So Apple turned 40 on 1 April. Twitter has just had its 10th birthday, Amazon will soon reach the grand old age of 22 and the dynamic Sheryl Sandberg has just celebrated eight years at Facebook. There are plenty of champagne corks popping in Menlo Park right now and there’s no doubt that these Silicon Valley tech giants are inspiring and have inspired a generation of ideas, businesses and would-be millionaires. But this isn’t another tribute to the four horsemen of tech.
Having just spent a week in San Francisco meeting with VC firms, start-ups and agency partners, I’d rather instead focus on the myriad, relatively unheralded high-growth technology firms that are blazing a trail of their own and bucking a trend that the media seems intent on propagating.
As magazine Vanity Fair wrote in February, “that sound you hear is the hot air leaking out of the tech bubble.” Whether you believe that there’s a tech bubble and it’s about to burst or simply deflating, there’s no arguing with the fact that technology stocks have been hit hard in the first quarter of 2016. Many say that this is an essential bump in the road and a return to the “old normal “.
But the venture capitalists we met with certainly retain a huge amount of confidence as money continues to flow through the system. Last year saw the second-highest total investment in the start-up ecosystem since 1995, coming in at $11.3 billion, according to PwC and America’s National Venture Capital Association.
Are the investors obsessing about Uber, AirBnB, Facebook and Google? To a certain degree yes but, from an investment point of view, these giant ships have sailed and most VCs already have at least a cabin or two on board. What they’re really excited about, and what excites us at Nelson Bostock Unlimited, is what’s coming next.
We’ve been fortunate to have worked with Facebook for seven years now, and previously (for four years) with Salesforce, so we understand what high growth means. We’ve also represented the next generation of tech stars from both sides of the pond including Braintree, Buddy Media, ExactTarget, Lookout, Stripe, Zuora and many more. Seeing where technology is solving problems, making us more efficient or creating new industries is what inspires me and my team.
Spending a week in the Bay Area hotfooting it up and down Route 101 between downtown San Francisco and Menlo Park, we learnt more than you do in a year back in London. We had the chance to meet with some incredible companies including NerdWallet, which provides unbiased financial advice on a range of subjects to over 30 million users, and Vibrado Technologies, which can monitor body position and movements to improve sports techniques or support rehabilitation after injuries.
The one thing that these companies have in common is unbounded enthusiasm and belief in what they’re doing. This is infectious and inspiring, and it’s a big reason why I get out of bed in the morning. The tech bubble may be deflating, but the celebratory bubbles will continue to flow as long as entrepreneurs keep chasing their dreams.
Article written by Nick Clark, managing director at Nelson Bostock
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