Dan Primack

Dan Primack

Covering deals and deal-makers for Fortune

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON January 13, 2016

Discussion

Dan Primack
Dan Primack@danprimack · Dan Primack, Fortune
Hi -- I'm Dan Primack, a senior editor at Fortune and circus master of Term Sheet, our daily email newsletter that covers financial deals from the seed-stage through mega-mergers. Before this I did something similar at Reuters, where I created peHUB and the peHUB Wire. Happy to chat anything from unicorns to unicorpses, private equity to (my beloved) Patriots).
Ari Applbaum
Ari Applbaum@ariapplbaum · Director of Marketing, AnyClip
Do you see PR people as helping you do your job, a nuisance, necessary evil? What's the best way to pitch you? What are the finest pitches you have received?
Dan Primack
Dan Primack@danprimack · Dan Primack, Fortune
@ariapplbaum All of the above? Yes, I need them (particularly ones who really know their subject, as opposed to simply regurgitating a press release). Yes, they can be a nuisance (particularly if they have my phone number, since I work at home and will often answer because I think it's not work-related... yeah, i need a separate line). Not evil, per se. But some -- particularly in Silicon Valley -- don't view my job quite the same way I view my job. Best way to pitch is via DM, since I get fewer of those. I also like to hear pitches from box seats at Fenway or over dinners at Journeyman in Somerville (jk... well, sort of)
Benedict Leung
Benedict Leung@benedictleung
@danprimack - Thanks for doing this! Great to get your quick thoughts on these: 1/ [European Dry Capital]: In 2015, VC dry capital overhang was around 3.5x-4.0x higher in Europe vis-a-vis the US. Great to get your thoughts on this, since across all geographies, VC fundraising has been quite aggressive, no? 2/ [Avoiding France]: Since 2013, a lot of distressed European real estate funds haven't touched France with a 30 foot pole. Any thoughts as to why this is the case? 3/ [First Time Funds] Are there any first-time VC funds that have just finished raising, (or in the process of raising), that you are overweight on? If so, why?
Dan Primack
Dan Primack@danprimack · Dan Primack, Fortune
@benedictleung Multi-part question. Okay, here we go: 1. Makes sense to me that the European overhang is larger, because we haven't seen as many mega-rounds in Europe as we have in the U.S. or Asia. Moreover, U.S. firms seem to have an easier time playing opportunistically in Europe than Europe firms seem able to play opportunistically in the U.S. 2. Not a clue. Real estate falls outside my area of expertise (save for home prices in my zip code) 3. None in particular, since they don't yet have a track record. That said, in VC, first-time funds tend to outperform the market. Will be interesting to see if that persists when we see 3/5-year returns from the 2014/2015 vintage, given the unicorn phenomenon.
Nathan Guo
Nathan Guo@nathan_yg · VC Intern at Lux Capital
@danprimack @benedictleung is 3. just a reflection of survivorship bias? or are VC funds that have failed to raise further funds included?
Chris
Chris@coolbearcjs · CEO
Dan what are your feelings on Title III and letting anyone invest in startups like www.nvstor.co is doing?
Dan Primack
Dan Primack@danprimack · Dan Primack, Fortune
@coolbearcjs My basic feeling, candidly, is that I've done a pretty lousy job researching and covering the entire crowdfunding market (save for breaking news on the original JOBS Act plans). My big concern remains fraud.
Josh B
Josh B@joshb2016
@danprimack thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. With Twitters recent acquisition of Periscope, how would you feel if Twitter went into Live News? For example, partnerships with Media Publishers such as CNN, Vice, Vox, etc.
Dan Primack
Dan Primack@danprimack · Dan Primack, Fortune
@joshb2016 I think it makes sense for Twitter, just as it made sense for Snapchat. For publishers, however, I continue to be wary of giving up the primary means of distribution. If media orgs get too tied into social media companies (Twitter, SC, FB, etc), they can eventually get extorted. The press is only free if you own the (now figurative) press.
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Welcome, Dan! If you could put all your money into one technology startup (public or not), which one would it be?
Dan Primack
Dan Primack@danprimack · Dan Primack, Fortune
@rrhoover I don't invest... and certainly not all my money:)
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
@danprimack hypothetically! 😉
Harry Stebbings
Harry Stebbings@harrystebbings · Podcast Host @ The Twenty Minute VC
@danprimack thanks so much for joining us today, I feel like I know you from all the VCs on @twentyminutevc saying you are their must read newsletter! I would love to hear which VC you, the king of the industry, most respect and admire and why? Are there any up and coming VCs that you have been impressed by? P.S Would love to have you on @twentyminutevc and share your story!
Dan Primack
Dan Primack@danprimack · Dan Primack, Fortune
@harrystebbings I respect a lot of VCs -- even some who may be insufferable as human beings (although, in actuality, most of the folks I deal with seem quite down to earth). Some of my respect is simply for returns. Folks like Jim Goetz and Jim Breyer and John Doerr, who have just made a fortune for their LPs (which really is the job, and I care about the LPs more than the GPs). Others who have really tried to innovate in the industry. Folks like Josh Kopelman would fit that bill. Then there are the crazy smart ones. The famous nemeses Gurley and Andreessen, but also so many of the biotech and energy folks whose knowledge is so many Ph.D levels beyond mine.
kydos
kydos@kydos_labs · SF Reader
@danprimack When's your next Liquidity Event?
Dan Primack
Dan Primack@danprimack · Dan Primack, Fortune
@kydos_labs nothing official yet. but just got off the phone about something very, very similar.
Craig Hunter
Craig Hunter@craighunter_ · General Manager, Ritual
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Dan Primack
Dan Primack@danprimack · Dan Primack, Fortune
@craighunter_ At what price?
Craig Hunter
Craig Hunter@craighunter_ · General Manager, Ritual
@danprimack @craighunter_ For a start, the Series G price you posted on Twitter.
Hey @danprimack thanks for doing this. Two questions for you: 1) what impact do you think GE's relocation to Boston will have on the local tech economy? 2) what's your predication for the Pats-Chiefs game?
Dan Primack
Dan Primack@danprimack · Dan Primack, Fortune
@alfink92 Hey Alex. There is this school of thought -- led by Google Ventures' Rich Miner -- that the Boston tech ecosystem will be best-served by having large Silicon Valley companies (Google, FB, etc.) open satellite offices here, so that we'll have local engineers who will spin out to launch new companies. This isn't exactly equivalent -- since GE is mostly planning to house corporate execs in Boston instead of engineers -- but it could have a quasi-similar effect. At the very least, it's a huge boon to the tax base and helps solidify the Innovation District as something that won't become a ghost town if the Nasdaq drops another 20%. Pats. Always Pats.
Peter Teneriello
Peter Teneriello@_petert_ · I wear many hats.
Is the merger of L Capital and Catterton a sign of the times, in that PE/VC firms could begin to seek more formal relationships with other firms in order to better differentiate themselves?
Dan Primack
Dan Primack@danprimack · Dan Primack, Fortune
@_petert_ Hey Peter. I think it's pretty situation-specific. Catterton wanted to expand to Europe and Asia, which would have meant building up a brand new team. And, as we've seen before (think: Benchmark, etc.) that can be very hard to make work. Here they get to take existing teams that they already know (via existing LP relationship). Plus, it codifies the LVMH relationship, as word is that LVMH has informally promised not to launch a competing PE/VC fund.
Daniel Roberts
Daniel Roberts@readdanwrite · Journalist
@danprimack Hey Dan. Just saying hi. Hi/bye, my dude.
Dan Primack
Dan Primack@danprimack · Dan Primack, Fortune
@readdanwrite seems like you're bored. need a new job?
Niv Dror
Niv Dror@nivo0o0 · VC at Shrug Capital
@danprimack @readdanwrite lol, Dans 😬
Emily Hodgins
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
@danprimack what is the most surprising thing you've ever been pitched - that you actually ended up covering?
Dan Primack
Dan Primack@danprimack · Dan Primack, Fortune
@ems_hodge Pretty sure I covered a high-end sex toy at one point (something Tim Draper was investing in, but had somehow tried to shield). Last year I covered the company that provides television content and monitors at gas stations. That is one of those obvious innovations that is ubiquitous but never written about.
Craig Hunter
Craig Hunter@craighunter_ · General Manager, Ritual
@danprimack @ems_hodge Company name?
Kate
Kate@katesegrin · Head of Social @ GitHub
Who are some of the people who have had the biggest impact on your life? (Stories, please!)
Dan Primack
Dan Primack@danprimack · Dan Primack, Fortune
@katesegrin I'll give two. There was a guy named Bob (he's since passed away) who worked with me at my first financial publishing job (Thomson Financial). We spent Thursday nights late at the office, finishing up layout on print newsletters (mine was called Private Placement Letter, it covered the private debt markets. It was purple). As we were sitting around doing nothing, he told me a job had opened up on another newsletter, covering venture capital and private equity. I didn't know what either thing really was. But it was still dotcom boom days, so he threw me a copy of Red Herring and said "that. you should cover that. it's exploding right now." So I applied for the job. The other is my team at City Year, a sort of urban Peace Corps that I spent a year working with post-high school. We were mostly charged with doing physical projects in a neighborhood of Bostton called Roxbury. Doing demo on old drug houses, etc. At one point, we were asked my the local community to do a newspaper about good news in the area, as the big dailies were focused on all the crime, etc. I was adamantly opposed, thinking such a project was wrong for our particular group (for a variety of reasons). I lost the vote. The newspaper we created -- which became much more than 'good news -- and the difficult process of getting it paid for, published, etc. was seminal for me.
Kevin Yen
Kevin Yen@kevinyen · Founder, ChartUps.com, x-Goog/YouTube
What significance have you noticed about the specific startups a VC tweets about? How do these tweets influence how you think about specific startups, including which to cover and what to write about? I do have my own research/data, and would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks!
Dan Primack
Dan Primack@danprimack · Dan Primack, Fortune
@kevinyen It doesn't really. If a VC is writing about his/her own startup -- outside of a new piece of newsy information -- I largely discount it as someone talking their book,.
Kevin Yen
Kevin Yen@kevinyen · Founder, ChartUps.com, x-Goog/YouTube
@danprimack Understood. What is interesting is which portcos in their book a VC tweets about, and which they don't ;)
jack rometty
jack rometty@rometty_ · student
Hey Dan! What has helped you improve the most as a writer since you started your career?
Dan Primack
Dan Primack@danprimack · Dan Primack, Fortune
@rometty_ Writing daily. The newsletter -- which long predates the current newsletter craze -- instills a major discipline in terms of speed and (hopefully) quality. Oh, plus increased availability of iced coffee.
Ariela Weinberger
Ariela Weinberger@arielarw · Account Executive
@danprimack How is equity crowdfunding going to change the way VCs invest in the future? Where do you see the future of equity crowdfunding going?
Brad Thibeau
Brad Thibeau@thibeaub12 · @Drizly
@danprimack Hey Dan, If you could work at one tech company in the Boston area, where would you choose and why? Go Pats!
Dan Primack
Dan Primack@danprimack · Dan Primack, Fortune
@thibeaub12 EMC, because it's so close to my house:) More seriously: Probably Data Gravity because I think Paula Long is wicked smaht. Except, you know, I'd be terribly unqualified.
Trace Cohen
Trace Cohen@trace_cohen · Managing Director NYVP
Love your Termsheet and tweets! 1) Do you think the media/press is helping or hurting the startup/venture world right now? Like some of their speculation, rumors, leaking of documents and putting all this additional pressure on founders to perform at crazy levels. 2) Have you invested in any startups yourself / who would you invest in (regardless of valuation) if you could? 3) Who inspired you to get into publishing/writing? Go JETS!
Dan Primack
Dan Primack@danprimack · Dan Primack, Fortune
@trace_cohen I'm really replying to this one out of pity. If I had Woody Johnson for an owner, I'd cry myself to sleep each night. 1. It's a mixed bag. The real failing of the press -- and we're slowly beginning to correct this -- is not explaining more clearly and more regularly that a high valuation doesn't necessarily equate to a good place to take a job (in terms of stock-based comp). Really, I think recruiting is the only reason that startups are hyping their own valuations (and, make little mistake, it's usually the company or someone affiliated with the company). Kind of like during the dotcom days. Were I a founder, I'd try to keep my info quiet while private. But, at the same time, I'd also want to go public. 2. Nope. Would be too big a conflict. 3. Probably my uncle. He was a columnist at Boston Herald, wrote a book, etc. But, in general, it's just always been something I enjoyed. Probably helped that there was always a newspaper on the breakfast table, and an evening edition when i got home from school.
Ariela Weinberger
Ariela Weinberger@arielarw · Account Executive
@danprimack how do you see VC investment in Israeli startups affecting (or not affecting​) Silicon Valley? Do you think more VCs will pay attention to the Israeli Tech scene​ than in 2015?
Dan Primack
Dan Primack@danprimack · Dan Primack, Fortune
@arielarw VC investment in Israel has been going on for as long as I've been on this beat (15 yrs now... wow!), so I don't think it's particularly impactful one way or the other. Just the way things are. Clearly, however, there is a push by U.S. investors to relocate headquarters to the U.S. and keep some R&D in Israel. I don't see that changing, either for tech or biotech.