Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Isn't 'Syndicate' a worrisome term on an online crowd-funding platform?

A recent article by Lora Kolodny on Venture Capital Dispatch raises some interesting aspects on how VCs perceive the impact of likes of AngelList (online crowd funding platforms) on VCs - all but the potentially most impactful feature of investment 'Syndicates'
Below's my comment on the above article;   
I was waiting for something on this – a much needed & timely insight.
It’s good to see all four VCs cautiously optimistic & none too worried about the online equity participation platforms impacting the role of a VC – couldn’t agree more!
From what has been said by the VCs, my key takeaways are as follows;
  1. Fundamental changes to the proprietary-deal-flow showcase of the VCs ~Rory Eakin, CircleUp
  1. The additional costs of investing associated with online platforms ~Annie Kadavy, Charles River Venture
  1. ‘Tragedy of the commons’ Risk – to mean the relative disengagement of investors owing to a portfolio comprising of multiple small investments ~Jeremy Liew, Lightspeed Venture Partners
  1. The risk of misreading or missing a signal by investors – owing to low signal to noise ratio of all online leads ~Alfred Lin, Sequoia Capital

While all these pose some but varying levels of risk, I feel the evolving ecosystem (of online equity platforms) will soon equalize the same & make the impact minimal.
One aspect that hasn’t been discussed is the potential risk of ‘investment bias’ stemming from the syndicate approach – which may inadvertently shift focus from a few worthy signals that already suffer a low S/N ratio - What say Alfred Lin (& AngelList)?