Angel Investing and the Devil in Gil

We've been lucky enough to have heard Gil Penchina opine a lot. Unfortunately, most of this was well before he became known for angel investing and his Angel List syndicate, and was usually about his failed romantic exploits. Whatever -- truth is we usually didn't listen anyway. But now we do, and gladly. Burnished to a brighter shine as one…

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Mutual Fund Fun

One of many interesting changes in venture capital in the past few years has been the emergence of mutual fund companies investing in very late rounds. In many ways this makes sense -- technology companies are delaying IPOs, and a late-stage investment gets a mutual fund pre-IPO equity at a slightly better price (they hope) and often with significant  downside…

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Bitcoin of the Realm

2013 in a word? According to at least one economist it was: Bitcoin - a secure peer-to-peer payment system and digital currency created in 2009. New Bitcoins are mined by software programmers, and although users can remain anonymous, central to the system is a public database and sequential record of all transactions (as if one could track the use of…

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The Little Start Ups That Couldn’t

In entrepreneurial culture, success dominates the airwaves. A brand new company can succeed in many ways: attracting press, landing influential seed investors, winning contests, and through stories of individual users. This culture is so strong, that the second act of an entrepreneur is often seeding additional entrepreneurs. But the success of a new company quickly fades into the mundane, and…

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A Cold Shower for Startup Communities?

Like many people, we are big fans of startup communities. We'd like to think that the benefits of these groups, and their economic and social impact, is self-evident. But we're even bigger fans of contrarian reasoning, and having one's beliefs challenged is thought-provoking, so this post naturally caught our eye. for it turns out that there might be a little more…

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Facebook “Friends” Goldman

The roughly $2 billion deal between Facebook and Goldman Sachs is so chock-rich of material it will surely spawn a series of longer pieces once it has settled into historical view.  To begin, it coincided with increased scrutiny by the SEC into secondary sales of private securities, particularly since one of the rumoured drivers of the deal was Facebook's desire…

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When Being a Man Hurts…

One of the keen observations of Mad Men is that the show's women - even constrained as they are by 1960's social roles and the lack of professional opportunities - are generally more capable than then men.  A recent study by the mutual fund company Vanguard suggests that investing in an economic slump may be another area where the male…

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What’s the ROI on that Pound of Flesh?

Three young guns – and not a detained Nigerian prince among them – are currently offering investors a chance to invest cash now in return for a percent of future income.  One, a 26-year-old Stanford grad, has even priced it out: 6% of future income for $600,000.  Even with no hurdle rate, this would require her to average annual income…

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