Sarah Lacy writes for PandoDaily, a news site which she founded.
She is also an award winning journalist and author of two critically acclaimed books, “Once You’re Lucky, Twice You’re Good: The Rebirth of Silicon Valley and the Rise of Web 2.0” (Gotham Books, May 2008) and “Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky: How the Top 1% of Entrepreneurs Profit from Global Chaos (Wiley, February 2011).
Lacy has been a reporter in Silicon Valley for nearly fifteen years, covering everything from the tiniest startups to the largest public companies. She was formerly a staff writer and columnist for BusinessWeek, the founding co-host of Yahoo Finance’s Tech Ticker, and a senior editor at TechCrunch. She lives in San Francisco.
Anyone who was in the Valley during the late 1990s knows exactly the guy I’m about to describe. He wore blue shirts and khakis. He was a regular at the Bubble Lounge. He always insisted on grabbing the check, throwing down the dot com AmEx for everyone’s drinks, making sure everyone knew he did and later bragging about dropping “several C notes last night.”
He was a business school drop out, who… → Read More
Up until now, ecommerce valuations have been relatively reasonable compared to social media valuations. As Aileen Lee of Kleiner Perkins and Kevin Ryan of Gilt Group discussed on stage at Disrupt, there’s resistance for these companies’ prices to get too out of control because frequently the margins are tight and scaling up takes time and investment.
Also, ecommerce companies have a pretty clear… → Read More
Most of the big social media and app companies are pretty light on hard-core technology. Happy to stand on the shoulders of the tech giants that came before, many focus instead of features, design and UI. This enrages the kind of hardcore math nerds that used to rule the Valley.
Well, they have a new geeky mascot: Uber. Uber only scales and survives with hardcore mathematicians on staff. Among… → Read More
It’s been well documented that there aren’t as many women working in Silicon Valley and technology companies as we’d all like. Moving the conversation beyond raising awareness about this thing we’re all aware of, Kleiner Perkins’ partner Aileen Lee recently wrote a smart guest post for us arguing the business case for why Valley companies and VCs should be scouting more women. Namely, because they… → Read More
If you are reading TechCrunch you probably already realize this fact: Flavor-of-the-month consumer Internet companies have a way of hogging the spotlight. If you didn’t, we conveniently published some evidence of it yesterday.
But that reality predates us by at least a decade. In 1999 when the world talked about Silicon Valley, they usually meant sexy dot coms. In 2005 when people were writing… → Read More
I am in Chicago where I was supposed to be having dinner with Groupon CEO Andrew Mason last night, a dinner planned more than a month ago when I bought my plane ticket. Instead, he has suddenly decided to go to China.
It was bad news for me, but good news for anyone looking to buy shares in the company. Also good news: TechCrunch has learned that Groupon’s sprawling, costly international… → Read More
August Capital was doing very late stage deals when most VCs refused to. And its early 2000 era buyout of Seagate was one of the better returns in the firm’s history. So why is it mostly sitting out this round of late-stage mega-deal mania?
In the final segment of our Ask a VC on the road with David Hornik, he explains why the answer to missing out on Facebook early isn’t dumping money in at a… → Read More
Let’s be honest: One of the reasons David Hornik actually agreed to be on camera at All Things D is that he didn’t have a startup about to file to go public any second. So we talked about some of his more high profile investments that haven’t always lived up to the hype.
We haven’t done Ask a VC for a while thanks to my hectic travel schedule, so I pulled David Hornik out of the hallway at D to catch up on his thoughts on his portfolio and the industry.
But first, we chat about the highlights from the All Things Digital conference. Or we started with that and then talked about how the motivation for starting companies is changing in Silicon Valley, given the… → Read More
A few days ago at the All Things D conference, Marc Andreessen predicted that every wacky 1999 dot com business that failed would one day find success in a new incarnation. But what about businesses those dot coms killed?
Jetsetter is launching a personal travel planning service today that is essentially a travel agent 2.0. Thankfully, the earlier iteration of online travel sites so decimated the… → Read More
Dick Costolo just wrapped up his keynote at All Things D. It wasn’t livestreamed, so for those of you who missed out, there were some interesting tidbits about user numbers, defense of Twitter’s stewardship of its developer community and some hints about the ad business.
Rather than any newsy bombshells, my biggest takeaway was what I’ve written before about Twitter’s third CEO in its short… → Read More
We’re continuing to highlight some of our favorite moments from the many hours of backstage content live-streamed during Disrupt last week. One of my favorite sit-downs was with Bing Gordon, general partner of Kleiner Perkins.
It was a surprising way to kick off a technology conference at a moment in time where any piece of news– big or small– cues up the BUBBLE-OR-NOT Greek chorus of wailing and chest beating. Tech valuations, while almost universally sky-high, are nowhere near as high as the paranoia that we’re in a bubble. Or worse: The fear that you aren’t on the record having called this one out. A lot of tech… → Read More
According to several sources Airbnb is in the process of closing a whopper of a funding round: $100 million or more at a $1 billion-plus valuation. The round is being lead by Andreessen Horowitz, and includes participation from DST, say our sources.
Yesterday, Mike broke the news on stage at Disrupt that SV Angel is doubling down with Yuri Milner once again to invest in all willing Y Combinator grads. Today, SV Angel is announcing another partnership, this time Ron Conway & crew are looking east. SV Angel and Lerer Ventures– which also announced a new fund yesterday– will announce today that the two are entering a formal partnership to… → Read More
Entrepreneurs are inherently individuals, so rolling their experiences up into trends isn’t easy. That’s made worse because 95% of the returns come from 5% of the companies. So what everyone does, doesn’t really matter. It’s what that 5% does that really matters.
David Lee and Ron Conway of SV Angel has done a deep dive into the top of the top of their portfolio and confirmed some basic wisdom… → Read More
Here’s the awful thing about having Mike Arrington as an investor in your fund. You don’t get to control over when you announce it. Arrington is on stage with Ron Conway and David Lee of SV Angels right now, and he’s being a bulldog in the best sense of the world. He asked about the firm’s new fund and Lee said “We aren’t supposed to comment on it, so no comment.” To which, Arrington said, “Well… → Read More
Rent the Runway’s slogan might as well be: Friends don’t let friends wear H&M to the most important events in their lives. The company solves the perennial “closet full of clothes and yet nothing to wear” problem that most women face, by allowing them to rent designer clothes for a big event for about 10% of the price.
It’s clearly a problem women have. The question– like most rental… → Read More
As we kickoff of our second annual TechCrunch Disrupt conference, we’re clearly not the only ones who think there’s a substantive ecosystem brewing here beneath all the hype and the froth; Lerer Ventures is announcing the closing of its second seed-stage venture fund today. The total is $25 million, mostly from friends, families and small family investment groups.The fund comes 18 months after Ken… → Read More
Bleacher Report– one of the few new entrants in the sports content category to get significant traction against the portal giants– is continuing to build out its management team, announcing an important new hire today. Rich Calacci joins the company as chief revenue officer. Calacci was most recently senior vice president at CBS Interactive in charge of the sports vertical– one of the… → Read More
We’ve spent much of the last week exploring Berlin, attending the Next11 conference and meeting a few local startups. The biggest problem from a video entertainment standpoint? We both agree that Berlin feels like a better startup town than London.
“Feels like” is an important disclaimer here. Berlin certainly doesn’t have the track record, local sophisticated investor class, nor does it have… → Read More
BERLIN– Yesterday at the Next 11 conference, I interviewed Rovio’s Mighty Eagle Peter Vesterbacka on stage. You may know him as the man who brings us all different versions of Angry Birds, Angry Birds toys, possibly an Angry Birds movie, and– as you’ll see in the clip below– an Angry Birds line of hoodies.
He has a big announcement: Angry Birds downloads have topped 200 million. To put that in… → Read More
But is Africa’s largest market prime for foreign venture capital investment, and how does it stack up to other frontier emerging markets Sarah has been visiting? Just after she got home, we shot a Why Is This News on her takeaways: Was she… → Read More
Morgenthaler Ventures is one of those Valley firms who did incredibly well during the Valley’s telecom/networking/enterprise software glory years. For all the dot com headlines in the late 1990s, enterprise software has long been the core of the industry’s returns, and the telecom networking build out was an order or magnitude bigger than the cash funding the more written about dot com fetes.
But… → Read More
Ever since he could remember, Ibrahim Boakye had a knack for understanding how things worked. There were things he could just do that no other kids– let alone adults– could understand. By the time he was five-years-old everyone had stopped questioning it, and neighbors were calling on him to fix their broken toasters, irons, or anything that was the least bit mechanical.
By his early teens, he… → Read More
Earlier today, I wrote about our brush with machetes, the chaotic world of Nigerian filmmaking, and a company called Iroko Partners that’s working on bringing order and YouTube distribution to Nollywood. It’s made stunning progress in the short four months it has been in business, and it’s barely scratched the surface of Nollywood demand.
Below is a video we shot with founder Jason Njoku. He… → Read More
It was when they pulled out the machetes that I started to worry.
I’d seen men with machetes in Africa before, but they were rusty, practical tools used for clearing away brush by the side of the highway. These were long, shiny and housed in decorative sheaths, pulled out ostensibly so the men could sit down more comfortably, but done with a clear, understated flair. They were more like sultan… → Read More
Last week I wrote about Computer Village, where many of the gadget-hounds in Lagos go to get their gadgety fix. But what about new technology being developed in the country? The city’s tech entrepreneur scene is small, but several people are working on changing that.