There is money to be made on our vices. So why do so many investors refuse to make it?
That’s an age-old question thrown into sharp relief this summer as Juul, the e-cigarette company that teenagers are gaga for these days, raises a round of financing that values the company on the same par with names like Lyft or Snap. There is perhaps no better market than one we are addicted to, but puritanical Silicon Valley typically refrains from industries that call upon our taste for sin.
So that means not to expect to see a marquee venture capital firm behind a new marketplace to organize the Adderall industry, even if there is surely a better way to connect dealers and buyers. Or behind a new technology to muffle the blast of a pistol, even if tens of millions of firearms are sold each year. Or behind a new innovation in how we experience pornography, even though the virtual reality platforms that firms’ portfolio companies build could very well revamp an estimated $100 billion industry worldwide. Read More