Venture Capital firm was big backer of generic domain-based companies.
Rob Monster’s Monster Venture Partners is closing its doors, reports TechFlash.
Monster Venture Partners backed a number of companies that were formed with high value generic domain names, such as Alerts.com and Healthcare.com. Other companies Monster Venture Capital invested in were SharedReviews, EvoMedia Group (formerly EvoLanding), and Complaints.com. Because Monster founded the venture capital firm with $7M of his personal money, it’s difficult to determine which companies are backed by Monster Venture Capital and which ones were simply angel investments by Monster.
Rob Monster’s Domain Strategies company has struck a number of development deals with companies, including for Wifi.com as well as a deal with Live Current Media (OTCbb: LIVC) to develop Karate.com. Monster is also involved with Patents.com.
All told, Monster Venture Partners invested in about 20 companies over two years. According to the TechFlash article, most of the companies are now bootstrapping or have raised funds from other investors.
Although it’s unfortunate to see economic conditions force the formal closing of the fund, it’s clear that Rob Monster isn’t leaving the domain space.
Wow…..and all this time I thought they were kicking butt and taking names.
Kevin Ohashi says
Sounds like the names took them.
Very sad to here this news – Rob Monster is a great guy and Im sure this isnt the last time we shall here from him in the domain market.
It is disappointing to hear they are closing down.
However, in situations like this, I usually find that ones’ first assumptions are incorrect.
The facts will come out over time.
Andrew Allemann says
My impression is they just couldn’t raise more VC money for these types of investments in this environment. That’s not to say that the $7M he’s invested won’t pan out. But you don’t keep your VC doors open when you don’t have more money to invest. I wouldn’t be surprised if Monster personally continues to invest, just as an angel.
David J Castello says
Rob will be in this industry for years to come.
Patrick McDermott says
“Rob Monster is a great guy and Im sure this isnt the last time we shall here from him in the domain market.”
The Tech Flash article also said:
“At the age of 40, Monster said he’s too young to retire. So, he’s returning to his “entrepreneurial roots.” He’s hatching a new “Web 3.0 media company” called Epik.com, along with Alerts.com founder Pascal Stolz. The idea, he said, is to build on his vision of the “user-centric semantic Web” in a way that helps people find relevant information.”
Epik.com is all about domains.
So he threw a few hundred thousand across some 20 +/- companies that were setup on generic domains over the past two years… And they were suppost to be the new category killers to sweep everybody of their feet..Haaaa.
Seriously… What did you expect?
I am personally not surprised.
If he threw a couple mil at one or two companies which had real potential — he would made a whole lot of money much sooner and could of kept this VC business open.
Instead he got himself knee deep in a lot of sh*t such as with live current and the rest of the companies where I don’t see how exactly they plan to make money… Yikes!
Live and learn.
Mike, do you own Compassion.com ?
I have never met Rob Monster (that I know of) but I only wish him well. I hope to meet him one day at one of the conferences.
He still has more money than most of us and the ability to keep moving forward.
I wish him good luck in his new venture.
David J Castello says
C’mon Mike, there you go again. How do you expect anyone to take you seriously in this industry if you keep throwing bombs without knowing all the facts? You’re a talented guy, but you need to get a grip on this. FYI, Rob spent w-a-y more than “a few hundred thousand on across 20 names…”
How do I know? Because Rob was and still is our partner on Traveler.com. In my opinion, he has the formula 100% correct and will eventually be quite successful. The bottom line is that the economy tanked at warp speed and his VC sources literally dried up faster than a puddle in the desert. He’s simply taking three steps back to consolidate his resources before he moves ten steps forward.
Mike….I’ve seen some of your Wannadevelop “developed” pages and they are full of poor grammer and look like they were made in 1997.
I saw one page you made saying something like, “A cat is an animal people like to have as a pet. Cats are great company. Cats can love you too. Etc…….”
Are you saying you are doing better work than Rob Monster was/is?
Neautral peace moderator..
1. Mr. Castello is right about chilling out on the comments from wannadevelop even though I can tell wannadevelop is a very interlligent shop
2. Although the words could be more professional, I think what wannadevelop is saying is that some of these names..especially patents.com are so incredible that the reason there is a bump is because they haven’t been developed properly. Let’s be honest..they haven’t. But rob monster is so intelligent that in the future these businesses are gonna be huge..but they do need to be built out better
Rob Monster says
A little context might help here.
The name Monster Venture Partners was actually holding me back. Prospective investors looked at what we were doing and were confused. How? We called ourselves a VC but were actually an operating company with a heavy focus on premium domain development. Also, as David Castello knows, the name “Monster” was also not trademarkable and had limited potential for ever being a public entity due to the “VC” positioning.
The other thing Mike needs to understand about being a VC in down times is that you get absolutely deluged with VC pitches. As long as I had a VC shingle out, the venture pitches would keep coming. The reality is that if you listen to a pitch, entrepreneurs have the expectation that you might invest — even if you tell them up front that you won’t. People who know me know that I am fairly unfiltered in that I say what I think, and I mean what I say. This is not really the protocol in the VC world. The standard VC line is “I will discuss it with my partners on Monday”. Uh … in VC speak, that’s a “no”. I’ll tell people no, and tell them why. I think that’s a better way to be but being honest is not the way to win style points. It can be interpreted as being arrogant. While that is not my intention, there you go.
As for Epik, the company has some solid names and we now have some proof points. Epik is doing more than “domain development”. We are building a Web 3.0 platform that will be among the first to drive a network effect across domain properties, in part enabled by single sign-on, portable identity, portable reputation, and user-aware content management. Domainers have a huge opportunity to define the future of the web, much in the way a new city gets planned from the ground up. In essence, that is what Epik is about.
Identity.net is a core component. For example, it powers the user layer of Complaints.com, Slideshow.com, etc. It will be the back-end of much of what we are building. The vision of the “user-centric semantic web” is far-reaching. It will ultimately require a lot more names, more capital and more operating focus from a hands-on CEO.
Stay tuned. And if anyone has great domain names that would fit well in the Epik network, let me know. 🙂
My point was… A few hundred thousand won’t get you too far. All of the industries that Rob chooses to invest in are highly competitive for the most part and “making it” is going to require a lot more $$$ and effort from their current setup.
I wasn’t blown away or impressed with most of the current web sites… Nothing special about them whatsoever.
I applaud the effort and am all about development but seriously.. As I said many times, it is so easy to lose focus when you got a lot of good domains. You end up being all over the place.
This is just another example.. Same with Live Current who is almost bankrupt and knee deep in sh*t as well.
Jeff Geaney says
Rob closes down monster venture and starts promoting epik.com and all their supporting websites.
This just looks like a clever P.R exercise.
Shuki Haiminis says
Lots of comments here from people that sound like the type that stopped by the parties and drank the free booze and left and called him a jerk when the bar ran out.
Anyone that puts up their own money and takes a leap of faith in a person and an idea should be applauded not ridiculed. Even if you don’t like him as a person you have to like him and his attitude for trying to do SOMETHING.
I wish him and the companies he invested in the best of luck. We are all small business people here. We should try and stick together and support each other instead of name calling.
Let’s look at the real facts. Rob goes from promoting monsterventurepartners.com to (vcvc)epik.com
M. Menius says
@ Shuki – Good post! Needed to be said.
Shuki Haiminis says
Thanks very much.
I just feel that it is very easy to criticize especially when you are protected behind your computer. I can almost guarantee that most people that posted negative things would not have the guts to walk up and say these things to Rob’s face if they ever met him.
Kevin Ohashi says
I read the tagline from Epik:
‘Epik is a paradigm shift for content discovery from search centric to direct navigation with personal relevance’
Isn’t this a shift back to what originally existed pre-search? Sure that bit at the end sounds nice, but are you really expecting a major growth in direct navigation? If so, could you explain your reasoning/thoughts? This just isn’t the way the trends look as far as I have seen the past 5 years…
Don’t get me wrong, it would be great for those of us holding type-in domains, but I am not holding my breath.
To mister johnny nobody — who are you again ??!
Oh, ok. Thought so 🙂
Look guys, there is a lot of money to be made with those great domains *IF* you are serious about it. You put together a master plan and execute it.. Well, at least do your best.
Nobody is arguing that.
It was both smart and not so smart to spread out the $$$ and investments across 20+/- web sites.
Personally, I think it wasn’t so smart but to each his own.
What do I know? 🙂
Mike you made a bunch of money in the smut business, but now you know about developing great generics?
You even said you used a bunch of known porn star names to build your business. So you traded off of other’s work, albeit porn, to amass some wealth. And, now we are all supposed to admire you and your accomplishments…..especially when all you do it belittle everyone?
Show us something you developed that is successful in a non-smut category. So far all I have seen is sites comparable to MFA sites coming from Wannadevelop.
Good luck with your new projects.
I’m happy to hear you are moving forward.
Not a lot of us can say that.
It is almost baseball season where 70K people sit in the cheap seats and complain about players that are far superior athletes than the fans.
90% of the domain community COULD NOT do what Rob has successfully accomplished in the past.
And, I’m positive he will be successful in his new projects.
Andrew Allemann says
Hey guys let’s cut the crap so I don’t have to shut off comments or delete the name calling. If you want to do that sort of stuff keep it to the forums.
Stephen Douglas says
Hi Dub-A… before you shut down the name-calling, let me say, (as the nicest guy in the domain industry):
“Dear Mr. Monster,
Even mentioning this guy from Wanna-derail.com, errr. wanttodevelop is a mistake, because nobody in this industry gives a flying FCK what this wannabee says. Let’s say that even discussing him further is…ho hum
Truth be told, the domain industry has admired your courage and insight in investing in domains, and we will continue to consider your work in the future.
Good luck with your endeavors. We are rooting for your success,
THE WHOLE DOMAINER COMMUNITY”
Rob Monster says
Thanks for the kind wishes.
I am really enthusiastic for the domainers of the world. The drop in parking monetization is a temporary blip in the economic equation of being a domainer. Domain development is indeed a growth engine but this means different things to different people.
I think you will find that Epik, as an operating company, can bring more to the table than a quasi-VC that is also investing in areas outside of the domain world.
I think you will also find that there is a network effect that domainers are not yet tapping into effectively. Semantic mapping of domains is a missed opportunity. Single-sign-on is another missed opportunity. Epik intends to address both gaps, while also exploring how to make greater user of community-edited content.
As for my commitment to the domain world, it is actually at an all-time high. For perspective, when I left the day-to-day of running Global Market Insite (GMI), we had 7 years of 100+% annual revenue growth. I then spent 2 weeks on the beach, during which I vowed (mostly to my wife) not to jump into any one thing too quickly. The decision to start a venture/angel fund was a good way to test the water on what to work on next. Sure, I could have timed the angel investments better, but that’s water under the bridge. Thankfully, I did not use other people’s money, and moreover all of the investments are still operating and there is no mark-to-market accounting for personal angel investments. In other words, it is still too early to draw any conclusions other than that I have more gray hair than I did 2 years ago. 🙂
I look forward to being a part of what comes next for the domain industry. To date, I have not referred myself as a domainer. Today I say to you “Ich bin ein … Domainer. ” 🙂
If anyone thinks I can run our properties better, or that I am otherwise missing the boat on something, I would love to hear from you. And by all means, tell me when I am screwing up. My direct email is [email protected].
Thanks again for letting me part of this community. And Dub-A, keep up the good work!
Stephen Douglas says
Now I can croak with a smile on my face, knowing that the Honorable Rob Monster used my nickname for one of the best domain industry reporters in the world, Andrew Allemann —-“DUB-A”
Thanks Rob, for your detailed response and request for advice. You have all the manifestations of a secure businessman who knows how to listen without taking things personally. (Like I have to say this… such impudence on my part. I apologize sincerely…)
Andrew (*better known as “DUB-A), let us know when your first hip hop album is coming out. I expect to see such songs as:
“Hear It Here First, Muthas!”
“Be Watching U”
“Jumpin’ Off Wit Da Big Domain Money”
“Me Gat Wants Ta Stop Dat Redheaded Viking Gangsta From Writing Long Speak”
I will produce it if you’re you’re not yet represented, yo.
(I know nothing about rap/hip hop, hate it all, except anything by Snoop Dog – whose countenance just looks cool)
Much Success To Everyone! Trust me, great things are coming for domainers… stay the course, read up, and support all those who are supportive of all of us.
Rob, Kudos for taking the time to listen and explain your side. Good luck with your ventures. .. .woops I mean projects 🙂