Xconomy’s “Consumers, the Cloud, and Beyond” Features 3 Top VCs on the Future of Venture and Entrepreneurship

8/31/11Follow @bbuderi

A double dip recession may be looming. But you wouldn’t know it from the valuations of venture-backed companies like Facebook, Zynga, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Groupon, Gilt Groupe—as well as a host of other startups either based in the cloud and/or focused on the Internet and consumers.

So is there some perfect, endless summer-type wave in these fields that entrepreneurs can still catch—or has it already broken? Are there new areas of opportunity that are only just emerging? How have the rules for investors and entrepreneurs changed in an era where the barriers to entering many fields are so low a wave of new startups might arise overnight to threaten your innovations? And how does this all affect consumers and more established companies alike?

To shed light on such questions (well, why not just go whole hog here—to give ultimate, hard, final, complete answers to them), Xconomy is pleased to announce our first event of the fall: “Consumers, the Cloud, and Beyond—New Rules for Innovation.” This evening chat, which will take place on September 26 in downtown Boston, brings together three leading venture capitalists who have backed some of the hottest consumer, cloud, and Internet startups around—from Hubspot here in Boston to Zynga in Silicon Valley. In an intimate, conversational forum, with plenty of time for audience Q&A, they will tackle some of the tough questions about how venture investing and entrepreneurship are changing, what it takes to be successful with consumer-facing startups (not exactly an area for which Boston is well known), and a whole lot more.

We’ve got a few surprises we are still working on and will announce soon after Labor Day. But in the meantime, here’s the lineup of participants:

Larry Bohn, managing director, General Catalyst Partners: Larry knows both sides of the startup equation—the founder’s and the investor’s. He previously served as the CEO of software and analytic solutions company NetGenesis, which he led to a successful IPO. But now he wears the VC hat. His investments at General Catalyst include HubSpot, Visible Measures, and Black Duck Software, among many others. (And of course, GC itself is known as one of the few Boston-area firms that takes a lot of risks in the consumer space.)

Jeff Fagnan, partner, Atlas Venture: Jeff focuses on very early-stage projects spanning enterprise and Internet infrastructure and including security and privacy—in some senses, the “beyond” part of Consumers, the Cloud, and Beyond. He currently serves as a director of Abine, Bit9, DataXu, Grockit, Hopper, Keas, and Veracode, among others. Jeff is also a founder of TUGG (Technology Underwriting Greater Good), a non-profit foundation harnessing “crowd-sourced philanthropy” to catalyze social innovation in New England.

Rich Levandov, managing director, Avalon Ventures: A co-lead investor in Zynga, Rich has blazed trails investing in Boston, New York, and Silicon Valley. Early in his career, he co-founded Phoenix Technologies, a company that helped launch the PC revolution, and then served as a VP of America Online. Beyond Zynga, he led Avalon’s early investments in Ad Summos, Backupify, Cloudant, Cloudkick (acquired by Rackspace), Pictela (acquired by AOL), Simulmedia, and more. You can read the story of how Levandov came to invest in Zynga here.

We hope you will join us on September 26 (my birthday, by the way). We promise it will be instructive, highly interactive, a lot of fun, and maybe even a bit dangerous:

One leading entrepreneur we spoke to said he wasn’t sure he could attend, but if he did, “I would bring a paint gun and shoot the VCs when they do not answer a question the way I want :).”

OK, we also promise no paint guns. Get your tickets here.

Bob is Xconomy's founder and editor in chief. You can e-mail him at bbuderi@xconomy.com, call him at 617.500.5926. Follow @bbuderi

By posting a comment, you agree to our terms and conditions.