In April, Facebook said it would buy the young but fast-growing, photo-sharing service Instagram for a jaw-dropping $1 billion. By early December, consumer and entertainment startups were complaining they were having a hard time finding early-stage funding. So what happened? It would be easy to blame Bravo's nausea-inducing reality TV show for the reversal of startup fortunes, but the reality is something a little less Hollywood: Lack of good ideas, economic fears, and poor returns from many of the startups that have already been funded.
In other words, an investment cycle obsessively focused on consumer-tech startups may have finally run its course. But that doesn't mean startups are suddenly passe. The venture capital community is doubling down on its investments in less-glittery companies trying to solve the problems of big data, cloud computing, and open-source software. Just don't expect Bravo to delve into the details of open-source efforts like Hadoop and Drupal.