Category Archives: Uncategorized

Pitch 6: SharkTank Near the Shark Attacks Capital of the World

Just an hour from New Smyrna Beach, home to the most shark attacks in the world, entrepreneurs are honing their pitch in Orlando for Pitch6, Florida’s version of the nationally popular spectacle that is Shark Tank.  FloridaNext and Brighthouse have partnered on a series of Pitch6 events across Central Florida and tomorrow night it’s Orlando’s turn.  The event requires registration and is scheduled to start at 5pm, March 5th, in the Church Street Station Ballroom.

If you’re a fan of Shark Tank, a Florida entrepreneur, or just enjoy watching entrepreneurs spar with investors in a TV audience setting; you should consider attending.  I’ll be one of the judges, along with Kevin Harrington from the original Shark Tank, and we’ll have a couple other investors that I look forward to meeting.  You can see Kevin’s call for a live audience above.  I’ve also included some video with cheesy voiceovers from a prior Pitch6 in the Tampa Bay area, and some fun Shark Tank videos below.  If you join us, make sure to grab me after the show to say hi and tell me all the tough questions I should have asked 😉

Pasteuria Bioscience Acquired by Syngenta for $113M

Pasteuria BioscienceCongratulations to the management and investors of Pasteuria Bioscience on announcing their acquisition by Swiss agribusiness giant Syngenta (SYG) for $86 million, plus another $27M earnout. The acquisition of Pasteuria represents another big win for Gainesville’s strong research base, entrepreneurs and startup cluster on the heels of a large $18M funding round for Trendy Entertainment and $135M acquisition of NovaMin from the same Alachua research park in the last couple years.

Pasteuria’s proprietary research and technology to control plant-killing nematodes provides Syngenta a valuable platform in the $100B+ crop damage market. My fund, Inflexion, came close to backing Pasteuria many years ago with Richard Molloy at Florida Gulfshore Capital, and I couldn’t be happier for Kelly Smith, Al Kern, Richard and the whole investment syndicate on this deal. It’s an opportunity that took patience and hopefully has delivered a solid win to all.

On top of the equity win, early Syngenta statements indicate Pasteuria’s team of 21 will remain in the Gainesville area, providing a local research base for the 26,000 employee and $12B revenue Swiss acquirer.

Way to go…now don’t forget to give back and keep the Gainesville-area startup cycle growing!

InnovationSquare Launches

I attended yesterday’s launch of InnovationSquare and applaud the cooperation between the university and the city to get this launched.  UF President Bernie Machen and Brian Beach definitely “get it”, but buildings are only a piece of the puzzle for our best entrepreneurs.  InnovationSquare’s success will depend upon everyone in Gainesville’s innovation community including GAIN, the Chamber of Commerce, local entrepreneurs and local investors, but this visionary piece of a 21st century town square is a good one for our companies and our kids.  As Gainesville’s only resident VC, I’m pumped — but I’m biased.  What do you think?  Any thoughts or questions I can answer from attending the announcement?

Here’s some coverage from UF, the GainesvilleSun and Alligator.  Full press release below some eye candy to get your mind spinning:

Press Release

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida officials today unveiled plans for Innovation Square, a large-scale development capitalizing on university research to be built on Southwest Second Avenue between the UF campus and downtown Gainesville.
The 10-plus-year project is described as “a game-changer” for the entire community.
During a luncheon at Emerson Alumni Hall for more than 150 community leaders, including city and county elected officials, businesspeople and representatives from UF and Santa Fe College, UF President Bernie Machen and Brian Beach, senior vice president for administration and business ventures, laid out a plan for what they described as “a 24/7 live/work/play urban research park environment.”
When it’s finished, Innovation Square will consist of more than 1 million square feet of space on 40 acres. The project is expected to provide 3,000 creative-class jobs.
“I think Innovation Square will redefine Gainesville and its future,” Machen said.
UF’s Office of Technology Licensing will relocate to Innovation Square, joining Florida Innovation Hub, a business “super-incubator” designed to promote the development of new high-tech companies based on UF research. Construction began in June, and the hub is slated to open next fall.
Companies will be recruited from around the country to locate at Innovation Square, venture capitalists will want to be part of the project and startup companies will blossom, Beach said. Innovation Square also will include retail space, restaurants and local businesses, as well as residential space for people to live.
The heart of the project, Beach said, will be Southwest Second Avenue, which will serve as a vital link between campus and downtown. The Ayers Building, he said, will be reconfigured to provide accelerator space – that is, space for emerging companies that have grown beyond incubator space but aren’t quite ready for the bigger spaces that will occupy Innovation Square.
Machen and Beach stressed that Innovation Square is, above all, a project that will require the efforts of the entire community, not just the university.
“This is not a UF development; it is not the UF campus; and it is not UF buildings,” Beach said. “It will be predominately on the tax rolls. Innovation Square will represent the very best in public-private partnerships.”
Beach compared Innovation Square to similar projects at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Purdue University in West Lafayette, North Carolina State University in Raleigh and Georgia Tech, as well as UF’s Progress Park in Alachua, launched 20 years ago and now home to 1,200 employees and 30 companies.
“However, I think that it is fair to say that none of those locations compares to the unique, special location of Innovation Square,” Beach said.

MSNBC BreakingNews Paid Link on Drudge?

drudge breakingnews on twitterIs it just me or is there something odd about this “TWITTER BREAKING NEWS FEED…” link in the typical content area of Drudge Report (bottom link in the pic on right)?  It links to the twitter account @breakingnews — an account that appears to have been purchased by MSNBC within the last couple years.  Do you think it’s:

1) Purely an organic FYI?

2) A paid link/ad for MSNBC with no disclosure and passing link juice?

3) Drudge bought that account from MSNBC and he’s promoting a sister property?

That account has over 1.8 million followers, but it’s unusual to see Drudge promoting an MSNBC property.  What do you think?

SVB: Venture Investing is Less Risky Than You Think

I received this August 2010 Venture Capital Update from Silicon Valley Bank and thought the fund-of-funds perspective could be of interest to entrepreneurs. It’s a bit of inside baseball, but it never hurts to understand how your investor’s, investors think. Aaron Gershenberg, Sven Weber, and Jason Liou did a nice job pulling this together and sharing real-world data. Their approach was to take a few of the worst vintage years, in their estimation, for the venture capital industry (2000-2002) and share their fund-of-fund results. Those results suggest that a well-diversified portfolio of venture capital funds, across stage, geography and industry can deliver returns — even in bad periods. You can read the full report below:

Those findings match what I read a few years back from Tom Weidig and Pierre-Yves Mathonet, in their 2004 research “The Risk Profiles of Private Equity: Private equity is a risky asset, but private equity investments are not necessarily so.” In both studies you can see the power of fund-of-funds diversification.

At a time when much of the industry is consolidating, the smartest asset managers who maintain diversification across stage, geography and industry should beat the market — as they always have.

For my entrepreneur readers, is this kind of institutional asset management, LP perspective of interest? What questions does it prompt? Any surprises?

Random Hacks of Kindness

For those of you coding superheroes trying to figure out how to apply your powers for good, rather than evil, I stumbled across a few initiatives focused on coding for causes (via FloridaCreatives).  If you’ve taken part in any of these, please share your experiences here:

  • Random Hacks of Kindness: a community of developers, geeks and tech-savvy do-gooders around the world, working to develop software solutions that respond to the challenges facing humanity today.
  • Apps 4 Good is an alliance of talented software developers who are passionate about improving our community. The group formed following the iPhone Hackaton 4 Charity event which aimed to build as many iPhone applications as possible over the course of a weekend. However unlike other hackathons, iPhone Hackaton 4 Charity was unique because the proceeds from the applications developed are donated to local charities.
  • Geek for Good: The vision for GeekForGood.net is to be an open talent database for people with any technical skill who want to make themselves available to work on projects for various causes or clients they might be interested in, on either a paid or volunteer basis.
  • Coding for a Cause: Florida Drupal Camp selects causes for their coding camps, most recently Junior Achievement.

Although a bit tangential, the broader topic of Hacktivism is discussed in this research by Brian Still and this PDF at TheHacktivist.

Twitter Clarifies: Tweeters Own Their Tweets, Sponsored or Not

Twitter has clarified their announcement from yesterday that:

“aside from Promoted Tweets, we will not allow any third party to inject paid tweets into a timeline on any service that leverages the Twitter API.”

This broad statement triggered a rash of “sky is falling” … posts … about … Twitter’s desire to kill … the … advertising segment … of their … ecosystem — even if it meant controlling what users could tweet about. That didn’t make sense to me because in that very same announcement, Twitter reiterated their Rule #1:

“1. We don’t seek to control what users tweet. And users own their own tweets”

Within hours these two conflicting ideas were resolved; however, after the initial buzz died down and Ryan Sarver from Twitter’s API team clarified that:

“I want to make sure this part is clear — this policy change isn’t meant to say that we are going to start policing if the content of something a user tweets is an ad or not. The policy change affects 3rd party services that were putting ads in the middle of a timeline.

So if Liz is paid by Reebok to tweet about how much she loves their new shoes, we are not going to be policing that any more than we were on Friday. This policy also *does not prohibit* services like [SponsoredTweets, Ad.ly, MyLikes or others] that help facilitate those relationships or even help her post the ads to her timeline on her behalf.

It *does prohibit* an application from calling out to a service to find an ad to serve to Liz that will get inserted into the timeline she is viewing.  The language is somewhat nuanced but it sounds like we might need to make the policy more explicit as a number of people are misinterpreting it. Let me know if you have more questions. Ryan”

This approach makes more sense to me, targeted at applications that inject automated ads into timelines without users being involved. Such an automated approach is inconsistent with Twitter’s #1 Rule: user control. Likewise, prohibiting users from endorsing products they choose to endorse would also fly in the face of user control.

Therefore, the sky isn’t falling on Twitter’s advertising ecosystem and this is a smart move by Twitter to continue reinforcing that users control and own their own tweets, sponsored or not.

HD TV 1080i vs. 720p: True Blogosphere Story

OK, so it took me a year to care about the great HD TV 1080i vs. 720p wars that were fought back in 2005, but the answers are no less important or funny to me today. When planning my family’s Black Friday parking lot campout, I spent much of Thanksgiving evening trying to decide if $1499 for a 1080i 50″ flat screen was worth braving the elements for. I don’t need the latest and greatest (1080p or better is really where it’s at), but I do like to know relative value. After reading a variety of 1080i vs. 720p comparisons from interlaced and progessive ninjas, I found my favorite here. If you’re doing the same research, I think you’ll enjoy finally reading the definitive review.

Good luck and happy holidays!

Goodbye Steve Irwin

Just a short post to note Steve Irwin’s passing, it is a shock to all of us. My kids and family loved his passion and enthusiasm. Entrepreneurs can take a lesson from Steve on the heights that can be reached when you inspire others. Our thoughts go out to the Irwin family.

Culture Matters

If I invested in restaurants, I’d want a piece of Satchel’s Pizza (the company AND the food). Satchel’s philosophy is laid out on their website:

People always say that a restaurant is “location, location, location,” but I never believed that. Besides, it begs the question, “What’s wrong with this location?”

If you make good food and serve it in a comfortable setting, people will come. Our success is based on this philosophy. Another lesson that restaurant work has taught me is that there is more to success than making money. I want my place to provide a living wage for the employees. I want them to know that their work is valued. Everyone gets as good a wage as I can pay and we pool tips. The employees make it happen every day.

And then there’s the art of making pizzas. I like to say, “Every pizza is a work of art.” The pizza makers here are expected to share this philosophy. One of the employees, Dale Rimkunas says, “The secret ingredient is love.” You’d think he was just kidding but he really takes his work seriously. Tim Taylor, our resident comedian says: “Satchel’s Pizza… Where you’re sorta like family.” Our pizza man, Bill Clower says, “You can buy perfection but you can’t rush it.” Our pizza is not fast food. If you’re in a hurry you may just want a slice. Enjoy some music, relax, and we’ll make it worth the wait. Thanks, Satchel.


My family and I found Satchel’s a few years ago — it’s hard to find — and have enjoyed watching it flourish ever since. You should go for their ambiance, but you’ll keep coming back for their salads and pizza. That said, their ambiance is reason enough — a mix of art, gardens, used furniture, playgrounds, and the favorite table for us — an old broken-down van. The clientelle is a mix of entrepreneurs, hippies, families and college crews.

Satchel’s has gotten so popular that they converted a neighboring building into Lightning Salvage — a combination of junk shop, museum, waiting area and live music. They sell (with high margin) and display crazy stuff, including collections of pine cones, floating pens and cement sculptures. Lightning Salvage was a great addition that my kids ask to visit even when it’s not mealtime.

If you’re an entrepreneur who wonders whether culture and work environment matter, check out Satchel’s. You’ll see a great example of what attention to culture can create, and you’ll enjoy a great meal. Heck, you might even pickup a one-of-a-kind duct tape wallet while you’re there!

Viral Porn Trojan Horses

OK, so the provocative title was a sellout, but it’s a real topic — stay with me. One of my favorite entrepreneurs (and good friend), Scot Wingo, has a great post at eBay Strategies describing a recent shooting-fish-in-an-eBay-barrel phishing scheme.

The exact way their doing it and ways to avoid are covered. Put simply, it looks like Phishers latch onto a trusted Seller ID, draw traffic with porn and search games, and harvest unsuspecting buyer IDs (and PayPal accounts) with some spoofing javascript. The scam then multiplies virally from there. I won’t even try to cover the details here, but if you buy as much stuff from eBay as I do it’s worth reviewing. It’s a thorough post.

As a longer-term plug, if you’re playing around auctions as a buyer/seller/investor I highly recommend sucking Scot’s brain, er, feed. I backed him at AuctionRover (sold to Overture before he spun out ChannelAdvisor) and he’s been thinking about the auction channel as long as anyone. At the cycles he clocks, that’s a lot of thinking…

Free Energy or Almost Free Publicity?

Given the investment potential growing in Florida and elsewhere for alternative energy, and a personal curiosity about Nikola Tesla, I’ve been digging into the energy space for awhile now. With the ethanol bandwagon getting crowded (even I jumped at $33 ADM [Archer Daniels Midland]), I keep looking for that surprise entrant.

That search has led me to a variety of technologies that sound part gold, part snake oil. A local version of that is Clearwater, FL-based Hydrogen Technology Applications and their Aquygen gas derived from water. Heck, the guy has created a hybrid Ford Escort and Ranger running with this stuff. However, it’s not clear whether this is a remarketing of Brown’s Gas or something materially different. In either case, with the world searching for fossil-fuel alternatives, the company has gotten plenty of press.

That leads me to a recent, farther away, version of the wild-energy-claims-equals-press meme. Dublin, Ireland-based Steorn threw down the gauntlet last week in the Economist — challenging the scientific community to test their Free Energy system. That’s right, Steorn is claiming one of those inventions the patent office won’t even allow — a machine that produces more energy than it consumes. They’ve asked for a volunteer jury of twelve qualified experimental physicists to define the tests required to validate Steorn’s claims, select the test centers to be used, monitor the analysis and then publish the results. I wish my companies could get free QA that way. I’ve registered to get the results, but my expectations are not high. Engadget, iCamp and others share a dim view.

I hope our skepticism is misplaced, but if they don’t get rich on energy Steorn could have a future in PR…

AOL Search Data Web Interfaces

Well it didn’t take long for the published AOL search data to get a web interface. In fact, there have been many appearing in the past 24 hrs. The following is a short list that is sure to be obsolete upon posting:

  1. http://www.aolsearchdatabase.com/
  2. http://aol.6brand.com/
  3. http://aoldb.unwieldy.net/
  4. http://dontdelete.com/
  5. http://aol.yogurtrat.com/
  6. http://data.aolsearchlogs.com/search/index.cgi
  7. http://websearchdata.com/

After playing with the various interfaces, it seems like everyone is taking a first-order approach to the data: searching for a specific term, a specific userid or a combo of userid and term. With this people are playing the “find the scary AOL user” game by manual review, but I expect the next iteration to match terms across searches by the same ID (not an already known, named ID — just the same ID). That’s where noteworthy patterns will become apparent.

As shared by many in TechCrunch comments, there is definitely some bad karma coming from outing specific AOL users — particularly by name. This unexpected data dump really tests one’s restraint and the balance between geeky snooping and respecting privacy.

That WikiSucks


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…

We Don’t Serve Your Kind Here

The Tampa Bay Business Journal just carried a story on the SBIR/VC-ownership debate and I’ve seen it kicked around enough now that I have some thoughts. At first, I wasn’t sure where to land on this because 1) I start with a skepticism about most large government programs, 2) VC-backed startups are just jostling for their spot at the trough and 3) non-VC startups are just jostling for their spot at the trough.

The “debate” I’m referencing involves the SBA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants that are provided to help spur small business innovation. Around 2001, the SBIR program ruled that startups who were 51%+ owned by venture capital funds no longer qualified for the innovation grants. This is particularly problematic for biotech startups who require large amounts of capital and sell large chunks of their company in the process of researching ways to help us live longer, healthier lives.

The argument in support of that ruling goes that SBIR funds should be targeted at research that otherwise isn’t commercially viable, but could be with government “investment”. Those companies with VCs investing enough to gain 51%+ ownership evidently have research viable enough to garner private sector support. The argument against suggests that the ruling will result in adverse selection for the government dollars — the most promising research (“most promising” here meaning interesting enough to garner private sector investment), could be disqualified and SBIR dollars will flow to the research with a worse cost/benefit balance for society.

There is merit to both viewpoints, and that’s why I harken back to my skepticism of large government programs. To unravel this requires understanding “why” SBIR’s exist in the first place. If SBIR’s exist primarily to advance US research, then why not reward startups with the most promising research, whether VC-funded or not. If SBIR’s exist primarily to provide “gap funding” for the little guy trying to reach private-sector attractiveness, then keep the program exclusive — maybe focused on dollars invested rather than ownership (e.g. a company that sold 51% for $5M is lot more a “little guy” than a company that sold 49% for $100M). If SBIR’s exist because politicians from large research regions just want to “bring home the bacon” then maybe we should go back to the drawing board — too hard, I know.

Because I believe a government program focused on “helping the little guy” could become a race to the bottom, I probably fall on the side of funding the most promising research possible. If those small companies are able to leverage venture dollars along the way then more power to them and, hopefully, better solutions for the world’s ills.

Related posts:
Open Up SBIRs
Are SBIRs a Good Source of GAP Funds?
Mo. legislators and Chlorogen push to change SBIR rules
BIO’s SBIR Comments (great resource site)

The IOS That Takes a Village

I’ve blogged before about the coming Internet Operating System (IOS) and about Mashups, but it’s all one big ball of goo. Christine has a nice series of posts from Mashup Camp 2, and many of the session titles remind me of early Windows-OS/2 developer conferences I participated in. Whether we’re talking about (de)centralized access control, security or even display systems (think maps), it’s the OS problems being played out on a net scale. However, this time we’ve got 100 companies prototyping on-the-fly instead of one or two companies working on OS APIs that developers will embrace.

Therefore, those of you looking for your play in the mashup sphere, I’d recommend reviewing OS subsystems and focus on a chunk of direct or middleware functionality to build faster/better than others. In particular, I see opportunity for interface simplicity/abstraction on top of the multiple distinct ones being offered by specific vertical web properties.

Anyway, check out Christine’s summaries and good luck…

Top Ten Ways to Multiply a Megafund?

The Thomson/NVCA report on Q2 venture fund raising is out and the numbers are big. In the quarter, fifty venture capital funds raised a total of $11.2 billion. Admittedly, the numbers are skewed because of a couple particularly large funds closing in the quarter. Oak Investment Partners XII landed $2.56 billion, the largest venture fund ever raised; and NEA raised another $2B+ fund.

Those are very big funds to try multiplying and deliver venture capital-type IRRs. If a 40% IRR requires 10X returns over 7 years, that would require $20B+ in returns over that period. My guess is $20B is virtually impossible to reach so either time horizons are shortened or IRR expectations are lowered. That suggests later stage venture investing, and more likely a blurring of what is venture capital, mezzanine, buyout and hedgefund investing. Although it may be doable, it surely doesn’t sound as much fun as early stage company building.

I searched the blogosphere for ideas on how to multiply billion dollar megafunds and came up empty. Any good ideas for the “Top Ten Ways to Multiply a Megafund”?

Forecast for a Reason

Josh, Fred and Matt have a nice series of posts on forecasting, including some models for tracking and updating. Josh even provided a sample waterfall XLS. As they mentioned, these exercises are good for all companies, but critically important when early/mid-stage companies have some revenue and trying to reach escape velocity.

One comment I’d add is to remember why you’re doing forecasts. It’s not (entrepreneur) because the board asked and it’s not (board) because you’re looking for a quantiative way to evaluate the CEO. Forecasting (and review) helps schedule and prioritize resource allocation.

For example, doing some post mortem on prior quarters actual vs. forecast can help identify whether expenses should be adjusted to match revenue ramp actuals — setting aside long-term R&D expense, a revenue slope that doesn’t catch expense slope in a quarter or so is reason to check assumptions. At a more granular level, actual vs. forecast pipeline/sales analysis can help to identify whether sales installation is the problem, pipeline conversion rates are the problem or size of pipeline is the problem — allowing knowledgeable allocation of sales resources at the bottom, middle or top of the pipe.

Forecasting can be a pain and feel like a no-win exercise for early-stage CEOs, but that’s only if viewed as a scorecard. Using it as a tool to hone your personal “take over the world machine” is much more rewarding.

Battle of the Founders

Andrew shared some tough, but valuable founder lessons in his post Key Lessons From Cryptine Network’s Failure. I’ve seen this multiple times, from both sides of the table, and it still surprises me how severe founder disagreements can become when money starts to show up. It doesn’t even require bad people in the mix, just a poorly structured founding agreement/cap table and a few passionate founders who are trying to capture the value they each helped create. Add to this the difference between compensating past contribution and future contribution, and you’ve got a brew that really benefits from outside perspective.

Note, it’s also usually easier to have the tough/equity discussions before money shows up than risking a blow-up in the middle…

I Was Robbed

I was robbed Saturday night…

Coming off the weekend of my 20 year high school reunion I realized I could have won the door prize for “Most Unusual Profession”. Amid a roomful of attorneys, accountants, teachers and a dentist, my old buddy Jarrett Seal won for being part of the Tampa Police Bomb Squad. I’m proud of Jarrett and glad he does the dangerous stuff instead of me, but that’s not too unusual — every city must have a bomb squad nowadays, right? Everybody applauded when they heard the job “Bomb Squad”, but had they announced “Venture Capitalist” the room would have fallen silent, puzzled (with one guy in the back clapping until he realized he was alone).

This post isn’t about the prize (OK, it is a little bit) and it’s not about whether my high school pumps out the digerati, it’s about realizing what a small group of knuckleheads play in this sandbox we call venture-backed technology startups. Google is a monster VC success and a household word, yet they only have about 6,000 employees, or .002% of the US population. You say that’s just one company, OK, consider that the NVCA reports 700 venture capital firms in the US. Assuming most of those are small with maybe an average of 4-5 VCs each, we’re talking an entire industry of 3000 VCs — half the size of Google. That means you’d have to attend a lot of high school class reunions before finding a pair of VCs squaring off for an old-school breakdance battle.

It’s also a pretty insulated sandbox — we (tech entrepreneurs and VCs) spend much of our non-customer time chatting with other tech startup folks, advisors, board members or investors. There is nothing profound about this weekend’s experience, but it does remind me that we continue charting unknown territory and spending time where few others go.

Entrepreneurs, by their nature, are typically pioneers choosing the path less trodden. VCs, either as entrepreneurs themselves or of a like-mind, actively look for spaces and opportunities others don’t see or appreciate. For those of you who have chosen the startup life, you have my appreciation and respect — it’s not an easy path. However, if you want a trophy, you’ll have to wait for your next high school reunion and raise your hand when the door prizes start!