When Vinod Khosla wasn’t evading questions about Hampton Creek during a fireside chat at TechCrunch’s Disrupt SF conference Wednesday, he dispensed some advice about how to approach building a business in a bubble.
The venture capitalist suggested startups take what money they can get and fuel their tank, but not assume that the money will keep coming. He also suggested coming up with multiple plans for the future.
He said generally speaking that it’s a good idea to invest in recruiting, saying that recruiting talent is a top priority for him.
“In the Bay Area it’s really hard to retain talent and fight for talent,” he said.
Conflict between Khosla and TechCrunch senior editor Jon Shieber dominated the fireside chat, with Khosla frequently evading questions or suggesting they be asked in a different way.
Shieber early on asked Khosla, “What happened at Hampton Creek?” (The plant-based food science startup has Khosla Ventures' backing.)
“What do you mean? They’re doing great,” Khosla responded.
The company has since the summer seen controversy over complaints of mismanagement and received a warning letter from the FDA asking the startup to change the name of its Just Mayo product plus make other label changes.
Most recently, a Freedom of Information Act request yielded a cache of emails revealing a conspiracy at the USDA-appointed American Egg Board conspiring against Hampton Creek.
Khosla at one point tried to steer the conversation toward criticism of the egg industry, saying the industry frequently crushes chicks to death. It wasn't the first time Khosla criticized the egg industry -- he advocated for the replacement of eggs at Disrupt SF a year ago.