Calacanis to startups: raise tons of cash, now

March 21, 2008   

Photo: Jason Calacanis' black SUV escort. Julia Allison and David Karp deciding where we'll go next.

Last night, it seems as though I was the only person who got any work done in Silicon Alley.

No, it's not that I wasn't out enjoying the much reported festivities of Jason Calacanis being in town -- I was there looking my usual dashing self -- it's that while we were all drinking champagne at UnderBar (okay, gin an tonics for me), I had the audacity to bring up the economy with the most experienced CEO among us.

"Are we fucked?" I asked Jason, in reference to this tailspin economy's impact on Internet startups.

His reply:

"I'm not. I raised enough to last me for years. You should too. Now. If you can."

Jason's right (first time I've said that, I think). He was smart to raise $20 million back in November and any entrepreneur trying to raise money now should probably raise as much as possible, even if it means giving up more of your company.

If what folks are saying is true (and some have been saying it for a long, long time), we're about to have a long economic winter on our hands, and it's going to affect every budget: from advertising, marketing, HR, travel, etc, all the way on down to consumer discretionary.

And if all that is indeed true, no matter your web 2.0 business model, -- ads, premium, freemium, utility, etc -- the answer to my initial question ("are we fucked" is this):

You're fucked... unless you raise serious cash, now.

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