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Silicon Valley in Scotland - Sean Foote

Interesting speaker series that I only just discovered, put on by the Entrepreneurship Club by the Edinburgh University Business School  and the Edinburgh Uni School of Informatics. Pretty switched on if they can pull talent from Silicon Valley like Sean Foote from Labrador Ventures last week.

Sean's lecture last week was actually driven by questions from the audience, and covered a good deal of familiar venture capital ground. The most interesting insight to come out of his talk was his emphasis on advertising driven business models, something they actively seek and look for (besides tech and material science investments). In the context of the Web2.0 backlash (I've mentioned before that some believe the whole thing to be nothing more than a "Google affiliate program" and describe the Web2.0 business model as "Ajax, Adsense and Arrogance" ;-). However, it is probably true that if you build a webproperty with an unfair advantage of some sort (he mentioned Pandora, one of their investments), addressing a defined audience, then you will be able to make money in venture sized proportions from advertising. I wonder to what degree that is true for European companies. I can't think of many that live successfully off advertising alone.

Another interesting remark was about the "VCs as lemmings" debate - he agreed that most (presumably himself included :) do behave like lemmings often; however in their defense he pointed out that particularly early stage funds such as his rely to some extent on follow on financings from other, later stage funds. That requirement works against contrarian anti-lemmings.

March 14, 2006 in Finance & Technology, Scotland | Permalink


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