That WikiSucks

Posted by on August 8, 2006 at 1:59 pm.

SiliconBeat had an interesting article about how China is drawing talented people away from Silicon Valley. In particular, Chinese venture capital fund Northern Lights has recruited the founders of Silicon Valley successes NetScreen, OmniVision, Spreadstrum and LinkSys to be a part of their $100M fund in China. That’s just one datapoint and it worries me, but the second part of the story really hit home.

In parallel to Silicon Valley losing talent to the West, they continue to suck talent from the East. Take Wikia for example, a St. Petersburg, FL startup whose founder, Jimmy Wales, is well known for launching Wikipedia — one of those sites that will be educating the world long after we’re all gone. It was exciting for the region when Wikia landed their first venture round from Bessemer, Omidyar and various CA angels (Andreesen, Gillmore, Hoffman, Kopelman, Ito, Kapor, Bullington, Conway, Penchina, Tanne and Whorton). Jimmy was on the cover of FloridaTrend magazine. But the inevitable happened shortly after funding. The company moved to Menlo Park and Penchina stepped in as CEO. I don’t know the details behind why but I can guess, and only time will tell if it was the right move.

Wikia’s funding proves what we’ve known about the region for some time — some of the country’s most creative and passionate entrepreneurs call the Sunshine State home. Wikia’s move to CA proves that, this time, we weren’t able to help one company build their dreams where they prefer to raise their families. However, as more FL-based funds like Inflexion succeed, we’ll hold onto our fair share, and the region will share the rewards. And that, will be WikiKewl…

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