Harvard Business School professor Josh Lerner on whether it’s possible to tease apart where venture capitalists add the most value to startups.
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While Groupon’s Andrew Mason takes a drubbing, another CEO is apparently having a very good week. According to a document obtained by Bloomberg last week, the social games juggernaut Zynga has amended its stock structure to give its savvy founder and CEO Mark Pincus a stunning 70 times more voting power than people who buy the company’s shares in its eventual IPO.
Bloomberg says Zynga’s board has already approved the new structure, which also gives the company’s current shareholders and pre-IPO investors seven votes per share. (Usually, if a company is going to establish separate voting rights, it is via a dual-stock structure that gives superior shares 10 votes per share, while inferior votes have one vote for share.)
The company just needs the rest of its shareholders to agree to the new stock structure by tomorrow…
On Tuesday, TechCrunch reported that celebrity entrepreneur Kevin Rose has raised $1.5 million for his startup, Milk, from a “wide syndicate of Valley elites.” “Wide” may be understating things. Fully 24 angels participated in the round at what I’m told was a pre-money valuation of $15 million. Among those on the star-studded list: Twitter cofounder Evan Williams, [...]
It’s become something of a bromide in Silicon Valley that pouring as much money into a relatively few break-out companies as quickly as possible is the only way to win in venture capital. In an interview with this reporter in 2009, Marc Andreessen made a strong case for this winner’s circle school of investment. He [...]
Recently, Goldman Sachs tried to get cute with a nearly 50-year-old law that requires private companies with more than 499 shareholders to publicly report their financial results. (As Goldman was publishing a 63-page document about amending its business practices, it tried to make the argument that its syndicate of U.S. investors should only count as one shareholder because only Goldman would be managing the investment bloc.)
Goldman’s hubris has called attention to the need for federal regulation of the private markets. And that may not be such a bad thing.
Greetings from the Investor Summit in Boston (precursor to Super Return), where HBS Professor Josh Lerner is about to give a talk about why venture capital isn’t actually broken. Consider it the antidote to Paul Kedrosky. Or to conventional wisdom. I’ll live-blog it below, and be sure to chime in with comments or questions (which I’ll try to ask during Q&A):
Entrepreneurs with one success in the rear view mirror are more likely to succeed in subsequent ventures than either first-time entrepreneurs, or those who failed in a past endeavor. So finds new research from the Harvard Business school that, unsurprisingly, also finds that success often begets success because of the support that gets thrown behind [...]