If you have ever shown a friend or relative Twitter, you were probably met with a response along the lines of, “Why would I ever want to use this?”
Mostly, it’s hard to quantify the usefulness of a tool such as Twitter, but the startup and venture capital research Web site Chubbybrain has given it their best shot by asking the question: Do VCs who use Twitter invest in more startups?
The report is an interesting look at how venture capital firms use Twitter while judging its effectiveness. But, as expected, the report focuses mostly on VCs in California, Boston and New York. That got us thinking, what local VC’s are on Twitter? Of the 23 firms profiled by ChubbyBrain, only First Round Capital has an office in Philadelphia, and only two of its six Twitterers list their location as Philadelphia. A third, Rob Finn of the Edison Venture Fund, calls Lawrenceville, N.J. home.
Technically Philly combed through our previous coverage and compiled a list of VC firms, we then used Google and Twitter Search to help find anyone listed as a partner or managing partner of the city’s local VC frims. Some firms that aren’t explicitly venture capital, such as DreamIt Ventures, were incorporated as well. We did not include CEOs of portfolio companies or firm associates.
The result was a discouraging display of the state of the local VC community. Of the ten firms searched, we were able to find only a small handful of Twitter users, and many of those using Twitter have barely used the service. Only four local users, Brett Topche (MenterTech), John Kopelman (First Round), Terry Williams (NextStage) and Steve Barsh (DreamIt), can be considered “active” by even the most lenient definitions. First Round’s Chris Fralic has his updates protected, though judging by the Twitter use of the rest of his firm, it is safe to say that he is likely an active user as well.
Tony Bifano (38 followers, no tweets)
Brett Topce (90+ followers)
Terry Williams (39 followers)
Twitter usage may seem like an arbitrary aspect of a much larger communications strategy, but being visible on sites like Twitter is crucial to a brand’s ownership of their online identity. Currently, anyone could sign up on Twitter and pose as a managing partner at some of the firms above.
There is a reason First Round gets the bulk of the media coverage of local VC firms. Considering each managing partner maintains a Twitter account and a blog, they provide the most social media outreach.
Using Twitter won’t suddenly make the world sit up and take notice of our great local resources, but it sure will help.
Every Wednesday, Shop Talk shows you what goes into a tech product, organization or business in the Philadelphia region. See others here.