Both the Wall Street Journal and TechCrunch recently wrote articles about the new breed of “super angels” in Silicon Valley, individuals who are aggressively investing in technology startups, often in amounts large enough that they are starting to squeeze out traditional venture capitalists.
TechCrunch states that this movement is enabled by the rise of the “lean startup,” in which companies use new technologies to reduce their costs:
“But the last several years have seen the rise of the cheap startup. Internet startups can use open source software and new scripting languages to ship products fast and cheap.”
That’s true, but only for a certain segment of technology companies. Sure, consumer internet companies can leverage these new technologies and launch without gobs of capital, but much of the technology world doesn’t have that luxury. Any company that produces hardware is in a different situation. Chips, devices, networking appliances – these guys all need just as much capital as they ever did. And even folks working on software for the enterprise are still somewhat tied to the old ways of building products.
TechCrunch tends to see Silicon Valley as consisting solely of web startups fueled by former Googlers, but there are still entrepreneurs out there working on traditional products. So before you start writing the obituary for venture capital, remember that consumer internet may be fun and sexy, but there are plenty of technology companies that still need the sorts of resources only large funds can provide.