Nov 13

InSITE Breakfast with Ian Sigalow from Greycroft Partners

Recently, InSITE fellows Sanjay Amin, Austin Clements, Christina Yugai, Marianna Zaslavsky, Lincoln Heineman, and InSITE Chairman Paul Tumpowsky sat down for breakfast with Ian Sigalow, Co-Founder and Partner at Greycroft. Given that half of us had come from the barren, powerless wasteland of post-Sandy lower Manhattan, the discussion kicked off with the downtowners’ stories of cold showers and the difficult commute up to our breakfast venue, Sarabeth’s at Central Park. The @ElBloombito Twitter feed also made honorable mention. Between bites of pancakes, omelets, eggs benedict, and other breakfast fare, we discussed everything from the NY startup and VC scenes to Ian’s own business school experience and career path. Some highlights:

Good VCs have to be good salespeople. When entrepreneurs seek serious investment capital, they have to give up a large share of their businesses, and VCs must be able to convince them to do this.

  • The VC world has changed quite a bit with more early-stage and angel investment capital being deployed. Now, a majority of the exits are not IPOs but M&A deals, which changes the investment dynamic.
  • For those that want to get into VC, you must be able to detect signals amidst the noise. Look for trends and the big picture, research industries, identify 5-7 companies that are exciting, and maybe even try to reach out and build relationships with a few of the entrepreneurs.
  • CMOs are the biggest clients in B2B, and they will make the majority of software purchasing decisions
  • E-commerce will continue to grow rapidly, and Amazon will continue to try and win market share at all costs (world domination!)
  • Mobile is not a vertical, just another platform
  • Distribution > Content (e.g., looking at portfolio company Maker Studios, why Aereo should get dongles for anywhere access)
  • At Columbia Business School, Ian was a Lang Fund winner and the Bottom Line editor-in-chief. The paper did so well under his leadership that he was able to throw some epic happy hours for the school.

Mucho thanks to Ian for breakfast. Follow Ian on Twitter @Sigalow and check out his blog:

This post was written by Sanjay Amin, Columbia MBA 2014

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