Jim Breyer, a partner in the California-based venture capitalist firm Accel, bet on Facebook back in 2005 – long before the avalanche of funding came the technology company's way – and in a recent interview with the New York Times, he says he already has his next funding target identified: He is investing heavily in New York-based startups.
Breyer has a knack for investing in successful companies before they receive an onslaught of media attention. Some companies Accel has funded, like Groupon, Etsy and Diapers.com, have all proven profitable, with Groupon recently raising $950 million in further VC funding and Diapers.com selling to Amazon in 2010 for $545 million.
Breyer affirms that New York is quickly becoming a hotbed of entrepreneurship as the best and brightest from the top universities in the U.S. move to the city that never sleeps; however, they are not being lured by the money-making opportunities on Wall Street, but rather by the vibrant technology startup scene, dubbed Silicon Alley.
"The entertainment, media and consumer companies we see in New York today are as interesting as any geography in the world," Breyer asserted, declaring that the city, "over the next 10 years has tremendous opportunities to build very large-scale Internet businesses."
Technological advances like "cloud infrastructure services, some of the applications built on top of new technologies, virtualization, all of these technologies that are allowing teams in New York to scale and build their businesses in ways we didn't see five years" ago, Breyer avers. These technological shifts have led more graduates to stay in New York "as opposed to perhaps feeling that they have to move to Silicon Valley."
According to Breyer, it is too early to tell whether students are shifting their career pursuits away from Wall Street toward starting their own businesses, but many young entrepreneurs find that when they start their own businesses, they can "scale very quickly" and are excited about the potential to make a lot of money in a short period of time.
Ultimately, Breyer says that venture capitalists should always take a "7- to 10-year view of our investments." The goal of venture capital, he proclaims, is "to try to find teams and entrepreneurs early where we can make 50 to 100 times our money, and help those entrepreneurs build very large businesses."