Sand Hill Challenge 2.0

Bucks Restaurant in Woodside, California is a diner with an eclectic mix of bric a bric from all over the world, hanging from the ceiling or plugged up on the walls…a true smorgasbord of things of interest.

Back in the day, ie June 1999, Salon described Bucks as a study in constructed American kitsch, with solitary cowboy boots adorning the counters and model airplanes hanging from the ceiling, along with an astronaut or two; a miniature Statue of Liberty welcomes visitors at the front door. On the walls hangs a hodgepodge of tubas, unicorns, bullfighting outfits, paintings of Che Guevara and at least one giant ketchup bottle.

It contains some gems reminiscent of a time when the Valley was buzzing with activity, such as the swish looking soap box designed and built by Ideo for VC firm, Mohr-Davidow’s entry in the Sand Hill Challenge, an annual soap box derby race held every September down Sand Hill Road – zooming past the many, many venture firms located along this stretch of the Valley. This activity took place during the height of the dot com boom from 1997, but has since fallen by the wayside.

While Sand Hill Road is the deal epicenter of Silicon Valley, Bucks is its true bellwether. This is where the venture guys meet to talk deal syndication, next round, or next venture with serial entrepreneurs. During the ice years (circa 2001…) this place was quiet.Today, however the buzz is back… bigtime. This morning I met a colleague for breakfast at Bucks. The air was palpable with dealtalk. I would love to have captured the mood, the enthusiasm and the fervor so that I could truly explain to folk around the world that the world of venture is again moving at lightning speed.

Perhaps its time to re-organize another soap box derby. Anybody up for Sand Hill Challenge 2.0!

3 responses to “Sand Hill Challenge 2.0

  1. Thanks for this. The Sand Hill Challenge was a wonderful slice of the energy from the ridiculously exuberant late 90’s. Ahhh, the good old days which as you say are here again and have been back, in fact, for a couple of years. There is once again a flood of cash looking for deals but since we all got our toes frostbitten during the last cold spell we are smarter and certainly a bit older. Sure new players keep coming up with innovations but the VC crowd is more careful and much more realistic. We all win with this new leaner tougher outlook.

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  3. Dave from Team Stuffy

    Sounds good to me.
    I used to do Robot Wars, and never found the time for the Sand Hill Challenge.

    It would serve as proof that the valley really isn’t dead.

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