Keith Teare, a very successful serial entrepreneur, currently of Palo Alto incubator / accelerator Archimedes Labs and just.me, was an original co-founder of TechCrunch with Mike Arrington and still writes there. I got to know Keith a few years ago when we were both part of a fido assignment well before he started just.me his most recent startup. He has just published his first posting on Opinionated! a new newsletter format. In Keith's words to a group of 4,000 initial invitees he describes it this way, "I plan on writing periodic longer essays - something too essay-like for a TechCrunch post (or his blog). I have one ready to go. Before I do I want to give you the chance to opt out of receiving them." How could anyone opt out when Keith's first essay is The Startup Valley of Death in which he reflects as a Silicon Valley insider on the current state of early stage funding in the Valley and beyond.
We have all heard of the Valley of Death but not explained by a guy with the experience base that Keith has. He currently has 13 portfolio companies being incubated or accelerated at Archimedes Labs but has just hit a major bump in the road with his personal baby, just.me, in spite of quickly amassing over 300,000 users for what is described as "the best of texting, email and social networking, all in one place, on a mobile app". I was an original Beta tester of just.me and therefore understand how hard Keith has worked on it. Having just run an accelerator program myself in the past 12 months at Lean Launch Ventures I completely understand where Keith is coming from when he says, "The Valley today is not the Valley I came to join in 1997. It is certainly different, and that is good. But in one regard it is worse, and significantly so. And we will all pay a price if that does not change. This is a manifesto of the need for that change as much as it is an essay."
Keith explains further when he says, "There are many who believe that the Valley is as great a place as it has ever been. That the growth in the sheer number of startups and the number of investors, and the more recent trends to create syndicates of investors, establishes a new and viable means of supporting innovation. Much as I welcome these trends, I beg to differ in just one regard. A major part of the ecosystem needed to support true disruption is absent. This is a new phenomena, and a dangerous one. But more of that later, first a little context on myself for those who don't know me."
From here I would recommend you read Keith's essay The Startup Valley of Death - How to Save Silicon Valley's Unique Ecosystem on Keith's Opinionated! site. If you like it, I strongly recommend that you subscribe. You won't be sorry. Let's engage in a conversation with him on Opinionated! through his comment section.