In the next few years, venture capital funds will find themselves squeezed from four directions. They’re already stuck with a seller’s market, because of the huge amounts they raised at the end of the Bubble and still haven’t invested. This by itself is not the end of the world. In fact, it’s just a more extreme version of the norm in the VC business: too much money chasing too few deals.
Unfortunately, those few deals now want less and less money, because it’s getting so cheap to start a startup. The four causes: open source, which makes software free; Moore’s law, which makes hardware geometrically closer to free; the Web, which makes promotion free if you’re good; and better languages, which make development a lot cheaper.
the acquirers have begun to realize they can buy wholesale. Why should they wait for VCs to make the startups they want more expensive? Most of what the VCs add, acquirers don’t want anyway. The acquirers already have brand recognition and HR departments. What they really want is the software and the developers, and that’s what the startup is in the early phase: concentrated software and developers. Google, typically, seems to have been the first to figure this out. “Bring us your startups early,” said Google’s speaker at the Startup School.