Recent Posts:

How water will play out in the U.S.

Rob Day: April 19, 2010, 4:32 PM

I've been thinking a bit about water lately.  So much media attention and investor and entrepreneurial interest are expended on looming energy shortages, but water shortages are perhaps even more acute.  A recent article in Fortune gave a good brief overview of water from a global standpoint.  If you're looking for water statistics and updates, the website of XPV Capital (a water tech specialist) has some good info.

There are clear looming issues with water use in the U.S.  And there are lots of uncoordinated actions going on in various parts of the country, and some hand-waving in general, but I haven't seen anyone really start to play out what's going to happen.

But it's clear to me...

Small is beautiful

Rob Day: April 15, 2010, 9:30 AM

Happy tax day, everyone. 

Silicon Valley Bank put out a must-read study yesterday, examining returns from more than 850 VC funds in the U.S., looking specifically at returns by fund size.  And what they found out was that smaller funds do better than larger (>$250M) funds.

This won't be a surprise to some limited partners out there that I speak with, in my current dual role as both an LP and direct investor.  These LPs see smaller funds as being more focused and hungry.  As the SVB report states:

"Managers of [small] funds often have industry-specific expertise and focus on particular strategies or sectors compared to those of larger funds which usually target multiple stages and...

The other capital gap:  Truly capital-efficient growth businesses

Rob Day: April 6, 2010, 9:00 AM

"My job is to look for entrepreneurs who want to change the world," one young cleantech VC told me in an engaging twitter conversation last night, "and build bigger companies."

Very true words!  But how do we define "bigger companies"?

I've seen someone mention that only two percent of startups get their financing from venture capital.  I don't know the accuracy of that number, but it does ring directionally true.  That doesn't mean 98% of startups are bad businesses, however.

Let me describe two basic types of startups:

1. The big game-changing startup that is going to be manufacturing or otherwise producing something very new.  They're going to need some significant level of capital...