Week in Review

My take on various PE and VC-related events and news last week.

Notable Fundraising. Connie Loizos reported last week that Union Square Ventures is looking to raise a third fund, and the word is it’s going to be a big one—some $500 million. Perhaps the firm is taking a page from Andreessen Horowitz when it comes to early stage investors raising large funds. On the PE front, however, $500 million would be chump change for KKR. Alex Navab told my colleague Luisa Beltran that the firm will seek a mega-fund perhaps by the time summer rolls around. But don’t’ expect it to top the $17.6 billion the firm raised four years ago. Maybe just $15 billion.

Conference of the Week. I spent Thursday hanging out at TWTRCON in San Francisco, and I have never met a livelier group of people than Modern Media, which put on the event. But the crown for conference of the week has to go the Web 2.0 Summit, which took over The Palace Hotel in San Francisco as Mark Zuckerberg and the rest of the Internet Economy gathered to talk business strategy. My colleague Mark Boslet reported on some highlights, including the battle of words between John Doerr and Fred Wilson on whether the Internet bubble is real. Among the more intriguing Web 2.0 events was when Ron Conway gave his state of the union address as seen from his angel perch and then brought a dozen of his portfolio companies on stage like a fashion show. Here’s a link to the video in case you missed it.

Blog Worth Revisiting. Are you bearish or bullish about angel investing? What if Bin 38 never took place? Would there be much hype surrounding what certain individual investors are up to? My friends over at Venture Hype explore some of these thoughts in a recent blog. The bottom line is that you don’t need to get all Chicken Little on us.

Another Exit in the Clouds. Probably the most notable exit last week has to be Isilon Systems. EMC bought the storage provider for $2.25 billion, which is proving to be a big win for Atlas Venture. But also winning big from the sale of Isilon, which comes just two months after Hewlett-Packard bought 3PAR, is every other cloud company out there. We’ve seen several startups raise large rounds recently and several large acquisitions took place. The cloud is becoming part of our lexicon, as evidenced by my 8-year-old son who saw a commercial for cloud services and asked me what it meant. It means we can probably start christening 2010 as the year the cloud sector went bananas.

IPO Rundown. Did you notice that IPOs are kicking some certain butt? My colleague Larry Aragon has, and he points out that surge in a recent post. Apparently, the casino operator Harrah’s Entertainment didn’t read that post. The PE-backed company pulled its IPO plans. If I had their kind of debt, I don’t think I would try to make an IPO splash, either, especially as numerous VC-backed companies sit on the IPO launching pad, ready for their public debuts. One newly registered company I want to spotlight is Kayak Software, a company that is in what appears to be an over saturated industry–online travel. But I’ve been talking to a stealth, travel-related startup in San Francisco that is attempting to raise angel funding, and based on the founder’s research and the impending IPO of Kayak, I’m confident in saying the travel vertical is worth watching in the next year.

The New Domain That Few Know About. I like asking people outside of my work experience if they know about the .co domain. Most are unfamiliar with it. But I believe that will soon change, because entrepreneurs and investors I talk to are ecstatic over the new available domain, which now has more than 600,000 registrants and is growing. I wonder what Gary Kremen thinks of it.

Tweet Quote. From Naval Ravikant: “Rumors of the death of email are highly exaggerated. I know I’m old because I’ve been hearing these for a decade. #inboxlove.”

In Memoriam. My former colleague Dan Primack reported last week on the passing of Peter Rip, who had been a partner at Crosslink Capital for the last four years. A celebration of Peter’s life will be held Nov. 30, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the home of Canaan Partners GP Deepak Kamra and his wife Christina in Woodside, Calif.