VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Dave McClure is one of the most prominent angel investors in Silicon Valley, and possibly the world. His accelerator, 500 Startups, will fund its 500th company sometime this year … and no, in answer to “all the stupid questions,” 500 Startups will not shut its doors after reaching that number.
He may also take the prize for most F-bombs per sentence of any investor.
I caught up with McClure at the GROW 2012 conference in Vancouver recently, and spent a few minutes. Here’s the interview …
VentureBeat: Favorite startup right now?
Dave McClure: Favorite startup right now that I’m not an investor in … if AngelList is considered a startup that would be my favorite.
VentureBeat: Gotcha — I know you’ve got a hard-on for AngelList, heard that today.
Dave McClure: Totally! Actually, full disclosure, I’m an advisor.
Favorite startup in our portfolio — all my children are beautiful (laughing) — right now, recent favorite I would say probably Refer.ly. Danielle Morrow, really psyched about what she’s doing. Some older ones that I love: MindSnacks, AppStack, Dulio, SendGrid.
VentureBeat: Hottest space to invest in right now?
Dave McClure, (laughing): That’s such a lame-ass f*cking question.
VentureBeat: Yes, it is! But I’m asking it.
Dave McClure: Hottest space that I think is interesting would be education, particularly like 3-10.
VentureBeat: Most clueless founder question you ever got?
Dave McClure: Oh, that’s like … that could be it’s own show!
Hmm … most clueless founder question … I don’t want to be too harsh, but understanding basic shit that’s on Venture Hacks or AngelList or something like that. There’s a lot of available information online … basic term sheet stuff, or valuation.
VentureBeat: Three most important things for startups to get right?
Dave McClure: Customers, problem, and don’t spend too much time on it.
VentureBeat: Best investment ever?
VentureBeat: Biggest cause of startup failure?
Dave McClure: Taking too long to ship or not listening to customers.
VentureBeat: Startup you thought was stupid, but ended up rocking?
Dave McClure: Boy there’s a long list of f*ck-ups I’ve made in not investing … stupid is kinda harsh … probably AirBnB, because they had the cereal box thing, and I’m just like, I’m not getting it.
VentureBeat: You’re in Vancouver quite often … what’s the best thing about Vancouver?
Dave McClure: This view is f*cking amazing … we’re looking out at Vancouver harbor right now which is gorgeous, astonishing.
VentureBeat: Thing that pisses you off most about the recent Twitter API changes?
Dave McClure: Ahh … haven’t been following it too closely and I don’t think it’s necessarily irrational … it’s just like they decided to make some relatively hard-core decisions on how their developer community operates, which is quite different from how it used to operate.
Understandably I know a lot of people are pissed off, but understandably I think they need to figure the business model also. Maybe not my choice, but … I get it.
VentureBeat: Most important thing you learned when you were at PayPal?
Dave McClure: Offline anything is expensive. Online is much cheaper usually to do almost anything.
VentureBeat: One thing you want a do-over on?
Dave McClure: Last 20 years? (laughs).
Ahh … probably the opportunity to invest in Fab, Uber, LivingSocial, AirBnb … all those I had very significant opportunities with the founders — at least most of those I know personally — and totally f*cked that up (laughs).
VentureBeat: Thanks for your time.
Image credit: John Koetsier
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This article originally appeared on VentureBeat