We're launching a conference--CNET's Community Series--to start broader discussions around key topics in tech. First up? Raising cash.
See that giant building above? That's the headquarters of CBS Interactive, home to CNET, in San Francisco's SoMa neighborhood. And if you've ever wondered what's inside--keep reading out-of-towners, this is for you too--now's your chance to find out.
On Thursday, March 29 at 6 p.m. PT, CNET will host three of the biggest names in venture investing to talk about how you--yes, you, guy with the messenger bag walking past our office--can fund your entrepreneurial dreams.
In addition to the staples--wine, beer, and light grub--we'll have three longtime Valley players--Dave McClure of 500 Startups, Naval Ravikant of AngelList, and George Zachary of Charles River partners.
If you're in San Francisco, you can sign up here: Startup Funding: Strategies and Opportunities. Others can watch the panel discussion on our live stream. It starts at 7 p.m., and we'll be streaming it on CNET here.
Why these guys? Each is fueling the boom in early stage startups. (Yes, we'll discuss what might end this startup party, too).Take McClure. Through 500 Startups, he's funding new businesses at a pace of 2.4 a week. That's right--125 companies in 2011 alone. He cuts checks for $50,000 on average and brings in mentors to help founders who are generally clueless about building a company. (Check out this Q&A--Startup mania: Dave McClure on rapid-fire funding--I did with McClure last fall).
And where does McClure go to prowl for new companies? AngelList, which Ravikant (co-founder of 1999 darling Epinions, investor in Twitter, advice-giver through Venture Hacks) co-founded two years ago to crack open the clubby world of VC investing. The site is now crawling with more than 3,500 investors, and startup stars such as Pinterest and Uber have met their backers there.
As for Zachary? He's on fire. Last month, his firm closed a $375 million fund to back early stage companies--like I said, fueling the boom--and he's on the hunt for the next big thing. Zachary also led his firm's early investments in Twitter, Yammer and Millennial Media, a mobile ad network about to go public.
What excites these guys now? Come find out.
Now, we have a cool office, for sure, but there's not much room. Please check out the live stream here at CNET News on Thursday.
One more thing: Please let me know in comments what you want to hear from these guys.