thursday. I used the browser last year and even looked at their business model, but wasn’t convinced it was the browser for me and haven’t really looked at it again.

However, that opinion is changing. I do like the simple blogging interface and have re-discovered the built-in RSS reader. I have been asked to beta test Flock’s 1.0 release, so I’m looking forward to seeing what’s new under the hood.

[Update]

Shantanu and Nic have posted their thoughts on the night as well.

VC Blogger Meetup [Updated]

Fred’s posted a brief recap of Thursday night with the Five Horsemen (Fred, Nic, Shantanu, Paul and me). Max couldn’t make it, but hopefully he’s a proud new father now…

As Fred highlights, one of the issues discussed was the poor state of blogging tools. I’ve been trying out one of Fred’s suggestions- Flock– since Thursday. I used the browser last year and even looked at their business model, but wasn’t convinced it was the browser for me and haven’t really looked at it again.

However, that opinion is changing. I do like the simple blogging interface and have re-discovered the built-in RSS reader. I have been asked to beta test Flock’s 1.0 release, so I’m looking forward to seeing what’s new under the hood.

[Update]

Shantanu and Nic have posted their thoughts on the night as well.

Internet People Dinner [Updated]

I attended the Internet People dinner last night. Good turn out of innovative companies- which refreshingly weren’t necessarily looking for cash, but looking for conversation about their business. (more thorough overview here)

I saw some entrepreneurs that I have known for some time, such as Ed Freyfogle at Nestoria, and met a few new companies, mainly etribes, 82ask and Zubka.

The VCs in the room (London Seed Capital, Benchmark Capital and Ariadne Capital) were definitely given a hard time by speakers and attendees alike. We are seen as a necessary evil- which is a bit disappointing really. I think if you speak to any of the companies I’m working with they would (hopefully!) have positive things to say about our involvement and not view us as the devil incarnate. Simon Murdoch, the speaker, added a very valid point: that the real input of a VC is to make an entrepreneur aim higher. Not £10 million, but £100 million, not 5% market share but 95% market share…

I suggested to more than one entrepreneur that when dealing with a venture fund, that they do their due diligence and background checks on the VC as well- pick up the phone, speak to an existing portfolio company, get the inside scoop on your new business partner BEFORE you take the cash.

[Update] Fred, sorry I butchered your last name- that’s been fixed now. It was a pre-first-cup-of-coffee post!

Second Chance Tuesday [Updated]

I’m off to the Second Chance Tuesday meeting this eveing. Look forward to seeing how the First Tuesday 2.0 compares to the original.

Well, Second Chance Tuesday felt just like the bubble years all over again. The place was packed with  entrepreneurs and VCs – and it’s only their second event. Don’t know the numbers last night, but it was pretty close to the 1,000 that attended the last one.

My favorite question 2.0 for the budding entrepreneurs: "What’s your business model?" The answers ranged from "what?" to "we’re turning over £1.5m".

I noticed BT had their Web 2.0 program director there. I wish I could have spoken to him. There were quite a few web 2.0 companies fishing around for funding (none with a business model however).

If you’re in London, I’d recommend you attend the next one- it’s good fun and brings back fond memories. (No schwag though.)

Investor Allstar Awards- London Business Angels Wins Best Investor Network

Last night was the annual awards ceremony for early-stage UK investors.

London Business Angels won the Best Investor Network this year. I’m delighted. We’ve really been working hard over the past 12 months and it’s good to see that’s recognized. We’ve launched two funds and have significantly increased the success rate for companies getting funding and like for like the amount of funding is up 50%.

MTI won Best Venture Fund and Intel Capital won best Corporate Venture Fund.

It’s great to see the entire early-stage community under one roof- but I can’t understand for the life of me WHY it was held on a Monday night….

Upcoming Venture Capital and Entrepreneur Events

Building a Business course
Date: Tuesday 1st November 2005, 5.30pm

Our free eight-week evening lecture course focusing on basic business skills, with a focus on science entrepreneurship starts on November 1st. It is a free course for all University members and the local business community. Over 1,500 people have taken this course to date. It is designed around technological enterprise but most course material is relevant to general business practice.  For more information and to register, please click here

The Oxford Forum on Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Silicon Valley comes to Oxford – Networks in the 21st Century
Date: Monday 21st November, 6.00pm

Technologies such as blogging, social network media and open source have handed power and influence to the consumer. Mass collaboration technologies are creating value in themselves, and are allowing consumers to create value in an unprecedented manner.  Pioneering Silicon Valley entrepreneurs Craig Conway, founder of Craig’s List, Evan Williams, founder of bloggers, Bob Young, founder of Red Hat, and others join Silicon Valley venture capitalists to discuss the social and economic impact of these collaboration technologies.

V-NET- MIT Enterprise Forum Networking Event
Date: Early December, date to be confirmed

V-NET is a partnership across the London-based MIT Enterprise Forum, Cambridge University Entrepreneurs, London Business School’s Entrepreneurship Club and Oxford University Science Enterprise Centre. This is a high-profile speaker event, with a focus on Bioscience.
Exclusive to members of V-Net’s partner organizations, MBA students and Oxford entrepreneurs. 

More information on each event at theOxford Science Centre