Mobile Investing Gets Harder as Bar for Deals Rises

When it comes to mobile investing, think picks and shovels, not the next Angry Birds.

That’s the advice several seasoned venture capitalists offered a roomful of applications developers Thursday afternoon.

Angry Birds-like successes are rare. Tools makers can supply building blocks to all comers. But rather than guide a ton of cash into the space, this principle is proving a restraint.

“There’s no shortage of opportunities to look at,” notes Robert Abbott, a general partner at Norwest Venture Partners with a focus on mobile. “The number of things to find is pretty small.”

“I think the bar is raising,” adds Jay Jamison a venture partner at BlueRun Ventures (pictured). It is hard to zero in on the right investment, he says.

Small companies can create great applications. But turning them into big businesses is difficult.

As a result, Abbott said at the App Conference in Silicon Valley that he looks hard for tools and platforms that support the development and deployment of applications.

Jamison says investors have become so selective that early-stage companies see their chances of funding improve with a developed product and some product validation. Some seed companies have already achieved profitability, he adds.

Clearly the wide open days of build it and they will come are gone.