Benchmark Capital is in ascendance, thanks to investments in Uber, Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram. Thus the VC firm can afford to say ridiculous things like: "Our belief that this is more of a guild than a corporation. So, we try to think of it as artisans practicing a craft," as if they were 18th century woodworkers and not financiers hand-carving embellished valuations.
Actually, in the prevailing venture celebrity climate, it's imperative for investors to say asinine things to get attention or risk losing deal flow to some other braying prognosticator. A gimmick helps and "the Boys of Benchmark" did not disappoint in this interview with Kara Swisher at their new office in the Tenderloin. Peter Fenton, the general partner responsible for that artisan analogy above, told Re/Code:
And we picked a particular neighborhood that challenges us to engage with the city's non-technical, non-technology population. and it's at times uncomfortable. This is not a neighborhood that's gentrified and may never be. The Tenderloin, in particular, I think because of the SROs, may never be and we are at peace with that in the sense that it forces us to engage with the city that has a set of challenges that it has to overcome.
Well, as long as the VCs have made peace with it . . .
When Swisher asked the four white men about the need for diversity, Matt Cohler, the former Facebook exec turned investor, said the homogeneity of his general partners was a reflection of the tech industry:
The lack of diversity at this table reflects the lack of diversity in the industry. We're a very small and very focused and very selective partnership. We would love nothing more than to bring that — because I do think we have a lot of diversity, for four white guys. Believe it or not, we're pretty different people, with a lot of common ground between us. Diversity with a shared core we think is the most powerful thing that exists, and we would love to add to that on multiple dimensions and would love nothing more than that.
In fact, it's the other way around—the money men control which founders get funded. But since he's loving it, ladies and people of color, please send your resumes to Benchmark at 1 Edgy Neighborhood Lane.
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