Above the Crowd

Archive for the ‘Web/Tech’ Category

Investors Beware: Today’s $100M+ Late-stage Private Rounds Are Very Different from an IPO

February 25, 2015:

[An edited version of the following blog post originally appeared in a modified form in the pages of the weekend edition of the Financial Times last Saturday.] Every successful technology company raises money throughout its lifecycle, perhaps starting with a seed investment and progressing through Series A, B, C, late-stage investments, and, for the most successful companies, an IPO. Historically, different financial institutions specialized in different stages, because the assessment of risk and opportunity was considered unique at each stage — for example, a seed investor was unlikely to do late-stage financing, and vice versa. Over the last few years, the late-stage (pre-IPO) market has become the most competitive, the most crowded, and the frothiest of […]

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Uber’s New BHAG: UberPool

January 30, 2015:

“Can you take me Higher? To a place where blind men see  Can you take me Higher?  To a place with golden streets”      — Creed, Higher In their seminal 1994 book Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies , Jim Collins and Jerry Poras coined the term BHAG (pronounced BEE-hag) — an acronym that stands for “Big Hairy Audacious Goal.” Collins and Porras suggest that the very best companies set an audacious, very long-term goal that shines a light towards “an envisioned future.” BHAGs serve as a rallying cry for the company culture, an ambitious target for the future, and a focusing tool for corporate […]

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How to Miss By a Mile: An Alternative Look at Uber’s Potential Market Size

July 11, 2014:

On June 18, Aswath Damodaran , a finance professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business, published an article on FiveThirtyEight titled “ Uber Isn’t Worth $17 Billion. ” This post was a shortened version of a more detailed post he had written for his own blog titled “ A Disruptive Cab Ride to Riches: The Uber Payoff .” Using a combination of market data, math, and financial analysis, Professor Damodaran concluded that his best estimate of the value of Uber is $5.9 billion, far short of the value recently determined by the market. This estimate of value was tied to certain “assumptions” with respect to TAM (total available market) as well as Uber’s market share within […]

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Welcoming Jason Kilar, Richard Tom and the Vessel team to the Benchmark family

June 24, 2014:

Today Benchmark is excited to announce that we will be partners with Jason Kilar and Richard Tom on their next exciting project — Vessel . Working with amazing entrepreneurs is the number one reason we enjoy venture capital, and rarely do you have the opportunity to work with a team that has a track record like these two. While they are not planning to disclose any specifics today about the company, you can rest assured that they plan to bring their amazing product instincts and cultural leadership that were at the heart of Hulu’s success. We are also excited to be partnering again […]

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A Deeper Look at Uber’s Dynamic Pricing Model

March 11, 2014:

Over the course of the past year, many writers have offered their perspectives on Uber’s dynamic pricing strategy. Perhaps the only consistency is that people have deeply passionate views on this topic. However, there are still many misperceptions about how the model works, and the purpose of this post is to clarify some of those misperceptions. I am an Uber investor and board member, and therefore expect that many will dismiss these thoughts as naked bias. But consider that as a result of my role I have access to more information that might enable a deeper perspective. I also have […]

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