Photo by Sel Fim on Unsplash

My best advice for a new VC

Two things I heard, and one I had to learn.

Mike Troiano
Jan 16, 2020 · 4 min read

“Don’t do a bad deal your first year.”

The first is “Don’t do a bad deal in your first year.” A bad deal right out of the gate not only hurts the fund, it consumes the time, focus, and confidence required to build the foundation of your “practice” as an investor… the network of relationships and institutional sources of deal flow that are the lifeblood of a successful VC. This was actually the single most common piece of advice I got, from savvy investors and trusted friends including my partner Bill Wiberg, friends Jamie Goldstein and James Nahirny. I took it seriously, to the point of not doing any deals that first year out of the gate (though to be clear this was not my intention.) My partners — to their credit, and my surprise — saw this as a sign of sober judgement rather than limited productivity.

“Pick a race, bet the jockey.”

The second best piece of advice I got was to focus on market selection first, to look for problems that genuinely offer the potential for a venture scale return, then to find the best teams chasing those opportunities. Eventually this distilled down to “Pick a race and bet the jockey,” a sticky formulation shared with me by the great Jit Saxena.

“Bring the right tools for the job.”

Which brings me to what I’d add to the list.

What made Elon think he could win in payments, cars, and space?

G20 Ventures

Human scale venture capital.

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