Thursday, March 7, 2013

Why NYC Doesn't Have A Facebook

NY-based venture maverick Jim Robinson
For a well-rounded perspective on the New York City startup and venture investing scene, there’s few who could top James D. Robinson IV.
The co-founder of one of the Big Apple‘s leading venture capital firms, RRE Ventures, Jim  has been investing for nearly 30 years and has backed dozens of startups in information technology, e-commerce, mobile and digital media. Now investing its fifth fund at $230 million, in 2012 RRE Ventures made seven venture deals and eight angel investments — and has even backed an innovative Chinese luxury travel network, Affinity China.
Having worked in both Silicon Valley and New York City, Robinson knows full well the customs of investing coast to coast will never meet. I asked Jim what are some key differences, and what follows is an excerpt of our interview in prep for Silicon Dragon Alley.
Q. Would you consider New York as the digital media startup capital? A. There are basically seven business sectors in New York such as finance, fashion, advertising, media – and two of those are being tremendously transformed by technology and the move to a digital future. This has created a lift for New York as a startup hub over the past few years after the end of the dotcom era.
Q. Why doesn’t the east coast have a Facebook, Google or Twitter? A. I would argue that it does — Bloomberg.
Keep reading at my post at

Monday, March 4, 2013

Angel Investing: No More 'Stupid Money'

Angel Investing Matures From 'Stupid Money' And No 'Do Diligence'

Silicon Dragon Alley
After reporting from the startup hubs of Asia’s emerging markets for more than a decade, it’s refreshing to see innovation clusters forming closer to home.
I’ve been spending some time interviewing angel investors and entrepreneurs in New York City, hanging out in neighborhood cafes in the Flatiron district and the former meat-packing area around Hudson Street.
Brian Cohen, chairman of the New York Angels group and a lead investor in Pinterest, perhaps best exemplifies this new undercurrent of entrepreneurial energy that’s resurfaced in the Big Apple. I recently interviewed Cohen to get his thoughts on the startup scene in NYC and to hear more about his soon-to-launch book from publisher McGraw-Hill, ”What Every Angel Investor Wants You To Know: An Insider Reveals How To Get Smart Funding For Your Billion Dollar Idea.”
The title just about says it all. But Cohen has a lot more anecdotes and insights to share about how angel investing has developed from what used to be ”stupid money.”  We did a Q&A at his office in a cool co-working space – a sign above the kitchen sink with dirty glasses reads “100% of all entrepreneurs who do their own dishes have successful companies.”
What follows is a few excerpts from my chat with Cohen, who’s on our digital media innovator and investor panel here March 21. Keep reading post at Forbes.