Great piece in the Boston Globe yesterday by Scott Kirsner: In Venture Capital, a Growing Rift Over Blogs. It's the best look I've seen so far into why some VCs blog and why others pass. Makes some excellent points about the main advantage for VCs -- better deal flow -- and the main advantages for entrepreneurs -- leveling the playing field, including from a geographic standpoint. That latter point is one I've written about a lot, and a very real issue for founders not lucky enough to be located in one of the VC hotbeds.
I like the way Kirsner characterizes VC blogging as the "new parity in the world of venture capital."
The article quotes one of the best-known VC bloggers out there, Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures in NYC, a guy who's invested in many Internet and Web 2.0 deals. Here's an excerpt from the article that quotes Fred:
Venture capitalists who blog say it isn't just about helping pump up their firm's reputation and show how market-savvy they are. Blogging, writes Wilson via e-mail, is "the best tool for VC investing that I've ever seen, and I've been in this business for more than 20 years."
Wilson says his blog not only helps him meet more start-ups, but it brings him companies that are "more targeted and more relevant" to the areas he's interested in. Wilson also likes it when his readers argue with him or tell him about companies he might not already know; it's not unusual for one of his posts to attract 25 or 30 comments. "You can't buy that kind of education," he writes, "and I get it every day for free."
Later in the piece, an opposing viewpoint is put forth:
"My gut says that there's no correlation between VC blogging and financial returns," Spark Capital's (Bijan) Sabet says, noting that blogger Fred Wilson has done well with his investments - but so has John Doerr of the Silicon Valley firm Kleiner Perkins, who doesn't blog but has put money into Amazon, Google, and Intuit.
The trouble with that characterization, however, is that those latter deals were done long before blogging was popular. Granted, it's hard to argue that big-kahuna KP needs to blog. But there's a whole universe of newer, younger VCs out there who are finding it benefits them.
IDG Ventures' Jeff Bussgang adds this great thought:
...as entrepreneurs increasingly maintain blogs of their own, Bussgang says, "they want to see that the VCs are their peers and are wrestling with similar issues and thinking through things."
I wonder how many VC bloggers will be at DEMOfall, starting later today? I'm looking forward to talking with them.
What do you think about blogging representing "the new parity in venture capital"? What are your experiences?