If you counted the number of times William Draper III used the word “cooperation” at a public event in early February, you might not think you were in Silicon Valley.
But there you were—right at the heart of it—inside the Rosewood Hotel on Sand Hill Road, within a stone’s throw to where venture firms syndicate large rounds for important deals and where cooperation isn’t what it used to be.
This is according to Draper, one of the fathers of the modern venture business and still an active investor while turning 83 this year.
“There was cooperation in the olden days,” he said. “It was a cooperative environment.”
Then came the right hook. “You don’t want to lose that.”
Draper was celebrating the release of his book, “The Startup Game,” with a book signing that brought luminaries from across the business and country: Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Partner Ted Schlein, National Venture Capital Association President Mark Heesen and son Tim Draper, managing director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson.
The book looks at the relationship between entrepreneurs and venture capitalists through the personal recollections of this lifelong business man, who came to Silicon Valley in 1959 to join the West Coast’s first venture capital firm. It was an organization named Draper Gaither & Anderson that included his father.
But rather than dwell on how the script was written, Draper felt inclined at the Rosewood to weigh in on the issues of the day—a venture industry struggling to find liquidity for its portfolio companies, with sagging fundraising and a shakeout anticipated to endanger second tier firms.
“In the current situation, be careful of being too greedy,” he told the small crowd. If VCs can’t share a deal, “that’s not so good for the industry.”
Hoyem Emerges at RSA
Quietly, it seems, George Hoyem joined In-Q-Tel as a partner last year.
We learned that because Hoyem was a prominent VC at the RSA Conference, held last month at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, and which is the big U.S.-based security gathering of the year. Hoyem was most recently a managing director of San Francisco-based Blueprint Ventures, which focused on IP spinouts and which, after more than 11 years, is officially winding down and not making any new investments.
Last month, we spotted Hoyem at the RSA, where he joined Maria Cirino of .406 Ventures and Bob Ackerman of Allegis Capital to participate in “speed-dating” pitch meetings with entrepreneurs. And Hoyem was then interviewed on stage by Hugh Thompson, chief security strategist with People Security.
Hoyem told Thompson and the RSA attendees that security is poised for a renaissance, as more cloud-related startups tackle security issues.
VCs Rocked On at Vator Splash
Last month, at the Vator Splash event in San Francisco, we saw several VCs do what they normally do—they sat on a panel and judged a startup pitch contest.
Ten finalists pitched to the VC panel, which included David Thacker from Greylock Partners, Dara Bazzano of KPMG, Saad Khan of CMEA Capital, Jed Katz of Javelin Venture Partners, Jay Jamison from Blue Run Ventures, Tim Chang of Norwest Venture Partners, and Raj Kapoor of Mayfield Fund. They tapped LaborVoices as the winner, a social for-profit company that aims to end labor abuses by creating a rating platform for employees.
Then, Chang and Kapoor went downstairs at Cafe du Nord and performed Lady Gaga‘s “Poker Face?” and other popular songs, although they didn’t use an oversized egg as a prop like the pop star did at the Grammy Awards.
Chang (bass) and Kapoor (vocals) are two members of Coverflow, a cover band of VCs and entrepreneurs who have only been playing together for about a year. The rest of the band includes Prashant Fuloria (guitar) and Ethan Beard (guitar) from Facebook; Philip Kaplan (drums) from Blippy and Daniel Kraft (keyboard) from RegenMed Systems.