The Original Venture Capitalists: A New Film

Dictionary definition of entrepreneurAn early screening of the first documentary film about the founders of Silicon Valley’s venture capital industry mesmerized an audience of investment bankers and VCs, lawyers, entrepreneurs, technologists and others when it was unveiled by the Western Association of Venture Capitalists as a work-in-progress at a reception last night at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA.

MORE THAN MONEY: The Untold Tale of Risk, Reward and the Original Venture Capitalists” is scheduled to be “widely released” in the Fall of 2010. First hand stories of how Apple, Atari, Cisco, Genentech, Intel, Tandem Computers and others once knocked on these VC’s doors looking for funding unfold as humorous vignettes from the memories and anecdotes of Silicon Valley’s  Illuminati — those early venture capitalists and gutsy entrepreneurs of the late 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s.

Featured Venture Capitalists

These are the men who decided against the odds to fund then unknowns such as Apple’s Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak (despite their long hair and need for showers — major issues as we learn in the film), the raw, but brilliant Texan Jimmy Treybig who founded Tandem Computers, Atari’s colorful Nolan Bushnell and Robert Campbell (PDF file) who had a vision that was nearly derailed before it hit the streets as Microsoft PowerPoint.

Featured Entrepreneurs

These are the the men whose brilliance so many overlooked until the early venture capitalists took notice.

The film’s executive producers are Paul Holland and Molly Davis. Paul is a General Partner of Foundation Capital, and a member of the board of directors of the Western Association of Venture Capitalists. Molly is a founding partner of Rainmaker Communications, and a colleague and friend of mine.

We were told not to expect a Ken Burns documentary because the film is still a “work-in-progress” and won’t debut until the Fall, but the executive producers and their talented film makers, Geller Goldfine Productions, have already created slick, cinematic footage that kept last night’s audience glued to their seats for 90 minutes. In the coming months, an original music score and celebrity narration will be added, along with sophisticated animation, said Paul Holland during his welcome address.

You won’t want to forget to add this one to your NetFlix queue.

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