Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Big Name VCs Beg Start-ups: Please, Take Our Money!

Can’t raise money for your start-up? Maybe you’re doing something wrong. Here’s a gaggle of prominent VCs and angels begging to fund you.

Top-tier funds like Union Square Ventures, Spark and First Round Capital are showing up at AOL’s (AOL) New York headquarters in a couple weeks for what they’re dubbing a “VC Demo Day,” aimed at start-ups looking for seed money. The signup page for the event explains the conceit efficiently: “This will be just like every other Demo Day, only the VCs will be pitching their funds to entrepreneurs looking to raise capital. We’ll have a keg of beer and food available.”

What to make of this? We’re certainly not back in 2000, when Kurt Andersen famously declared that raising money is as “easy as getting laid in 1969.”

But the event, hosted by AOL Ventures and Betaworks, is a good reminder that we’re well past Sequoia’s 2008 “Good Times RIP” admonition. For a certain kind of start-up, there’s a long list of early round investors now clamoring to give you money. Another less visible sign: The prevalence of convertible debt in early round deals, which is supposed to favor entrepreneurs at the expense of investors.

Other VC Demo Day participants: RRE Ventures; Metamorphic Ventures; True Ventures; Venrock; IA Capital Partners; Lerer Ventures; DFJ Gotham.

Not entirely on topic, but this is my favorite pitch scene of all time:

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work