Re: Oh, this is making *me* sneezy and teary...

Mike Masnick (
Sat, 18 Dec 1999 00:53:26 -0800

At 08:29 PM 12/17/99 -0800, Adam Rifkin -4K wrote:
>Do companies ever fail anymore, or do they just get bought out by other
>companies for the purpose of press releases, code snarfing, and employee

In answer to your question, the answer seems to be no:

A quote:

>One reason limited partners once found
>venture capital so scary was that the
>business was a minefield of failures.
>Accepted VC math was that out of ten
>investments, four would end up losing
>money or breaking even. But ask VCs
>about their recent failures and you realize
>that isn't true anymore.
>Yang, 41, recently told me he couldn't
>think of any failures. Then he remembered
>a company called Whistle
>Communications. While he was still a
>partner at IVP, Yang put $6 million into
>the company. Its product, an Internet
>server for small businesses, worked like a
>charm, but the company couldn't figure
>out how to sell it to the fragmented
>small-business market. So in June, Yang
>and the other directors sold Whistle to
>IBM for more than $100 million, a
>transaction that made IVP four times its
>money. With failures like these, who
>needs successes? Yang uses such stories
>to recruit executives from telecom giants
>like Lucent and Nortel to come work for
>one of his communications companies.
>Invariably, they ask about the risk of
>working at a startup. Yang tells them,
>"What risk? If the company doesn't work
>out, we'll sell it for $150 million. If the
>company kind of works out, we'll sell it for
>$500 million, and if it really works out, it'll
>be worth between $2 billion and $10
>billion. Tell me how that's risk."

It's all fun and games, you see...

I have a lot more cynical comments about the venture capital "process", and
I even typed them up, but changed my mind and deleted them. Maybe some
other time.