This week InSITE fellows Sikandar Atiq, Brian Ballan, Adam Kalmachi, Yusuf Roso, Craig Wilson, and I were able to have breakfast with Andy Weissman, partner at Union Square Ventures and co-Founder of BetaWorks. Breakfast started off with Andy asking each of us about our backgrounds and what we hoped to get from InSITE. It was a really nice gesture and we could tell that he had taken an interest in each of us because he kept referring to what we had shared throughout the breakfast.
Over the course of the meal, we chatted more about tech, startups, and venture capital in NYC. What all of us walked away with is a feeling that Andy is really good at predicting trends and taking calculated risks. Here are three trends Andy spoke about.
BetaWorks. Andy saw that the cost of creating a company was declining and he thought it would be good to lead smaller investment rounds. He also took a bet on New York City before startup became a household phrase for New Yorkers in 2007. Looking back, it is clear that Andy was right!
Unbundling. The internet is moving away from aggregation (think the AOL and Yahoo homepages before Web 2.0) towards fragmentation because users are now going to many more websites to consumer information. Andy calls this fragmentation “unbundling.” Feel free to read more on Andy’s blog.
Entrepreneurship. It looks like entrepreneurship has become the new cool. But Andy said people are moving towards starting a company, not because it is trendy, but because corporate business is becoming more risky. Companies are no longer offering the incentives to stay an employee for twenty, thirty years. Pensions are gone and healthcare benefits are decreasing along with many other perks. As a result, more people are viewing entrepreneurship as a comparable option to corporate life.
Being a successful venture capitalist involves being able to spot the trends. Andy also shared that the investing world is really small and he believes the best venture capitalists should be open, honest, and nice. Andy exemplified these qualities and more.
Great company and Great food made for an even greater breakfast. Feel free to follow Andy on twitter at @aweissman or his blog learn more!
This post was written by Thilmin Gee, NYU MBA 2014