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Volume 26 No. 60
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Techstars' Jordan Fliegel Dishes On Current State Of Entrepreneurship

Fliegel said if he were starting a company, he would not do it in Silicon Valley, because of the high costs
Photo: TONY FLOREZ

Techstars Sports Accelerator Managing Dir Jordan Fliegel talked about entrepreneurship and tech during a Q&A on Day 1 of the Endeavor Streaming Sports Media & Technology conference. "At the valuation we’re investing in, a company can sell for $10 or $15 million bucks and that’s a good outcome for us," he said. "A lot of venture funds invest at a way later stage, and you really have to get Unicorn kind of level (valuations) to get those kind of returns." Fliegel added, "Once you start raising $15-20 million, you have to sell for $100 or more. It’s hard. You own way less of the company and it takes way longer. But VCs, their model is investing in later-stage things. There’s a lack of alignment in the venture space unless you’re investing early." Fliegel: "I don’t know why anyone would start a company in Silicon Valley right now. It’s so ridiculously expensive to hire an engineer. Why would you be there? Go there and raise money, drive to the VC offices on Sand Hill Road. ... You can hire a really good engineering talent in a place like Indianapolis and they can buy a house there for $300K, and not be in crazy debt. I wouldn’t do business in Silicon Valley.”

GAMING INVESTMENT? Fliegel is not a big believer in esports just yet. "There’s a lot of love for it. I tend to just like businesses that make money or have the potential to make money," he said. He noted while viewing numbers are sometimes very high, the space is "starting to see people move away from that, and now talk more about unit economics and revenue." He believes the valuations are "very high relative to revenue" right now. Fiegel: "I’m a little more old fashioned, I want to understand who’s going to pay, how much are they going to pay, how long they’re going to pay."

QUICK HITS:

  • On blockchain tech, augmented reality and VR: "I’m not so into the particular technology unless it has a clear use case."
  • On the sectors he is enthusiastic about: "Fantasy sports betting, and fitness. People are ever more conscious about fitness and they want to do it in a convenient way. And Athleisure."