I started IA Ventures a little over three years ago with Brad and Ben. The original thesis: build an early-stage venture firm designed for the long-term that focused on companies seeking competitive advantage through data. Infrastructure. Platforms. Applications. All of it. We’d take a life-cycle approach to investing, building our positions early, working hard in partnership with our founders to achieve “escape velocity” and providing additional capital to support growth over time. This was the playbook I articulated to investors in 2009 and the same holds true to this day. We remain convinced that our approach is well-suited to building valuable, long-lasting relationships with great business-builders and generating superior cash-on-cash returns for our Limited Partners.
While our thesis and approach has remained largely unchanged since our founding, much has happened in the meantime. We have raised two funds, our first fund of $50 million which is now fully deployed, and a second fund of $105 million which has more than two years to be invested and over 2/3 of its capital untapped. We have 31 portfolio companies across the two funds, and have averaged approximately 10 investments per year. This has all been accomplished with an investment team that has remained essentially the same - the original three partners plus an analyst (initially the highly skilled Justin Singer who left to work for a portfolio company, and now the incomparable polymath Jesse Beyroutey). The good news is that we’ve created a very tight-knit team with a strong culture that is working well with and for our companies. The bad news is that given our strong deal flow and hands-on approach to working with our companies, we feel that our investment team is bandwidth constrained. Further, we are interested in getting some new perspectives in the Firm to help us look at opportunities through a different lens. We believe this is a positive and healthy development for our companies, our Limited Partners and the Firm. The time has come to grow the investment team.
We are already well on our way to bringing on a new analyst to work with us. The candidates have been spectacular and we are excited to announce a new member of the team in the next few weeks. But this is only one piece of the puzzle.
Now for the big news: We are committed to bringing on a new Partner at IA Ventures. This will be someone who shares our passion for early-stage investing in the mode of partnership with our portfolio companies. The person may have been an entrepreneur before becoming an investor or may have been investing all their life. We don’t have a pre-conceived notion of the “just right” background. We expect that every likely candidate will be passionate, articulate, interested in engaging in constructive debate and strong. While we all have a technical bent, we can see a wide range of people “clicking” with us. As with our founders, most of whom we backed at the seed stage (almost always pre-revenue and sometimes even pre-product!), so much is based upon chemistry and how we see a long-term partnership evolving. What we aren’t looking for is someone exactly like us.
We fully expect this process to take some time and we’re signed up to make the investment in our future. We are easy to check out. Speak to our founders. Speak to other venture firms and angels that have worked with us. We’re proud of what we’ve achieved thus far, but we’re playing a very long game. And we’re looking for that right someone to come and play with us. If you’re interested please send me a note and whatever else you want to send to firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you.