The Vilna Shul Speaker Series started off the New Year last Tuesday with a panel discussion entitled "The Venture Capital Industry: Looking Back on 2007 and Looking Forward to 2008." Moderated by Scott Kirsner, the three panelists were three local VC's: Alan Spoon, Jonathan Seelig, and Larry Bohn. Given all the turmoil in the financial world, the group was surprisingly upbeat. As Alan Spoon pointed out, the returns on Venture Capital were still well above other asset classes and the top funds were being offered more capital than they could use. While the economy may go through some rough patches for the next year or two, VC investing takes a longer time horizon and as Selig pointed out, there are opportunities in down markets as well. The biggest problem all of them faced was the lack of big successful technology companies in the Boston area that would usually be counted on to train the next generation of entrepreneurs and managers. As a result, they all travel more than their West Coast counterparts, making investments not only in California but in India and Asia.
Everyone agreed that Boston was the premiere location for Life Sciences companies, and many are investing in that field, but there are also opportunities in clean energy and even in a restaurant chain catering to the growing middle class in India.
- The organizer of the event, Doug Levin summarized the areas where the panel said they would invest.
- Scott Kirsner wrote a brief summary on his blog.
- Dan Bricklin did a podcast and blog post.
Thanks, Doug for continuing to organize this excellent series.