What is the Epicenter of Venture Capital? Obvious answer: Sand Hill Road...right? Wrong: it is actually Burlingame, CA.
Of course, I'm biased because I live in Burlingame. But, I believe this is the best location on earth for a venture capitalist. The reason is because the true epicenter of Venture Capital should be in the offices of startups and the garages of entrepreneurs. Certainly not in the often too-quiet and stale offices on Sand Hill Road. I am surrounded by startups. The central location of Burlingame on the Bay Area Peninsula allows me to connect more easily with entrepreneurs in the markets that I invest. For those who don’t know, Burlingame sits directly between downtown San Francisco and the heart of Silicon Valley. And, it is also about 5 minutes from SFO.
I try to spend most of my time out of the office. If I am sitting in my office in front of my computer, I am failing as a VC. Where do I really want to be? I'd rather be in SF meeting with the next hot mobile or consumer internet startup. Or, in San Mateo meeting with the next category-leading SaaS company. Or, meeting with one of my 3 investments in SF or my 3 investments in Burlingame/San Mateo. I take as many meetings at The Creamery in SF or Le Boulanger in San Mateo as I do in my office on Sand Hill Road. But, mostly I like visiting entrepreneurs where they work. That is the best way to learn - by listening, seeing and feeling what is going on at a startup. Inside the walls of a VC office is not the best place to truly understand entrepreneurs or startups.
So, for me, living in Burlingame means that I sit right in the epicenter of my business. Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of meetings at InterWest's offices on Sand Hill including many important meetings with my Partners. And, I’m willing to get on a plane to find great teams and companies. In fact, I have investments in Austin, New York and Seattle.
This post is not meant to be a public service announcement for Burlingame. But, hopefully it gives entrepreneurs a better sense that I can get to them very easily and I would rather meet at your offices than my own, if at all possible.