Alex Mittal is CEO and co-founder of FundersClub, the world’s first online venture capital platform. He has been featured in Forbes 30 under 30 in Tech, in Businessweek and in Silicon Valley’s 40 under 40. This installment of the Session Spotlight focuses on the session he’ll present this year at SXSW Interactive, “Brave Broken World - The Death of VC As We Know It.”
SXSW: Tell us about how you plan to discuss the changing landscape of venture capitalism during your session at SXSW Interactive.
Mittal: Oh, the irony - a stagnant and decades-old financing model has long controlled the cutting edge of innovation and tech. Welcome to venture capital, an industry where the median venture investment loses money on funded startups, yet exercises nearly all control over which creative tech ideas see the light of day. It’s an industry only accessible to the most elite - where who you know often matters more than what you know. I’ll open the kimono on the venture capital industry. First, I will reveal what is, for many, a complete black box—the underbelly of a venture capital firm’s operations and business model, zombie VCs, and the historical performance of venture capital firms. Next, I’ll discuss how the industry needs to reinvent itself or die, and will describe early attempts at disrupting venture capital.
SXSW: Have you previously spoken about this topic or venture capitalism?
Mittal: I’ve never spoken on this precise topic before, so I am excited to do so at SXSW this year. I’ve spoken a lot about the evolving venture capital and startup fundraising and investing space. Those talks and panels have gone well.
SXSW: What kinds of people do you hope attend your session and what will they know afterward?
Mittal: People who care about the future of tech innovation and startups will enjoy this session. More specifically, that could mean startup founders, venture capitalists, angel investors, investors looking to get their start in startup investing, business and finance journalists, tech journalists and students with an interest in entrepreneurship. Attendees will learn about how startups raise money and get funded, how venture capital firms operate, and how this is all changing.
SXSW: What do you hope to gain by speaking at this year’s SXSW?
Mittal: SXSW Interactive attracts people who look at the world and consider not just what exists, but also question it and ask what could be. It’s an honor to speak at the event and to interact with this creative group of thinkers and doers.
SXSW: Do you have a blog? What do you write about?
Mittal: Yes, “Venture In Website.” I write about the emerging world of online venture capital, entrepreneurship and leadership in a startup environment.
*SXSW: Have you reduced your social media habits out of a desire to have more privacy? Why or why not?
Mittal: I’ve actually done the opposite. In 2013 I started my personal blog and twitter account @mittal, and switched most of my Facebook posts to public. I respect some people’s need for privacy but as someone whose job it is to interact with a lot of people, I personally prefer to be as accessible as possible.
SXSW: One more…what is your favorite gadget and why?
Mittal: Right now it’s my fitbit; it’s such a simple piece of technology but it’s had an amazing impact on our entire team (we’re engaged in an office fitness competition and are tracking our progress via fitbit).
Watch this website for more installments of the 2014 SXSW Interactive Session Spotlight. Click here for the complete list of programming for March in Austin. For tips on interesting sessions to attend, visit the new Recommendation page. Register now to attend “Brave Broken World - The Death of VC As We Know It” and other incredible programming at SXSW Interactive 2014.