I am sticking with a few of my 2013 ad 2014 predictions that continue to do well, but also continue to be early in their trends still…the opportunities in web video and the financial web (‘FinTech’).
BUT, let’s start with being eclectic and making cold calls. The best investors read like crazy, read the right stuff and follow the right people. They also have an open mind. They get out of the office. They travel. They meet face to face. They go off the grid. I am constantly on the lookout for fresh voices to mix with the people that make me money. But I also have a routine.
In 2014, I used AngelList (biased investor) less on a month to month basis, but more on a week to week basis as the weekly emails about activity in my network gave me a feel of what the network I value was doing.
I made so many cold calls, but that could be more a function of me raising money for Social Leverage Fund 2, than hunting down great product founders and entrepreneurs. I think the cold email has a purpose if you have a social media presence. It’s still not the best, but it has some use cases.
My network continues to afford me the best opportunities, whether it is investing with people I have worked with before or attending events like TechStars.
Back to my predictions…
I refer to the financial web opportunities as ‘Fintastic’ and to the video market as ‘Videolicious’ (which happens to also be a name of a portfolio company).
I am of course biased on these trends and talking my book here, but I have my money, my partner money and reputation on the line so I am doing this for me mostly!
Web video has been a tough trend to master. I want to use it all the time, but I don’t. It seems easier than ever to shoot a quick video with Vine and Instagram, but I rarely do. I still use YuTube to search of clips that add emphasis to a point I want to make. Proof in point that others do as well is this ‘Economics of Seinfled‘ blog.
As an investor in the space, 2014 was my best year with TubeMogul going public ($TUBE) and more than doubling so far.
Facebook video is going to be gynormous. They made the acquisitions and they need to expand beyond app install ads in 2015. It is teed up for success if the users take to it as they seem to be.
If Facebook and YouTube continue to plow forward, content providers might as well too. The Venture capitalists are not shy of the content space anymore, just yesterday plowing $50 million more into Vox Media and Buzzfeed will be spending a lot of their new $50 million on video.
I want to fish where the fish are and the stars seem aligned for a monster web video year of investment, creation, great content and monetization. Combined with the fact that the hardware comes in all forms and sizes – from GoPro to the iPhone 6 – a perfect storm may be upon us.
Obviously ‘time’ is the great wildcard here as people only have so much of it and advertisers will only move at the speed of the industry.
Another video investment our fund has made is SQWIGGLE – which puts all teams that are remote, one click away from a video conversation.
In the public markets the video proxies I follow are $FB $TWTR $NFLX $AAPL $GOOG $YHOO ….media, technology, platform and content. I am long Apple and Google and a little Twitter.
Social Leverage (our fund) has made a lot of investments in the ‘Fintastic’ space. Stocktwits, DataFox, ClearServe, GetLittleBird (does not know it yet), Robinhood, StreetContxt, Crowdability, Changetip, AngelList, Chartiq, Orchard, Apple Pie Capital and Ycharts.
The financial web is being bundled and unbundled at the same time at every level of investing from private to public markets and in every country.
The ridiculous laws and fees set up to protect people from themselves is about to be unwound by software and hard driving entrepreneurs. I am thrilled to be so deep in this trend and am passionate about the change at hand.
The public stocks I own as my proxy here have been Schwab, Google and Interactive Brokers.
I will be continuing to write about theses trends this week.