This post is based on the question about Silicon Valley startups that Reid Hoffman posed on his LinkedIn Answers Page, referencing the original post by Matt Marshall on Venture Beat. The VC Ratings post identifies the initial tallies for the votes on the hottest SV companies (linked to individual maps): Facebook, NetSuite, Linden Lab, LinkedIn, AdMob, Digg, Nanosolar, Tesla Motors, Bebo, AdBrite, SixApart, and Aggregate Knowledge all received votes.
I surmised that it would be interesting to see what these companies have in common from a relational capital perspective. For this I searched for and mapped all of these companies together using LinkSViewer. Then I removed companies, dropped pendants (i.e., one-link only-nodes), and the result was the below Relational Map. Question: What capital ties do the hottest SV companies have in common?
Hottest SV Startups Relational Map (Pendants dropped). Q: What do these companies have in common? (1) VCs: Omidyar Network, Greylock Partners, Accel Partners, Sequoia Capital; (2) Angels: Marc Andreessen, Peter Thiel, Mike Maples, Reid Hoffman; (3) Board Members: David Sze (Greylock), Bill Gurley (Benchmark), Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn). Source: LinkSV.com
Network Commentary: It should be first noted that all of the companies do not necessarily have investment or board member connections on the map. Because pendants were dropped, the above map only shows relational capital connections between the linked companies (Bebo, NetSuite, & Tesla are not on the map). From a network perspective, it should be noted that only two people had more than three links (central hubs) on the map: David Sze (Greylock) and Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn). Note also that Hoffman was listed as both an angel investor (yellow) and outside board member (rose).
It is interesting that Reid posed the question and was linked to the most common answers. I find this somewhat ironic, although the map shows how these capital relationships are formed (and the people responding may or may not have known that Reid was involved in the companies they mentioned). The hottest company answers nonetheless underscore the extent of Reid’s connections in SV startups. Taking this at face value, we can observe the backcloth behind the hottest companies by mapping the affiliation networks leading to the “hottest” investors and board members. The next post illustrates how key board members, angels, and VCs from the above map are related to one another as “derivative networks.”