How come the early excitement around the Yang campaign did not translate into a primary victory?
The zeitgeist completely changed (from the start of the race). Recovering from Covid was all anyone was thinking and talking about, and that was what mattered. Andrew Yang as a tech entrepreneur—high-energy with a vision—was really the right person for that moment. About halfway through, two things happened: The vaccines arrived, which is a very good thing, but nonetheless, people’s concerns about Covid decreased significantly. Two, crime and violence spiked. In any municipal election, when crime is high, that’s the only issue that matters. Eric Adams was very much the right person for that moment.
What tech sectors are you focused on?
The stuff to me that is the most interesting is the whitespace where there is no existing procedure. That could be crypto, drones, AI, autonomous trucks—sectors where it is less about preventing entrenched interests from shutting us down and more about “what should the regulation be?”
What’s driving the increase in tech startups going public?
The markets are really hot and are eager to absorb companies. The SPAC phenomenon has driven people to find companies and bring them public. And there is so much money in VC right now, and funds are so big. A company that maybe three years ago would be worth $500 million is today worth $5 billion.
Union Square Ventures investor Fred Wilson wrote a warning about overheated early-stage startup valuations. What do you think?
We’re obviously still investing at a very rapid clip—this is the job. There are times you have to say to yourself, “Get over it. The valuations have changed.” At the same time, it does not excuse all common sense. If you’re saying, “OK, I’m going to pay for a Series A company valuation of $150 million, and then if all of a sudden the world returns to reality, how much am I really going to make on this?” Every VC fund is having this debate, especially at the early stage, about how much is too much.
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