Drive-Though Venture Capital

Would you like fries with that?

By Auren Hoffman

Everyone these days is an entrepreneur. And for good reason -- because everyone else is a venture capitalist. Every moderately successful businessperson, every person with an inheritance, and many with just a second mortgage are joining the invest-in-a-start-up-so-I-can-be-cool-and -have-my-picture-in-the-Red-Herring hype.

Nowadays, with a reasonable idea and good management record (like three years as the nighttime watchman at the local Denny's) you can attract cash, and lots of it, from the investor public. With some more technical experience and a product that you can claim is "proprietary," you can reasonably expect to raise cash from even the most prestigious venture capital companies. If you are defining a "whole new paradigm shift" you can expect a whole slew of VC's firms to be calling you every day.

And why not? There is so much money flowing into VC funds these days all chasing after generally low-return start-ups. People are hoping for a 20-30% annual return when a good mutual fund will beat that. If you invested in Yahoo in 1997 you would have made a 500% return. Even a safe investment in Microsoft would have yielded over 80%.

I'm thinking of opening my own VC shop. Instead of modeling it after Kleiner Perkins or Bain Capital, I'm going to model it after McDonald's. That's right, the fast-food venture capital. It will be called DTVCP, or Drive-Through Venture Capital Partners.

New Business: "I'd like Super-Value meal number 3, extra $1.5 million, and a 20% equity stake. Oh, and hold the lawyers."

Drive-through: "Would you like to super-size it? For $390,000 extra you get full public relations and dinner at Spago."

New Business: "Yes. And please also include the free Happy Meal for my kids."

Drive-Through: "Thank you for shopping at Drive-Through VCP. Please pick up your check at the next window. And don't forget to deposit it in our newest subsidy across the street, Drive-Though Bank."

DTVCP is taking America by storm. My goal is to have one at every main intersection in America. Franchised, DTVCP will have a major impact across the nation -- an impact almost equivalent to that of Microsoft Bob.

Auren Hoffman ( is President of BridgePath ( BridgePath, a service that helps job seekers with up to 10 years of experience, is based in Berkeley, California.

Auren's picture is located at: