It was lame of Ello not to be open that they have some seed funding and act like they were all Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland, "Hey! Let's put on a social network in our backyard!". And as the co-founder of a VC-funded company, believe me I know all the qualms about the VC universe and its entire mojo. (And it might make me biased, for that matter.)
That being said: VC funding does not only fund social networks and other Internet/social endeavors. VC funding is behind hardware, software, telecom, biotech, and on and on. So let's be a little more circumspect before we say we're going to eschew VC-funded companies because they are inherently bad for the user. That's ridiculously narrow-minded.
And some of the complaints I see about what happens when something gets funding are actually complaints about the realities of a business that is run as a for-profit company. There will always be decisions made to sustain a business that are different than decisions made to serve a charitable mission. (Although non-profits desperately care about sustainability too.)
I share some of those concerns about how for-profit companies are measured too. I think one of the worst things in the world is the way Wall Street (and fears about shareholder lawsuits) motivate public companies to be short-term thinkers, and to be single-mindedly focused on one metric for success...SHORT-TERM shareholder value. I think it's terrible for innovation, terrible for ethics, terrible for companies wanting to be good corporate citizens. But hey, that's one of the reasons VC exists: To fund innovation that would otherwise be impossible to develop, away from Wall Street, Sarbannes-Oxley, and the like.
I'm intrigued by the new B-Corp designation, but don't know enough about it. Anyone have or work for one?