I am in New York City putting together capital for our next new venture. Everywhere I go people are talking about all the new crowd funding and lending companies emerging. There are so many it brings me back to 1999. There was no Lending Club then but there was an eBay and emerging internet commerce. I thought I was way ahead of the crowd with my idea to convert our industrial auction company into this slick internet corporate eBay. We put a hip dot com brand on our family name and headed for the “hill”… the one called Sand Hill Road with every venture capital zillion dollar fund.
After one meeting I knew I wasn’t exactly late to the game but went from thinking I was an innovative front runner to another runner in the middle of the pack with zero chance if I didn’t pick up the pace and realize it was going to be a long, long crowded sprint. Everyone was raising dot com money. There was a line for online mortgage, for online travel, but the biggest line of all was the handout line for online auction. No sector of commerce was left out. Fifty yellow iron guys got funding. Fifty scrap and salvage guys too. Every specialty from wood to metal to food to chemical. Every retail from drugs to lingerie…And me too.
This company called Free Markets did an IPO that proved we were all brilliant. With not much revenue but the coolest look of the crowd they were zillion-aired. And it was crowded. And like always, Darwin sees that and he shows up to wreck the party. He loves to watch a good fight and see who survives.
Yikes. My Crowd funding plan for distressed assets is in the middle of the pack once again and NYC looks a lot like I remember Sand Hill to be. Gonna be a big crowd sprinting now.