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May 23, 2010 / Danny Robinson

Draft Panel Questions: “Digital Media Investment Trends”

I’m moderating the panel at the VEF next Tuesday entitled “Digital Media Investment Trends” Here is the list of questions that I’m proposing to ask, but would really like to hear from you.

  • Setup
    1. Introduce the panel topic “Digital Media Investment Trends”
    2. What is Digital Media? – “Any service or site that can be delievered digitally”
    3. Explain the agenda.
    4. Introduce myself
    5. Have panel introduce themselves
  • Opening Questions
    1. Starting from right to left, tell us what deal you’ve done recently, how you initially learned about it, and what was is that compelled you to write a cheque?
    2. VCs to blame? – With a drought of capital for Digital Media in Vancouver, many founders have taken shots at you guys for not placing more bets. What’s holding you back?
    3. Keeping sights short term, what does 2010 bring?
  • Individual questions:
    • Steve, What’s new at Yaletown?
    • Bill, Tell us how Bonanzle deal came to you.
    • Shawn, Tell us about why you did Tynt.
    • Kushal, more often corporations are buying companies earlier. What kind of companies are big clients looking for these days?
  • Trends
    • Trend #1. Deal Flow – It used to be that deal flow was 100% referrals. Seed Accelerators like YCombinator and TechStars have Demo Days are new sources. Where do you get your Deal Flow from?  Is it changing?
    • Trend #2. Alpha Dogs – Kleiner, Sequoia are the big dogs, but they are having a hard time investing in digital media due to the low capital requirements. Sequoia has responded by adding a Seed Fund, Kliener has doubled down on their iFund. But these days, Digital Media companies being funded by Union Square or First Round Capital carries almost the same cache. Do you agree and why do you think that is?
    • Trend #3. Bootstrapping – Vancouver has done a great job bootstrapping it’s Digital Media sector. Club Penguin, SuperRewards, Flickr, PlentyOfFish, MetroLyrics, have built their companines on credit cards. Eric Reis and Jason Fried have some pretty strong thoughts on lean startups. Will bootstrapping become the standard way of building digital media companies?
    • Trend #4. Geography – New York, LA, Boulder, Isreal, and Vancouver (of course), are producing great Digital Media startups. When it comes to Digital Media, is Silicon Valley losing it’s grip on being the centre of the tech universe?
      • Followup – Have you invested in a Vancouver company? Which stars would have to align to get you to invest in a Vancouver company? Do you insist on syndication with local investors? Is there a higher bar because of distance?
    • Trend #5. Early M&A – Often, digital Media companies are sold quickly and for less money than it’s tech sector siblings. According to Crunchbase (which is far from scientific and just one data point) there have been 363+ acquisitions since Jan 1st. Kushal, I assume that most of these don’t even hit your radar screen because they’re too small. How can investors make money on these investments, or can they?
    • Trend #6. Alternative Sources – Other Investment sources? – Crowdsource, Micro, Kickstarter where Diaspora raised about $185k last week. Thoughts?
  • Open the floor to questions. I’ll repeat them before they’re answered.
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