TLDR: We recently hosted our 2019 Annual Notation Meeting. You can find the meeting deck here. We also prepared two additional presentations on “pre-seed investing” and “blockchain participation,” which we plan to make public in the new year.
Last year, we decided to run our first proper annual meeting. It was really one of the first times we’ve had all of our largest investors in the same room, providing a forum for honest review, discussion, and feedback. We also published our results and learnings. (You can find the post here and the deck we used here).
We took some of the lessons learned from our first year and tried our best to make them real this year. In what is now tradition, we’re publishing our deck and some thoughts for future iterations. Hopefully this is useful for other VCs and founders hoping to gain some insight into how we operate.
- Host locally
We held our annual meeting in San Francisco last year, which made logistical sense at the time, but we found ourselves wishing that we had hosted the meeting on our home turf. The annual meeting should be a reflection of the firm and who we are, which is rooted in Brooklyn. This year, we started scouting for locations early and ultimately decided to host the meeting in Williamsburg. Turns out, rooftop bars in NYC are still gorgeous even in November :)
2. All about the companies
One of the highlights of this year’s meeting was when we had some of our founders come in and give a short presentation about what they’re building. Due to time constraints, we were only able to have three founders (Stephanie from Sawyer, Avi from Alice, and David from Redesign Science), but they lit the room up. We’re always talking up our portfolio companies to our LPs, but having the founders in the room breathes life into their stories. It was incredible to reflect with the founders on the progress they have achieved to date, reminisce on the early days — and rewarding to see people in the room get excited about the innovative new products being built.
3. More data
We came away from last year’s meeting with a realization that we could have included more data-driven analysis to back up our assumptions and thesis. While we were preparing for this year’s meeting, one thing on our minds was this: every statement that we make should be backed up by corresponding data. We did a deep-dive into “pre-seed” as a category, as well as the growth of the NYC tech ecosystem in the past 5 years.
We also chose to go deep on an area we’ve spent a lot of time in recently — blockchain participation — what ‘participation’ means broadly, what it means for us as investors to be active participants in crypto networks, and why we think it’s important. We were also lucky enough to have three founders/operators in the blockchain /crypto space as panelists for a short Q & A session. (Thank you to Joe from Bison Trails, Greg from MakerDAO, and Raffi from Livepeer!)
4. Expanded the group
One of the components that makes Notation special to us personally is the incredible community that we have. Since last year’s meeting, we thought about a way to design the day so that the broader Notation community could come and do a deeper-dive with us on the topics that we were interested in, and also come together and meet each other. For us, the most satisfying part of the day was watching people gather and get to know each other.
As you can see from our deck, we’re still learning and growing, and with each year there is something new to work on, and (we hope) something to be proud of. We have some really exciting things in the works for 2020…stay tuned!
In the meantime, we do have a mailing list here if you’d like to stay in the loop with Notation updates.
Alex, Nick, Katherine, Thomas
PS. You can always reach us at email@example.com or find us on twitter.