Amid a turn toward the convergence of leisure and escapism-- I'm looking at you, recreational sourdough bakers--a number of French citizens are heading in the opposite direction. Take the success of Kapital!, a board game about class warfare. Kapital! is the creation of Michel Pinçon and Monique Pinçon-Charlot, celebrity sociologists in a country where "celebrity sociologist" is not an oxymoron. At Christmas, the game was a runaway hit. The magazine Les Inrockuptibles recommended it as "a delicious poisoned gift for your right-wing friend," and ten thousand copies sold out in weeks. Since then, another twenty thousand customers have paid thirty-five euros apiece in order to "understand, apprehend, and even experience the sociological mechanisms of domination," as the game's promotional copy promises.
You don't have to spend a lot of time talking to early stage entrepreneurs and investors to hear someone say that it's easier than ever today to raise money. Those who were in the industry in the nineties before the 2001 tech bubble burst will tell you that the amount of money floating into venture deals of questionable intrinsic value is about as high as it was in 1999. This was a time when companies like Webvan and Kozmo raised $396 million and $250 million in venture dollars respectfully, only to go bankrupt by 2001.
Sieg was trying her hand at banking, when her firm sat down with AOL billionaire Steve Case and his partners at Revolution Ventures to help them set up their first growth-stage investment fund in 2010. As she got to know Case and his fellow venture investors, she realized she wanted to be on their side of the table. So when West Coast partner David Golden approached her about opening a San Francisco office in 2012, Sieg jumped at the chance to become the firm's fifth and youngest partner. Now Sieg works closely with four companies and invests nationwide, especially in financial services and insurance. "The economics are incredible and it hasn't really been brought online yet," she says.