#DCTech 1776 Merger or House Cleaning?

Is the Benjamin's Desk, 1776 Merger a merger or is it something else? The deal that has been in the works for 2 months finally closed today. After much consternation, wrangling and negotiated face-saving for the vanquished 1776, Benjamin's Desk kindly allowed Evan Burfield to pretend he's not been pushed out of that which he's burned to the ground. My sources report that Evan's face-saving measures have been a contributing factor in the delay of closing the deal. Is it a merger of equals? Well, it's a merger of equals if you don't take in to account 1776's dire financial straights and incredible operating losses under Evan Burfield's stewardship. It's a merger of equals if you want to insult Jennifer and Anthony Maher who appear to be growing a credible business.  It's a merger of equals if sick equals healthy. Here are the facts we know about the Benjamin's Desk - 1776 Merger The press release says it's a merger Press releases report spin...

The Rise and Fall of Evan Burfield – Part 1

How The Hell Did We Get Here - The Evan Burfield Story Evan Burfield is arguably one of the smartest people in any room. He's also proof that IQ points don't directly correlate with the ability to build and lead a company to a successful conclusion. 1995 NetDecide In 1995, Burfield was a freshly minted, 19-year-old, high school graduate of one of the countries most prestigious High Schools, Thomas Jefferson in Alexandria Virginia.  Post graduation, he skipped college and founded his first company, NetDecide. According to Burfield, he raised a million dollars in angel funding and eventually $20 million in total funding. To set some context of that period, this was after the big exits of AOL, Netscape, Yahoo and many other lottery winners. Everyone wanted in on the gold mine that was the World Wide Web and startups. There were 4 times as many VCs in DC who were 10 times more active and 50 times less discriminating than today's VCs. In 2000, Evan went out in search of institutional investors at a time when every kid with a business plan and a napkin could get funded.  Amed with a pen and a napkin, Burfield found himself a passel of soon to be out-of-work VC's...

Startup Funding: Who To Blame for the Lack of #DCTech Cash?

Who should we blame for the lack of startup funding in DC? Angel Investors - Let's blame the Angel Investors! Why aren't people like Mr Cranky investing in startups anymore? After all, wasn't Glen Hellman the #1 Angel Investor in the United States according to Tech Cocktail (tech.co) readers? Actually, no he wasn't and he, who is I, never was the #1 angel anywhere. He who is I, is (or am) also no longer an Angel Investor and the rest of this article describes why. Venture Capitalists - Let's blame the lack of startup funding on all the VC's who just don't "get it." Which isn't true if "it" is not understanding the value of a groovy app like Sick Weather. There is no it to get with apps like Trustify and Sick Weather.  The it that VCs do get however is the actually it that is the problem.  The it that is keeping them from actively investing in this region is that too few its have proven themselves to be worth it in DC as of late. That's why there used to be over 40 active VC's in this town and now there's only 4 or 5 or 6. The Government...

1776 Woes – Benjamin’s Trouble With Benjamins

As 1776 faces more financial pressure, more employee attrition, the DC-based "coworking" space's savior Benjamin's Desk, a Philadelphia-based coworking space, is having trouble raising the Benjamins to close the deal. According to sources in Philadelphia, the deal was slated to close early this week but people at Benjamin's Desk are having trouble raising the capital. Word is that Steve Case wants to stop the bleeding cash and would like to see new leadership at 1776, a company presently run by Evan Burfield, DC's undisputed, inarguable, #1 nonprofit executive of...

Evan Burfield Whispering in Sean Spicer's Ear

Evan Burfield… The Sean Spicer of #DCTech

The purchase of 1776 by Benjamin's Desk is heating up. As a result, Evan Burfield will be pushed out to sink or swim as the CEO of spun-out software company selling 1776's Union.  It's getting realer (Trumpian English) and closer. Yesterday, The Washington Business Journal's (WBJ), Andy Medici reported more details of a probable sale. His report kicked off by this Mr Cranky post from 2 days ago and additional sources. Good work, Andy!!! Quoting from the WBJ article, Evan Burfield, 1776 co-founder and CEO, repeatedly denied the news, saying there is no current deal or purchase with Benjamin's Desk. He said 1776 and Benjamin's Desk have had a "long-standing partnership," calling the combination "wild speculation." "We're always exploring different ways we can expand 1776's mission, but there is no imminent acquisition of 1776," he said. Today, after more discussions with even more sources, Andy reported the deal is likely to close next week. In today's article, Evan Burfield had his Kellyanne Conway-esque, spokesperson repeat the denial. Quoted from that article: [caption id="attachment_76106" align="aligncenter" width="900"] 1776 spokeswoman Morgan Gress also denied any deal or transaction of any kind on Wednesday.[/caption] (Note: Correction. The above picture incorrectly and understandably misidentified Morgan Gress in the above picture. Apparently, the picture is of...

Wolves of Startupland

Wolves Of StartupLand – #DCTech-style

The Wolves Of StartupLand What's wrong with Mr Cranky? Why is he always crying Wolf? Is he like Peter in Peter and the Wolf? Are there really Wolves in StartupLand? Is he just crying Wolf? Absolutely YES and on Thursday's for the next few months I'm going to make my episodic case to that end in a series of blog posts that detail what puts the Crank in Mr Cranky. Why is he so mean to that poor startup founder.  Why is he such a bully. Although I prefer to think of me as more of a Proceed With Caution Sign than a bully but that's just me. You make up your own mind. Over the next few months, I'm going to be dedicating my Thursday Blog Posts to multi-part stories telling the tales of The Wolves of StartupLand.  I'm talking about the people who game the system, fudge the truth, may have squirreled away with the money of others...