We’re all gearing up for TechCrunch50 next week, and with all the startups and venture capitalists at the conference we thought it would be a good opportunity to talk about what it takes to get VC funding these days and whether or not venture capital even maters as much as it once did. I will be grilling a panel of VCs on what they are looking for these days, how spooked they are by the liquidity drought, and how the venture capital game in general is changing. The VCs on the panel will be Roelof Botha (Sequoia Capital), Raj Kapoor (Mayfield Fund), Ross Levinsohn (Velocity Interactive Group), Sumant Mandal (Clearstone Venture Partners), George Zachery (Charles River Ventures).
I’ve got plenty of questions for them, but would also like to know what you would ask them. Submit your questions in comments, and I will select some of the best ones to ask the VCs on stage. (If you like a question that’s already been submitted, you can second it (or refine) by replying to that comment). Here are some questions to get the ball rolling:
1. At what point does the lack of IPO exits start to impact what you will invest in today? And how?
2. You are still raising plenty of money, is it harder or easier to invest than in the past?
3. Have you seen any startups in the past three years that could be the next Google or Facebook?
4. Do startups even need venture capital anymore with so much angel and corporate money out there, and with startup costs for Web companies going down?
5. How are you competing against all the seed incubators popping up all over the place like Y Combinator, Tech Stars, LaunchBox, DreamIt, etc.?
6. What are the biggest problems that need solving that startups should be focusing on right now?
7. What business models will you absolutely no longer invest in?
8. Is there any danger of innovation dying in Silicon Valley?
9. What was the most memorable pitch you ever saw? What was the most effective?
10. Does Silicon Valley need a shakeout? Are we already seeing one?
I need ten more.