Sacca: VC self-promotion has reached intolerable levels

By Erin Griffith , written on November 1, 2012

From The News Desk

Venture capital firms increasingly have in-house PR teams, and that is a sign there's a problem, Chris Sacca of Lowercase Capital said at PandoMonthly LA tonight.

He bristled at questions over whether he took too much credit for things he didn't do while at Google -- which he attributed to one reporter from the time -- and explained why it's a touchy subject. It rubs him the wrong way, because he has "put so much effort into not taking the credit for what my portfolio companies do," he said, while other venture capitalists self-promote their role in the company's success shamelessly.

That includes Twitter, one of his first ever angel investments. He was worth around $1 million at the time, which isn't much for an angel investor, and ended up putting $25,000 into Twitter. He realized how important it was for him to actually get that money back, so he started showing up more frequently at the Twitter offices. "No one invited me, I just showed up. I know I annoyed the shit out of Jack,” he said.

“I was just trying to help out in any way I possibly could, because I just really needed to get that money back some day,” he added. "Good investors are in the service business," he said. (He eventually raised his own fund to keep investing in Twitter as the company grew. His stake in Twitter is greater than 5 percent.)

Sacca has noticed a trend among venture capitalists today who take too much credit for the success of their portfolio companies. “The art of self promotion, or taking credit for what a portfolio company has done, has reached intolerable levels right now.”

"There’s a generation of VCs who aren’t doing shit right now, who have become the stars," he said. "I mean, how many VCs do you know that have PR teams, or have PR on retainer? There’s something totally broken about that.”

[Illustration by Hallie Bateman]