My Conference is Bigger Than Yours

VCs have always frequented conferences. Now they’re getting into the conference business themselves. Sequoia Capital is teaming up with TechCrunch to do a conference (Jason Calacanis is spearheading it).

Now comes word from Matt Marshall that David Hornik of August Capital (pictured on the cover of VCJ) is organizing a nonconference – conference in Hawaii called “The Lobby.”

In both instances, the VCs are ostensibly trying to improve their deal flow. But that strikes me as strange. I mean, these guys are supposed to have the inside line on what all of the best entrepreneurs are doing before they actually launch a company. I can’t imagine that they would find a startup at one of their own conferences that they had never heard of before. So what’s really going on here?

My theory is that the best entrepreneurs (particularly those in the Internet space) have gotten pickier about who they’ll take money from, so these shindigs are really a kind of reverse beauty pageant being put on by the VC to show entrepreneurs how sexy the VCs are, and hopefully convince the best ones to go out on a date. Will it work? I have no idea. But you can be certain that GPs at other top venture funds will be keeping a close eye to see if they should get into the conference game, too.