New, Dedicated Fund for Founders

Late last summer I was feeling very fortunate. The small angel investments that Jon DeLuca and I made jointly in startups were making a visible impact. Our goal was to be one of the first checks and believers into humble and relentless founders. We also had a publicly unstated goal to have at least half our investments go into startups with underrepresented minority founders.

A year later, we made 8 direct investments, became an LP in a venture fund and also incubated a startup.

  • Of the 8 investments, 6 of them have underrepresented minority founders. The 7th’s first hire was an underrepresented minority. The 8th has no hires yet, but we’re going to help them recruit.
  • The venture fund in which we are an LP exclusively serves minority founders
  • The company we incubated has a minority founder

Several of these companies have already taken off and raised significant follow on rounds from brand name venture firms. Others are going through hypothesis testing and just haven’t found the right product market fit or go to market strategy… yet. We’re digging in as advisors and helping the founders utilizing the challenges we’ve faced in companies we previously founded and run.

The reality was despite all the investments made, this was just a small part-time gig. I was still spending most of my time on Waggl until we sold the company to Perceptyx/TCV. I was also helping a startup we incubated test hypotheses and still had Yello board duties.

With the sudden success we had seen and requests from other folks to become LPs in Subconscious Ventures, I needed to make a choice. Do I want to be a VC for the next 10 years+ or am I ready to jump back in and be a founder?

It was clear that I’m a founder at heart and I found a problem that I am super passionate about. More on that to come.

Jon and I are still passionate about angel investing along with DEI. We’ve also been excited about the organic deal flow as new opportunities have primarily come from founder referrals, other VCs asking us to participate in a round, or directly on Twitter. While I’ll be jumping back in as a founder into a new stealth startup, I have decided to continue to spend time doing angel investments through Subconscious Ventures.

Today, Jon and I are thrilled to announce a dedicated $3.2 million fund to continue our angel investments.

We are still seeking relentless and humble founders who love and appreciate diversity, equity and inclusion. We expect to invest in another 8–12 startups in 2022 and we’ll continue our push to focus on underrepresented minority founders. As the only two partners in the fund and no LPs, Jon and I are able to make decisions quickly.

Our key question: Would we hire this founder to run this company if we owned it?

To the amazing founders that we’re so fortunate to call partners, thank you for allowing us the ability to get to know you. We are equally excited for your successes as we are for your challenges. You got this!

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