Entrepreneurs: We got your back!

Fred Wang
Trinity Ventures
Published in
4 min readNov 5, 2015


Trinity Ventures closes Fund XII with $400m and a renewed commitment to its companies and the people that make them great.

Entrepreneurs, visionaries, go-getters — say hello to Trinity Ventures’ Fund XII! It’s the next $400 million we’ll use to help talented people build industry-changing businesses. We’ve funded lots of great companies, including some unicorns, so we can’t wait to see what’s next.

Trinity XII got us thinking about all the great entrepreneurs that helped us get here. They are the key to our firm’s mission.

Our co-founder Noel Fenton had been a three-time CEO when he started Trinity Ventures almost three decades ago. As an entrepreneur, he was not happy about his experience working with VC firms. His solution? Make Trinity the firm that he, the entrepreneur, wanted to work with; a people-focused firm that invested time and expertise, not just cash. So we did just that. We helped our entrepreneurs with whatever they needed. We were never just another investor who only cared about making money.

Obviously, a lot has changed since Noel started Trinity. Our brick-and-mortar retail investments have become on-demand marketplaces and our software investments are now SaaS and infrastructure companies. We adapted and added new partners with different backgrounds and fresh perspectives. We made sure to change as technology and consumer behavior changed.

But there is one thing we’ve never changed: Our commitment to building strong relationships. We live this commitment every time we meet an entrepreneur.

Hand-crafted investing

The thing about being almost 30 means we really know our strengths and how to play them. Our background in retail translated well with the rise of mobile e-commerce and services, which also gives us an appreciation for complex marketplaces. From our experience with SaaS companies, we’ve developed an expertise in high-velocity inside sales models, a huge trend in the consumerization of enterprise tech. Thanks to our work with application companies, we’re skilled at identifying and cultivating developer evangelism, something that’s key to the growth of many burgeoning ecosystems. Along the way, we’ve helped plenty of startups disrupt established markets. We use all of this experience to help our entrepreneurs.

That’s because entrepreneurship is at our core. We have one of the best partner-to-capital ratios in the industry, so all our executives get the attention they need. Other firms may divide billion-dollar funds between a small handful of partners, which is great for management fees, but we have maintained a disciplined fund size so that we can provide that personal touch.

We don’t want to become a factory. We like a hand-crafted approach to investing. We keep our funds relatively the same size throughout the years to remain consistent and stay focused. We’re careful about who we get into bed with, so you know that if we invest in you, we got your back 100 percent.

The Dating Game

We build relationships with entrepreneurs long before we invest in them. For us, investing is like dating. We like to get to know you, have dinner, maybe go watch a movie (OK, maybe not that last part). A venture investment is a big commitment on both sides, so we should get to know you and you should get to know us. We’re picky. We like to go on lots of dates before we get married.

Come talk to us even before you’ve perfected your pitch. If we get to know you before you even start fundraising, you’ll know exactly what value we can bring to your company. It’s a more natural way to start a serious relationship.

Investing in long term relationships

NFL legend Tony Gonzalez talks about teamwork at Trinity’s annual CEO dinner.

Each year, we hold lots of entrepreneur dinners and mixers to get to know new entrepreneurs and reconnect with ones we already know. We established an Entrepreneur-in-Residence program, which keeps us engaged with people from all different sectors. Our EIRs work alongside us for three months in our office. They learn the ins-and-outs of what we do at Trinity and in turn we get to know them better and benefit from their insight. We’ve had over 40 EIRs over the last decade. We consider them a part of our extended family and they’ve gone on to do amazing things! We’re proud that this group of talented individuals includes people like Kixeye CEO Will Harbin, Bulletproof founder and CEO Dave Asprey, and our very own Hollywood connector Anjula Acharia-Bath, who is expressly focused on helping our companies build great brands and make great connections.

While we love our company CEOs, we also make sure to expand our network to the whole executive team and beyond because we think it’s important to have multiple connections to our companies, whether they are in engineering, marketing, sales or operations. This way we can be helpful to our entire portfolio company executive team.

These ideals are crucial to the way we’ve done business and it’s helped us grow and succeed in a meaningful way. Come talk to us if you agree; it could be the beginning of a wonderful friendship.