So, updates. In the 8 years since I became a seed investor, I have come to learn that the principles of sales, recruiting, fundraising, choosing hypotheses, and processes of measuring them, are fundamental skills that can be learned, practiced, and guided. What is harder to pick up quickly is the sense of mission, urgency, and clarity of vision. The founder must come with that to the start of the race, which looks like a sprint, and then becomes a marathon. I’ve been fortunate to work with exceptional founders over the years. Time and again, I’ve found the most valuable use of my time, the deepest relationship with the founder, and the greatest contribution, was the very earliest one. While many of the strongest seed investors have moved later stage. I have grown more attracted to the very beginning of a startup journey. I decided, in early 2017, to spend more time at the formation stage of companies. After all, I believe the risk is the same.
Steve Jang, as I came to find over a half decade of friendship, co-investing, and building, shares this interest. His early investments and advisor work on Uber, Coinbase, Blue Bottle, and more inspired and excited me, because he shares my view that technology can be used to make people’s lives better, truly. And his method of coaching and mentoring at the very earliest stages of a company – often at the beginning of an idea – has resonated deeply with me, as well as the founders he backs. Plus, he is an entrepreneur. As an obsessive music fan and believer in crypto, I was an active user of multiple of his products over the years and a user of another today.
I’m beyond excited to share that I have joined forces with Steve, partnering with him on Kindred Ventures to invest at the very earliest stages, and we have raised Kindred Ventures I, a $56M fund, to tackle this opportunity. Our firm is driven by two intersecting points of view: that technology can make people’s lives better, and that investors can be the most impactful at the earliest stages of a startup.
We seek diverse entrepreneurs tackling large, underserved markets or are seeking to create completely new markets altogether. We recognize the shift towards urban hubs as a core demographic thesis across the world: in these hubs marketplaces driven by serendipity and density will grow in influence. Culture will hop across borders, from city to city. Software will eventually give superpowers to all people trying to access money, health, food, and meaningful ways to work.
Our investing approach is high conviction: we don’t partner with a large set of founders, but we will go deep with those we do support. And nothing is too early – really. If you are at the formation stage, or even prior to it, we like to be the first call, the whiteboard partner, the coach on product, hiring, and going-to-market, and the mentor on your journey. We believe this is the place where our experiences will combine to give us a superpower, where we have the most fun, and where our capital will be the most meaningful.