Interesting thought piece from fellow VoIP blogger Andy Abramson about what he sees as a lack of sensitivity on the part of venture capitalists toward the specific resources needed to market of products and services they are evaluating for possible investments in.
That concept seems to be especially sticking in Andy's craw after he attended the DEMO conference in Arizona last week. DEMO is one conference where VCs and the media gather to see these new solutions. Unlike at the Consumer Electronics Show where salespeople rule, the media and VCs actually meet the execs and tech behind products that are aiming for the marketplace.
"Last week at Demo I saw a ton of innovative companies with some really great ideas," Andy notes. "And at the same time I saw the VC’s swarming around the ideas that were being presented but during their questioning, clearly demonstrating that they are missing out on how those ideas can ever see more than the light of day at DEMO. Why? Not because innovation wasn’t there. It clearly was."
Then, Andy goes on to describe what he sees as a disconnect- one not limited to, but especially true in the world of VoIP.
"But because the funding for the idea is given more weight than how how much money will be needed to bring the idea to market," writes Andy. And the lack of real marketing is hurting many a great idea, including many of the ideas Jeff Pulver had that got me thinking about it. Ideas like FWD, Tello, ipeerx, the service that gave you a number in a foreign country whose name escapes me were all radically ahead of their time, yet without marketing they are all nothing but 'cult' favorites among so many of us. The same hold true for other great ideas.
"We love these services, yet without consumer marketing on a mass level and the dollars to support them," he points out, "they will remain popular to loyal users, but not mass market success stories."
I'm still thinking about what Andy has written. Maybe there's a problem with VCs thinking more in financial terms about when a company they invest in will start recouping or can be an IPO candidate- rather than also think about what it will take to help their investment cross the chasm between a narrow industry cult application and one not necessarily for early adopters or narrow niches?