The holidays are coming early this year for Blueprint Ventures. Managing Director Bart Schachter says the firm is already working on its annual holiday e-card, starring Gary Snoman. In fact, Gary will make an online appearance as part of a marketing campaign leading up to the release of this year’s card, Schachter says.
Blueprint created the popular animated character two years ago. Gary started out as an entrepreneur, selling snowman assembly packages, but he gave that up to to become a venture capitalist. Our favorite scene from last year’s card: Gary is boarding a private jet and carrying on two conversations with a BlackBerry in each hand (er, tree branch). “Tell them to replace the CEO” he barks into one handset; “Ask them about India and China” he bellows into the other.
We’re not privy to the theme for this year, but we suggest Gary take a swipe at the buyout business. Suggested catchphrases: “Can we fire more employees?” and “Can we add more debt to the balance sheet?”
Meanwhile, Onset Ventures is going over mockups for its holiday card. General Partner Susan Mason says she’s seen a draft of the card and says, “It’s going to be another great one.” The firm’s last card was a comic book called “Santa vs. The Liquidator.”
Vote Mitt early
The earliest presidential primaries won’t happen until February. But a group of election watchers, including Draper Fisher Jurvetson’s Tim Draper, are encouraging their fellow citizens to cast a first vote in December.
Draper is one of about a dozen prominent, politically active Americans who recently endorsed a project called the National Presidential Caucus. Organized in response to decisions by election officials in several states to move up the date of their presidential primaries, the effort’s stated aim is to better prepare voters for the compressed primary season.
The plan is relatively straightforward: People sign up to participate in caucuses, either online or in person, which will be held around the country on Dec. 7. Following a discussion of issues and candidates, participants vote in an exit poll. A straw poll is also planned for Nov. 9.
The caucus may be all about opening up debate, but it’s unlikely to alter Draper’s vote. He’s already made his choice known, contributing earlier this year to the campaign of fellow Republican and private equiteer Mitt Romney.
Few VC billionaires
Tech executives, buyout pros, oil magnates and the Walton family are all over the latest Forbes 400 list of America’s richest citizens, in which the price of admission is $1.3 billion this year.
The class of rich VCs, however, is fairly small, with just three making the grade. At No. 271 with a net worth of $1.8 billion, is John Doerr, 56, of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, thanks to Google stock. Doerr has a long way to go to get up to the level of Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page—who tied for No. 5 on the list with a net worth of $18.5 billion each.
Behind Doerr is Vinod Khosla, formerly of KP and now head of his eponymous venture fund, with a net worth of $1.5 billion and rank of 317. Michael Moritz of Sequoia Capital comes in at No. 380 with only $1.3 billion.
We’ll go out on a limb and predict that Accel Partners’ Jim Breyer will make the list next year after Facebook finally goes public.
Perkins dishes on HP
No, he had nothing to do with the Hewlett-Packard wiretapping scandal. Yes, he was “amazed” to find out that board chairman Patricia Dunn resorted to such measures to ferret out a media leak.
Those are a couple of tidbits from Valley Boy, an autobiography by famed venture capitalist Tom Perkins that is due to hit bookstores on Nov. 1. The book recounts over the course of six decades Perkins’ varied career as engineer, consultant, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, yacht racer and part-time romance novelist.
As for HP, the uproar over its spying may have led Perkins to resign from his board post, but the former husband of bestselling romance writer Danielle Steele says gave a boost to his first novel, Sex and the Single Zillionaire. “The public whipping,” he writes, “kept my name in the limelight for weeks, and also revived sales of my novel, which sky-rocketed from oblivion to near-mediocrity.”
For our review of Valley Boy, see page 12.