2009 has turned out to be a good year for us at DFJ Esprit and I hope it has for you too.
After a difficult start I think the operating environment for most startups stabilised over the summer and turned mildly positive towards the end of the year. Whilst life is obviously easier when the economy is growing fast I always think the most important thing for startups is that the economy isn’t going backwards. If we are headed for an extended period of anaemic growth then so long as you have done a good job of picking a fast growing/fast changing sector or niche then you will be ok. Arguably a period of low growth might even be good for startups as larger companies will invest less themselves and need to look to partner or acquire startups to get their top lines moving forward as fast as they would like them to.
At DFJ Esprit a lot of good things happened in the second half, most notably our acquisition of the 3i tech venture portfolio, the first close on our new primary fund, DFJ Esprit III, and our investment in Graze. The last twelve months haven’t turned out to be a time when it felt right to exit any of our companies but the sixty odd companies in our portfolio are in decent shape and I fully expect that next year the market will allow some of our companies to realise what we regard as their true value. There are one or two that could happen as early as next month.
I’ve also particularly enjoyed writing this blog and conversing with all of you during this past year. I write at least one post every working day (usually exactly one) and in different periods I get into writing about different sorts of things. A couple of months back I got into predicting how the future might look in various areas of social media and mobile during which time I felt that the process of writing what I thought and then getting your critique was invaluable in moving my thinking forward. More recently I have been writing a series of venture capital related posts when your comments have helped me to better understand how entrepreneurs look on us at DFJ Esprit and our colleagues at other funds, something I hope will help me to better help you build some of the worlds best companies going forward.
Which brings me to the main point of this post, which is to say THANK YOU FOR READING AND COMMENTING. Without your help this blog wouldn’t amount to a hill of beans. An especially large thank you goes to 2009’s top commenters Henry Yates, Nicholas Lovell and David Semeria.
Happy Christmas to you all and looking forward to 2010.