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.
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:
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:
TL;DR: Be clear on what you're doing, what you want, and how we might work together.
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.
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:
What I expect from the founders:
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: