I wasn’t one of the 30+ VCs who tried to invest in 37signals. It’s not that I don’t think that what they are doing is cool, just the opposite. I, as well as some of the companies I’ve invested in, use their software, especially Basecamp, on a regular basis. It’s not that I don’t think they have a chance to become a big company. Simple, easy-to-use applications have the best chance to make it big through a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model and the guys at 37signals understand simplicity and design very well. Jason and company had made their feelings about institutional investors well known. Anyone in the community who knew friends of theirs would have understood they were looking for something other than a typical VC.
That’s neither good nor bad. Some entrepreneurs like working with VCs and others don’t. Needless to say, most VCs prefer to work with the former. However, like in dating, sometimes rejection only brings on stronger desire to pursue a deal, to win. If this hot pursuit leads to a forced partnership, there may be trouble in the future.
I don’t buy the S3 connection, BTW. There are ways to establish a relationship there w/o any investment.