Blog Archives

Another Measure of Seed Fund performance

Another Measure of Seed Fund performance

Follow me @samirkaji for my random, sometimes relevant thoughts on the world of venture capital.  Paul Arnold, founder of seed stage firm Switch.VC and I wrote recently about the impact of seed funds in securing follow-on financing. That post aimed to help founders pick the seed-stage funds most likely to help them secure later financing. This second post adds detail and perspective for seed-stage focused General and Limited Partners....

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Why follow-on rates for seed funds matter

This is a re-post from an article Paul Arnold and I from Switch Ventures authored for CB Insights. Follow me @samirkaji for my random, sometimes relevant musings about the world of VC and startups. Institutional seed capital is an invaluable source for startups. As the number of institutional seed-stage firms, often referred to as micro VCs, has ballooned, founders have many choices of seed investors. According to our database, there are...

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Venture Capital takeaways from the RAISE Micro-VC summit

Follow me @samir kaji for my random, sometimes relevant musings about the venture capital world. Last week, we were fortunate enough to serve as one of the co-producers ofRAISE in the Presidio, a 1-day summit focused on helping emerging fund managers build lasting venture franchises. Much credit for the event goes to Akkadian Ventures and Core Ventures Group, who spearheaded the event along with fellow co-producers Top Tier Capital and...

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Micro VC 2.0: the different flavors of Micro-VC

Micro VC 2.0: the different flavors of Micro-VC

A couple of years ago, the team at Bullpen Capital astutely observed that seed round financing had evolved from a single event to a multi-stage, continuous process. In general terms this meant that unlike in previous years, companies often needed to raise several seed rounds before closing a traditional A round. Terms such as Pre-seed and Post-seed became parts of mainstream vernacular, and each point of the seed process exhibited unique...

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The Best Kept “Secrets” of Venture Capital

The Best Kept “Secrets” of Venture Capital

Follow me @samirkaji for my random, sometimes relevant musings about venture capital. I’m a big fan of the question and answer site Quora and think it’s an especially great resource for entrepreneurs and investors. Earlier this year, I ran across this great question posted by an anonymous user: “What are the best-kept secrets about venture capital? If you have some free time, I’d encourage you to check out all of the responses, as several...

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Decoding the Institutional Seed Stage Wine List

Decoding the Institutional Seed Stage Wine List

Over the years I’ve become a wine enthusiast of sorts. Although I’m nowhere near a connoisseur, I genuinely love sampling new wines whenever given the opportunity. However, more often than not I’m presented with encyclopedia sized wine catalogues when dining out. Like most things in life, options are great but only up to a certain juncture. Even well educated wine drinkers (not myself) can get tripped up when there are too many choices....

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Thoughts on raising a Micro-VC firm

(repost from innovation.firstrepublic.com) From San Francisco to New York, more than 250 micro venture capital firms now actively invest in early stage startup companies. Micro VC firms, which typically raise funds under $100 million, represent an extremely valuable option for entrepreneurs seeking the strategic financing and expertise to help grow their businesses. To better understand the micro VC market, and to identify some best...

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The Venture Capital Treadmill

The Venture Capital Treadmill

Follow me @samirkaji for my always random, sometimes relevant thoughts on the world of venture capital and technology. Building a great company requires many different facets. Most importantly, it requires a talented team with great conviction to build toward an incredible vision. Of course, building a company requires capital. Capital can come from many areas ranging from angels, friends and family, cash flow from operations (yes, it does...

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Celebrity investors

Celebrity investors

Follow me @samirkaji for my frequent, and sometimes relevant insights into the world of VC and tech. Every week, our team receives at least 15–20 emails from entrepreneurs that raising a seed or Series A round for their companies. While some simply reach out to solicit general advice, the vast majority are mainly interested in getting introduced to a specified list of investors. When an entrepreneur has put in the appropriate work to...

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The World of Institutional Seed Financing.

I’ve written fairly extensively about the evolution of the Micro-VC (or institutional seed) market over the last year – See previous posts for more detail. I recently gave a short presentation to a group to discuss the current state of the market along with some short-medium term predictions. Attached here is the, admittedly rudimentary, deck I used. Update on Micro-VC from Samir Kaji  ...

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How to “Cold Call” Investors

This is part 2 of 2. Part 1 is here. Follow me @samirkaji for my always random, sometimes relevant thoughts on the world of venture investing and startups. In my last post, I described how to effectively ask for a warm introduction to investors through mutual contacts. Of course, the premise of the article was centered around the supposition that most investors today still primarily (or solely) engage only with companies that are referred...

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Nailing your Investor Introductions

Follow me @samirkaji for my always random, sometimes relevant thoughts on the world of venture investing and startups. This is part one of two. Next time I’ll cover how to craft the perfect cold email to investors. For entrepreneurs, raising capital from external investors for first time can be incredibly challenging and frustrating. And I get it. Competition for capital is fierce. Seed rounds are up 2.5X from 5 years ago, and there are...

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The Importance of Identity

The Importance of Identity

Building a business is really, really hard. Having closely worked with hundreds of founders over the last two decades, I’ve (admittedly vicariously) seen the darker moments that invariably accompany entrepreneurship. When my long time colleague and friend Sam left Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) to join First Republic Bank (FRB) three years ago, it wasn’t the classic case of chasing greener pastures. For starters, I had spent my entire...

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Investing in investor updates

Investing in Investor updates While seed rounds often have 1-2 “lead” investors, participation from many investors at smaller amounts, commonly small seed funds and angel investors, is standard. Over the past few years, I’ve been a moderately active angel investor. Like most angel investors, I’m usually the smallest check on a cap table and post-investment value-add is admittedly reactive in nature. Irrespective of check size, one of my...

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The Past, Present, and Future of Micro-VC

The Past, Present, and Future of Micro-VC

Reposting from my entry via CBinsights . You can follow me @samirkaji for more of my thoughts on VC and tech. The Past, Present, and Future of Micro-VC Although it’s been less than a year since I posted my primer on the Micro-VC market, there have been a lot of developments since then. Loosely, Micro-VC firms are venture firms that raise funds that share the following characteristics: < $100MM in size (although most are <$50MM in...

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Venture Capital Blackjack

Venture Capital Blackjack

I’ve never been much of a gambler. Perhaps it stems from my last 16 years spent as a banker, or my extreme disdain for losing hard earned money. So perhaps it comes as a surprise to hear that I’m a huge fan of casino games, specifically the game of blackjack. For me, the game represents the perfect combination of probability computation, intuition, and good old-fashioned luck. Winning in blackjack is fairly straightforward. A player wins...

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Managing your network and the 1% rule

Managing your network and the 1% rule

Stating the obvious, building and managing a strong network is a critical component of success in business.  And within the world of Venture Capital, network signal strength frequently serves as the determining factor between moderate and resounding success. Unfortunately, while most people are proficient at building a network, too many miss the mark of what it means to manage an effective network. It’s not hard to understand why.  After...

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