142. Beacon: An Engineering Systems Approach to Investing, Part 1 (Chris Farmer)

Chris Farmer Signal Fire Nick Moran TFR

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Chris Farmer of Signal Fire Ventures joins us today to pull back the curtain on their mysterious and powerful data platform, Beacon.  Chris is aiming to disrupt the VC Investment process with their new approach and early indications show that Signal Fire has created value unlike any other firm.  In this part of the interview we discuss:

  • Chris’ background and path to venture
  • The firm’s thesis and your main focus at SignalFire
  • The four big founder pain points that you’ve observed… what are they? (talent, advice, informed investors, and network access)
  • Number one pain point is hiring top engineers… Tell us about his Data platform, Beacon, and how it addresses this pain point?
  • Is Beacon a sourcing tool, analysis tool or both?
  • Can you give me an example of what you see when you look at a sector, sub-sector or even at the company level?
  • Does this data really exist with very early-stage startups and/or nascent sectors, before they’re established?
  • What are the sources for the data?
  • I’ve worked for companies that had a difficult time getting one database to talk to another. Can you really source unstructured data, from limitless sources and structure it in a way where it’s streamlined, uniform, single record and can be used to drive insights?
  • Do you think about data that is empirical and fixed vs. data points that can be influenced… and if you find a strong startup profile that is missing a couple of key elements that can be influenced, will you engage and attempt to address those factors w/ the founder?
  • I’ve looked over the consumer and enterprise sector lists where you invest… and it’s a pretty broad list. Can you really have a data engine that works well for such a varied and broad landscape?
  • Essentially, are you conducting a sector by sector sensitivity and regression analyses?

 

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