Pattern Recognition, by Ian Sigalow

Pattern Recognition, by Ian Sigalow

Pattern Recognition is a journal of thoughts and strategies on venture capital investments.


The Illusory on Demand Economy

Posted on November 2nd, 2015.

Since the dawn of venture capital, VCs have funded ideas that seemed downright absurd at the time. The first cable company competed against free, over-the-air television. FedEx competed with the US postal service. Wireless carriers sunk billions of dollars into towers and spectrum before they could sign up a single subscriber. But each of these […]



Posted on October 13th, 2015.

In 1972, Bobby Fisher played Boris Spassky for the title of world chess champion.  Game 6 of that series is arguably the greatest chess match of all time – Fisher played an unusual opening and later made a series of brilliant tactical moves that left Spassky with no choice but to resign.  At the end […]


The Great Deflation

Posted on September 16th, 2015.

Back in 2011, my friend Geoff Judge introduced me to a start-up called Longtail Video.  At the time Longtail had a popular video player with 500K free users, and a smaller number of customers who had paid a one-time license fee.  It took a year of discussion before we finally invested behind a plan to […]


Grocery Is Dead. Long Live Grocery!

Posted on March 22nd, 2015.

Welcome to the first installment of Greycroft Science, a blog post prepared in conjunction with Earnest Research. I would like to thank Lucy Wang, Masters candidate from NYU Courant, for her assistance in analysis and data science. There is no more familiar topic than grocery shopping. Literally everyone has done it. You probably haven’t spent […]


The VC Fixer Upper

Posted on February 13th, 2015.

I had a visit from an entrepreneur yesterday who was deliberating about whether to take on a CEO job at a venture-backed company or start a new company from scratch.  The only problem was that the VC deal had some hair on it… $15MM of paid-in capital, nominal revenues, and just a few customers. I […]


Foundational Technologies

Posted on January 15th, 2015.

Humans have always been farsighted, but few knew it until 1450. In 1450 Gutenberg invented the printing press and soon afterwards the masses were reading. Then people suddenly realized that they couldn’t read small print, which created a huge market for reading glasses. Reading glasses led to microscopes, which led to telescopes, which led to […]


The Year of the Undercorn

Posted on December 30th, 2014.

“When a venture-backed company breaks through the $1BN valuation mark, we call it a Unicorn. When the same company falls back below the $1BN threshold, it becomes an Undercorn.” -Dan Primack In 1974 Wilshire Associates launched an index with the aim of tracking every public company headquartered in the US. They called it the Wilshire […]


The Shenzhen Experience

Posted on October 25th, 2014.

I just arrived in Shenzhen for my first trip to China in a decade.  It is Saturday night and the streets outside my hotel are crowded with revelers wearing party hats and waving balloons.  I am not exactly sure what everyone is celebrating, but it has snarled traffic for miles. Shenzhen is an unbelievable place. […]


Where Are We Going?

Posted on September 10th, 2014.

In 1999, the Wachowski Brothers released The Matrix, set in a dystopian future where software governs the world and humans are bred into captivity.  I recently watched the movie again, fifteen years later, and a new thought came to mind.  In the movie, humans ended up in a predicament after losing a war to the […]


Food in America

Posted on August 25th, 2014.

Did you know that 50 years ago there were no Thai or Japanese restaurants in the United States? When I first heard that factoid I didn’t believe it. From my apartment on the Upper East Side, I have delivery options from 6 Thai restaurants and 18 sushi restaurants, each within a short walk. But that […]