Monday, November 23, 2009

Random Thought: Venture Capital's Freemium Model

Recently, Bessemer published an update to our well known “Ten Rules to Being SaaSy” (this time entitled, “Bessemer’s Top 10 Laws of Cloud Computing and SaaS"). If you haven’t already read it, check it out. It's really a great read.

I sent the white paper to an early stage SaaS portfolio company of ours that I work with, and laughed when I got the following response: “This is great. Why are you giving away all the secrets?!”

My answer: It's our freemium model (or rather, venture capital's freemium model). The difference is, we’re trying to give you a taste of what we've got so you take some of our money.

Don't you think that fits? All our VC blogs and tweets are the 2.5GB equivalent of Dropbox. Fred Wilson is our Marc Benioff (disrupter of software, although if you know who pioneered the freemium model in software, that might be a more fitting comparison).

I suppose that means this blog (and my tweets) are my freemium product; I've been lucky to meet a lot of great entrepreneurs and members of the tech community through conversations that have jumped from my (poorly implemented) comments section to a phone call or meeting. (Though what might have started as a freemium product has become personally fulfilling; I'd do it regardless of whether or not it translated into "vc leadgen.")

Overall, a very positive evolution to an industry with a closed and clubby legacy. And of course, if you like what I'm offering, drop me a line! I'll gladly give you the 10GB upgrade for free. :)

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