A Fresh Perspective on Seed Investing

The investing ecosystem has gone through significant changes over the last 10 years. When we started SV Angel, there were just a handful of funds investing in seed rounds. We all worked together for the best outcome of founders and our early investments in companies like Twitter, Pinterest, Airbnb and Square were done in that spirit. We invested in great founders who pitched a compelling vision for the future, rarely having more than their word to invest on.

Today there are thousands of firms and individuals investing in seed rounds. Seed investors are raising larger funds, becoming more ownership-focused and investing primarily on adoption and traction. Seed investing now encompasses both backing founders at the earliest stages of a company and investing in teams with early-adoption. The amount of money raised in seed rounds has doubled and valuations have increased significantly.

As we thought about how best to serve founders in this environment, we also realized we no longer need to write big checks in order to help. There are many great investors that we’d like to partner with and being involved at any level in a company we like is more important to us than getting the right allocation for the fund. As this dynamic materialized more, we realized there were diverging interests between what’s best for founders and what’s best for our investors.

For this reason, we have decided to go back to basics and invest as individual angels instead of raising a new fund. Ron and Topher will continue to use the SV Angel brand going forward, investing $25k — $100k per company. This allows us to better align ourselves with founders and other investors which is ultimately what’s best for founders.

With these changes, we will scale back the existing SV Angel team. Our partners, Brian Pokorny, Kevin Carter and Robert Pollak, will stay on as advisers to SV Angel. We all plan on remaining active members of the investing community and collaborating with each other on future investments.

Ron and Topher will continue to co-manage the existing SV Angel funds to help founders and evaluate follow-on opportunities.

Writing smaller checks allows us to stay true to our DNA, remain nimble and fulfill our commitment to supporting founders. This approach and unmatched relationship network will continue to set us apart in our ability to support startups at every turn.

We know that if we continue to get behind the right people, success for us and the founders we support will follow.

-Topher, Ron, Brian, Kevin, Robert

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