Tag Archives: venture capital

We’re still at the beginning of the podcast boom

Peter Kafka has a new article out on Recode about venture capitalists’ reluctance to invest in podcast companies. The reasons they cite all boil down to the podcast industry still being tiny. But, as I explain in this video, that’s the perfect reason to invest; the podcast industry will see nothing but growth over the next several years, and now is the best time to get in on it.

 

A $23 million VC fund launches that only backs government technology startups

Per the press release:

Govtech Fund Launches, Raises $23M

First-ever venture capital fund dedicated to government technology startups

mSeptember 15, San Francisco

— Today the first-ever venture capital fund dedicated to government technology startups launched publicly. The Govtech Fund raised $23M and has made four investments to date: SmartProcure,MindMixerSeamlessDocs, and AmigoCloud.“I’m thrilled to announce the launch of the Govtech Fund,” said Ron Bouganim, Founder and Managing Partner. “We’re proud to support a new generation of venture-backable technology startups that have emerged in the past few years— helping governments become more efficient, more responsive and better able to serve society. This is just the beginning of a decades long wave of innovation in government.”

Govtech startups build hardware and software tools that government departments use for daily internal operations and to deliver services to citizens. Examples include tools to manage projects and procurement, track infrastructure, regulate zoning, deliver health care, collect taxes and other fees, issue licenses and permits, convene citizens, manage water and sewer infrastructure, etc.

“Thanks to the Govtech Fund’s support, SmartProcure is providing spending transparency for more than 3800 local, state, and federal governments,” said Jeff Rubenstein, founder and CEO of SmartProcure, a government procurement intelligence platform. “By equipping procurement professionals and government vendors with critical data, competitive pricing of goods and services can now be assured — leading to significant taxpayer savings and providing smaller vendors real opportunity to work with government.”

Historically, governments have worked with large multinational vendors and contractors in the $450B global government IT market. However, over the past few years budget constraints, government adoption of cloud computing, the rise of open data, and significantly reduced sales cycles have created an environment for innovative and cost-effective technology startups to emerge.

“We’re honored to be among the inaugural group of companies funded by the first-ever government technology-focused venture capital fund,” said Nick Bowden, CEO of MindMixer, which recently announced the closing of its $17M Series C investment round. In the past two years, MindMixer’s community engagement platform has connected civic organizations in nearly 1,000 communities with almost two million citizens, generating more than 100,000 new ideas.

Why are VCs suddenly investing in news orgs?

VCs and investors have been pouring millions of dollars into new media ventures recently, ranging from Ezra Klein’s Vox to Glenn Greenwald’s First Look to Jonah Peritti’s BuzzFeed. Why the sudden interest? Typically, a VC invests in a company with the hope for a large return many times the initial investment once the company goes public or is acquired. Do any of these new news organizations really have that short-term potential, and is the investment creating the right kind of incentive structure to practice quality journalism? Gawker’s Nick Denton doesn’t think so:

Not every media company has chased venture capital funding, however. Gawker Media, for example, has bootstrapped its entire operation since its founding in 2003. It is, however, an exception.

“We never raised money because we fund growth from cashflow,” said Nick Denton, CEO of Gawker Media by email. “And the journalistic pursuit of the truth is not compatible with outside investment. It’s impossible because of venture funds’ sensitivity to criticism, short time horizons and attachment to conventional wisdom,” he said.