Friday, March 12, 2010

Dave McClure Throws Down Gauntlet to Boston Angels

Dave McClure day in Boston was awesome. I attended both events featuring the geek coder, turned marketer, turned Angel investor/VC, here in theHub. The first talk presented by Performable and hosted at Dopatach Labs was excellent and he did a good job of making it fresh. Once he found out that everyone had already seen his Startup Marketing fordave mcclure Pirates presentation he pivoted to other material which included a bit of my favorite Dave talk, a riff on a Kathy Sierra slide, titled F**k or Kill.  You can watch the Performable event here.

Then at the MIT Enterprise Forum Panel, Dave did not disappoint and really injected the energy into the discussion which might have otherwise been a more boring event. Sim Simeonov is to be congratulated for assembling an interesting group of panelists and especially for adding the entrepreneurs that had been through the venture accelerator programs, which was a brilliant addition.  Again you can view the event courtesy of DartBoston.

It was humorous to see that , Dave's "blue wordage" was mentioned by the Boston Media, which is surprising because @sbroderick has certainly done his part to introduce Boston to a more emphatic mode of expression.

The point that Boston is lacking active angel investors for web startups was underscored by OneForty founder Laura Fitton's @pistachio tale about the necessity of traveling to San Francisco to raise her angel round, and Dave voicing his amazement at the lack of active angel investors here. He threatened to come back more often to fill the gap. Let's hope we see him once a quarter.

Now it is up to the entrepreneur community to produce some interesting companies and disruptive ideas. It is not a one way street, and we can't only blame angels. When Josh Koppelman of First Round Capital came to Boston last summer and held office hours, the word was, he left thinking not much interesting was happening here.  This is from one of, if not the most savvy early stage web investor, that came here looking to put money into the Boston market, yet left without getting his pen out.

So yes, it is clear that Boston needs more angels willing to invest in the $ 50K to $1M range, but if you look at the past year, changes are taking place.  Google Ventures, Start@Spark and the new Founders Collective are actively seeking to invest in Boston. Realistically those three alone could fund a significant amount of seed rounds. Who is going to step up and take that money off the table?

It can be done and the angels do exist here. If you need to be reminded, take a look at the Flipkey story.

So what do you think? Is there enough angel money to nurture a thriving web application startup market here? Is it really the entrepreneurs fault that they haven't come up with anything interesting? Can our established angel community pivot away from the traditional technology/IP oriented companies to embrace the consumer web and write faster checks?

Let's hear some of your stories.

Thanks again to Performable for putting together the presentation at DogPatchLabs and for sending an email with the included McClure photo which I stole.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't even know this was going on, which is part of the problem.