I was at this event last week - very informative, lively and entertaining!
The big question was "were we in a bubble", and the answer was a unanimous maybe.....lots of capital, high valuations but maybe (or is that hopefully) this time it is different
- Steve Goldberg (Venrock) said we were seeing real disruption in healthcare, bio/medical, genetics, disease treatment, so this is not a bubble
- Mitchell Kertzman (Hummer Winblad) - yes we are in a bubble. Due to abundance of capital, companies that should fail are still getting funding to stay alive. There is a real break down of operational discipline and a focus on growth without looking at margins/revenues/churn etc.
- Sharon Wienbar (Scale Venture Partners). Maybe - we are seeing a lot of new angel investors with no tech experience but maybe not – most enterprise companies have revenue and on the consumer side we seeing real disruption of traditional markets and and massive user adoption
- Guarev Tewari (Sapphire Ventures, formerly SAP Ventures). It is very frothy, Lots of easy / free money due to low interest rates. Lots of “me too” companies and only one or two will be big. When interest rates rise, this will change, and change fast
So there you have it - yes and no to a bubble. In Silicon Valley it is a topical question. It seems a bust is inevitable, but timing is unknowable.
90 guests gathered to learn the views and predictions for the year Panelists - Steve Goldberg, Managing Director of Venrock, Mitchell Kertzman, Managing Director of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, Gaurav Tewari, Managing Director of Sapphire Ventures, Sharon Wienbar, Managing Director of Scale Venture Partners and . Richard Waters, West Coast Editor of the Financial Times Sharon Wienbar noted that technology’s disruption of mainstream consumer markets caused the sudden boom in growth, causing many investors to overstate their valuations Gaurav Tewari stated that through low interest rates has created a surplus of capital which is disproportionate to the number of successful ideas that exist. Mitchell Kertzman opined that companies are spending for growth, humorously quipping the eventual ‘bloodbath’ that will arise when they struggle to cope with the inevitable deceleration of growth.