March 7, 2009
Polaris had our Annual Meeting with our LPs this past week. This is kind of like a VC’s once-per-year board meeting. Our investors come to town and we talk about how everything is going, how the past year looked and what we are expecting in the upcoming year.
Needless to say, we discussed the overall economic environment, which is weighing heavily on the LP community right now.
In addition to the dark mood around the economy, though, we heard lots and lots of comments from our LPs what a bright spot it was for them to see a whole bunch of startups working on really interesting and exciting innovation. One of the things we do every year at our Annual Meeting is invite 15-20 of our recently backed portfolio companies to show their stuff at a “portfolio fair.” And, having now been to 10 of our Annual Meetings, I have to say this year’s batch of portfolio fair participants was the most interesting and exciting ever. I am, of course, biased, but it was a pretty inspiring group, not just by dint of what they are building but also the passion the entrepreneurs are all bringing to their work.
And it was this that, at least for me and several others, was the key takeaway from our meeting. No matter how bad the overall economy, you can’t keep a great entrepreneur down. Which makes early stage investing a good place to be when the economy is filled with storm clouds.