News of the end of didn’t really surprise me. I thought, “Yes, this is a great example of trying to have all the advantages of the VC label and the Indie label and it’s going to match no one’s pattern and may not even make sense.” But this week, with more of the results and challenges revealed, I have swapped to the same disappointment others have expressed.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned working at a start up, it’s that our capital markets are an irrational mess, and successful more by chance than strategy.

As I shared this frustration with a friend and LP, they replied “you’re playing a value hand in a growth game”. They were absolutely right. The way the startup game is played, even compelling fundamentals take a distant back seat to how much money companies are raising, at what valuation they are raising it, and which top-tier firm is leading the raise. This is not a knock; rather, an acknowledgment that those are the rules. I tried to play by a different set of rules and got burned.

I’m sorry– this is should be a knock. We’d have a better, richer world 1 if we could get the capital markets to play a value hand rather than the illusory growth hand every single time. The growth hand only works for a small number of investors with a small number of companies focused narrowly on a particular type of problem and solution.

  1. By which I mean we’d have better products, solving real problems, from people other than white Stanford dropouts. ↩︎