Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

VCs provide access to small growth businesses and will never have a lack of passive investors because that sector "should be" a great profit engine. When one set of passive investors tires out due to the funds' mediocre performance, there'll be another set of suckers coming down the line.

The most underreported self-dealing by the VC class isn't the 2-and-20, but the revolving door between VC firms and overpaid executive positions at VC-funded companies. Being a partner at a VC means you get a lot of executive positions to hand out to your B-school friends who turned out to be underachievers. This means that a bunch of people will owe you favors, 10 years down the line. This type of personal draw-out (funding suboptimal businesses to win future favors from founders and other VCs, rather than the best) is also impossible to prove or even measure.

VCs draw a decent salary for themselves, but the personal career benefits of being a king-maker (which are impossible to track) are even bigger. The savvy ones essentially assure that they'll become two- or three-digit millionaires (billions is unpredictable and hard to assure; you typically have to go all-in on your own company) in the next bubble cycle. You can't not get rich if you're a VC, and for 95-99% of these guys, I could do their jobs better and I'm a 31-year-old relative nobody.

For better or worse, they're the main (and perhaps the only reliable one) valve between top talent and the ocean of passive capital seeking better returns than what index funds offer, and they're not going to give that up.

It's a Cheap Votes Problem. Why is it illegal to sell one's vote? Because, even if the statistical power of one vote is low, the statistical power of a bloc of votes can be quite high (voting blocs grow quadratically in contribution to variance). If you allow vote-buying, the people who aggregate cheap votes gain a ridiculous amount of power. This was a major problem in the Gilded Age. Venture capitalists are cheap vote aggregators when it comes to passive capital and high-talent business formation.




"Being a partner at a VC means you get a lot of executive positions to hand out to your B-school friends who turned out to be underachievers"

You clearly have a bone to pick with the industry and that's fine. But no VC hands out executive roles to anyone they don't believe to be top talent; they'd destroy their own career, reputation, and compromise the returns of their fund.

Now, they could very well be wrong about somebody and give a job to a C- player but that'd be an honest mistake.


But no VC hands out executive roles to anyone they don't believe to be top talent; they'd destroy their own career, reputation, and compromise the returns of their fund.

Well, then they're just really awful at judging talent, because founder quality is at an inexcusable low.

I doubt they'd destroy their careers by placing incompetent people in these startups. Why? Most of them fail anyway, and that's part of the design. Also, most non-founder executive roles are sinecures.


How do you measure founder quality? Most startups have some amount of traction when they raise VC funding. Either hundreds of thousands of users or $1M or more in revenue, especially with the bar for Series A getting consistently higher. That would speak to the quality of founders increasesing over time, not decreasing.




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: