Friday Feedback

The rain is pounding, the public markets are slumping (to be kind) and we’re just two weeks away from our annual March Madness competition. In other words, it’s time for Friday Feedback.

First up are some responses to Tuesday’s column, which discussed the copyright infringement lawsuit filed by Sequoia Capital against ComVentures.

Fred writes: “Methinks Sequoia is taking its design talent and uniqueness a bit too seriously… If a portfolio company (B2B no less) came to their VC to claim a competitor was imitating their site, and they were going to fight it, any sensible VC would say, “You have more important things to do. It’s a web page — will you lose one cent of business from what they done? Get back to work.”

Dwight: “I think Sequoia is overreacting, but shouldn’t a tech VC firm like ComVentures have enough developer contacts that it could hire one to build an original site? The server logs you posted make it seem like the ComVentures site was built in-house, and it’s unlikely that any independent developer would ever agree to such blatant infringement. The developer might ask to know what other sites ComVentures ‘liked,’ but not which ones they want to ‘copy.’”

Mike: “The VSP Memorial Trophy is hilarious, but ComVentures has a lot of work to do before even approaching the self-destructiveness of VSP…”

*** Aubrey with (yet another) plug for Colorado: “I thought long and hard about going back to Silicon Valley after grad school, both in product manager jobs and in law, but elected to come to Boulder because it seemed like a vibrant technology community with great entrepreneurial spirit, engineering talent and venture capitalists (that and I like to ski 30 days a year and the weekend commute to Tahoe was killing me). So far, it’s been fabulous. I love the work I do with startups, both corporate and licensing deals, and there really are great software, hardware, Internet services and even biotech businesses here. And the quality of life it starting to appeal to other tech professionals too, despite the great opportunities in California — seems like I meet more and more Bay Area tech refugees at every event I attend.”

*** Cole: “I heard you on NPR last night, and thought you did a great job breaking down why rehab facilities are appealing to private equity firms. But did you notice that the segment began with a clip of Britney Spears? Has she ever been your lead-in before?” No, but we could use one more big speaker at Buyouts Symposium East… I’ll have my people call her people.

*** Joe on David Rubenstein’s presentation at Super Return: “I don’t have an opinion as to whether Mr. Rubenstein is correct or not in his conclusion that there will be a softening and not a crash. I hope that he is correct however. As a credit manager for a Fortune 100 company, I continue to watch the bankruptcy trends and look for evidence of any impending bank pullbacks or tightening. My biggest fear is that there will be a large, unforeseen bankruptcy that causes the banks to tighten credit and move to a role of calling loans rather than renegotiating covenants. I know that the cycle of loose credit will come to an end as the global economic cycle evolves. My big concern is that an LBO miscalculation will be a catalyst.”

*** Related to yesterday’s brief discussion of emerging markets fundraising, K asks: “I am curious as to why you weren’t surprised by major grow in PE fundraising for Africa. The Middle East growth I can understand—petro-dollars, etc. But sub-Saharan Africa?” I was a bit surprised K, but it was really the Latin American growth that floored me. Why? Because investors were burned in Latin America very recently, whereas sub-Saharan Africa is more of an unknown quantity. I guess I just figured that Latin America would have to wait in line behind other emerging markets, rather than joining them in the same position.