Here's What We've Been Reading

“Tomorrow’s Advance Man” by Tad Friend - The New Yorker

Why we read it: This is a long but extremely detailed glimpse into the mind of one of Silicon Valley’s most intriguing investors--Marc Andreesen--and his venture capital firm Andreesen-Horowitz, better known as a16z. Andreesen is a mad-scientist with a clairvoyant ability to unearth the next big thing.

 

“7 Founding Sins Seed-Stage Startups Should Avoid” by David Beisel - NextView Ventures

 

Why we read it: NextView Ventures, a Boston-based seed stage VC runs a fantastic blog with insights regarding their criteria for investment, financing, operating advice for early-stage companies and recent news related to the startup ecosystem. This is a quick read on behavioral characteristics that founders should avoid.

 

“The strange story of Skype” by Toivo Tänavsuu - Ars Technica

 

Why we read it: Believe it or not, the tiny northern European nation of Estonia is a hub of innovation and has quietly held that place for over a decade. In the midst of the dotcom boom, a group of entrepreneurs developed Kazaa, a P2P file-sharing program aimed at besting the notorious Napster and its myriad legal issues; after a meteoric rise to fame, Kazaa imploded due to charges of file piracy. Out of Kazaa’s ashes came the ubiquitous Skype--this is the story of both companies.

 

“The 5 billion dollar battle for the American dinner plate” by Elizabeth Segran - fastcompany

 

Why we read it: Seemingly out of thin air, a number of startups which provide boxed “meal-kits” have been transformed from another on-demand concept into a $5 billion industry. Piggybacking on America’s organic, healthy food craze and the need for instant gratification, companies like Blue Apron, HelloFresh and Plated have turned busy millennials into chefs serving up haute cuisine (at least in our own minds).

 

“Something is rotting under Silicon Valley” by Dan Primack - Fortune

 

Why we read it: Journalist Dan Primack has runs an extremely comprehensive daily blog for Fortune entitled “The Term Sheet,” where he covers a variety of investment and deal-related news within the private markets while providing some astute feedback. In this post he ruminates on the uncanny lack of liquidity--be it via M&A or IPO--in the VC tech space. What gives?