Sean Parker and Jim Breyer Slam Silicon Valley Funding Glut
Early Facebook exec Sean Parker and Accel partner Jim Breyer today criticized the surplus of early-stage funding in Silicon Valley, saying that freely available money spreads talent too thinly among too many Internet start-ups and makes it less likely for new companies to have a major industry impact.
“A lot of those early-stage investors, they’ll fund literally anything” Parker said, calling the phenomenon “the assembly line approach to investing,” where an idea comes in and an investment comes out. Meanwhile, later-stage investors are themselves funding early-stage investors to access their deal flow.
Breyer, who is a Facebook board member and an investor in Parker’s pre-launch start-up Airtime, agreed with Parker and said the early-stage frenzy “will end badly.”
Breyer noted that the “spray-and-pray” mentality is especially prevalent in Silicon Valley and somewhat present in New York City and Beijing, but thankfully not in the rest of the world.
The two men’s comments came as part of a discussion about jobs and the social impact of technology at the Techonomy conference in Tucson, Ariz.
Parker admitted that the icon of rapid-fire angel investing, Ron Conway of SV Angel, is a close friend and an investor in every company he’s started.
But that doesn’t mean the world needs more Ron Conways, Parker said. “It’s fine if there’s a few guys doing this, but there’s so much capital now in the early stage.”
Parker contended that the Internet is becoming a mature business, where power consolidates among big players like Facebook, Google and Apple — making it harder for young companies to knock them off. “For young entrepreneurs, it’s really not helpful for some guy to come along and write you a check,” he said.
Photo credit: Bill Gross