Which venture capitalists are early adopters?

A few months ago, my friend Peter Kamali and I created hacked together a site called EarlyNerd that lets you see how you rank vs. your friends and the broader population on the early adoption scale.

Specifically, we ranked people based on userIDs for Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare.  We acknowledge that our methodology wasn’t completely scientific, but it gives directionally correct results.

After looking at some of the fun results for EarlyNerd early-adopters, we  became curious to see what early adoption spectrums looked like in specific populations.

One set of people that I thought would be interesting was Venture Capitalists. I looked at rankings from three lists and made comparisons:

1. The 2011 Venture Capital Blog Directory, as compiled by Larry Cheng (unfortunately there is no 2012 version yet), which ranks VC blogs by traffic. *I only examined those with over 5,000 average monthly uniques, so I used the top 22 from this list.

2. The Top 30 Most Respected Venture Capitalists, as compiled via sentiment analysis, confidential reviews and surveys by Mark Fidelman.

3. Earlynerd scores, specifically for Twitter, signaling when (what date) each Venture Capitalist first signed up for Twitter.

The results are below, but here are some interesting conclusions that I drew:

Looking at the Top 10 Earliest VC Adopters of Twitter

1. Exactly evenly split between East and West Coast Venture Capitalists. This has to be good news for East Coast VCs given there are less of them overall.  Also, Josh Kopelman  of First Round Capital was earliest in this cohort.  Maybe it’s because East Coasters get to wake up first :).

2. 8 out of the top 10 earliest to join Twitter were ranked as Top Most Respected VCs, 7 were ranked as having Top Blogs and 5 had both rankings. Clearly these early adopting VCs are also tops in other categories.

3. Most shockingly only 1 of the earliest 10 to join Twitter actually invested in Twitter (Fred Wilson). Perhaps those on Twitter earliest had less of a great experience since there wasn’t much going on?

4. Out of the top 10 earliest to join Twitter, the 7 that had composite EarlyNerd  scores (including Facebook and Foursquare adoption too) had 90+ Early Nerd scores, meaning that they were earlier adopters than 90+% of the overall EarlyNerd database.

Looking at the Top 20 Earliest VC Adopters of Twitter

1. Still about evenly split between East and West Coast VCs, with Brad Feld as the tiebreaker or tie-maker (9 East, 10 West and Brad in Colorado).

2. 14 out of the top 20 earliest to join Twitter were ranked as Top Most Respected VCs, 16 were ranked as having Top Blogs and 10 as having both rankings.

3. Out of the 20 earliest VCs to join Twitter, only 5 ended up investing in Twitter ( 2 of those were from Union Square).

Other interesting Facts

Only 2 VCs of the 40 total on this list are still not on Twitter – Michael Moritz from Sequoia and Peter Sinclair of Leapfrog. It doesn’t seem to have hurt them too much?

Further Investigation

We’d love to update EarlyNerd to include other services like LinkedIn, GMAIL, Pinterest, Instagram. If any of those services want to add to their API to make “date joined” an available field, we’d be happy to add it and to update the site and the VC data.


Sources of Data Fields in Graphic

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