02/18/2015 04:40 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Web 3.0 and E-Commerce Investment Thesis of 3 VCs


Last fall, we had three VCs discussing their Web 3.0 and e-Commerce investment thesis. If you are looking to build a Unicorn company in the Web 3.0 / e-Commerce domains, I strongly recommend you listen to these three interviews. In each case, listening to just the first 30 minutes would be adequate.

Discussion with Gus Tai, Trinity Ventures

Gus talks about his (and Trinity's) investment thesis around e-commerce over the years - from BlueNile in 1999, to Zulily, Dot and Bo, and Callisto Media more recently, and what he anticipates for the future. Blue Nile, by the way, is a classic case study of a true Web 3.0 company, and it was a contrarian investment thesis from Trinity to invest in the business. Find out more in the discussion below.

Discussion with Jason Stoffer, Partner, Maveron

Maveron is a consumer-only venture capital firm that has had a successful track record of investing in e-commerce ventures ranging from eBay, Shutterfly, Groupon to the more recent Zulily. They also invest in education ventures.

In this discussion with Jason, some of the most interesting nuggets were around how the Internet has become the most cost-efficient channel to build brands (both retail and designer). We discussed some of Jason's investments in fashion and beauty, and had a particularly interesting discussion around the importance of merchandising in building such businesses.

Finally, we discussed two of Jason's education investments, and his investment thesis around education overall.

Discussion with Tod Francis, Shasta Ventures

We started with a discussion on the history of retail, all the way from shoe stores, to departmental stores, and back to specialty retail. This was followed by a similar overview of the history of e-commerce ranging from Amazon's strategy to how specialty retail is translating into niche e-commerce, and how Tod is looking at investments in the category.

Photo: Tambako The Jaguar/