5 questions with Ryan Floyd

Ryan Floyd is looking at communications deals and enterprise IT deals. Sound like he’s trying to relive the 1990s boom? Hardly. The Storm Ventures general partner is putting bets down in the virtualization space. The firm is a backer of DeviceVM, a stealthy startup that aims to take away the headache corporate IT managers face when dealing with multiple mobile devices. Senior Writer Alexander Haislip caught Floyd for 5 questions.

Q: What have you been working on?


I got up on my soap box to our LPs and told them that virtualization was going to be big. It’s turned into the biggest thing since client-server and that’s pretty goddamn exciting for VCs.

Five years from now it will be the wild wild West in terms of what gets plugged into the enterprise. There’s going to be a tremendous amount of new devices. There’s not a single person inside Storm that has the same smart phone or phone. And just like in your personal life, you have preferences and there’s no reason that can’t be true in the enterprise.

It’s going to add a whole another level of complexity for IT managers, but I don’t think they have a choice.

Q: Sounds as though you’re thinking a lot about how people interact with mobile devices. What makes that interesting?


It’s 3G. It’s broadband. It’s just like what happened from dialup to broadband on PCs. When the Web first got out there, it was clunky and slow and the browsers kind of sucked. It wasn’t fast and it wasn’t a great experience.

Right now, the mobile data experience sucks. We’re conditioned to expect a certain level of service from our desktops and we’re not getting it on our mobile devices. But anyone who has used 3G will tell you that the experience is good. We still have a long way to go, but this is going to blow the barn doors off what people are doing on handsets.

Q: Have you seen any hedge funds nosing around your investments?


We’ve had some companies that have definitely gotten some interest from hedge funds. There have been some placement agents who have been involved in it. If you have a company that’s later stage and mezzanine there will be people who are all over that. We saw more interest six months ago.

Q: What’s your take on the credit crunch? Is it going to hurt VCs?


We’re a little bit nervous, as everyone is, with the credit crunch and the LBO bubble, which seems to be letting off air. What we’re considering in terms of long term effect is what it’s going to do to consumer spending. There’s no question that it’s going to weaken, but the question is how much? Consumer spending is the engine of the American economy and it affects everyone.

Q: Your firm recently took a company public on Kosdaq, the South Korean exchange, what was that like?


We took Com2uS, a mobile game company that has dominant market share in Asia, public. Unlike a Glu Mobile, which is mostly a publishing business, Com2uS actually does a lot of the creative work and builds its games from the ground up.

One of the interesting things is that the new digital trends appear in Korea first. To say that the exact same thing is going to work in the U.S. as it does in Korea is a stretch, but you can see how things are headed.

The challenge in Korea is finding something that you can really build a really big business. You really have to look at as it as a launch pad for the rest of Asia.

Also, Kosdaq is a little conservative on how they value companies. You won’t get the multiples that you get on the Nasdaq.