ROBGO.ORG

January 9, 2012

A year ago, I wrote a post detailing some tidbits about our portfolio.  One year later, we’ve made more investments and learned a lot.  I believe that the best way to understand an investor is to meet the founders that they work with.  Second best is to understand their portfolio.  So here is an unscientific cut of our portfolio and some commentary below.  Hopefully it sheds some insight into who we are, how we work, and what we tend to gravitate towards.

  • We have made 16 investments. Currently, all are announced and appear on our website
  • Geography: Of the 16 investments, 9 are currently headquartered in Boston, 4 are in NYC, 2 are in SF, and 1 has s presence in both Boston and Chicago

The main focus of our fund is in the Boston-New York corridor.  We think that region is particularly promising and underserved.  However, we are lucky to have deep ties in SF, Chicago, LA, and will opportunistically invest in those areas as well. 

  • Founders: We invest behind founders from a variety of backgrounds.  Broadly speaking, they break down something like this:
I gave a talk a few months back on “Unicorns and Tom Brady” that provides some data on founder types and more information on how we view the world. See the slideshare here. 
  • Source Type:How we meet founders
    • 6 month+ prior relationship with founders: 9
    • Introduced by an entrepreneur: 3
    • Introduced by co-investor: 3
    • Inbound from blog: 1

Typically, we meet companies through our network of entrepreneurs and co-investors.  We like meeting founders early, and often well before they start working on the project we ultimately invest in. But one investment this year originated from a cold email regarding a post on one of our partners’ blogs (we invested after getting to know the founders over several months).  It’s nice to know someone reads our stuff :)

  • Stage:We are seed investors, but often, the first institutional seed round happens at different stages in the company’s maturity.  Here was the status of the company when we invested:
    • Pre Product: 7
    • Post product Pre Revenue: 5
    • Post Revenue: 4

We pride ourselves in being true early stage investors.  Many investors will not invest in a company pre-launch or pre-traction.  In some cases, we do want to see some evidence of a working product and consumer adoption.  But in many cases, we’ve invested in pre-product companies led by product-oriented founders.  In one case, the founder’s “product” was essentially an excel spreadsheet and physical paper handouts.  We invested at that stage, and less than a year later, the company is doing >$100K in monthly recurring revenue. 

  • Syndicate Composition:
    • Angels: 5
    • VC Lead: 5
    • Micro VCs: 6

We aren’t that dogmatic about syndicate composition.  Our main requirement is that there is a strong lead .  We have a bias towards leading or co-leading rounds, but will also participate in rounds facilitated by like-minded lead investors.  There are benefits and drawbacks of different types of syndicates and we try to help entrepreneurs navigate the nuances of each. 

We’re still very early in the life of the firm, so these trends are early and just directional.  I’m quite pleased at how the portfolio is taking shape so far – 7 of our companies have raised up-rounds from terrific VC’s with more on the way.  But the road is long – we’re just getting started and there a lot more to do.  But it’s been a lot of fun so far.

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  • Lee Hower
     - 13 hours ago
    RT @hardi_meybaum: GrabCAD leading the way in modern product development - http://t.co/kTJJZAtzwN
  • robgo
     - 14 hours ago
    @mhdempsey thanks! You are right, I must have seen the "under $1B" and thought it was at $1B :)
  • Lee Hower
     - 12 hours ago
    thoughts on how to keep your head in frothy times by @robgo - and it is mainly about your head & state of mind http://t.co/qa00vzwHlN
  • robgo
     - 15 hours ago
    How to operate in a frothy market http://t.co/rxQam0MnSe

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