Young Venture Capitalists to Launch Social Networking Site for VCs
Aiming to encourage collaborations that could fuel more effective creation of new businesses in the greater Boston region and beyond, a group of young venture capitalists will gather tonight at the EMC Club in Fenway Park to kick off their new professional networking website.
VentureNetwork.VC, set to go live by tomorrow morning, is the offspring of the New England Venture Network, an eight-year-old professional association consisting mostly of some 500 young venture capitalists—typically associates, principals, and vice presidents (or anyone else who isn’t a general partner). The website will function somewhat like business-oriented social networking sites such as LinkedIn, but will be narrowly focused on the venture capital/private equity world and set up for members-only access. Once behind its walls, members will find sophisticated ways to interact with each other online, share deal ideas, access research reports and news, seek advice, and generally work together in new ways. [Disclosure: VentureNetwork.VC will include an Xconomy RSS feed as part of its new offering.]
“We feel like the industry is ready for this,” says Joe Medved, an associate at SoftBank Capital in Newton, who will become one of two new co-chairs of NEVN almost as the site goes live. I met last week with Medved and three other core members of the group: Medved’s soon-to-be co-chair, Danny Klein, a senior associate in Vesbridge Partners’ Westboro office; outgoing co-chair David Safaii, a senior associate for Windspeed Ventures in Lexington; and Gavin Kim, an associate from Advanced Technology Ventures, in whose Waltham offices we convened.
These four VC up-and-comers see the site as a much-needed breath of fresh air for NEVN. More importantly, they also see it as a breath of fresh air for the, shall we say, somewhat insular New England venture community in general, which is also being invited to join in. More on that in a minute.
NEVN formed in 1999, but its membership has become less robust in recent years. Members connect well at the group’s various events. But, says Medved, “That communications stops or it slows down significantly until the next event.” Seeking ways to enhance communications and revitalize NEVN, the group’s steering committee hit on the website idea about a year and a half ago, shortly into the term of Safaii and Mike Hartmann, previously of Battery Ventures (now in business school). Safaii, who has overseen the idea since its inception but will focus on sponsorships and partnerships when his co-chair tenure ends, says that although the idea is on the surface aimed at revitalizing NEVN and helping advance members’ careers, the group also realized that “we’re doing entrepreneurs a disservice by not pushing deal flow around.”
What’s most fascinating to me, though, is the group’s observation that they are, in essence, representative of a new breed of New England venture capitalist that is generally much more open … Next Page »