Announcing SignalFire

Chris Farmer
Oct 14, 2015 · 4 min read

I am excited to introduce SignalFire, a radically different seed fund.

The irony of venture capital

Today’s startups look nothing like they did forty years ago, but venture capital has hardly changed since the partnership model of the 1970s.

Software may be eating the world, but it has barely touched venture capital.

Venture capitalists expect real-time dashboards and ask to see your CAC, LTV, and myriad metrics, yet they monitor the performance of their companies with Excel and Powerpoint. They praise the value of a strong engineering culture, but limit their own technical hires to “the IT department.”

We are a venture capital firm for a new generation of entrepreneur: a venture capital firm that…

  • Connects its founders with top technologists and executives in any field
  • Designs products and services to help our companies grow and recruit
  • Deeply understands (and actually uses) bleeding-edge technology
  • Enables each entrepreneur’s vision with access to an unmatched, constantly growing network

We are SignalFire: venture capital, reinvented.

How did we start?

SignalFire was born from our own frustrations as entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. We decided to start from scratch and build a new kind of firm from first principles, interviewing more than five hundred of our fellow founders to determine our common pain points. We deconstructed every best practice from the leading investment firms and technology companies and assessed what was possible with emerging technologies. It took us six years to refine the model, test our hypotheses, and develop a world-class team. Today, we deliver focused support for four of the biggest entrepreneur pain points: exceptional talent, better advice, more informed investors, and network access.

The first VC with a demo

We’re the only VC that brings a data platform to our companies. Our platform (called Beacon) is a powerful tool that hits the #1 pain point of just about every company: hiring top talent. Beacon tracks nearly the entire talent ecosystem of the tech industry, ranking each person with dozens of quality dimensions and real-time hireability predictions. We find candidates each company needs, even proactively pushing new ones to our portfolio as they become available. Moreover, our platform gives visibility into the competitive dynamics of each market and data on which companies are getting sustainable traction.

Our technology team is led by Ilya, our Partner & CTO. Our team of brilliant engineers includes top machine learning specialists from Google and Yahoo alongside PhDs from Berkeley and Stanford. We’re on the bleeding edges of machine learning, and we’re constantly refining our data & platform using the latest tools.

Proven execution advice from the very best

We’ve pre-wired the ultimate network of advisors to bring the best advice on demand. The SignalFire Advisors are invested in every one of our portfolio companies through SignalFire, and often invest directly alongside us. Our advisors have founded iconic companies and led engineering, product, sales, business development, marketing and design functions at major companies, including Facebook, Google, Yelp, eBay, Yahoo, VMWare, Salesforce, Mulesoft, Ariba, Cloudera, Splunk, Netflix, Pinterest, Dropbox, Slack, Twitter, YouTube, and many others. Furthermore, they have been early investors and advisors to virtually every major company in Silicon Valley created in the last decade. They have been hand selected based on their track record of delivering results and are now incentivized to deliver for our entrepreneurs.

Lead, not follow

Our investment team comes from top firms like General Catalyst, Kleiner Perkins, Bessemer, and Andreessen Horowitz. But we’re more than our pedigree; we are entrepreneurs who are data-driven and execute primary research and analysis. We see emerging opportunities for ourselves, rather than listen to the echo chamber of Silicon Valley.

When we meet entrepreneurs, we strive to come with a prepared mind — informed with facts and data, not anecdotes or assumptions.

More than an intro

Our network is your network. We have deep relationships with the Fortune 500, early technology adopters, key technology platforms (Apple, Google, Twitter, Facebook, etc.), and celebrities/influencers. These relationships are managed by two dedicated market development partners, Nick and Yujin, who have each been connecting startups with major strategic customers and partners for over ten years. We measure our success by our ability to move the needle for our companies. Beyond a connection, we assess the needs of early adopters, provide context on the partner, prepare you for the first meeting, and help you get from handshake to invoice or partnership.

How we invest

We don’t follow the crowd, and we almost always lead or co-lead our investment rounds. We are typically the first institutional investors in a company. We love working with technical founders at the earliest days of ideation, including with EIRs. We invest wherever data and technology are disrupting old markets, which turns out to be a broad swath of sectors spanning consumer (mobile, media, marketplaces, gaming, e-commerce, social networking, etc.) and enterprise (SaaS, Big data, machine learning, verticalized software, security, etc.)

While today is our first public announcement, we have already made eight investments out of our $50M seed fund. If our approach resonates with you, feel free to reach out directly or connect through one of our advisors or founders.


Venture Capital, Reinvented.

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