Operating Manual

As a venture capitalist, I'm committed to supporting founders from all over world, irrespective of their backgrounds or affiliations. As such, I don't believe in 'inside baseball'. I decided to openly share our operating manual to help entrepreneurs cut to the chase and get a feel for how 27V works.

Initiating a Conversation

One of my goals as an investor - and person - is to improve access to opportunity. So I make sure there are no barriers to getting in touch with me. I’ve responded to almost every single Twitter DM, LinkedIn message and email that’s come through over the last 7yrs of investing.

My suggestion to all founders is to reach out to potential investors early, months ahead of your investment process if possible. The cliche “invest in lines, not dots” holds true especially in VC/startup investing, where we’re looking for time series data of an individual’s abilities and resourcefulness. And, it's better for both of us when our first conversation is about the problem you're trying to solve, not money.

The best ways to reach me are the following, in order of preference:

  1. If you’ve already begun a fundraising process, fill in this form. We look at the companies on this list 1-2 times a week and reply with either a calendar link to schedule a conversation or an email to let them know why we’re not pursuing one.
  2. If you're not fundraising yet and want to reach out for another reason, email me. Here’s what I’d like you to include in the email copy:
    ◦ a link to the product
    ◦ link to a product video/walkthrough/demo
    ◦ if you're already fundraising, a copy of the deck
    ◦ a specific and clear ask (product feedback, funding)

I'm always excited to meet with founders but I get a lot of emails, and I've found some trends among the emails I choose not to engage with. Here are some thing not to do:

  1. Send an email with no/negligible product details and suggest a call to ‘tell me more’. I understand wanting to get on the phone, but just tell me what you're doing. It'll save us both time.
  2. Mention “$B market size” or “potential $M exit” in your first email. Again, just tell me what you're doing. What's the problem, and how are you solving it?
  3. Use a subject/copy that is supposed to generate FOMO. If you’ve got less than 3 or 4 weeks to close your funding round, I will almost always decline to have a conversation as I do not invest under time duress

TL;DR: Be clear on what you're doing, what you want, and how we might work together.

Investment Process

The investment process for 27V usually takes 3-4 weeks, when counted from the day of our first synchronous conversation. Sometimes it can take a little longer - I'm a solo GP - but I'll be transparent if there are delays and why. Always trying to improve and be more responsive!

Typically, the process runs as below. Once we’re in the process, I strive to update the founder on a weekly basis, conveying my intention to continue the conversation or pass on the opportunity. I’m the sole General Partner and decision-maker at the firm, so it'll come directly from me.

  1. Week 1, origin story + founders: Schedule the first call with founders. Generally, I’m trying to answer the following questions:
    ◦ Who are the founders? What's their story?
    ◦ What is the product (solution)? Is it a feature or a full-fledged solution?
    ◦ Who are they selling to? What are the unit economics? Can this be a $b business?
    I always ask for the following documents to follow-up:
    ◦ Access to product or demo video
    ◦ Excel sheet with user growth over the past 15-18 months (or since launch) and projections for the next 15-18 months
    ◦ Excel sheet with financial data over the past 15-18 months (or since launch) and projections for the next 15-18 months
  2. Week 2, dig into product: After reviewing the requested documents, I schedule a second call with the founders to talk through information in the models, product vision, and roadmap. The questions we're trying to answer:
    ◦ What is unique about the product experience?
    ◦ What assumptions is the team making with regards to distribution channels? What channels have worked in the past? Is that success repeatable?
    ◦ How does the envisioned roadmap lead the company to raising their next funding round? Will they meet the milestones with the amount raised?
  3. Week 3, gauge the market: Our team makes reference calls with industry professionals and (non-founding) executive team. If we're leading the round, and rarely otherwise, we would also connect with select customers and investors. The questions we're trying to answer:
    ◦ What macro (& micro) trends signify this is the right time for such a product to exist?
    ◦ Where does the company fit in the broader market, as against incumbents, competitors and potential complementary partners?
    ◦ How does the founders' vision align with that of the executive team and investors? And how does it stack up to customers' expectations?
  4. Week 4, bring it all together: Final call with founders. The first thing I do is share my feedback and the insights I've gathered through the process. This is as much about helping the founders as about gauging their response to criticism. The final question we're answering at this stage:
    ◦ How can 27V/Atin/fam help the company achieve their goals?


The first step upon closing an investment is to schedule an onboarding call for the founding team. Usually 90 minutes-long, the session is the formal kick-off of our investor/investee relationship. We cover a wide range of topics in the conversation, chief among them: a fundraising update, a financial budget checkin, goals for the next 6/12 months, and how 27V can help.

Broadly, I divvy up support from 27V into 3 buckets:

  1. Hands-on: I spend a large chunk of my personal time to advise the founders and support them by making connections to information and people.
  2. Resources: we've built a dashboard for our portfolio founders and employees to access a knowledge base, list of perks, #27Vfam directory, and much more.
  3. Fellowship: fostering community among the 27V founders and employees.

What I expect from the founders:

  1. Regular check-ins: I schedule standing calls with our founding teams. Depending on the company's stage and the founders' preference, the cadence can be biweekly, monthly or quarterly.
  2. Monthly: We like to see a written monthly update sent to investors.
  3. Quarterly: We conduct a data collection exercise of KPIs and financial metrics. This helps us keep track of the progress and jump in where we see a worrying trend.

‘Founder Fellowship’

TL;DR: 27V portfolio founders support each other as a group – a family of like-minded individuals connecting regularly over calls and messages

I started my investing career as the head of a corporate accelerator. Working with companies in their infancy was exciting and made me jump out of bed every day, as they say. One thing I realized pretty quickly was that the founders were facing similar issues across the board (10 co.s/batch), yet were not leaning on each other for help. This was because they simply didn’t know that the founder sitting on the next table had just solved the problem they were now dealing with themselves.

Having built tight-knit communities in the past, and stealing from the book of startup best practices, I instituted a weekly standup for all founders. I'm not ashamed to admit that beer was probably the prime motivator for attendance in the first couple of weeks. I think it was the second or third week when we began seeing glimpses of magic: one tech founder spared time to shore up the backend infrastructure for another business-focused founder, founders seconded intern resources to tide over peak times, investor introductions began flying thick and fast.

I’ve now brought this ethos to the 27V family. Our portfolio founders have already found a ton of value from interacting with each other, in a supportive environment. In addition to staying connected on our very active Slack, we’ve evolved a calendar of events to foster deep relationships in this community:

  1. (monthly) Fam Jam – learning session for founders, led by a portfolio founder
  2. (monthly) AMA – ask me anything session with an experienced investor or entrepreneur from outside the group
  3. (monthly) Huddle – function-specific brainstorming session for executive leaders across the portfolio
  4. (quarterly) Checkin – to keep founders accountable by having them publicly acknowledge their quarterly goals and following up on progress, and ask for help and resources
  5. (semi-annual) Virtual Retreat – opportunity for the founders to take stock as a group and learn from amazing mentors in a condensed time period; also put aside time to kick back and spend some social time with each other (we don't believe in the lonely founder myth)
  6. (annual) in-person Retreat – our first one was planned over 3 days in Yosemite for the last weekend of March 2020. Of course, the pandemic put those plans on hold weeks before everyone was booked to fly in. I have not lost hope yet. When travel restarts, we’ll definitely organize a physical get-together.