How to Say Yes

How to Say Yes

Saying "no" is such an inherent part of investing that we sometimes become bad at saying “yes.” My thoughts on how to avoid the cognitive trap.

Knowing when to bet—It ain't when you think

Knowing when to bet—It ain't when you think

Sometimes it feels like you are on fire as an investor. You see exciting companies and founders one right after another. Other times, nothing feels quite right.

The reality is that randomness is clumpy. Smart investing plans for the clusters.

(Still) a good time for seed

(Still) a good time for seed

An economist friend recently challenge me over lunch.

“Seed investing is changing. What would this market look like if you boiled it down to Econ 101?” he asked. “And who are going to be the winners and losers?” 

Having thought about it since, I believe that the market for making seed investments remains very attractive. This piece explores it from an economist's perspective.

How VC's Can do More Good

How VC's Can do More Good

Venture capital does great things for the United States. But a good society requires more than just a robust economy. It demands fairness and morality. If the venture community does not do more, we will soon be mentioned in the same dismissive breath as Wall Street.

Venture investors are well-positioned to do more good. It's time we start.

The Gospel of Growth

The Gospel of Growth

Compounding growth is powerful. A company growing at 15% monthly over four years will be 8x larger than one growing at 10%. 

It's an amazing difference. It drives the gap between the iconic companies that break out and those that muddle along toward mediocrity.

I compiled data on some of the most successful companies in venture history to put some measure around this.

Backgrounds of Seed Funds I Admire

Backgrounds of Seed Funds I Admire

There is a bit of wisdom that well-established venture funds are the best place to train new investors. That is, that venture is an apprenticeship business. And the corollary of this wisdom is that the good new funds are spin-outs from existing funds.

The thing is, neither is true for seed-stage venture.

Skyfit Generates the Heat

Skyfit Generates the Heat

Hot trends generate their own energy. And that’s what excites me about my recent investment in Skyfit—an on-demand app for exercise.

Best New Seed Funds: League Tables

Best New Seed Funds: League Tables

Samir and I wrote recently about the impact of seed funds in securing follow-on financing. This post adds detail and perspective for seed-stage focused General and Limited Partners.

We created League Tables that identify seed funds with the top follow-on rates each year. We believe that follow-on rates are a core metric and critical to understand a young fund’s performance.

Best Seed Funds for Driving Follow-on

Best Seed Funds for Driving Follow-on

Founders should pick investors that not only help the company reach critical milestones, but will help them secure their next round. Follow-on rate is strong evidence that an investor can help a company secure downstream financing.

Samir Kaji and I analyze follow-on rate data and present the top investors here.

Switch Ventures

Switch Ventures

Last year I launched an experiment. I started a small venture fund. I wanted to make great investments, work with great entrepreneurs, and explore some specific hypotheses around finding great companies.

Today I’d like to introduce Switch VC.

Interviewed: Hire Better

Interviewed: Hire Better

Hiring is broken. And the reason is simple: Traditional interviews don’t work. Most companies hire the wrong people and take a long time to do it.

How Mode Grew Into a Series A Company

How Mode Grew Into a Series A Company

Today Mode announces its Series A. It’s a big, well-deserved moment for the team. I am happy to join as a returning investor. They are building a great product that data analysts simply love. 

Talent is the Lodestone

Talent is the Lodestone

We need principles in our crafts. They give us direction and define our style. In the craft of venture investing, my first principle is this: Bet on the most talented founders I can find. Of course I have to balance fast growth, large markets, best-in-class products—all critical factors. In the end though, talent is my lodestone.

Why I invested again in PolicyGenius

Why I invested again in PolicyGenius

Nothing is more exciting than founders taking on large and outmoded industries. And there are few industries larger or more outmoded than insurance. For me, investing again in PolicyGenius is a no-brainer. I've been involved with the team from the beginning. It's clear they figured out something big and that they are the team to take it on.

You Aren't Getting the Most Out of Your Investors — This is How to Start

You Aren't Getting the Most Out of Your Investors — This is How to Start

We scribble notes on an already crowded whiteboard, surrounded by the buzz and hustle of one of San Francisco's popular co-working spaces. Across from me is the head of marketing for one of the startups I first invested in as an angel. The founder had asked me to weigh in on their first major product launch plan, and there was an opportunity to collaborate on a strong, cohesive message that would tie it all together.

Welcoming BrightFunnel to the portfolio

Welcoming BrightFunnel to the portfolio

Things have been busy and exciting—venture events, speaking engagements, the occasional party, and a lot of coffee meetings. I met with oodles of cool startups and founders, and between it all made an exciting investment in BrightFunnel. I am positively thrilled about them joining the portfolio. 

Investing in Mattermark

Investing in Mattermark

I am excited that last week I invested in Mattermark, a fast-growing analytics company with great Silicon Valley traction and plans to expand far beyond. They have established great rapport with the venture community already. Danielle Morrill, their CEO, has a vision for the future of analytics that is very similar to mine. That alignment combined with great initial execution made investing an easy choice.

Two Investments in Data: Mode and PipelineDB

Two Investments in Data: Mode and PipelineDB

I recently invested in two data companies. Both are exciting startups with potential to transform huge industries, led by strong teams who understand their markets.