“No matter who you are, you need…somebody you can call when things go horribly wrong — when your life is on the line and you only have one phone call.” -Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing about Hard Things.
I’ve had the joy and privilege to spend the last seven years building early stage technology companies. I’ve raised close to $10M, sold a company, and when I needed to use my “one call,” Founder Collective’s phone would ring. And they always answered. Why did they answer, you may ask?
To protect their large investment stake? They weren’t investors.
To win an allocation in your financing round? They didn’t see my first company, and chose not to invest on my second.
So, why? Because they’d been through their own entrepreneurial journeys. And seen a thing or two. But most of all: I believe it’s because Eric, David and Micah genuinely care.
The venture fund they’ve built, Founder Collective, is guided by a simple mission “To be the most aligned fund for founders at the seed stage.” This is what that means to me:
- Be the most helpful investor any founder has.
- Stay aligned with the founders (spiritually and structurally).
- Dilute with them as the company grows.
- Be (and stay) lean.
- Be (and stay) humble. It’s harder on the other side of the table.
- Know that VC isn’t the right answer to every question — it’s a hell of a drug.
- Entrepreneurial success does not always mean IPO.
- Don’t chase themes. Follow the visionary entrepreneurs to the weird and wonderful.
At Founder Collective, nothing is off limits. Hard tech? (Cruise) Odd marketplace? (Uber) Regulated market? (Pill Pack) Totally new business? (BuzzFeed). They do it all.
It seems like a pretty simple premise. But off the record, behind closed doors…I’ve spoken to enough fellow founders to say with conviction: this approach is surprisingly rare.
So it’s with great delight that I tell you that I’m joining Founder Collective as their fifth member of the investment team. I’ll be based in their San Francisco office, where I’ll be investing in and being of service to the next wave of entrepreneurs.
And if you’re an early-stage company founder, I’ll say the following:
I haven’t IPO’ed a company or three. I’m not old enough to have decades of valley “seasoning.” What I can offer is simple: I’ve lived the struggle.
And I believe more than ever in technology’s power to shape our world in extraordinary ways. I leave the imagination to you — and can’t wait to see what you build.