Sunday, January 30, 2011

Union Square Ventures: You Love Me, You Love Me Not

Image representing Etsy as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBase
Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBaseUnion Square Ventures has an impressive portfolio. If you are fascinated by web tech like I am, you would be impressed by what they got. They are into Twitter, FourSquare, Zynga. USV constantly looks for companies that will perhaps come up with the next big thing in tech.

With my FinTech startup, I have made it absolutely clear we are not trying to come up with the next big thing in tech. We are not a web tech startup. Instead we will constantly be surveying the scene for new developments in tech to see what we can put to the service of microfinance.

That would be a good reason for USV to not come for us.

On the other hand Etsy is not trying to come up with the next big thing in tech. But they are making an amazing use of technology to make a ridiculously positive impact on the world. If it is about doing good, my startup intends to outdo Etsy, and Etsy is a USV company. If it is about having deeply engaged users, I can sure deliver on that. Having deeply engaged users is the fun part. You want to feel the love as you do good work.

I have no desire to join an accelerator program, but USV is an accelerator program of sorts. To become a USV portfolio company would be an opportunity to get on a first name basis with some of the most dazzling tech entrepreneurs on the planet. That stuff falls in the priceless category.
Image representing Zynga as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBase
I am at peace with the fact that USV might or might not put money into my startup. Besides, I don't need much to take off. And that little does not have to come from USV. I can close the loop - raise money, lend out money, collect monthly payments - with little. And that is my next step. But I have not approached them, and they have not said no.

A Moment Of Despair

Some of the tech we are excited about.
  1. Social networking
  2. Social gamingImage representing Tumblr as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBase
  3. Data visualization
  4. Mobile phone banking
  5. Social media - Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Blogger/Wordpress 
  6. Cloud Office 
  7. Mobile phones, smartphones 
But the last mile is the most important mile in my business, and there the most important component is face time. It is not technology. It is when my 20 borrowers will meet in person. That is where the magic will happen.

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