Explaining Southern California's economy

The state of venture capital and tech investment

TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2011 - Day 3

Araya Diaz/Getty Images for TechCrunch

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 14: (L-R) TechCrunch Founder and Co-Editor Michael Arrington,500 Startups Venture Capitalist & Founding General Partner David Mclure, Tasty Labs Co-Founder and CEO Aydin Senkut, Freestyle Capital Founding Partner Josh Felser, SoftTech VC Managing Partner Jeff Clavier, and SV Angel angel investor Ron Conway speak onstage at Day 3 of TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2011 held at the San Francisco Design Center Concourse on September 14, 2011 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Araya Diaz/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

If you aren't reading Fred Wilson, you should. He's a venture capitalist who runs Union Square Ventures in New York and regularly writes about being a VC at his aptly named blog, AVC. Many people who are pondering the woeful state of the U.S. economy are looking to tech as something that may lead us out of the woods. Problem is, tech costs money. And tech is extremely competitive. And there's been some discussion of late that VCs are having trouble raising money to fund new companies.

Wilson breaks it down. Here's what I think is his most interesting point:

5) The internet investing market is transitioning. Social was the driving force for the past three or four years. In the wake of Facebook and Twitter, how could it not be? Mobile has also been a hot theme. Both sectors have consolidated a few winners and a number of additional interesting emerging companies. But how many social platforms of scale will there be? Five, ten, twenty? And mobile is hard because distribution continues to be limited to the app store model where you get on the leaderboard and win or you don't and you don't. Investors are moving into new areas like cloud, peer to peer marketplaces, and trying to take what worked in consumer into the enterprise. There is no lack of interest in internet investing, but investors are having to learn new markets and new sectors. And that kind of transition takes the heat out of an overheated market.

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Visual Aid: Occupy Wall Street's breakfast — grilled millionaire?

The 1% have nothing to fear from the 99% but fear itself. Unless the 1%, like Franklin Roosevelt in 1938, lose their taste for scrambled eggs at breakfast after munching for months on...millionaires!

The video above is fairly famous but I think also worth revisiting as tensions mount with Occupy Wall Street. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has informed the protesters that they need to vacate Zuccotti Park by tomorrow. 

Follow Matthew DeBord and the DeBord Report on Twitter.

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Art Walk finances: Sustainable or unsustainable?

Ray_from_LA/Flickr

The Downtown Art Walk will go on, but so will questions about how it plans to pay its bills to the city.

UPDATE: Jan Perry's communications director responded to my inquiries and explained that the $2,200 came from the City Council "special events subsidies funds." Each council member's office receives $100,000 from the budget that it can spend to support special events, and this was the first time that Downtown Art Walk has fallen into that category. Perry's office said that they chose to support the event while Art Walk is figuring how to handle its future financial needs. Basically, they're helping to buy it some time.

Of course, this does still mean that the City Council is using city money to pay city fees. City Council members obviously have control over their own funds. But I think it might make sense in the future if the city takes this all into account and presents Art Walk with a smaller bill.

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Invest with James: How to make money renting your shirts

Matthew DeBord

James has discovered the value of renting stuff he isn't using.

My almost-six-year-old son James is very interested in money. But unlike some kids who think about ways that they can do jobs for an allowance or create little businesses (Lemonade stands!) in order to get some cash to spend, James wants to divert wealth from other people without actually providing any real services. 

I think this makes him a member of the 1% that Occupy Wall Street is protesting, if not in assets then in philosophy.

His chief target is his older sister, Lucia, who has decided that she doesn't care about money and wants to live for her art.

James is obsessed with separating her from her money. He doesn't really know anyone else who has money he can get his hands on, so this makes sense. 

Money for both of them comes from the traditional sources of pre-adolescent capital: intermittent allowances, gifts, the Tooth Fairy. But James has more of it because he saves it all.

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