Venture Capital’s “Mr. No” tells why he turned down Foursquare

When I interviewed Bob Ackerman (co-founder of Allegis Capital) a couple of years ago I called him “Mr. No” because he turns down so many deals but he and Allegis, which he co-founded, are one of the most highly regarded (he funded Ribbit, which got sold to BT, for instance).

Because he’s outspoken, it’s always fun to visit and hear his view on the market. We talked a long time in an interview I filmed this week, but one of the stories he told me is why he turned down Foursquare, among other things. You’ll also hear about why he thinks innovation is very much alive and that he hasn’t yet seen a venture bubble, other than valuations on a few companies, like Foursquare, gets too high for his tastes, but is always keeping his eye out for a broader, troubling, VC bubble.

I start the interview talking about the “angel bubble” and the problems that the VC field are going through right now. “It is parrots talking to each other,” he says, demonstrating how outspoken he is, but also how positive he is that he’s able to turn away from overhyped deals that get too expensive and that he is still able to find companies to invest in that show a good return.

Around minute 25 he talks about Foursquare. “It just beyond where we’re comfortable playing today.”


This Indian startup makes Gmail search “instant” fast!

When Rohit Nadhani contacted me on Skype a while back he told me he had something that made Gmail’s search much faster. I almost hung up on him. Why?

I thought Gmail’s search was fast enough. I’d used it hundreds, if not thousands of times and it always found me the emails I was looking for. In other words, I didn’t think it was slow, so Rohit’s pitch seemed to solve non-existant pain.

But he was a persistent person and said “please, just try it.”

I’m glad I did because my first reaction was “damn” after trying CloudMagic. What is it? It is software you load on your Mac, Windows, and soon Linux machines that indexes your Gmail. Makes it wicked fast to search Gmail.

Keep in mind this was more than a month before Google announced its “instant” search result feature. I have been using it ever since and it’s really great. You’ve gotta watch the video demo I filmed today to see just how much faster it is than Gmail.

Even better, he told me today that soon he’ll add Salesforce, Google Docs, and LinkedIn support. Can’t wait.

After the cameras were off we started talking about things he’s seeing happen in the tech world of India and he told me stories of how geeks were getting brave enough to start their own companies because of the anti-offshoring stance of American policy makers and corporate leaders. He told me that we’ll see a ton of companies, like his, who’ll do something innovative and try to build world-wide brands. I turned back on my iPhone and recorded an audio CinchCast, you can listen here, where we talk about that and other startup and trends in India.