McClure, Theis & Stein On The Biggest Opportunities In Venture

Venture capital firms try to find opportunities and markets before they become trampled by herds of copycat companies and me-to business plans.

So where do the three top VCs David McClure, Rob Theis and Josh Stein see room to run? The answer is educational products, post-PC software and the convergence of mobile and cloud.

The three investors offered their investment road maps during an on-stage interview at the Global Technology Symposium. Here is a synopsis of what they said:

McClure, founding partner and Sith Lord at the seed investor 500 Startups, said tablets are changing the way educational products are distributed and sold. Mothers and children make up not just a large share of the world’s population, but are willing to spend a lot on education. Now products can be marketed directly to them through tablets, with big opportunities for monetization.

“There’s a lot going on” in education, says McClure (pictured above).

He said numerous inexpensive products will see rapid adoption. Opportunities also exist for language translation tools.

Theis, managing director at Scale Venture Partners, says the 4G technology LTE is changing the “shape of the Internet” similar to the way broadband changed traffic patterns and activity levels when it replaced dial-up service.

The convergence of mobile and cloud is an interesting investment area for new products and services that are hosted online, such as a telephone system, he said.

Draper Fisher Jurvetson Managing Director Stein says the post-PC era of smartphones and tablets is “a profound shift that is just starting to play out.” It is leading a change in the way software is delivered, particularly in the enterprise, he says. Workers now access new programs with their credit cards and in doing so undo the lock big enterprise software companies had on software distribution.

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