VC's bullish on video - just not sure when

Steve Rosenbaum · April 10, 2008 · Short URL:

 Spending the day in Boston, you'd think the Red Socks have the same record as the Yankees. I can say this because I'm safely back in NY.

But for those of us who trekked to Beantown, or are based there,  Tuesday was all Red Socks all the time. Opening Day!  Meanwhile, at the Four Seasons, Tony Perkins Venture Summit East was in full swing.  Lots of VC's Lots of entrepreneurs - and the halls were alive with the talk of ... Video! 

The star-studded panel titled: "Is There Still Upside in the Internet?" aimed to ask the question, "What's  next?" The panel included: David Kidder, CEO of Clickable, Waikit Lau, Co-Founder of ScanScout, Bob Davis, General Partner at Highland Capital Partners, David Beisel, VP at Venrock, and, Eric Hippeau, Managing Director at Softbank Capital.  Kara Swisher, Wall Street Journal reporter, was the moderator. She kept the panel on their toes as she fired off zingers like: "Microsoft is insane. Paranoid Ballmer wakes up every morning and says, 'Shit, Googles gonna kill us.'"  Ouch. Kara went on to say that in the year 2112 Google Skynet would become "self-aware."  (Grin) She really should do stand up.

But the real headline was at the end, when Swisher asked the 64 million dollar question, "What's the hot next thing?" Each VC had the same answer: Video. 

What is ironic here is that at least two of the VC's on the stage have big bets in video already. And no one was going out of their way to tout their current portfolio companies.

As enthusiastic as VC's may be about the FUTURE of video,  they're not too thrilled with the PRESENT of video.

Which of course makes sense. We're in a period of innovation - which often comes before monetization.  VC's privately may be watching the video space to see who emerges as winners. I'd predict that if you want to predict which VC's are going to be winners in the video space, look for the guys who are doubling down now. And, look for ideas and technology that are pushing the envelope around community,  content, and new contextual ad models. 

Certainly these sites are going to be testing new viewer behaviors, and that means some hits and some misses. But just think about where YouTube was when Sequoia placed that bet?  It was hardly obvious then. 

And the next YouTubes are already scribbled on the backs of napkins at Bucks or NY's Webster Hall. I'm willing to go out on and limb and say that there will be other video exits that will match or exceed the YouTube sale.  What am I betting?  A full serving of humble pie if we the 36 months down the road and you can't name another mega video play (or two!). 

Bravo for the VC's who see video as the next big thing.  Gentlemen,  place your bets! 

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