To succeed in venture capital, you can’t just throw your money at companies and wait.
The best venture capitalists provide insight and support that can make the difference between a startup failing or succeeding. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, many VCs don’t leave that advice-giving at the office, and choose to dispense their thoughts to the masses — on Twitter or on personal blogs.
But not all of them are created equal. It’s boring to listen to a VC brag about all the big wins, or pretend like they have never had an off day. The ones you should be listening to are the ones that share everything: their hits, their misses, when they think the market is great, and when they’re scared or worried.
The following 14 venture capitalists are those type of writers, and have all thrown an extensive amount of their thoughts onto the internet. They also have the credentials to back up their assertions. Here are the venture capitalists you should be keeping up with.
Ben Horowitz is the co-founder of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, the buzziest firm in Silicon Valley. Before that, he co-founded Opsware, which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard for $US1.6 billion. Horowitz, whose firm invested in startup Genius (formerly Rap Genius), is an avid rap aficionado, and starts posts on his blog (titled Ben's Blog) with rap lyrics. Here's a recent one from Rick Ross: 'I'm into distribution, I'm like Atlantic. I got them mutherf**ers flying across the Atlantic.' Follow him on Twitter.
Brad Feld has been an early stage investor and entrepreneur since well before the dot-com crash. Feld has been part of big successes and big failures in his career, the latter of which he speaks about very candidly on his blog, Feld Thoughts. As a co-founder of Foundry Group, Mobius Venture Capital, and Intensity Ventures, he has invested in companies like Zynga, MakerBot, and Fitbit. Feld is also a co-founder of Techstars, one of the most prominent startup accelerators in the country. Follow him on Twitter.
Mark Suster joined Upfront Ventures as a partner in 2007 after selling his second company, Koral, to Salesforce. As a two-time entrepreneur and now a venture capitalist, Suster says he knows 'both sides of the table,' which is the name of his prominent blog. Suster focuses on early-stage companies, usually Series A, but his blog offers advice from ideas to exits. Follow him on Twitter.
Sam Altman might be only 30, but the president of Y Combinator has a wealth of experience in how to help coach a successful startup. Companies that Y Combinator has invested in as a seed stage accelerator have now topped $US30 billion and includes Airbnb, Dropbox, Stripe, and Reddit. Altman have even taught a class at Stanford called 'How to Start a Startup' -- which you can access online. Altman writes many of his public thoughts on Twitter, but also keeps a blog. A recent post looked back on every life advice he'd have for others on his thirtieth birthday.
Chris Dixon is not only a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, but also an immensely successful personal investor. Dixon co-founded web security startup SiteAdvisor, which was acquired by McAfee in 2006, and Hunch, which was bought by eBay for a reported $US80 million. He's personally invested in success stories like Kickstarter, Warby Parker, Pinterest, Codeacademy, and Stripe. Dixon doesn't post as frequently as some other VC bloggers, but his post are always a good mix of technical and easy to understand. Follow him on Twitter.
Bill Gurley, a general partner at Benchmark, has experience on in both Silicon Valley and Wall Street. He currently sits on the board of behemoths like Uber, Zillow, OpenTable, and GrubHub. He made waves earlier this year by warning that the tech industry could see the death of a few high-profile billion-dollar 'unicorns' before the year is out. Read his thoughts on his blog, Above the Crowd, or follow him on Twitter.
In a venture capital world that has traditionally been dominated by white men, Jalak Jobanputra stands out. This founding partner of FuturePerfect Ventures in NYC grew up in Nairobi, Kenya to parents of Indian descent. She's been a venture capitalist since 1999 and keeps a popular blog on investing called The Barefoot VC. Follow her on Twitter.
Chris Sacca heads up Lowercase Capital, and is famous for early investments in tech companies like Twitter, Uber, and Instagram. He is one of the most vocal venture capitalists on many issues, most recently what direction Twitter should take. Before Lowercase, Sacca was the head of special initiatives at Google. He can usually be spotted in his signature cowboy shirt. Follow him on Twitter.