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An Unscientific View of Our Seed Portfolio

Rob Go
January 21, 2011 · 2  min.

Earlier this week, NextView Ventures unveiled some additional details about our firm, our ethos, and our activity thus far.

It’s very early, but it’s already been an exciting adventure.  I’m so pleased with my partners and with the entrepreneurs that we are working with.  It’s a real privilege to be a part of what they are building.

My partners Lee and David already shared some of their thoughts about our fund – the opportunity we see and how we are looking to build the firm.  But ultimately, the proof is in the pudding.  What we invest in and how we behave after we invest are the best indicator of what we are all about.  So here is a slice of the portfolio under a few lenses.

  • We have made 10 investments so far.  7 are announced, 3 are in stealth mode
  • Of the 10 investments, 6 originated in Boston and 4 in New York.  Of that set, 2 have since established their headquarters in San Francisco. We like to invest close to home so that we can meaningfully impact our companies.  But we also support entrepreneurs’ decision to move to the best location to build their company
  •  4/10 of the investments were made pre product.  7/10 were made pre revenue. 9/10 were made prior to the company receiving any other outside round of financing.  We like to invest early, and ideally want to be the first institutional investors in a company.  We also are comfortable investing pre-product and pre-traction.  It’s a risk business after all. 
  •  6/10 of the companies are consumer facing.  As a firm, we are excited about consumer internet, but also invest in some less consumer facing internet-enabled businesses.  It’s a broad market, and it’s still the first inning in the transformation of many different verticals
  • 5 of the companies are led by first-time founders.  The others are led by repeat entrepreneurs or “Tom Brady” entrepreneurs
  • 31 is the average age of these entrepreneurs when they started their companies.  4/10 were under 30.  Historically, some of the best companies have been founded by young, first time entrepreneurs.  We are not worried about backing a 20-something person and like to be involved in helping them shape their companies.  That said, we have also backed more experienced, repeat entrepreneurs who have deep domain expertise and have built significant companies.
  •  6 entrepreneurs were folks we’ve known for a long time.  3 were introduced to us through our coinvestors.  1 was introduced by a closer advisor to the company.  We think it is crucial for us to be deeply embedded into the startup ecosystem we participate.  Hopefully, we know the entrepreneurs we back for several months or years before.  That way, we can be involved in even the early days in shaping their companies and have an existing relationship prior to a deal being consummated.  We also have a model that allows us to co-exist quite well with other seed stage investors and like-minded institutional investors.  We hope to build a collaborative and strong relationship with many of the best early-stage investors out there

This is only the beginning, but upon reflection, I think that the early portfolio is actually a pretty good indicator of the kinds of companies we hope to invest in going forward.  It’s an exciting time for us, and my partners and I are thrilled to be joining these entrepreneurs in their adventures. 

Rob Go
Rob is a co-founder and Partner at NextView. He tries to spend as much time as possible working with entrepreneurs to develop products that solve important problems for everyday people.