Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Checking In With the Natty VCs of Social+Capital (Video)

Recently, I paid a visit to the very elegant yet still hipster offices of Social+Capital Partnership in Palo Alto, Calif.

As many know already, the venture fund was founded last year by the dashing-in-Silicon-Valley-at-least Chamath Palihapitiya — the former Facebook and AOL exec, who also did a stint at the very traditional Mayfield Fund and is a competitive poker player, too.

After Palihapitiya started Social+Capital with a $300 million kitty, he famously declared — in a geek version of Frank Sinatra — that he would do it his way with his own money and funds from a bunch of other Richie Riches like him.

“Venture capital firms tend to focus on having large amounts of assets under management and collecting fixed fees,” Palihapitiya said in an interview with the New York Times a year ago. “That creates perverse incentives, because you’re focused on deploying as much capital as fast as possible. I want to be antithetical to all of that.”

Palihapitiya certainly started out doing that, with a noisy kerfuffle over his objections to how a funding was taking place at Airbnb, in which founders were sucking money out while the employees could not.

Eventually, that was water under the bridge, and Palihapitiya ended up investing in the online home rental service.

Thus, a year out, it was time to check in on the firm, which mostly focuses on health care, education and financial services. As Palihapitiya promised, Social+Capital has indeed invested in a range of very interesting start-ups so far, such as diabetes tracker Glooko and Web-design training service Treehouse.

And the firm already had a big win from its investment in social enterprise software start-up Yammer, which was bought by Microsoft for $1.2 billion this June.

Most recently, Palihapitiya said that Social+Capital just invested in Box, and also just backed the founders of Jive — Dave Hersh and Sam Lawrence — who are building a Salesforce killer called CrushPath.

Here’s a video I did with Palihapitiya and two Social+Capital partners, Ted Maidenberg and Mamoon Hamid, in the now-slick former warehouse where the firm operates along with some of its start-ups.


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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google