Think of the most welcoming Irish pub you have ever visited complete with great drinks and good company. Now, add an unusually incredible and talented crowd.
That is what it was like to cover the f.ounders event from the NASDAQ this year.
For those who don’t know about it, it has been described as “The Davos for Tech Geeks” or “The Rolls Royce” of tech events. There were 150+ business founders, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and angel investors all in one place to discuss what is coming next in technology.
On everyone’s mind: “Which company will be the next Facebook?” Established tech companies have their public presence; f.ounders is about the new blood.
Ever since Facebook went public, the tech and investment communities are trying to figure out the implications and what it means for technology investment. Only a few venture capitalists think that “the Facebook experience” will hurt other companies’ chances of going public. Most expressed the idea that if you build a good business, there will be options for it: a strategic partnership or an offer to be purchased or an IPO.
The NASDAQ’s Bob McCooey even gave advice to the entrepreneurs in the crowd. He said to get their books in order, act as if they were about to go public and use a 12 month consideration period AS a dress rehearsal, just in case it makes sense to steer towards an IPO.
I asked a few investors about an investment bubble and whether or not we are in one. Dave Goldberg, the CEO of SurveyMonkey (and Sheryl Sandberg’s husband) had some interesting thoughts on the topic. He lived through the last tech bubble in 1999 and told me that this time it’s definitely different. He told me the majority of companies now have real business models– and really want to create something—- they’re not just in it to get rich quick, unlike in ’99 where greed was rampant.
Goldberg says this time, investors and entrepreneurs are “sober.”
The environment is competitive. Investors need a clear head. As Mike Maples, managing partner of Floodgate told me, the tech community is always looking for the same 10 out of 10,000 companies that will be a success.
This is where networking events like f.ounders come in. They bring together the best of the best in one place, where they can network, talk and engage in meaningful conversation.
Deirdre Bolton is the host of “Money Moves” on Bloomberg Television. Follow her on Twitter: @DeirdreBolton.