This Is Me Bragging.
Before I started Boost VC, I was an angel investor. Two of my original 20 angel investments announced major funding rounds today: Coinbase with $100m fundraise, and Amplitude with $30m. Both being led by IVP.
There is no such thing as an over night success. Both of these teams have had major ups and downs throughout their life cycle. The one trait that I would say both of these founders have, is that they both listen really well, they know they don’t know everything, and use the advice they think is relevant to their mission. To this day, I still look for these qualities in all founders I work with.
When I invested in Coinbase the market cap of Bitcoin was less than $100m, the entire volume of Bitcoin was less than $2m a day… on the high end. This was one of the slides in Brian Armstrong’s pitch deck:
5 years later, their volume is higher than this :) Like… way higher.
When I met Brian, I was at Red Rock, a coffee shop in Mountain View. He was an incredible founder. He took an incredibly complicated technology: #Bitcoin, and explained it to a muggle: me. I bought into the vision, and him, in a one hour conversation. His pitch was that Bitcoin was going to be the financial infrastructure of the world, and that Coinbase was going to be the interface. He’s much closer to being correct today than he was 5 years ago :)
My investment in Coinbase ended up being an inspiration for Boost VC to focus on Bitcoin. Which has led to basically my lifes work being involved in supporting the #crypto space. You never know what coffee shop meeting will end up changing your life path.
But the thing I want to highlight about Brian, is that he is still the same, curious, empathetic, bad ass engineer, that he was when he pitched me 5 years ago (almost to the day).
When Spenser Skates pitched me more than 5 years ago, it was for a Voice to Text product called “Sonalight”. I also met Spenser and Curtis at a coffee shop (maybe I should take more pitch meetings at coffee shops). They were the smartest people I had ever met. I remember walking back to my car, calling someone to discuss the meeting and saying, “I don’t know about the business, but they are the insanely smart engineers, so I have no doubt they can build it.”
They came to me about two months after I made my investment and said “Voice to Text isn’t going to be ready for 5 years.” Which as an investor, you don’t always want to hear, but again… they could build ANYTHING.
When Spenser and Curtis were bored, they would build analytics for their Voice to Text app, to give themselves better insight on their consumers behavior. People would visit their apartment and ask for access to certain tools they had on display. Thus @amplitude was born. To my credit, I encouraged the transition, and didn’t fight the battle to keep the Voice to Text app alive.
After the transition, they just wanted to see if people would use their tools. Look at this date, 3.5 years ago, they had zero customers paying. Their growth has been explosive over the last 3.5 years, and I’m really excited about the future for Spenser and Curtis.
It’s been 5 years since I invested in both of these companies. It takes time to build trust, time to build a team, and time to build a business. Greatness takes time, so be patient.
Also — I’m awesome.