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Series F - Issue #39: The Future of Venture Capital

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Series F

December 10 · Issue #39 · View online

The Future of Venture Capital


👋🏻  Happy Sunday!
Look, I’m going to be straight with you, I’m strongly considering stopping this newsletter at some point in 2018. Why?
1. It’s seriously time consuming, in total, it takes me around 0.5 days each week to curate.
2. This effort is not reflected in the subscriber numbers. After 39 issues, I still only have 1300 or so subscribers, which indicates that the content is simply not good enough for you to share with others or for me to attract new readers (The lack of growth is also pretty demotivating)
3. I believe that the newsletter would provide way more value if I was able to provide analysis in addition to the curation (The main reason why I love The Exponential View and The Token Economy), but see point 1, it already takes up 0.5 days of my time each week.
I wanted to share how I am feeling in order to get your honest feedback and thoughts as to how I should take the newsletter forward in 2018. All input appreciated: neil@thenordicweb.com
Anyway, enough moaning for now, let’s get to it! 🚀
Curated by @neilswmurray

Upsetting the Apple Cart 🍎
“In 2017 we’ve all started to see what it looks like when blind spots start to catch up with the tech community. We’ve all seen the stories of well-funded companies exposed for solving a problem that doesn’t actually need solving. And worse, tech’s homogeneity has contributed in several cases to abusive behavior within companies, which has led to high-profile scandals and even caused firms to fail. Rather than get discouraged, we prefer to keep our eyes on the long game. Here’s what we’ve learned this year about the innovation blind spots — and how to get past them” ~> Village Capital in 2017: Betting big on ideas in blind spots
Chamath Palihapitiya is trying to blow up the old-school, biased venture capital industry in every way he can think of. In the past few months he announced two new plans. One is a potentially industry-changing method of investing in startups all over the world, sight unseen ~> An early Facebook exec explains why investing in startups without meeting them is the future of venture capital
Raising the Ratio 🙋🏾
Given that Benchmark — one of Silicon Valley’s most famous venture capital firms —only had five general partners, the addition of any sixth partner would instantly catapult that selection into the upper echelon of tech investors. That the selection was Sarah Tavel, Benchmark’s first female partner during a year of reckoning in gender equality, made her elevation all the more head-turning ~> Sarah Tavel is seen as the future of one of Silicon Valley’s most prestigious venture firms
Similar to the west coast version, NYC Female Founder Office Hours will include forty 1:1 office hours with ten female partners from VC firms such as Bloomberg Beta, FirstMark, First Round, Greycroft, NEA, Union Square Ventures, and a host of others ~> Introducing NYC Female Founder Office Hours
New Funds and Models 💸
Viola, the Israel-based technology investment group, is launching new independent VC fund targeting fintech startups from anywhere in the world. Dubbed Viola FinTech, the “cross-stage venture fund” has an initial closing of $100 million but will extend that towards $120-150 million. It is backed by global banks, insurance companies and asset managers from North America, Europe, APAC and Israel, including Scotiabank, The Travelers Companies, Inc and Bank Hapoalim ~> Viola FinTech is a new $100M Israel-based VC fund targeting fintech startups around the world
Emerging Markets 🌏
Management groups for five new private-public European tech investment funds are expected to be named in coming weeks ~> Europe Starts Seed Fund to Keep Small Tech From Leaving
San Francisco and tech, it would seem, are turning into any other city and industry ~> San Francisco was the obvious choice for tech workers. Not anymore.
Verdict went inside three UK technology accelerators programmes to see the impact they’re having on the country’s startup scene ~> Get up and grow: inside the UK’s biggest technology accelerators
Vertically Speaking 📈
The big-ticket acquisition of genetic design company Cell Design Labs signals a coming wave of precision cures ~> Genetic Programmers Are the Next Startup Millionaires whereas Google Is Giving Away AI That Can Build Your Genome Sequence
Self-driving cars are expected to make our roads safer. Now, UK insurance company Direct Line is offering a discount to customers who use Tesla Autopilot to facilitate research into its effects ~> Insurance Companies Are Now Offering Discounts if You Let Your Tesla Drive Itself
A new report from the Chinese tech giant attempts to put a number on the AI talent shortfall ~> Tencent says there are only 300,000 AI engineers worldwide, but millions are needed
The potential benefits of mastering quantum computing, from advances in cancer research to unlocking the mysteries of the universe, are limitless. But that same computing power can be used to unlock different kinds of secrets—from your personal financial or health records, to corporate research projects and classified government intelligence ~> Quantum Computing Is the Next Big Security Risk
Crypto-Crazy 🤑
Blockchain startup Blockstack says it raised $52.8 million in its ICO, finalized Friday. The company is building a sort of parallel to the internet that users access via the Blockstack browser and that features a wide variety of apps. The Blockstack ecosystem promises to benefit both users and app makers. It gives users control over their own data via a personal API. Meanwhile, it allows developers to launch apps without having to host user data or worry about related storage costs and data privacy ~> Blockstack raises $52 million to build a parallel internet where you own all your data
CryptoKitties is one of the first blockbuster applications to emerge for ethereum. The blockchain is already used for transactions in currency called ether, the second largest after bitcoin. It’s also widely used for issuing tokens in so-called initial coin offerings, with which startups raise funds. The game is the first successful non-coin related application to emerge on the blockchain. ~> CryptoKitties Mania Overwhelms Ethereum Network’s Processing
A market for DAO platforms is emerging, complete with teams, funding, development, and initial implementations ~> No CEO needed: These blockchain platforms will let ‘the crowd’ run startups
The world’s largest futures exchange, CME, announces it has completed self-certification with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to launch its bitcoin futures contract on Dec. 18 ~> CME to launch bitcoin futures in three weeks after green light from regulator; bitcoin jumps
What happens when bitcoin’s market cap overtakes world GDP? Because there’s no reason why it couldn’t. And that’s the problem.
Students and executives want an education in bitcoin and others ~> How business schools teach cryptocurrencies
Bitcoin was supposed to be decentralized, but it didn’t end up this way. And never will. Proof-of-Work is dead ~> Stop. Calling. Bitcoin. Decentralized
Compelling Visions 🔮
The key phrase in the research paper is “lost Einsteins.” It’s a reference to people who could “have had highly impactful innovations” if they had been able to pursue the opportunities they deserved, the authors write. Nobody knows precisely who the lost Einsteins are, of course, but there is little doubt that they exist ~> Lost Einsteins: The Innovations We’re Missing
“Silicon Valley is no longer making it rain so much as it is making it trickle, and that makes it much harder for startup founders who are just trying to get going building their companies. My conclusion is that we have a massive “first check problem” that goes beyond the vagaries of the investment market” ~> The loss of first check investors
“Most of the best investments are counter-intuitive at first if not totally out of the consensus. In Venture Capital, we’re dealing with 90% of uncertainty (at least) in which we put unreasonable faith and conviction on what we believe could possibly go right in a foreseeable future. Therefore, the only thing we can really count on is the clarity of vision and execution of the teams we decide to back” ~> People Capital
Sculley has co-founded or invested in technology-focused companies in many industries, including media marketing, financial services and health care ~> John Sculley: Rising to the Challenge of ‘Truly Disruptive Innovation’
Do investors holding an asset in the midst of a price bubble all come to share similar beliefs, even if they did not do so previously? When will you participate in an asset price bubble?
Taking Advantage of Growth in Technology ~> Building a Venture Capital Strategy for a Private Equity Investor
History shows an inevitable disruption ~> Era of Low Volatility Will Unwind Formulaically
Fred Wilson: The early stage slump
Sam Altman: The Merge
Always Be Closing ☕️
PSA: Regardless of my final decision on the future of this newsletter, I will be taking a break from Series F over the holiday period and there will therefore be no issue on the 24th or 31st of December 🎅🏻
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