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Venture capital leaders at ILM West in San Francisco today expressed optimism about the environment but said there are some challenges coming up.

“It is a great time to start a company and fund a company,” said Michael Yang of Comcast Ventures. Yang noted that entrepreneurs have a jump on getting money from venture. “There isn’t vibrant Mergers and Acquisition” right now as the banks are tied up with issues and unstable economies. “There is surplus cash coming into the market.”

Hot areas include things that involve retention and loyalty, he adds. Tablets are also changing things. “We are two years into the IPad cycle,” he notes. “The iPad is permeating all walks of life, in both leisure and corporate settings.”

But it has all led to froth, Yang warns. “Private markets is where you are seeing a bubble.”

Gregg Johnson of our sister company BIA Digital Partners concurred with Yang about the limited role of banks. “I don’t think we will see in coming years any meaningful returns by the banks. There is a need by companies to create meaningful capital sources.”

Private investor Rick Blair, former CEO of, said that it is about more than money. “I like to get involved with the companies I work with. It is imperative that I feel like I can add value.”

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