At the end of last year, Fred Wilson, the leading voice of New York venture capital firm Union Square Ventures, wrote that he hadn’t led a single investment since the summer of 2011.
He’s wasn’t happy about it, but he said, “I have been working on a new investment and I hope it will close in early 2013.”
We’ve been wondering if that investment ever closed.
Today, over email, he told us, “Nope. Lost that one.”
We emailed back to see if he had more to add, but it looks like he’s on vacation. Our initial email got an auto response saying he’s “mostly off the grid” right now.
We’re not sure what it means that Wilson will be closing in on almost two years with out finding an investment he could lead.
The simplest explanation is that he can’t find companies at valuations he’s comfortable with. He also said last year that he was going to be trying to figure out the next phase of investment.
In his career, he started investing in “software to internet,” then “internet to bubble,” then “web 2 to mobile.” Each time his investment focus shifted, he started a new firm. This time he’s staying with USV while finding a new investment thesis.
Wilson is one of the most successful venture capitalists in the world. He led early investments in Twitter, Zynga, Etsy, and Foursquare, according to Fortune. Thanks to his blog A VC, he’s also quite influential.
While he’s currently in a “dry spell,” his partners at USV have made plenty of investments. It’s doing quite well, said Wilson in his blog post at the end of last year.
“The funny thing about 2012 is that our firm made more money in 2012 than ever, with some huge carry producing events,” said Wilson. But he added, “And yet I think of it as a wasted year professionally. I don’t like harvesting, I like planting the seeds, and helping them grow into fully flowered plants. That’s where I get joy from my job.”
While it may be frustrating for Wilson, it’s also smart. There’s no point in investing capital for the sake of investing. He’s wisely waiting until he finds a company he likes at a valuation he feels comfortable with.
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