Do you know how investors think?
First-time founders who deeply understand the investor psyche have a huge edge.
As any sales person knows, the key to unlocking a sale is getting into the mind of a buyer… selling the opportunity to invest is no different.
The problem is, founders who have those insights fall into two very small categories. They’re either ex-VCs or VC groupies (friends of VCs, people that work next to VCs, etc). Essentially, the only people who have this advantage either WERE VCs in a past life or have the opportunity to talk to them all the time.
No need to dive into how this reinforces inequality in the distribution of venture dollars…
Instead, let’s talk about a solution.
Our 2 main podcasts have focused on sharing founder fundraising stories (Funded) and insights from my brain (The Backchannel). In our third show, The Friends & Family Round (F&F), we talk to other players in the ecosystem whose insights unlock even more within the fundraising journey.
Right now we’re working on a new episode where we’ve asked a number of the best VCs on the planet to answer questions that pull back the curtain on how they think. This investor roundtable episode will be a rapid fire way of slowly getting into the mind of the buyer. Little by little, we’ll level the playing field when it comes to raising capital.
Before our talented producer finishes the episode, we’ll share extracts from our interviews with these VCs in the newsletter!
This week, we interviewed Julia Lipton from Awesome People Ventures and Daniel Gulati from Treble Capital. Check out what they think are the perfect backgrounds for startup founders and what advice they’ve been giving founders recently…
ason: Thanks a ton for doing this guys! To get started… can you two give me the quick rundown of your funds?
Julia Lipton: At Awesome People Ventures, we invest 250k checks into web3 companies. This includes everything from DAOs to blockchain security projects.
Daniel Gulati: My fund is called Treble Capital. We write checks of up to $2M into consumer internet companies, really backing founders as early as we can find them.
Right now, we are investing out of Fund 1 and have a pretty broad range of investments, which include marketplaces, climate tech, fintech healthcare, some gaming, and social platforms also.
Jason: It’s been rocky this last month in the startup world. What advice have you been giving founders to help them weather the storm?
Daniel Gulati: I can go first. Over the last month, I've really been encouraging founders to not get too caught up in all the noise. It's just super easy to get sucked into all the macro headlines.
Yes, you should be smart about making all the adjustments you need to make, but I've just learned that at the early stage, it's incredibly important to keep creating value for your customers and really keep marching the company everyday towards your long-term vision.
Julia Lipton: During this bear market, I've been telling founders that the number one rule is don't run outta money. This means you either need to hit the milestones attractive to investors or become profitable.
If you're planning on raising more money, make sure you've talked to upstream investors to understand the milestones you need to hit because they've changed.
Jason: Both really good.. You both have a “don’t overcomplicate things” tone to your advice. I like that!
This next question is one of my favorites because it’s such a fun window into the minds of investors…
Jason: Can you two tell me what you love seeing in founders that you invest in? Like what is a profile of a founder that consistently gets you excited?
Julia Lipton: For me, one of my favorite things to see in a founder is meeting someone who believes something that the rest of the world doesn't believe. Someone who has a unique insight with strong conviction.
Daniel Gulati: I really like it when founders clearly have deep knowledge about a particular topic and it can be any topic. It doesn’t even need to be anything business related. Seeing this immediately says three things to me.
Firstly, they have this intellectual resiliency to be able to work through a problem space over time.
Secondly, it tells me that they have a real appreciation for attention to detail and nuance. Which I think is so important in today's world.
And lastly, they probably know a bunch of stuff that a lot of other people don't know. As a VC, I find that these three things are pretty common amongst successful founders who go out and build really large companies.
If you want to hear the rest of these interviews, make sure you subscribe to the Funded podcast – you can listen on Apple, Spotify (links below) or wherever you listen…
We’ll also be sharing more excerpts from our interviews in future newsletter issues!
If you thought this was helpful or enjoyable in anyway, I’d love for you to:
Forward this newsletter with others who would enjoy it
Follow me on Twitter where I’ve begun building in public (my course, my podcast, etc)!
Listen with a friend to Funded, my podcast that tells the rollercoaster stories of how founders raised millions (and subscribe🙏)
Ask me your fundraising questions so I can help you and cover them in a future issue
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