Sam Altman, CEO of Loopt and a Silicon Valley venture capitalist in his own right, says the startup scene is “out of whack” and probably in a bubble. Altman is a partner at YCombinator, and he has participated in about 15 different startup/venture investments, totaling around $US30 million in funding.
He’s also been the beneficiary of startup funding himself, of course. Loopt took about $US30 million from investors. And when Loopt was acquired by Green Dot Corp., the transaction earned Loopt’s backers a $US43 million deal.
So he knows something about investing in startups. Right now, that doesn’t look like such a good idea, he wrote in a blog post:
Companies raising money at $US15MM+ plus valuations with no traction and no real vision beyond starting a startup still strikes me as unsustainable (not to mention bad for the companies).
Lots of other signs point to a bubble — founders of Series A stage companies being angel investors, a significant uptick in the number of parties, hot girls roaming bars trying to chat with any guy that looks like he might be an engineer and looking for a job, soaring rents, soaring salaries, lots of new investors coming to valley, and MBAs starting companies as the fashionable thing to do again.
We’ve been suggesting that the tech bubble looks a little frothy for some time. But so far, consolidation in the sector appears to be progressing relatively smoothly. IPOs are still happening, but they’re taking in less money. And smaller companies are being acquired by larger ones.
Smooth landing, maybe?