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BVP Anti-Portfolio (bvp.com)
162 points by bl4k on Oct 24, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 16 comments



That's some incredibly refreshing brutal honesty, makes me incalculably more tempted to invest with them than the usual 30 pages of financial-marketing bumph about said firms unblemished perfection, mathematically perfect risk system and strangely graphed double-digit alpha.


But, they know that it will increase their cred. for some of their audience. So ... it's just smart marketing. Don't let it skew your perspective.

I thought it was cool, too, though.


"In some cases, we were making a conscious act of generosity to another, younger venture firm, down on their luck, who we felt could really use a billion dollars in gains."

Besides showing a fantastic human side of their firm, a post like this should be raw encouragement to entrepreneurs who, despite their bottomless well of optimism, once in a while get "no" fatigue.


I love this. Might be interesting to see the YC anti-portfolio. Anyone have any stories?


eBay: "Stamps? Coins? Comic books? You've GOT to be kidding. No-brainer pass."

Not saying that I would have made the right call on eBay, but I've learned to override myself whenever my gut reaction about a startup idea is a no-brainer either + or -. That kind of strong reaction often calls for a contrarian second opinion.


love those comments next to each company...

Cowan’s college friend rented her garage to Sergey and Larry for their first year. In 1999 and 2000 she tried to introduce Cowan to “these two really smart Stanford students writing a search engine”. Students? A new search engine? In the most important moment ever for Bessemer’s anti-portfolio, Cowan asked her, “How can I get out of this house without going anywhere near your garage?”


Whatever the reason, we would like to honor these companies -- our "anti-portfolio" -- whose phenomenal success inspires us in our ongoing endeavors to build growing businesses. Or, to put it another way: if we had invested in any of these companies, we might not still be working.


"Whatever the reason, we would like to honor these companies -- our anti-portfolio -- whose phenomenal success inspires us in our ongoing endeavors to build growing businesses. Or, to put it another way: if we had invested in any of these companies, we might not still be working."

Awesome honesty.


I wonder about the companies that a VC rejects that end-up going under. How much is a firm's failure due to lack of funding vs. actual competitive forces or management inability.

Not saying that I'd be a shinning beacon since I would have turned down Twitter and Zynga.


Cowan appears quite a few times in these, and in his profile it says he's on the Forbes Midas touch list.


The only difference between Cowan and the other top VCs is that he is honest about his mistakes and approaches them with a sense of humor - while others attempt to uphold an image of being perfect (eg. by removing failed portfolio companies from their websites, not speaking of deals they passed on etc.)

All the top vc's have their bad deals or deals they missed. Cowan is just very transparent about it.


Reminds me of a friend who passed on both Yahoo and Google in the 90s :)


Which means if he says "Yes" you're quite likely to succeed - but says nothing at all about probabilities in case of a "No".


Potential is missing from the article.






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