Why did investor-news aggregator Monitor110 go under, taking $20 million in funding with it? Read early investor Roger Ehrenberg's surprisingly humble and informative blog post about the ordeal, titled "Monitor110: A Post Mortem," and it sounds like the startup fell prey to the usual pratfalls — too much PR, weak leadership, and a confused product vision. Probably all that's true. But what's also true, a source tells us, is that Monitor110's own investors, specifically Draper Fisher Jurvetson, which invested most of that $20 million, ensured Monitor110's failure during its final months.
A source familiar with the venture capitalists tell us that after Monitor110's last funding round, the company began to burn through cash faster than expected. Fortunately for Monitor110 CEO Brennan Carley, the company's primary investors at DFJ were very understanding. They promised — "truly promised," our source tells us — Monitor110 a bridge loan to get the startup through until its next funding round. Monitor110 went ahead and spent the money, "with DFW's "assurance the bridge was coming," our source says. But it never came.
Instead, DFJ killed the bridge loan and — as is being reported today — funded Monitor110's direct competitor Skygrid instead, leaving Monitor110's other investors, like Ehrenberg, with nothing better to do than write humble postmortems. Ehrenberg, reached for comments, did not deny any of the particulars of this story.
The real lesson of Monitor110, then, is this: Never trust a venture capitalist. Why isn't Ehrenberg telling us this story? He wouldn't say, but the most likely explanation is that he knows he might do business with Draper Fisher Jurvetson again, and he doesn't want to be blackballed. Far easier to play the humble martyr, and gain popularity by licking his wounds and sharing anodyne lessons learned.