For the last week of the year, we're featuring the thoughts and reflections of some of the movers and shakers of Southern California's high tech community. We asked the same four questions of a variety of top technology entrepreneurs, investors, and others, to hear what they're thinking about, and are sharing it here over the next week.
Today, we're featuring Mark Suster, a venture capitalist at GRP Partners, founder of LaunchpadLA, the startup accelerator, not to mention well read blogger and highly watched host of This Week In Venture Capital.
1. What was the biggest news for you/your firm this year?
The most significant news for GRP Partners in 2012 was the first close of our 4th venture fund. We closed on a little bit more than $150 million and will do our final close above that in early 2013. Your readers will know what a challenging funding environment it has been especially for firms located outside of Silicon Valley. It's incredibly important to our region that more LA-domiciled VC funds are raised and we will do all that we can to assist any other firm trying to bring capital to what has become one of the fastest growing technology markets in the US.
2. In your opinion, what events, companies, or people made the biggest impact on the technology world this year?
I continue to believe that Twitter has the potential to most radically shape world events and therefore is still the most profound technology sweeping the technology world. Some dismiss Twitter as a toy to tell people what you had for lunch and others deride them for advertising or for controlling their network. However their future plays out, the power of globally distributed peer-to-peer communication networks in real-time can truly have as profound of an impact as the telephone had it its day.
3. What was the biggest lesson you learned over the past year (good or bad)?
The biggest lesson I learned in 2012 was the importance of having a strong peer group and supportive venture community. People like Dana Settle, Jim Andelman, Nate Redmond, Rick Smith and others have all been super supportive and helpful in the fund raising process as investors looking at our community always seek feedback and input from our peers. Without this support we would have struggled.
4. What are the technologies, companies, or things we ought to watch in 2013?
No prizes for guessing that I continue to be an advocate of online video. American consumers watch 5.3 hours of television per day and read less than an hour. The future of the Internet will be video and the majority of the Internet video companies in the US are based in Los Angeles. It's where our strength is and what makes us unique. It will be a continued source of local job growth.
See more insights from the Southern California high tech community in our continued series this whole week!