(Founder Stories) Ben Lerer On The Startup Gold Rush

As Chris Dixon wraps his conversation with Thrillist co-founder and Lerer Ventures partner Ben Lerer, Lerer offers his assessment of the present day start-up environment. From his perspective it is a mixed bag. (Note: this was taped before the most recent financial meltdown)

“Since we started investing, we’ve seen a lot more money enter the market . . . so it’s tougher to be a seed stage investor because valuations are going up.”  However, Lerer continues “the advantage for us is that there is more money at the Series A stage and so more of our companies are given a chance to go on and continue.”

Dixon weighs in on the current landscape by relaying chatter he’s heard from some investors. He says, “what bothers them about the current environment is less the valuations being so high but more the fact that the time is so compressed that they have to make a decision [to invest] in three days.” Dixon’s opinion? “I think it is a mistake on both sides.”

Picking up their conversation in the video below, Dixon asks Lerer who the competition is when it comes to investing. Lerer responds that a lot of it comes from people with financial resources who are new to the tech investing game who, “throw money at it” and “don’t understand the ecosystem.” He continues with, “there are some silly checks being written.”

Make sure to watch the entire clip for additional insights, along with Part I, Part II, and Part III of this interview with Lerer, and other past episodes of Founder Stories here.