Back in 1986, when Bill Gates was still making sales calls, he pitched my group at First Boston on why we should bet the farm on Windows. Despite the risk involved, we gave his fledgling startup the deal. This wasn’t because of his financial backers (he didn’t even drop any names), but because we believed in his vision and nerdiness. In the same way, Google became a huge success long before the deep pocketed VC’s arrived to ride Larry and Sergey’s coattails. They simply had a great technology and winning strategy.
So I’m miffed by the National Venture Capital Association’s (NVCA) claim that companies like Microsoft and Google “…would not exist today without the funding and guidance provided during their early stages by venture capitalists.” And I’m amused that the NVCA claims credit for creating 12 million jobs and generating $3 trillion in revenue (that’s only 21 percent of U.S. GDP). In the software industry (which includes Internet/Web 2.0), they stake claim to 81% of the all jobs created. Yes, 81%. Can they please give the entrepreneurs who risk their life savings, max out their credit cards and put their families in the back seat a little more credit? We’re not talking about divvying up the company’s stock here, just a pat on the back.