259. Developer Tools, The Surge of European Tech, and Why Founder Needs Differ Across Regions (Reid Christian)

Reid Christian of CRV

Reid Christian of CRV joins Nick to discuss Developer Tools, The Surge of European Tech, and Why Founder Needs Differ Across Regions. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to VC
  • What’s the thesis at CRV?
  • $600M closed in July… any change to approach or thesis?
  • What are some of the focus areas that you’re leaning into amidst the circumstances?
  • How do you evaluate teams?
  • What type of founders excites you to invest?
  • Centralization — the shift from consumers to creators
  • Why is your focus on SAAS/CLOUD/ENTERPRISE IT/BIG DATA?
  • What does the future look like for Enterprise SaaS companies?
  • How has your sourcing of startups changed?
  • In another lifetime, would you like to be a professional basketball player or a venture capitalist?
  • Three data points question

Guest Links:

Transcribed with AI:

Speaker 1 0:02
welcome to the podcast about venture capital, where investors and founders alike can learn how VCs make decisions and reach conviction. Your host is Nick Moran. And this is the full ratchet.

Nick Moran 0:18
Reid Christian joins us today from the Bay Area. He is general partner at Charles River ventures an early stage venture fund investing in enterprise consumer and bioengineering CRV has backed over 500 startups in its 50 year history including airtable, DoorDash, drift, Dropbox, HubSpot, postman, Twitter, and Zendesk, prior to CRV Reid worked with battery ventures and symmetric capital Reed. Welcome to the show.

Speaker 2 0:43
Thank you, Nick. Great to be on here. And thanks for having me. Yeah,

Nick Moran 0:46
it’s great to have you. I mean, you and I have talked a bit about your background and your path. But for the audience, can you share kind of your journey and your your path to venture? Absolutely.

Speaker 2 0:55
Well, it I guess it starts on a beautiful dirt road in rural Maine, where I grew up, my my folks had me had me go into a Waldorf education school, which is an alternative education, schooling program across the ER all around the world, really. But you got to start in Europe, then went on to Bates College, a small liberal arts school there and in the great state of Maine. And after that, a couple of investment banking internships and a desire to then leave that great states stumbled down to Boston and started my my professional career at a growth equity firm called symmetric capital. And symmetric is, is known or actually it’s not it’s definitely unknown, but it’s memorable for for two reasons. One is a group of Summit partners, investors that spun out raised a $200 million fund hired a bunch of young kids like myself to to scrounge up any bootstrap to businesses across North America, and pitching a minority investment for liquidity and growth. And the second reason that it’s memorable is because it was a one and done fund. They were so successful, successful with their six or seven investments that they decided not to raise another fund. So I took took that learning experience and that that kind of launched me into the venture world. Amazing.

Nick Moran 2:26
And you’ve been at CRV now for how long?

Speaker 2 2:30
I joined syrvey, a little under four years ago, after symmetric. I had a brief stint at a startup in Boston, called salsify. In the in the product information management space, helping brand manufacturers get their parking information from from the manufacturers getting that data to the E commerce retailers. Then I went over to battery ventures multistage enterprise focused VC firm, worked there for a couple years mostly focused on kind of DEV data and security, investing across series A through Series C, b2b SaaS businesses and then moved with my wife from Boston to the Bay Area and joined CRV focused on early stage investing. I

Nick Moran 3:18
noticed that salsify closed the 155 million series Z recently. I hope you had some early there read.

Speaker 2 3:26
You know, it’s funny, they called me an MBA intern while I was there, because even though I wasn’t getting my MBA, and I wasn’t an intern, but it was it was set up as a one year engagement. I had a long lead time before my start date at battery and I asked around for what the best team was in the in the best early stage company to go hang out and work with and everyone pointed me to the team at salsify. So I went there and unfortunately, didn’t have didn’t get any options. But, but more importantly, got an incredible experience and an awesome network. So I’m still cheering for those guys. Big time.

Nick Moran 4:04
Amazing. Amazing. So, you know, I suspect that the vast majority of the audience knows about suit CRV. But can you talk about the thesis and kind of where your focus is?

Speaker 2 4:16
Absolutely. So syrvey formerly known as well still somewhat known, depending on which part of the country as Charles River ventures got its start exactly 50 years ago on MIT’s campus, right there in Boston on on the Charles River. The initial idea was to fund research coming out of the university. And it was pretty early in the venture world. Very small checks, small fund, high risk investments. And you know, that core thesis has basically played out for 50 years as we’ve raised now. 18 funds. We just raised the latest one which will start investing early next year. That’s a $600 million vehicle focused on seed series A and opportunistically Series B investments. And, you know, the the idea is, is take risk back exceptional founders and, and really kind of look to be in business with with entrepreneurs that are going out and changing the world. The trajectory of the firm is pretty interesting, you know, as we started in Boston, in the Boston ecosystem was quite strong for many years and and remain strong today. But over the last kind of 1015 years, the firm is somewhat migrated West. As part of that, we’ve kind of refocused the brand around CRB as, as our competition would always, you know, tell tell entrepreneurs that we are an East Coast firm. And now, nine of the 10 of us partners are in the Bay Area, but still making investments across North America and enter Europe. Very

Nick Moran 5:59
good. And you closed a $600 million fund in July, any change to approach or thesis with that fund.

Speaker 2 6:08
No change at all. The last two funds have been 600 million. And we’re really trying to, you know, in we can talk about this now or later. But we’re really trying to focus the messaging around early stage, as I came from a multi stage firm and battery. And as many of our competitors have raised, either multiple funds are multiple stage funds to support entrepreneurs from early stage growth, pre IPO, even in the public markets. We think our core, you know, small investment team, entrepreneurial group, and collegiate atmosphere of of a flattened equal partnership. supporting entrepreneurs at the earliest days is where we both have the the the expertise and the interest and excitement to focus on so no change to the core strategy. As it relates to the stage of businesses, on the types of companies we invest in the core core platform of CRB is has been around b2b investments. That’s where probably a slight majority of our dollars go. We also have practice areas and some great successes within consumer investing, as well as this newer practice area that we call deep insight bioengineering, which is the intersection of bio healthcare and AI, ml?

Nick Moran 7:33
And do you have sort of specific sectors or areas that you go deep on?

Speaker 2 7:38
Yeah, I spend all my time on the on the b2b world. You know, within that, I would say I try and try and focus my efforts, although kind of early stage venture, I think, is still very much opportunistic. You never know who you’re going to meet. What were phenomenal founders and that building a company around what the three kind of core pillars that I’m I’m tend, I tend to be kind of, or lanes I tend to be swimming in. One is in kind of developer tooling, bleeds a little bit over into security, or data related businesses, often selling into traditional enterprises, and end users that often are technical. So engineers, security professionals, IT professionals, data engineers and alike. That’s one area where I’ve made several investments and have a decent network, I believe to Cohen in that hand source those projects. Another area is just application software. And I credit the battery ventures training to that, you know, b2b SaaS, that is mid sold into the line of business, whether it’s HR tech martec, sales enablement. I look at a lot of projects there. And then the last area, which is, which actually brings me back to my symmetric days. But I haven’t haven’t looked at up until kind of the last 1824 months, but I’m getting increasingly excited about is, is within vertical software. And in particular, all the trends around vertical SAS in the intersection of payments and financial services that drastically grow the market size for some of those industries.

Nick Moran 9:22
Do you think vertical SAS or cloud is overheated at the moment little frothy are appropriately sort of values across the venture? Landscape?

Speaker 2 9:40
Yeah, you know, I think as as as an investor who’s been in the industry for nine years in the greatest bull run ever, you know, I am constantly warned and told by those smarter and wiser than me that that there will be a pullback and so I don’t necessarily doubt that But also, I take such an optimistic view and that there’s no better time to start a company, there’s no better time to build a SaaS business. It’s the talent funding is available. That, that I think in some ways a lot of these valuations are are justified or at least they’re justified in an open market where there’s a ton of venture dollars that will fund these projects sitting on the sidelines. So I don’t see anything slowing down, slowing down anytime soon. Yes,

Nick Moran 10:33
it’s been a while since we’ve talked about developer tools or development tools on the on the program here. Do you have like a framework or, you know, a way that you that and look at it and look for, you know, strengths in the in the companies, you’re vetting on the developer tool side?

Speaker 2 10:56
Yeah, the some of you backing up so when I was when I was at battery I showed up at one of the first AWS reinvents AWS reinvent is the Amazon Web Services User Conference, which is somewhat become the well up until this year, had become kind of the focal point for a lot of enterprise software, and the enterprise industry, from vendors, to service providers to VCs, to startups. And I walked around the floor, and there was just incredible companies getting started like data, dog, and pager duty and hashey Corp, and all these cool companies that were just helping businesses move from on prem to the public cloud, which is what AWS was. And so that kind of got me hooked on, wow, there’s these, these purchasing decisions aren’t being made by a CIO and the senior level at at enterprise, they’re being made by the end users, that kind of caught me on to that trend. And as I talk to more and more entrepreneurs, and they kind of preach their gospel of what, what why their their world and the world they’re building into was so important, and how, you know, the power has shifted from, from the manager to the, to the to the engineer, and really kind of the power of the developer. And the budget, they were seeing more and more of over time, I kind of got hooked on that. And so as as I now think about kind of the next iteration of investing in Developer Tools, an area that I’m particularly excited about is the the architecture that’s kind of shifted, where there’s how applications are being built, decoupling the front end and the back end. So what that means is the back end, and all the infrastructure can be provided by larger tech companies like Amazon, and Google and Microsoft. And then there’s the front end, which is really important for consumer and user experience. Design is really important. And, you know, there’s kind of a decoupling, and so I’ve been investing in platforms that are on top of that trend, and that are really helping front end developers that are developing kind of the UI, UX of the software. And then really, to directly answer your question, the way that these projects is I go and ping 100 of the smartest engineers, I know, and ask them what they think, because I’m not technical by background, and then I do a lot of filtering of what comes back to me.

Nick Moran 13:32
That’s good. That’s good to have that network. Is it typically? I mean, based on your description here? Is it typically product led businesses and growth?

Speaker 2 13:44
Absolutely. And, you know, I took it even a step further, I think it’s really the power to the developer. And what I mean by that is, you know, engineers are being staffed across an organization today, you’ll have marketing teams that will need engineering resources, you’ll have sales enablement, that really in order to, you know, build custom features in their, in their even like Salesforce instance you’ll need, you need some technical resources. I mean, even in the BI world, you know, that has, has crept self service bi across the, across the org, there’s really a developer engineer, data engineer behind that. And so what I’m fascinated by is I think that, you know, developers are really going to be one of the biggest purchasers of software within enterprises, as they kind of creep in, across across the organization and be embedded within different functions.

Nick Moran 14:44
Do you do you think at all about either, for example, the IT function or the security function, or even maybe the data science, you know, function also evolving with tool sets and and And, you know, automation and whatnot that we’ve seen in the developer tool space.

Speaker 2 15:05
Yeah, I think the, I’ve been hoping for this. In particular security, I love the idea of making investments within security, that go beyond the traditional security operations center, the sock, which is what most big companies kind of filter all security purchasing and encounter through. And, but I haven’t seen that as much as I’d like, I would love to go make a bunch of investments in security products that are used throughout the organization and throughout different profiles. But I haven’t seen as much I made a couple of investments that I’m excited about but but hasn’t been, hasn’t been quite as fruitful as I would have hoped. But that being said, in particular, on kind of the data science side, I personally haven’t I’ve kind of ceded meaning letting go of, of kind of my my data, network and experiences, as a couple of my partners are much more versed there. And several of our colleagues in in at other venture firms have doubled down on that thesis. So we’re definitely excited about it as a as a firm. But But I think that world is is that worlds have been very difficult because there’s so few users compared to number of software developers and engineers to sell into, or even compared to security where budgets have already been and will continue to be for a while. So I think the data science world is still quite early, but definitely an exciting category.

Nick Moran 16:40
How do you deal with products or services that have an existing line item and the budget versus, you know, those that are new, that can create, you know, new markets, new market expansion, but there isn’t a line item on the budget today in the enterprise, and that can create, you know, some challenges around sales cycle and velocity?

Speaker 2 17:08
Absolutely, I think it really comes down to the entrepreneur. You know, there’s some great entrepreneurs that are truly category creators, they need to be, you know, they really need to kind of evangelize and build the community and in Dragon industry and lead an industry forward versus in a replacement as CRM is the best example, there’s just been so much money made payroll would be another great example of these just massive industries that continue to go through through refresh cycles. That, actually payroll, I guess, has less of a refresh, but certainly very fruitful category. But, you know, I invest in both, you know, probably at least, our firm, we’ve done a great job of investing in both. With SAS, the last I’d call it 10 years have been focused on kind of refresh cycles, largely. And now we’re seeing a lot more category creation, newer markets being built, and as as in not necessarily going after just a specific budget line item, because that those, those markets have been attacked by a lot of SAS vendors. At this point.

Nick Moran 18:21
You mentioned it goes to the talent, you know, whether it’s category creation, or or or refresh, you know, what, what are some of the hallmarks of the best teams that that you’ve worked with.

Speaker 2 18:32
So I think a great example in the CV portfolio would be would be air table. The CEO, Howie, you know, has been basically preaching his view of, of the future of software development and software and providing software to those that aren’t technical by background, but still want to explore and create applications. And so he came out with air table, which at its simplest form as a cloud database, and then the ability for creators, non technical people to go and build their own workflows and their own products on top of that, you know, but that requires someone that really has Northstar vision is executing over a 20 year timeline, and has the ability to, you know, be really, you know, get people along and in bought into that investors included as, as well as users and employees. So I think that’s just a fantastic example. On the flip side, you know, we have businesses in the portfolio, like iterable, which is a fantastic team out of Twitter. They’re building the next generation growth marketing platform, going right after exact target and Salesforce, and it’s, in many ways kind of a replacement, and the execution required and how a product needs to be truly 10x Better to replace an existing solution equally as challenging as category creation, but also, but also can can be, you know, a great place to build a business.

Nick Moran 20:15
And I have to tell my friend Scott Dorsey here. One, I’m sure he’s very well,

Speaker 2 20:22
I don’t think he’s too worried. Oh, yeah.

Nick Moran 20:26
Yeah. Well, and he’s moved on to some other things as well. No, I’m glad you you brought up this point about centralization with airtable. Because I have seen this, you know, dramatic shift over time, from just centralize consumption focus to, you know, decentralization, empowering creators, you know, tractability. And, you know, that’s been something that, you know, we focused on in our thesis, trying to empower people to become creators. And, you know, even even the talent here at new stack, we’ve had a lot of interns and I, I tell everyone, don’t just go out and read a bunch of blogs, or consume a bunch of things like, go create a new group or a new club at school, or, you know, go create a new product software product, or what have you like, and all the tools that are now available both on the b2b side, or even in the consumer space. You know, just with air table is a great example. Like, it’s, it’s empowering a lot of folks to build.

Speaker 2 21:27
Absolutely, yeah, I think I failed my, I mentioned my parents earlier, but I failed my folks in one big way. So far. Well, probably many ways. But, you know, the only advice my father gave me was to go work for a product company go work for a company that actually build something that physically, you know, helps him industry helps helps others. So I’ve failed by, by pushing money around my whole career so far. But it’s awesome to to be able to back great entrepreneurs that are building something and really helping people with their day to day jobs, and helping those creators as they kind of feel fulfill their own visions.

Nick Moran 22:05
So read just to shift gears a little bit from a geographic standpoint, or are you investing exclusively in the US? Are you also doing investments in Europe? Now? I know that traditionally, in previous decades, people have been sort of bearish on the European market. But now, now, there’s more than I believe there’s more than $30 billion plus venture backed companies in Europe. Is that a focus area for CRV? It

Speaker 2 22:34
absolutely is, in you know, I would maybe remove the term focus in that. We’ve been investing in Europe for many years. We’re the first investors in Zendesk when there’s three guys in Europe. And, you know, oftentimes, you’re right that, in particular, the silicon Silicon Valley mindset is no the best, the best companies are here, the best talents here, the best investors are here. And there’s like this, you know, kind of obnoxious, self fulfilling prophecy of that. I have found in particular that, you know, there’s just incredible talent and b2b businesses that have been founded in Europe in particular over the last 357 years. So personally, I’ve spent a lot of time even going back to battery made a couple of invest investments in companies like opsgenie, which had last year and acquired collibra, in the data governance space. And now since joining CRV, have made two investments, one in Sofia, Bulgaria, in one in Barcelona, Spain, and very close to making a third in what’s difficult in the venture world is prioritization. You know, we have a small team, there’s only so many companies we can invest in, and only so many entrepreneurs we can even meet with. There’s an endless supply of great, great startups to chase down and diligence and bet and work with. So we don’t have anyone on the ground in Europe. I personally, just really enjoy and kind of really liked the types of founders and businesses that I’ve seen. And up until the pandemic, was making several trips there. Several trips a year. I think what’s interesting now is that all the other Silicon Valley firms that have been much more Valley centric in their investments are now much more open to making investments in Europe, as we’re sitting on zoom all day. And anyways, I’m seeing a lot more activity and I think it’s only going to increase in the coming quarters and years.

Nick Moran 24:43
Yes, it’s not just Europe to here in the broad Midwest. We have the I mean, it’s good. It’s good for founders, but we had the luxury of low competition for a number of years and we had never lost the deal at new second like 30 deals and I think we’re going to lose One coming up here, because all of a sudden, you know, I’m competing against five other term sheets, some of which are from the coasts. And so all of a sudden, you know, the coastal investors are comfortable investing in seed stage companies, you know, in the heartland.

Speaker 2 25:15
Yeah, it’s so interesting to see the the shift. And the one, the one interesting piece on top of that is that, you know, with Zoom, I’m I actually find that I’m spending more time, both of my existing entrepreneurs, that are already portfolio companies, and as I as I diligence, and vet new, new investments, because it’s just easy to hop on a zoom for 2030 minutes, ask a couple questions, you know, the relationship building, obviously, is very, very different, and nothing beats in person. But I found that I’ve been able to spend more hours with the entrepreneurs I’m working with, and once I’m potentially going to work with, which has been kind of, at least for me a really positive thing, throughout all this great

Nick Moran 25:59
point, have read, have you found that after investing, you know, across the US, and then also Europe, different European countries? Have you found that the needs of either the founding teams or the businesses themselves are different, depending on you know, the geography, the talent pool, the the developed skill sets of the regions? And, you know, the the places that you’re investing in?

Speaker 2 26:25
I would say, yes, that there definitely, definitely are a few points there. In particular, as I think about startups coming from Europe, or coastal, or companies that aren’t founded on kind of the coastal us, you know, the, there is something to having access to larger enterprise budgets and talent have, in particular on the sales and marketing side, that have sold into these larger companies. So what I mean by that is, you know, a SAS startup that gets it started in back in my State of Maine, there’s probably not a plethora of, you know, available VPs of sales and VPs, and marketing that I’ve scaled SAS companies from one to 20 million, or 20 million to 100 million, right there in the backyard. And so I think that, you know, that is something in particular, in Europe that continually, as people want to get into the US and think about attacking enterprise budgets, they do look for VCs to help them navigate, kind of bringing on the right sales and marketing talent. And then the second piece is, I am just, you know, I’m kind of blown away by the engineering talent that I’m seeing, in particular, throughout, not just Western Europe, and Eastern Europe, in particular, with modern developer languages, like JavaScript, being able to, you know, self taught, and all these all these developer platforms allow you to get code online, online, much faster, and, and inexpensively, that I’m seeing just great businesses that have strong front end engineering talent, throughout Eastern Europe in particular. You know, the, the last thing that I’d say is, there is the, you know, North American in the US has kind of, it’s a great place to sell software, there’s kind of relatively well, there’s large, it’s a massive market. But also people are pretty sophisticated in a good way on purchasing software. So if you’re selling across Europe, and you’re selling to a company in Germany, and France and then learn, you know, UK, like it’s actually very different sales cycles and different buyers, and buyer personas on the other side, which can make it pretty difficult to build a repeatable inside sales team, or even an enterprise sales team. In the US. This doesn’t happen for every industry. There’s a little bit more standardization in the buying process, which makes it I think, better for for go to market teams.

Nick Moran 29:05
Got it both both the process as well as the titles like homogeneity across like, who are the buyers at different companies, and how do we get in there and, and qualify in in into the buying cycle? Yeah. Yeah. been having a lot of conversations with that with founders lately both in, in product lead models in enterprise models and some combination of the two. And, you know, getting the users using, you know, a, either a free version or, you know, some version of the product and then getting the decision makers, you know, thinking about big ROI and value from enterprise s.

Speaker 2 29:47
Yeah, it’s funny you mentioned that. One thing that I’ve been seeing as a lot of these SaaS companies have gone from kind of enterprise sales outbound to not just inbound but really kind of product led You know, get get product into an end individual contributors hands. And then the ideal, you know, path is that it kind of grows throughout the team and then you tap into a manager’s budget or further up the further up the organization. But what I found really interesting is it actually the land is relatively easy. But then it’s the it’s not just the expand, but how do you actually make that jump up to a big budget item? And so I’m seeing that at all of our kind of product lead companies, the leading indicators are very strong, but then how do you go back? And what’s the value that you’re giving you the business to renegotiate $100,000 deal or a $300,000? Deal? It’s kind of a new, new buying. And, and selling motion, that I think a lot of startups are still really just figuring out.

Nick Moran 30:50
Interesting. So to read, I’m gonna put you on the spot, give me a hypothetical situation. It’s called three data points. Right, I’m gonna give you some info, and you got to make an investment decision. But you can ask me for three specific data points in order to make that decision. So let’s say your approach to invest in an enterprise SAS startup founders, great, great backgrounds, a fit for the industry. MRR, let’s say is 200k growing 20% month over month, LTV to CAC, let’s say is five to one quick ratio greater than four. Here’s the catch, you can only ask three questions for three specific data points to make your decision. What three questions do you ask? What

Unknown Speaker 31:32
industry? Are they selling into? Okay, well, what’s their burn rate?

Nick Moran 31:37
Okay.

Unknown Speaker 31:38
Who are their competitors?

Nick Moran 31:40
Okay. On the industry front? What are you looking for? What if they say like, procurement, for instance?

Speaker 2 31:51
That’d be great. I’m just trying to make sure that there’s a big enough market on the other side. Yeah, yeah.

Nick Moran 31:58
And then burn rate, just right size, spin for team size and scale? And?

Speaker 2 32:03
Well, I was going to ask how much they had raised. But But actually, I cared less about that I cared if they’re, if they’re burning $10 million a month? I’m probably not going to invest there at 200k or are.

Nick Moran 32:18
Good. And then competitors? Is that to hear how they think about it, or just see how, how competitive the spaces are? What’s your that’s,

Speaker 2 32:28
it’s, it’s almost a double quote, it’s almost a repeat question from the first one. But usually, if I hear it, maybe I’m giving myself too much credit. But usually, if I hear two to three, software companies names, I can hone in pretty quickly on whether I liked the market opportunity or not. And if I think that there’s, there’s, there’s a good business to be built there.

Nick Moran 32:54
I like that, I like that, you know, we we’ve done, I think, five, five or six investments now in models that we consider to be broken. So there’s established players that have raised some venture dollars, but have not gotten momentum and are do not have the right solution for the market. And customers are turning and not super happy. And then we’ve kind of found the business that we feel like has the solution that the customers have looked for. And we’ve gotten lucky with those. And so often, you know, there’s a lot of big spaces people go after, but it doesn’t mean that they have the appropriate solution for the market. Yeah.

Speaker 2 33:35
And I also I like to, I tend to have very strong point of view on markets, and it has nothing to do with me, you know, knowing a market better than an entrepreneur, certainly not. It’s actually out of time prioritization. Because if I loved all markets, then I would I just be kind of chasing my tail all day. So if it’s a market, you say, it’s, you know, enterprise procurement, I’d say, awesome. If you told me it was, you know, going after the digital media ad tech budgets, like I’m just not going to look at it. Someone could build an incredible company, their best founder but I’m, it’s a gonna prioritize my time away from that. Give me

Nick Moran 34:15
a couple more markets that are on kind of the top interest list for you.

Speaker 2 34:21
Right now, I think the the finance org a ton of a ton of VCs are really excited about this, about this market opportunity. And, and actually, one of my partners has done a bunch of work there. So I would likely send send all deals her way. But I think that things just have to change in the finance org. There’s no you know, that’s the backbone of a business. And in the tooling that the VP of Finance CFOs and like have, it’s just, it’s just not good enough. And then, you know, anything that helps with Uh, with developer productivity. And in cloud infrastructure, I think it’s just, you know, a markets, procurement would be another one, I really liked that in particular kind of vertical procurement platforms. You know, it’s a ton of spend businesses come in need to manage. And so I think that there’s still an older category that just is ripe for ripe for innovation.

Nick Moran 35:25
I may have one for you still in stealth, and it’s pretty early, but it’s a good one.

Speaker 2 35:30
Awesome. Bring it on. Read what do you know, you

Nick Moran 35:33
need to get better at? Oh, man,

Speaker 2 35:36
there’s, there’s so much. No, I think in, in the venture world, at least in career wise, there’s a there’s a few kind of pillars in the venture world, I think you got to see more deals, you got to diligence, those those projects and decide whether you whether you invest, you gotta win the deals you want to invest in, and you got to work with the portfolio companies. I think two and four on that list. And our diligence and judgment is so hard. It’s just, you know, we’re wrong so many times. That one for me, I think I have the least control over the last bucket of you know, how to be a great board member. Absolutely, that only comes with time. And it’s something I work on, I seek mentorship, I learned from other board members. And, you know, I’m always very open with the entrepreneurs I work with, what they’re going to get, what they’re not going to get. And then and then winning. And this is, this is hand to hand combat in my mind. And you got to win that when the projects do you do you want to win. And that’s part of part of what’s so exciting about this, as a former college athlete, I love the competition. And in figuring out how best to to win some of the projects I want to be involved with, it’s

Nick Moran 37:02
certainly not getting easier to win deals over time.

Speaker 2 37:07
The first year in particular, when some of the later stage firms or series A firms start coming into the Midwest, right? That’s right, that’s right.

Nick Moran 37:17
Any words of wisdom or advice for the early stage founders out there, whether it’s, you know, those focused on SAS Big Data, enterprise or developer tools, you

Speaker 2 37:28
know, I always caveat that what I’m gonna say, and I kind of touched on earlier with inner there’s, there’s definitely a lot of privilege involved in being being a founder, you know, being able to kind of, you know, whether it’s your own personal resources, or giving up a career, a great career path, or, you know, family or other considerations. So it’s very, very unique, unique to and specific to each individual, if they’re even able to go and start and be an entrepreneur, but I just really, truly believe there’s no better time to start a company. You have that itch. If, if, if you’ve got an idea, or you find other people, there’s, there’s no no better time to go and start a company or join an early stage company. It’s exhilarating. And in a lot of fun along the way.

Nick Moran 38:20
And finally read what’s the best way for listeners to connect with you. I’m

Speaker 2 38:25
pretty active on LinkedIn. That’s, I accept most most connections I’m on and all day, I think it’s it’s it’s kind of the platform for business, I found that a third of entrepreneurs are on there as much as I am. Another third, tend to tend to check it at least every other day, because because most entrepreneurs I work with are kind of full time recruiters and anyway, and then a third will never never check their LinkedIn. That’s totally fine. But yeah, chase me down on LinkedIn. And I’m usually very quick to respond. Awesome.

Nick Moran 38:58
Well read, this has been a real pleasure. You know, best of luck with the cross country trip here. We’ve been running this show for six years. And I feel like we’re six years too late featuring CRV, but very thankful that we had you here today to tell tell us a bit about the thesis and in what you look for in early stage startups.

Speaker 2 39:16
No, thank you. Thanks so much for the time and for hosting me on here.

Speaker 3 39:24
All right, that’ll wrap up today’s interview. If you enjoyed the episode or a previous one, let the guests know about it. Share your thoughts on social or shoot them an email, let them know what particularly resonated with you. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that some of the smartest folks in venture are willing to take the time and share their insights with us. If you feel the same accomplishment goes a long way. Okay, that’s a wrap for today. Until next time, remember to over prepare, choose carefully and invest confidently thanks so much for listening