clock menu more-arrow no yes

Entrepreneur and investor Gary Vaynerchuk 'cannot wait' for the startup armageddon

“There’s nobody building a startup business anymore. Everybody’s creating a startup financial machine.”

Gary Vaynerchuk Courtesy VaynerMedia

Gary Vaynerchuk is a serial entrepreneur, and a relentlessly optimistic one at that. The son of an immigrant owner of a liquor store, he turned himself into an early YouTube celebrity with Wine Library TV, then parlayed that into a career as a social media and advertising guru.

After Google bought YouTube for $1.6 billion in 2006, Vaynerchuk made lucrative investments in Web 2.0 companies like Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.

But now, he is also full of gloom and doom.

"There’s nobody building a startup business anymore. Everybody’s creating a startup financial machine," Vaynerchuk said on the latest episode of Recode Media with Peter Kafka. "I cannot wait for the armageddon that is going to put out 97 percent of these fake entrepreneurs. This is the greatest era of fake businesses, ever."

He said he expects to see an early-2000s dot-com-esque bust sometime soon for startups with inflated valuations and an entrepreneurial culture that prioritizes new funding over all else. And he blamed people like himself for enabling that mindset.

"A lot of super angels made money, and then we thought we were all so fucking smart," he said. "I’m going to lose so much money in this last six or seven years betting on companies that have no chance, because I wasn’t able to diagnose early enough that we were creating a culture, that every student on earth decided, ‘I’m not going to get a job! I’ve got an idea!’"

On the new podcast, Vaynerchuk also discussed how he parlayed early personal success on Google AdWords and YouTube into his own digital agency, which charges a $50,000 retainer to help other brands succeed online. In addition to running VaynerMedia, which has 650 employees in five offices worldwide, he’s also a social media celebrity in his own right, with more than 271,000 subscribers on YouTube and more than 950,000 on Facebook.

"I’m a workaholic," Vaynerchuk said. "My real challenge is work-life balance, having two small children. My challenge is not running a business and then also, on a side hustle, having a persona that is predicated on me being a businessman."

You can listen to Recode Media in the audio player above, or subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.

If you like this show, you should also sample our other podcasts:

  • Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher is a weekly show featuring in-depth interviews with the movers and shakers in tech and media every Monday. You can subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.
  • Too Embarrassed to Ask, hosted by Kara Swisher and The Verge's Lauren Goode, answers all of the tech questions sent in by our readers and listeners. You can hear new episodes every Friday on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.
  • And finally, Recode Replay has all the audio from our live events, such as the Code Conference, Code Media and the Code Commerce Series. Subscribe today on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.

If you like what we’re doing, please write a review on iTunes — and if you don’t, just tweet-strafe Peter. Tune in next Thursday for another episode of Recode Media!

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for The Weeds

Get our essential policy newsletter delivered Fridays.