Archive for the ‘deliberate choice’ tag
Recession? What recession? The Mayfield Fund, one of Silicon Valley’s leading venture capital firms, has raised a $365 million fund in just about 13 weeks.
“We’re extremely fortunate to have a fund close within a few months,” said managing director Navin Chaddha, who leads the fund, in an interview with VentureBeat. The company started its first set of fundraising meetings in the third week of April and had all financial commitments lined up within 6 weeks. The remaining few weeks were spent on legal issues, and the fund closed in the first week of July.
“It was a very, very quick process,” Chaddha said.
Mayfield XIV is the 43-year-old firm’s 14th fund and is its third consecutive fund under $400 million. Since its founding in 1969, the firm has invested in more than 500 companies, resulting in over 100 IPOs and more than 100 mergers or acquisitions, according to its press release. The last fund, Mayfield XIII, closed in September, 2008.
The relatively small size of the fund was a deliberate choice, Chaddha said, saying that it was oversubscribed: By raising a smaller fund, the firm is able to focus on early-stage investments and on backing entrepreneurs it believes in, rather than trying to pump hundreds of millions into oversubscribed late-round investments.
“We’re not chasing momentum. We’re not chasing late-stage investments,” Chaddha said.
The fund’s focus remains the same as previous funds:
- SaaS (software as a service)
- social for the enterprise, because social for the consumer is saturated
- big data applications
- energy efficiency
On the topic of social networking, Chaddha says the firm prefers to focus on enterprise applications, where there’s lots of opportunity, rather than on the already-saturated market for consumer social networks.
Regarding “green” technologies, Mayfield is interested in technologies that increase the efficient use of energy, but not in capital-intensive cleantech startups.
Like all VC funds, Mayfield is not actually collecting the $365 million in commitments right away. Instead, it will draw the funds from its limited partners over the 10-year life of the fund, as needed to make investments. It will draw about 10 percent of the fund in the first year and 10-20 percent in the second year. The goal is to invest 50 percent of the fund in the first four years, reserving the rest for follow-on investments (later rounds going to companies Mayfield has already invested in) in the remaining six years of the fund. Investments from Mayfield XIV will begin six to nine months from now.
Advice for entrepreneurs? If you have experience, Mayfield wants to hear from you. In fact, it makes 30-35 percent of its investments in entrepreneurs-in-residence, where Mayfield is essentially incubating their startups. These are individuals with a proven track record who Mayfield is investing in very early in their startup process, often before the entrepreneurs have even figured out what exactly they’re going to do next.
“We always make the bet on the jockey, not the racetrack,” Chaddha said. “We’re always looking for alignments with entrepreneurs early, before they’ve made their next bet. Our doors are open.”
Photo of Navin Chaddha courtesy Mayfield Fund
As agencies struggle to redefine themselves in this newer and leaner economy, new organizational constructs built on collaboration and trust are beginning to emerge.
While many ad shops have bolted on digital capabilities and called themselves “integrated,” TRY/APT has made the deliberate choice to remain a partnership of two distinct agencies, that work together across platforms.
“The philosophy throughout this company is to be entrepreneurial–TRY entrepreneurs own 51% of APT, APT entrepreneurs own around 30% of TRY and all of these entrepreneurs still work within the business.
Collaboration is supposed to be one of our strengths in this business. Yet competition and ego can get in its way in a hurry. And when they do, questions about who “owns” the account inevitable arise.
Let me ask you, are you consistently collaborating with outside specialists, or still pretending that your agency can fix any problem under the hood?
That wild, wonderful thing that is Wikipedia has changed our lives in all sorts of subtle ways. Gone are the vast bookshelves of leather bound tomes that held me in thrall as a child – and in their stead is a white page, an empty search field and a button.
Amazingly, as Clay Shirky reminds us, Wikipedia was built by a global collective donating 100 million hours of time to its grand vision. But this cognitive surplus is just a drop in the ocean of time that is spent by Americans watching television each year – estimated to be many times that number.
Now, while this is fascinating as a data fact, what I am more interested in is the substitution that is taking place. You see, for 100 million people to donate one hour of their time – a deliberate choice is being made. The choice is to create rather than to consume. And the thing is – as humans, we seek the pleasure of consumption over the cold choice of decision. We have to be driven to act. Compelled. Consumption, after all, is the easy way.
Now think about the current debate in Australia around the regulation of gambling. Clubs across Australia are claiming that these regulations will impact their ability to employ people and to support the community through their charitable giving and community support programs. But as Ben Eltham points out, most clubs direct a miserly proportion of their revenues into such programs:
Or examine the Rooty Hill RSL, also in Sydney’s western suburbs … Poker machines raked in $43.2 million of the club’s total operating revenue of $64.7 million … [with only] $601,000 [spent] on donations.
What would happen if INDIVIDUALS actually chose where to invest their “community support” programs? I’d actually be keen to see some small percentage being funnelled into a microloan style service or even an insurance fund to help problem gamblers (but that is a whole other blog post).
Today, on Melbourne Cup day, the folks over at DebtConsolidation.com.au have put together this infographic that images what could be done with all those wagers being made at the track and at betting agencies across the country. Makes you think – what good could we do if we made better decisions? What indeed.