24 September 2012
MILPITAS, Calif.–I had an insightful meeting here the other day with Brett Fox, a recovered venture capitalist who is running the analog components startup, Touchstone Semiconductor.
Fox is a longtime analog guy (Maxim mostly) who spent some time as VC. His assessment of VCs as a group is critical (arrogant, egotistical, etc.) but he also understands the VC value, since his company is funded by venture capital. He understands that it’s not only about the money but about the mentoring.
In a piece in the MIT Technology Review, venture capitalist Fred Wilson (Foursquare, Twitter) talks about the “collapse” of venture capital. In the interview, he makes a point worth pondering:
“So when six white guys in suits control two and a half billion dollars, that’s not a good thing.”
Wilson was saying that the problem is concentration, not too much money looking for good returns. But maybe the bigger challenge is diversity. He was referring to a single VC firm in his example, but the venture capital industry writ large is mostly guys, mostly white (a few Indians perhaps). Mix that up, and you stir the innovation pot.