Saints, Sinners, Losers, and Winners

In the venture capital world, there is always a lot of information about the big wins of VC firms, but what of the losers? Or the deals they passed on they came to regret?

One firm recently put out a public announcement of the deals they passed on that turned out to be truly missed opportunities.

Here they are:

AirBnB — back in 2010, the venture partners looking at the deal thought it was a crazy valuation at $40,000,000. The last time AirBnB raised VC money they raised at 500X that original number.

Apple — Venture partner, “Outrageously expensive” at $60,000,000 valuation.

Atlassian — the largest Australian tech IPO is that nation’s history was a “bit rich” at $400,000,000.

ebay — “Stamps? Coins? Comic books? You’ve GOT to be kidding. No-brainer pass.” Haha. Sorry.

Facebook — “Kid, haven’t you heard of Friendster? Move on. It’s over!” partner speaking to Zuck.

FedEx — passed on Federal Express SEVEN times.

Google — no real explanation, just passed

Intel — got hung up on negotiations while a guy named Arthur Rock closed the deal.

Intuit — the company ended up being funded by family and friends after all of Sand Hill Road venture illuminati passed on the deal

Kayak — extensive due diligence uncovered a gaping flaw: US airlines would not pay placement fees on somebody else’s platform, but turns out that hotels will. Priceline bought Kayak for $1,800,000,000.

Okta — in the early days of SaaS nobody seemed able to understand the complex calculus of turning web apps into a business as a Cloud Area Network, so passed. Okta is a leader in that market with a stock market cap value of $14,000,000,000.

PayPal — passed because of the rookie team and regulatory nighmare. Ebay ended up buying PayPal for $1,500,000,000 4 years later.

Snapchat — VC partner arrives at LAX on a delayed flight, runs out of time, and has to blow off one meeting. Blows off Evan Spiegel and Snapchat which ends up as 2017’s largest IPO.

Tesla — liked the car, Model X. Bought one at full price. Passed on the deal. Tesla market cap currently greater than $534,000,000,000.

Zoom — loved the tech, engineer founder (Eric Yuan) but thought the space was frothy, passed. Zoom IPOed at $9,000,000,000. They bought some of the IPO.

The point, Big Red Car?

The point, dear reader, is this: nobody gets anything right all the time and we are as defined by our misses as we are by our hits.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car.

Free sausage tortilla wrap at Green Mesquite BBQ in Austin By God Texas for the first person to identify the VC firm noted above. Go.

Copy of Jeff Minch June 1 2007 060