Blog Archives

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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  ...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

Micro-VC, by the #’s

Back in March, I posted a raw list of global Micro-VC firms that I was aware of. It remains a work in progress as new firms continue to emerge, and I’m sure there are a couple of dozen I’m still unaware of. Similar to the post from last year, I’ll be doing a full updated analysis of the Micro-VC landscape in the coming weeks, including some predictions, but in the interim, I wanted to share some of data that the CB Insights team pulled for...

Read More

Introduction Capital

Introduction Capital

On a weekly basis, I typically provide and receive dozens of introductions. When done correctly, introductions can translate into incredibly meaningful business and personal relationships. As we all know however, the vast majority of introductions that are made miss the mark. The art of the introduction has been covered with great intensity within industry circles. Specifically, the “double opt-in” introduction is widely viewed as the most...

Read More

Great expectations

A conversation I had with a founder friend last week reminded me of a recent episode of the HBO show Silicon Valley. In the episode the main character, Richard Hendricks, who plays the role of CEO of a hot tech company decides to accept a financing offer despite the presence of a seemingly better deal that valued the company higher and provided it with more money. The rationale for him was that while more money at a higher valuation was...

Read More

Micro-VC, from the eyes of an institutional LP

A lot of new Micro-VC firms have been formed over the past couple of years. A lot. For some, it may seem like anyone that has a good story and a PowerPoint can raise a fund. Having lived through the process vicariously through dozens of new managers, I can tell you that raising institutional capital can be very tough for first time managers.   And in many ways, despite the bull market we’re in, it’s much tougher to raise institutional...

Read More

Mapping out Micro-VC pt. 2

Recently, I aggregated a list of all the Micro-VC firms I could find.  As I indicated, the number of these type of firms has exploded over the last few years (by note, ~50% of the Micro-VC market was not in existence prior to 2011). Drilling down a bit into the list, below are some illustrations that provide a more granular view on distribution by geography, fund size, and gender. Geography  Not surprising to discover that nearly 50% of...

Read More

The risk equation of Venture Debt

The case for venture debt for early stage companies is fairly easy to understand. Company X raises a $5MM Series A round from venture capitalists, providing for approximately a year of cash runway based on a projected cash burn of $400K/month. During this time, the company will scratch and claw to meet as many operating milestones as possible to with hope that the next round of capital is completed at a significantly higher valuation. Time...

Read More