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I Blog, Therefore I Invest? Do Blogging Venture Capitalists Invest More in Startups?




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Given our recent analysis of VCs and Angels who Twitter and how it compared to their investment activity in 2009, we thought the logical extension of this would be to examine VCs and Angels that blog and compare their blogging activity to their investment activity and see if there is any correlation.  Irrespective of the results, we hoped to identify some VC and angel investor bloggers who are actively investing who you (and we) may want to follow.

Given blogging has been around longer than Twitter, it is not surprising to find many VCs and Angels have very active and well followed blogs. Larry Cheng at Fidelity Ventures did a nice job assembling a list of 100 Top VC Blogs.  As mentioned, we wanted to see if the popularity or activity of a VC or angel’s blog translates into, or at least correlates, with their investment activity.

We examined investment activity and blog activity/popularity from several angles; but unfortunately, just as in our recent analysis of Twitter and startup funding activity, there was no correlation between blog activity and investment activity. We did, however, identify some venture capitalist and angel bloggers we’ve categorized as Rockstars and Unsung Heroes based on their 2009 investment and blogging activity.  As you’ll also see below, there is a good amount of overlap between the VC and Angel professionals highlighted in our Twitter analysis and this one as it’s evident that many active venture capital bloggers have moved onto Twitter as well.  We’ve highlighted these investors specifically below but first, let’s review the analysis.

We identified 136 VC and Angel blogs. Data from blogs from different partners or investment professionals at the same VC was then aggregated into one composite number for the whole VC. After aggregation, we were left with 71 data points for analysis. To begin, blogging activity was measured against the number of posts per week (measured via Google Reader). Perhaps active investors have a lot to say about their investments and post more, leading to a positive correlation with investment activity. Conversely, perhaps active investors are too busy investing to write copious amounts of blog posts, leading to a negative correlation.  As it can be seen below, there is no correlation between blog posts per week and investing activity (R-Squared value of .0043) and so neither hypothesis appears to have merit.

blog-posts-per-week1

Next, blog popularity was measured against number of investments in 2009. As a proxy for blog popularity, we chose to use Google Reader subscribers. Perhaps bloggers who invest more attract larger followings as people try to garner insight from major power brokers? Unfortunately, the R-Squared value was .002 and thus again, as can be seen below, there was no correlation between investment activity and blog popularity.

blog-popularity1

However, just as in our analysis of VCs and Angels who tweet analysis, we thought that it would be helpful to apply our 2×2 framework to learn more about these venture capitalist and angel investor bloggers. Here is the framework:

2x2-grid-for-bloggers

Here’s what each quadrant means:

  • Rockstars (High Blog Popularity | High Investment Activity) – Pretty self-explanatory. Active investors who are have very popular blogs.
  • Unsung Heroes (Low Blog Popularity | High Investment Activity) – This group has been amongst the most active when it comes to 2009 investment activity but have a relatively lower popularity. Some in this group are less active on their blogs but given their investment activity, it may be worth following this group of Unsung Heroes as they are active investors.
  • Insight Providers (High Blog Popularity | Low Investment Activity) – This group has a lower level of investment activity in the first 5+ months of 2009 but have attracted a fair number of followers. The desire by others to follow this group may be indicative of these venture capitalists and angel investors being actively engaged with their blog followers and readership as well as offering insights that make their blogs must reading.
  • Wait and See (Low Blog Popularity | Low Investment Activity) – Many in this group have relatively inactive blogs. Their investment activity through the first 5+ months of 2009 falls towards the lower side of the spectrum as well.

We chose to place the lines dividing these quadrants at 4 investments and 135 blog followers. 4 investments in 2009 is the average number of investments rounded up to the nearest integer. 135 followers is the median number of blog followers rounded up to the nearest integer (we used the median in this case because the average was thrown off by outliers with enormous blog followings).

Now, who are the Rockstar and Unsung Hero firms? They are listed below. Each firm has a links to its website and a link to its ChubbyBrain investor profile. Each individual investor’s name links to their blog. We’ve placed an asterisk next to the names of individuals and firms who were Unsung Heroes and two asterisks next to those who were Rockstars in our VCs and Angels who Twitter analysis.

Rockstars

August Capital (ChubbyBrain Profile)**

First Round Capital (ChubbyBrain Profile)**

Benchmark Capital (ChubbyBrain Profile)**

Bessemer Venture Partners (ChubbyBrain Profile)*

Founders Fund (ChubbyBrain Profile)**

Polaris Ventures (ChubbyBrain Profile)**

SoftTech VC (ChubbyBrain Profile)**

Venrock (ChubbyBrain Profile)*

Mayfield Fund (ChubbyBrain Profile)

Atlas Venture (ChubbyBrain Profile)**

Mohr Davidow Ventures (ChubbyBrain Profile)

Index Ventures (ChubbyBrain Profile)*

Ignition Partners (ChubbyBrain Profile)*

Draper Fisher Jurvetson (ChubbyBrain Profile)

Unsung Heroes

Edison Venture Fund (ChubbyBrain Profile)*

Qualcomm Ventures (ChubbyBrain Profile)*

Sigma Partners (ChubbyBrain Profile)*

Charles River Ventures (ChubbyBrain Profile)*

Battery Ventures (ChubbyBrain Profile)*

Valhalla Ventures (ChubbyBrain Profile)

True Ventures (ChubbyBrain Profile)**

Clearstone Venture Partners (ChubbyBrain Profile)*

While it is not surprising that investment levels and blogging metrics don’t correlate, we hope we’ve identified some investor blogs for you to follow or at least take a look at. Even if we had found a correlation, there would obviously be no argument for causality (i.e. because I invest, I blog more or because I blog, I invest more).

We’d love to hear from investors who blog about the benefits you see from writing a blog?  What benefits do you see from reading the blogs of others? Have you ever evaluated or done deals based largely on information obtained from blogs? How are blogs helping you at work?

Entrepreneurs, do you attempt to gauge investor sentiment or attitudes by reading blogs? Does reading blogs help you identify potential investors? Does it help you find business partners or competitors?  Have you had success building a relationship with an investor via their blog?

Of course, any insights and ideas are welcome. If you’re an investor who blogs that should be in our Rockstar or Unsung Hero categories and we’ve missed you, do drop us a line in the comments or via email at team(at)chubbybrain.com and let us know so we can include you in updates to this analysis.

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3 Responses to “I Blog, Therefore I Invest? Do Blogging Venture Capitalists Invest More in Startups?”

  1. ahuvah says:

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    how is it that here as well as the twitter+vc post you fail to mention Fred Wilson (www.twitter.com/fredwilson), notably one of the most well know VC bloggers?


  2. Warning: Illegal string offset 'keywords_time' in /home/chubbybrain/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/internal_link_building.php_/internal_link_building.php on line 103

    Ahuvah,

    Thanks for your comment. Our analyses looked at Twitter & blogging activity as compared to the VC firm’s investment funding activity, e.g., Union Square Ventures, in this case. Based on the evaluation of

      both

    of those dimensions, even some very prominent and notable blogging and Tweeting VCs such as Fred Wilson didn’t fall into the Rockstar or Unsung Heroes categories which we detailed.

    Thanks again for your comment. Do let us know if any questions.

    Warm regards,
    The Chubby Team
    team(at)chubbybrain.com


  3. Warning: Illegal string offset 'keywords_time' in /home/chubbybrain/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/internal_link_building.php_/internal_link_building.php on line 103

    [...] I Blog, Therefore I Invest? Do Blogging Venture Capitalists Invest More in Startups? (June 29, 2009) [...]

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