Some one had to call it out. Fred Wilson did. Why call the “highly valued venture backed startups” Unicorns? In his post yesterday in his much read blog avc.com he suggests ‘Whales’ instead. Whales are rare but whales are real. Just like the highly valued startups.
In his post he refers to the book “VC: An American History” by Tom Nicolas a professor at Harvard Business School and a big believer in the merit of the American Venture capital industry. In his book Prof Nicolas begins with the similarity between the 19th Century Whaling industry and the current VC industry. He then goes onto elaborate on the three complementary factors : ”…the long-tail distribution of payoffs, the agent-centered organizational structure, and the system of incentives – were complementary in their impact. Productivity increased because of their interaction.” Ditto for American VC.
The column sticks to the similarities between the Whaling industry and the current VC industry and ends with his (FW’s) thought of henceforth referring to big winners as Whales. He hopes it will catch on.
I personally think it is a great idea. Rushing to be a Unicorn always gave me the sense of a wild goose chase.
Where I learnt it #196 Link to article by Fred Wilson