So anyone thinking that they're going to get much liquidity as a private company founder should think again. If the Snapchat and Twitch guys were rejected, the odds are not good that you will be the exception.
The category of VC that wants founder secondary and the category of VC that likes loss leading consumer facing businesses are not well aligned.
You know, kind of like how Bernie Madoff took hundreds of millions from established, regulated entities because the "word on the street" was he was, well, just front-running. Though illegal, that was an acceptable explanation for the consistent returns that prolonged a dirty business model. Well, we've learned how that all turned out.
Is there a moral to the story? Probably, but I'm not sure the startup culture would like to have to start questioning "angels" and their cohorts. YMMV.
You can certainly fool one.
Same goes for slack.
The real value in these firms is not the code, but the employees' ability to execute on the entire business idea that their code supports.
The question isn't whether VCs are brilliant according to some absolute metric. The question is whether they deploy capital better than random chance. The numbers show that top ten VCs consistently do.
Perhaps the comparison should be against the index.
If you have enough people flipping coins you're bound to end up with some people who appear to have significant skill in consistently flipping heads in your pool of coin flippers. (Especially if the pool tends to replace people who don't flip heads in their first couple of tries with new entrants)
It's arguably the Texas sharpshooter fallacy because we define "top VCs" after the fact by looking at their past returns, rather than identifying the "most talented VCs" from a very early stage. Perhaps identifying the "crack shot" from a blindfolded firing squad would be a better analogy.
It could be that 0% of top VC returns are explained by this; I'm curious, though.
My guess is, most of it.
If you have enough gamblers in a high stake casino where the house hasn't stacked the deck, some of them will seem to consistently win in comparison to the other players.
Similarly, a very small percentage of VCs and other active investors consistently beat the market. A percentage so small I'm not sure anyone can statistically say they are doing so through skill.
Similarly, your argument is the top 10 are consistent. Yes. And the top 10 aren't a statistically significant sample in a market of thousands of investors.
Actually, it doesn't. The top 10 VCs aren't static and unchanging.
Grow the player base, increase the number of predictions, you'll end up with some real super-stars who just go on winning. They'll probably write books and lecture about their techniques. Right up until the moment they lose. Kind of like hedge fund managers.
I read this example in a book or article, but I can't remember what that was called.
With 1,000,000 people predicting 100 coinflips each, the top ten had an accuracy of:
He sent different predictions to different people, some saw his predictions come true, and he sent more letters to all those people. And then repeated that, eventually narrowing it down to one person, who saw week after week correct gambling predictions, and really believed he had a system for winning.
She borrowed family money to bet big - then he revealed that she was the result of survivor bias and he had no system.
The Romans considered luck to be an important trait. When regarding military leaders, they considered luck to be even more important than skill. It meant that the gods favored the lucky person.
Julius Caesar was a skillful general, but he was even more admired for his incredible luck. There were many times where he was almost beaten, yet he got some lucky break that allowed him to be victorious.
It's harder to model with VC's because they are measured in rewards that get exponentially better with success (money) and are self-reinforcing (better deals from recognition). My guess is that they figured out how to eliminate the absolutely horrible ones and got lucky enough times to have the best deals come to them.
That does not describe Berkshire Hathaway at all.
That is the key. And 'well enough' can be a pretty tough hurdle for your typical fast growing start-up-without-a-business-model. Even though it seems to be all about growth (which I disagree with in part) growth by itself does not pay the bills. So you may be firing on all pistons and still find that you can't sell your stock at all.
Zuck's not trying to make small side investments personally that might enrich him but would certainly cause questions of conflict of interest with his CEO role at FB.
It's pretty common for companies to get minority stakes in competitors to get an in. Granted that is much more common in the public sector and sometimes sews the seed for a hostile takeover. This is why the snapchat board would never approve the deal; but the fb board would.
Do you have an example of this? It will be conflict of interest and may bring anti-trust issues. No competitor will allow access to confidential information and board proceedings to be observed by competitor.
I have only seen this happening when two companies settle some legal claims (ex: QTM-Data Domain) or form partnership (not competitors, ex: MSFT-FB) when one party is private/startup and other public. Typically public company will divest the stake when startup have IPO.
Also, Jos A Bank's takeover by Men's Warehouse, facilitated by minority owner Eminance Capital.