Last week’s W Media Ventures CEO summit provided a good opportunity for me to reflect on where W Media Ventures stands today and where I want it to be in the near future. Over the last 2 years, W Media has evolved into one of the leading early-stage consumer Internet investors in the Pacific Northwest with currently 15 investments of which a bit more than half are based in the Vancouver region with the rest split between 6 other locations. Sectorwise social (like TeamPages), travel (like Escapio), content (like Suite101) and applications (like Tynt) dominate the picture. It has been a fantastic ride and I am really proud of the great group of founders and portfolio companies I am able to work with on a daily basis.
While the core focus will remain the same going forward, there are 4 slight changes to our direction:
- Looking at SaaS opportunities: the current focus has been exclusively on products that target consumers but I am starting to get more excited about SaaS opportunities targeting businesses. My experience so far has been that it is sometimes much harder to market to businesses in the same scalable way as marketing to consumers but tactics and strategies are the same.
- More co-investing outside of the Pacific Northwest: I have selectively done deals outside of my geographical focus of the Pacific Northwest and am now open to do more – I would however not lead a deal in this situation.
- Creating more synergies between portfolio companies: it has always been my focus to try to drive synergies and knowledge exchange between portfolio companies and I have been reasonably successful at that (or so I think). But the goal now is to take this to the next level and follow a more systematic approach: too many portfolio companies still spend too much time answering the same questions on their own while the (proven) answer is just around the corner.
- Bringing more talent to Vancouver: last but not least, I want to focus on bringing more talent to Vancouver, my “home market”. There is an amazing amount of activity going on here but we need even more entrepreneurs, developers and senior talent in Vancouver to make this a top notch place to build Internet companies. Opportunities to do so might be through BootUp Labs or the Entrepreneur in Residence position.
I am excited about all 4 initiatives and hope to report on progress very soon.