The Boston Celtics and the LA Lakers. Biggie and Tupac. Harvard and Stanford. East Coast/West Coast rivalries are far from a new occurrence. The latest hot incarnation of the ongoing battle: startup scenes. Sorry Chicago, but realistically, the centers are Silicon Valley on the West Coast and Boston and New York on the East.
When asked where he would put his money, HBS Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EiR) David Hornik lands squarely on the West Coast. A Partner at Menlo Park-based August Capital, Hornik described in an interview with The Harbus that Silicon Valley wins due to its massive ecosystem of startups, VCs, angels, lawyers, and a variety of other services geared toward the startup community. Hornik described, “There are a lot of cities that have bits and pieces of this ecosystem,” but not the entire thing.
Hornik, however, sees Harvard as a potential Entrepreneurship powerhouse. As an EiR at HBS, he advises and mentors many student-led startups. Hornik sees many sources of value that VCs bring to the table, from helping with recruiting to public relations and many other tasks. “Once you take money from a venture capitalist, they are part of your team,” and so will help in any way to maximize value of the firm. According to Hornik, much of the value brought by VCs stems from the experience gained from analyzing hundreds of business plans, which provides broad industry knowledge.
The current state of the VC industry and current valuations of social network-related companies do not concern Hornik, describing these businesses as the important enterprises of our decade. According to Hornik, there is a key distinction between these companies and the dot-com boom of the late 90’s—“You can debate how good of a business [current companies] are, but they are grossing hundreds of millions of dollars,” in contrast with 90s companies, many of which had no revenue stream.
About David Hornik: Hornik grew up in New England, studied Computer Music at Stanford, and received his J.D. from Harvard Law. Prior to joining August Capital, Hornik served as an intellectual property and corporate attorney, and has represented many high-tech startups.