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Speaking Out: Entrepreneur Joe Kraus


Is it harder launching a startup today than when you co-founded Excite in 1993?

This is a great time to start a company. In the boom years, a sense of entitlement pervaded Silicon Valley. That attitude is gone. Instead, you're hiring people who are doing startups because they love small companies. Second, you can find people who have actually done their jobs before. You couldn't do that in the boom.

What is the greatest threat to a tech recovery right now?

One is that there has been a runup in consumer Internet stocks, be it eBay, Amazon, or Yahoo! Those are definitely real businesses. But the runup seems to be without adequate explanation. If those were to fall back, maybe that deflates the psychological element of this recovery. Second, I still think venture-capital funds are overfunded. These funds can't invest all of their money and have high quality [investments]. So it either means they'll lower their quality -- and that could be damaging -- or it means limited partners aren't going to see the returns they want, which is the more likely outcome.


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