Joshua Jaffe offers up more fuel for fans and critics of the build-to-flip view of Web 2.0:
Corporations aren’t just the clear choice now for venture capitalists seeking to sell their portfolio companies. The big high-tech companies are also beginning to claim venture capitalists’ prime investment candidates even before they launch. Here’s one example.
Robot Co-Op is a Seattle-based startup responsible for 43Things.com, a Web site launched last year that allows people to share their life desires with other online users. Think of it as a personal recommendation engine for life. In June, the company applied this model to the online travel industry with the launch of 43Places.com, where users can list places they’d like to travel to or have already visited.
… This is the type of engineering experience that most venture capitalists would kill for — especially in an environment where investments in next-generation Internet technologies are the hottest venture trend. But when it came time for Robot Co-Op to raise money to launch its prototype in the market, it didn’t go to the Seattle venture establishment.
Instead, the startup received an undisclosed amount of capital from Amazon.com. “They know us from our [Amazon] past, and we know them, and we’re building stuff we’re both excited about,” Peterson says.