Jeff Glass on Bain Capital Ventures’ New Innovation Center, the Startup Ecosystem, and the Future of Group Buying
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entrepreneurs at this moment. He wanted to give 20 things (all of them important), but in the end he settled on “build the right team.” Having the right people together to go after an opportunity, he said, involves having the right mix of skill sets, the right culture, and aligned goals.
Glass also had some thoughts on how to stay ahead of the curve from an investor’s perspective. The first part goes back to the overarching theme of venture capital these days: “Stay close to the entrepreneur community,” he said. Great ideas come from entrepreneurs “because you’re brilliant, or you worked inside an industry and saw an opportunity that you could go after,” he said. The second part has to do “working within areas where you’ve got some domain expertise.”
Nothing too surprising there, but for Glass, domain expertise means the intersection of where media and marketing meet the Internet and wireless technologies. He said the biggest trend he’s seeing in all his portfolio companies right now is “the enormous power of social media.”
Lastly, I asked Glass for his thoughts on the competitive landscape in online group buying and daily shopping deals, which has really exploded in the past year with the emergence of sites like Groupon, LivingSocial, BuyWithMe, Tippr, DealPop, and many others. Bain Capital Ventures recently led a $16 million Series B investment in BuyWithMe, which was founded in Boston last year.
Glass thinks the sector will see a bit of a shake-out. “The market will start to organize itself—people will start going after different segments,” he said. “There will be a handful of truly national players of scale and some smaller, really good companies that picked off a niche that will have very good businesses.” Naturally, he thinks BuyWithMe has the right formula, thanks to its highly analytical approach. As he puts it, the company is focused on the urban female demographic, and making online deals “increasingly personalized to the consumer and [that] really help the local merchant manage their business better.”