EXCLUSIONARY SILICON VALLEY GAY FRAT BOY MAFIA
was inspired to write this post due to a certain IPO that occurred in my
neighborhood last week...
interesting facet of the start-up scene out here is the rise of "mafias"
built upon the financial success of a select few companies. The "original"
mafia was formed around PayPal, which "lumped together incredible minds to
form one of the world's most important companies and whose alumni are now
founders and/or financiers of some of the most disruptive new technology
companies today." In
this spirit, success tends to breed (and fund) success.
on the founders of Facebook now, we see a list of individuals who have
gone on to found several successful companies as well as invest their
personal funds in a number of other startups. A brief overview:
Moskovitz - Facebook Stake: 7.6% ~$6.5 Billion - Founder of Asana, a
project management platform built around collaboration.
Saverin - Facebook Stake: 4% ~$3.4 Billion - Investor in Qwiki, a novel
social network; Investor in Jumio, a mobile payment platform build
around credit card recognition technology.
Parker - Facebook Stake: 4% ~$3.4 Billion - Managing Partner of Founders
Fund, a well-known angel fund out here that has given
many a startup (including a personal friend of mine's) seed funding.
Thiel - Facebook Stake: 2.5% ~2.13 Billion - The original "Godfather,"
Peter Thiel has provided funding for or advised almost every big name
today including YouTube, Paypal, and LinkedIn. In addition, he serves as
a Managing Partner of Founder's Fund along with Sean Parker.
Hughes - Part of Facebook's founding team, Chris went on to found
501(c)(3) Jumo, which sold to GOOD last year.
D'Angelo and Charlie Cheever - Both were early Facebook technology
officers who went on to found Silicon Valley darling Quora.
Hammerbacher - Now Chief Scientist at Cloudera, Jeff conceived, built,
and led the Data team at Facebook before becoming Entrepreneur in
Residence at Accel
list goes on...and it can be reasonably expected that the ~1,000
millionaires minted today will be ready to throw their newfound wealth
around out here (if they have anything left after completely disrupting
the Palo Alto housing market, that is).
point is, if you follow the mafia members, the people who were a part of
the explosively successful startups mentioned above (explosively meaning
no revenue to $1.5 Billion sale to eBay in 24 months in the case of
PayPal), you see that these people were part of dynamic, trusting,
visionary teams that, as a result of their success, threw any chance of
them ever working at a normal job again out the window. Uber-successful
founders are of a different breed than CEOs; it seems that anything they
touch turns to gold.
subject of the Facebook mafia plays into a larger narrative about the
future of venture
capital in general. As I'm sure a good
number of you are aware, Congress passed the JOBS act much to the chagrin
of VCs everywhere, and companies such as Kickstarter, Crowdtilt, and xPert
Financial could pose serious disintermediation risk to the value
proposition and business model of "venture
capital." A paradigm shift is already occurring in that
startups are far more readily seeking seed rounds rather than Series A
rounds, thus delaying their dilution for as long as possible. Take for
example Joe Lonsdale - he founded Palantir with angel money, scaled
successfully, and has quietly invested in a number of other companies that
are currently blowing up (Addepar comes to mind). Granted, crowdfunding as
an "industry" is still nascent, but it is something to pay attention to in
the coming years.
it is financial nepotism at its purest, but you can't argue with the track
record built within the ecosystem of success birthed from PayPal.
Extrapolating to the situation of the average WSO user, it just goes to
show you how important networking is now and will remain for the rest of
your lives. Make a good impression on the right person, and you could find
yourself with a life-long advocate and ally. All you need to do is put
yourself out there.
For the sticklers, if you go back far
enough the mafia chain goes back to Fairchild Semiconductor, which in
essence was the foundation of Silicon Valley. Other world-changing
mafias include Netscape, AOL, and Excite.
Shah. TechCrunch. "The 'Twitter Mafia' Poised to be Silicon Valley's Next
Great Network." http://techcrunch.com/2012/03/18/silicon-valleys-n...
Lacy. TechCrunch. "Inside the DNA of the Facebook Mafia." http://techcrunch.com/2011/02/13/inside-