I had the chance to discuss the current state of the VC industry, the increasingly competitive internet giants and the inexorable rise of Bitcoin this past week with Carl Quintanilla, Jon Fortt and Deidre Bosa of CNBC and Balaji Srinivasan, CEO of Earn.com.
One point I conveyed is that the rise of initial coin offerings (ICOs) over the past six months has been remarkable. Over $3Bn has been raised in ICOs, more than the cumulative total of Series A financings done during the same time period. If this trend persists it presents some real risk to the long term viability of the VC industry.
A second point I discussed is my view that the rise of ICOs represents the next stop on the “hot money party” circuit, having recently impacted the seed stage market in ’13 and ’14 (financed in part by capital from gains from the FB IPO), then the froth went unicorn hunting in ’15 and ’16. As those markets have reverted back to more normal levels, the ICO market has gotten white hot and is being financed largely from Bitcoin gains.
Here’s a clip from the interview on these points.
We also discussed how competitive things are getting between the internet giants such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple. It wasn’t too long ago that Eric Schmidt served as CEO of Google AND a board member of Apple. Those days are long gone.
It will be really interesting to see how these trends play out in ’18.