There is a sure-to-be much discussed article in VentureWire today about consumer-centric venture investing. While this is by no means the first piece to point out the newfound focus on consumers in venture capital, and I have discussed the idea here extensively, this article is incisive and relatively empirical, so it is going to be forwarded around every major venture firm in North America.
Here is EPVC’s (them again!) Bill Stensrud from the piece:
“Last year was the first time the dollar value of semiconductors sold to consumers exceeded enterprise and industrial applications,” says Stensrud. “We’re seeing flat-panel TVs, cameras and iPods becoming a critical part of consumers’ lives.” According to Stensrud, while technology has pretty much been saturated corporations, there’s still room in the consumer technology marketplace. “That’s where the bulk of the technology opportunity is,” he says.
Recently Stensrud invested in a start-up company called Expresso Fitness. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company combines exercise equipment with video games to allow fitness enthusiasts to compete in a digital Tour de France on their stationary bicycle or race other exercisers on the Internet. Stensrud says he will continue to look for companies that combine technology and the Internet and, of course, have a consumer focus.
“Because the consumer space has so little tech penetration, there’s a lot of opportunity,” says Stensrud. “The bad news is most of the venture guys have figured that out.”
To Bill’s credit, he said the same thing in a television interview with me last Fall.