Above the Crowd

Going Public Circa 2020; Door #3: The SPAC

August 23, 2020:

If you are looking past or through Covid — and why not, all of Wall Street is — the topic du jour in Silicon Valley is Special Purpose Acquisition Companies, or SPACs. SPACs are all the rage, and everybody and their brother have either raised one or are talking about raising one. What are they, and do they matter right now? Historically they have been a kind of back-door way for a company to go public, and as a result have historically had a sub-standard reputation. But in light of where we are in 2020, especially with regard to the […]

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Money Out of Nowhere: How Internet Marketplaces Unlock Economic Wealth

February 27, 2019:

(*) Benchmark is/was an investor in companies labeled with the asterisk. In 1776, Adam Smith released his magnum opus, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations , in which he outlined his fundamental economic theories. Front and center in the book — in fact in Book 1, Chapter 1 — is his realization of the productivity improvements made possible through the “Division of Labour”: It is the great multiplication of the production of all the different arts, in consequence of the division of labour, which occasions, in a well-governed society, that universal opulence which extends itself to the lowest ranks of the people. Every workman has a […]

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Benchmark’s Newest General Partner Chetan Puttagunta

July 9, 2018:

The partners at Benchmark are pleased to announce Chetan Puttagunta has joined the firm as our newest General Partner. As early-stage investors, we are acutely aware of the work of other venture capitalists on the boards of the companies we serve. Nearly 15 years ago one of Benchmark’s founding partners, Kevin Harvey, saw the skills of a young Peter Fenton on a board they shared. Peter’s work so impressed Kevin that he recruited Peter to join Benchmark. More recently, Peter encountered a once-in-a-generation venture capitalist on the board of Elastic, Chetan Puttagunta. In every way, from how Chetan discovered the […]

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The Thing I Love Most About Uber

April 19, 2018:

In spite of all the ink that journalists, analysts, and pundits have spilled on Uber over the years, no mainstream article has focused on what I consider to be the most elegant feature of this now ubiquitous, high growth global service — no driver-partner is ever told where or when to work. This is quite remarkable — an entire global network miraculously “level loads” on its own. Driver-partners unilaterally decide when they want to work and where they want to work. The flip side is also true — they have unlimited freedom to choose when they do NOT want to work. […]

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“Customer First” Healthcare

December 18, 2017:

The subject of the “consumerization of healthcare” has been around for many years. Most frequently people use this phrase in association with personal technology devices (heart-monitors, exercise accessories, sleep monitors, etc) that allow consumers to take direct control of their health information. There is however, a more important trend that relates alternatively to the consumerization of the “business” of healthcare. While other industries often speak of being “customer centric” or “putting the customer first,” the U.S. healthcare system rarely thinks of the patient as a customer. One could go even farther, and suggest that the U.S. healthcare market is the […]

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