371. Are Founders Born or Made?, What it Takes to Raise a Series A in 2023, and Weighing the Balance of Unit Economics vs Growth (Mar Hershenson)

VC Mar Hershenson on TFR

Mar Hershenson of Pear VC joins Nick to discuss Are Founders Born or Made?, What it Takes to Raise a Series A in 2023, and Weighing the Balance of Unit Economics vs Growth. In this episode we cover:

  • Path to Pear and The Forbes Midas List
  • Data on The DNA of Entrepreneurs
  • Generative AI Hype
  • Raising a Series A in 2023 & More!

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Transcribed with AI:

Mar Hershenson joins us today from Menlo Park. She is the founding managing partner at Pear VC and early-stage venture fund investing in consumer SaaS, healthcare, Web 3, Enterprise, and more. Mar has a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford, which he then used to develop a groundbreaking technique for optimizing the design of analog semiconductors. Mara went on to co-founded three startups in his registered 14 patents. She later founded pear VC in 2013, where she has invested in companies including DoorDash, Garden Health, Branch, Metrix, Aurora, Solar, and Nobel Foods. Mar has also been named to the Forbes 2019 and 2022 Midas List. Mar, welcome to the show.

Thank you for having me, Nick. Excited to be here.

It’s such a pleasure to finally meet you. I’ve been admiring from afar for a long time for the audience’s sake. Can you give us a bit more on your background and your path to venture?

Yes, my path to venture is through my history as an entrepreneur. I started Pear in 2013 with my partner Pejman and Pejman had been a prior investor in one of my companies. So as you mentioned, Nick, after I finished my PhD, I went off and I started my first company, based on my PhD research, my first company didn’t work out, but that’s where I learned the most. And then I did two companies that did well, patch one was lucky enough to back me on my second company, and in 2009, he approached me about starting a venture fund, he wanted to have a house in Palo Alto, fill it up with people, serve them tea and figure out who he should back. At first, when he told me his idea. I thought he was completely crazy. I said, You are insane. I have never invested on this house idea seems crazy. So for several years, he pursued me about this house. And I kept saying no, ultimately, he changed strategies. So he said, well, let’s just do some angel investing. So in early 2013, we started meeting founders on Cooper Cafe on Ramona Street in Palo Alto, which is the original Cooper, I used to go like, an hour, you know, an hour every week, and it quickly turned out of me being there from 9am to 5pm. Every day, which is a really good way to meet founders. So ultimately, I think in May, I said, Okay, fine, you when can go raise this fund. At the time, it seemed like seed was really busy. There were maybe 100 firms. And we thought it was oh my gosh, it’s so crazy to raise another seed fund, but we went for it. First thing I neither him nor I had been in venture involved in raising a fund. So first thing I did was go online to Amazon and type how to raise a venture fund, there is a book you can actually get so at least I was able to learn the lingo. And then finally through basically a friends and networks, we learned how to do it. And we raised a Pear one, which was a $50 million fund. So that’s the brief story.

Amazing. And now you’re on fun four, isn’t it? Yes. Fun. Three was what’s us fancy was 160 million 100 60 million and more. What is the thesis of Pear?

Pejman had been an angel investor prior to starting Pear on, he really wanted to create a fund so he could basically help founders on a more hands on way, I had been a founder. And when I started in 99, I was a recent PhD grad and female founder, which was really, really rare at the time, you know, what people did when you had a founder that looked like me was, let’s bring a CEO that was the thing to do. A part of the reason I finally decided to go to pear was to offer a place where the more of 99 I would get the support that she needed to be the best CEO, she can be right. And I think that’s what we do at pear, we really try to back the best highest potential people we can and to run them by help and support so they can reach their full potential. That’s fair. So we’re not thesis driven. We’re not research driven. We really are people driven, which I think at seed is probably a really good strategy.

What else sets Pear apart from the other early stage firms?

At the seed, there’s so many seed offerings, and I think obviously, everybody has a lot to offer. Most of us in the investment team are founders and operators. So a lot of what differentiates us is really being very, very hands on with those founders. We’ve built a platform team, which is kind of rare for a seed fund. We are 20 people you can do the math, but that doesn’t leave much room. You know, we decided let’s just build something that is going to be here for a long time. That’s one of our core values. Let’s long term thinking. So we’ve invested a lot of our management fees on building an amazing team. First we brought in Matt Birnbaum, who used to run and recruiting with a head of global talent at Instacart. We have three recruiters under him. And any company we back will bring the first couple of people for some of them more than the first couple. We did that in a very analytical way. This is the way we a lot of us are engineers, we do it, we surveyed our founders, what do you guys need? And 110% of them, I say 110, because many people added this twice. They said, recruiting, so we said, okay, let’s build the best recruiting solution we can, right. So that’s one. The second thing we’re building as I go to market team companies founders at our stage, they need strategic help product help, which comes from the partners recruiting, which is very tactical, but critical to the success of the company customers, as you know, once you build a product, you want to sell it or growth help. And then you know help for the next financing. So we’re very focused on that. Our philosophy is very, I think of pear as a product, if you’re a founder and you take money from parish to get the best product to get you to that series A and how do we deliver that product as we are kind of this four prongs? And building around that basically?

Amazing. Mar, How do you keep those value added services fresh, right, we’ve seen some larger platforms launch a variety of different value added services for startups. And often the feedback we hear is the first generation is amazing. And then it tails off over time and starts to lose some of its it sizzle and some of its value and gets washed out. How do you keep this sort of this value center instead of a cost center?

Well, I would say that the culture at pear is first very collaborative. So we’re not even within a company, many of us will touch the company, many of the investment partners and many of the platform people. So it’s not that I just hand them off to somebody we work together. I’m working with a company and it is the job of any investment partner in any firm to keep up to date on what makes sense and doesn’t make sense. So I think by having that mode of operation internally keeps people more up to date. The other thing is just like any company, hire the best people and make sure they are part of what they do founders and execs and anybody, they have kind of this growth mindset. So they’re not like, Hey, I made it here. I don’t have to learn any more. I’m good to go. That’s kind of just the wrong strategy. So we hire for that we pick founders with that, hopefully it reflects over the next 20 years.

Well, one of the major topics I wanted to get into today with Umar is sort of the DNA of the entrepreneur, you’ve done a lot of good work on this. And some things that have been very surprising, as I’ve read some of your content. Let’s start maybe with some of the data. I know there is data out there on entrepreneurs and some of the innate characteristics that make for tech founders. Can you cite some of that data?

Somebody asked me, I think one of our LPs, like a while back, are entrepreneurs born or made? Everybody has their first reaction to that, right. And I think most people will say, Oh, they’re born, these people are just born entrepreneurs. I also think the world any question is never a one or a zero, there’s some normal distribution. And people fall into both sides, right. So there’s definitely a group of people that from very early on, they show signs that they could be a great entrepreneur, it’s like being a great athlete or a great musician, or whatever, you you have some DNA that makes you very capable of doing that. I’ve quoted that many folks that end up being founders start companies from day one, like they’re born. And very early on, they start as kids selling something, I was actually just listening to a podcast and the founder of Walmart and Warren Buffett and other folks that a lot of them had newspaper routes. So that was the job of the founder of many years ago, but it was they have that spirit early on, right? There are lots of folks that don’t fit that category, but can be taught to be great founders, I have this rough estimate that will take 10 people to maybe amazing on naturally capable to there’s nothing you can do. But there are six that you could actually really, really help. And the first thing is to be make an assessment of what that founder needs to get better at, I wouldn’t have considered myself a founder before coming to the US. It just wasn’t part of my culture in Spain, I came from Spain, I don’t think I even heard the word entrepreneur growing up. But then I think you get dropped at Stanford and you start hearing it and you become well, maybe I could be that. And then I think throughout my multiple entrepreneurial experiences, I’ve learned to be better at the things that were scary for me. So that’s why I think a lot of these things can be taught.

I do have some questions about that in a bit here. But what do you think are some of the counter signals that may indicate that someone is not wired to be an entrepreneur?

I think people that are not accustomed to surviving, like failure is a big sign that it’s going to be hard for you to make it it doesn’t mean you’ll never make it but it’s a hard science. So if you talk to an entrepreneur, that’s what I will do at the beginning, like tell me what you’ve done. Tell me about your background. on what insight did you have that took you to start this company? Why started this company, tell me about your experiences in the past, if everything has gone great in your life, I actually get very nervous because you’re going to fail in a company like 100% guarantee that there’s something in your company that is not going to work. And if you’re not accustomed to that those failure points can bring the whole company down. Right. So that’s, I think, one thing. The second is, I think, a lot of motivation, like why didn’t motivate somebody to be an entrepreneur? Why do this, especially today, it wasn’t the case, maybe 25 years ago, when being an entrepreneur was not the norm. But today, it’s almost part of our pop culture. There’s celebrities that are entrepreneurs on anyways, everywhere, on Twitter, on TV everywhere, there are a lot of founders that just think it’s cool to be a founder, you only learn it’s not cool to your first company. Other way to learn when people are doing things for the wrong reasons, it’s assigned, it’s going to be tougher to make that company work. I think those things are reversible, by the way people learn from their experiences in life. Ya know, you can be a great second time founder, even if the first time you were off, right? For whatever reason, we’ve had

that discussion as a team here, sometimes we’ll meet a start up, and sometimes it’s not the right fit for us. Or sometimes we just think the timing might be off for the founder. Yeah, they might not be quite ready to take on the endeavor that they’ve chosen.

what advice you can give founders is pick anything that you have to do today was hardest go do it. Yeah. No, this is where you start calling customers rather than you’ll realize that that’s life of the entrepreneur, a lot of rejection over and over dealing with autumn being better at that. And taking advantage of that is the job of founder.

Yes, I had a recent dialogue with the founder where we had met, and I liked the business. And I like the founder. And I asked him to record a two minute video so I could share in His words with my team, you know what he was working on? Yeah. And it didn’t go over? Well, I got a really negative reaction to that. And I said, Oh, interesting. What are you saving your time and my team’s time, but founder didn’t see it that way. And if it’s that much of an issue to record a short video, then good luck with the cold calls.

Yeah, it’s a growth journey, right? To be a founder, there’s nothing that grows your potential faster than being a founder, because you have to do everything, learn everything. And the attitude is has to be about, you know, becoming better every day. And knowing that, hey, if you do 100 calls, and you get one back, that’s awesome. Do 200 to get two?

Sometimes more, I find that there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance? How do you parse the two,

I should tell you, I’m sure you feel the same way that it’s an art to try to figure out in a few hours, whether a founder person is said to be a great founder, and you can rely on them, etc, right? It’s a tough job. We as investor, we’re only so good. And I think founders are very scripted many of them when they come because there’s so much information online, that they’re scripted. So to make our job harder, but arrogance and confidence, they come really close and many other things in characteristics of founders, I think the best difference between confidence and arrogance is that the confidence person is aware that there may be a failure point on at least paranoid about that, right is aware of their surroundings, and the arrogant is not even aware. And they treat the people around them in the same way, which makes it really, really hard. You know, we do want founders that know where they’re going. But they’re also paranoid about what’s around them, and that they’re aware that they may need to change. And I think when you’re arrogant, your ego takes over you. When your ego takes over you you’re you cannot learn or be aware or be paranoid or anything like that. It’s a way to unless you can adjust your journey. There’s no way there’s no way to make it safe for us your question about at the beginning, how do you make sure your platform works? Okay, if we assume if I’m like we’re being the best. And that’s it, we’ll never get we’ll never continue to be great.

And so connecting back to your point about whether founders are born or made, you have done this startup simulation class, I think historically run at Stanford, it was fascinating for me to hear a bit about this. Can you talk about why you started it in the structure of this class?

Yeah, this class actually was started by Steve Blank about 11 years ago at Stanford, and he’s kind of the father of it. And he’s put it in many places. And about seven years ago, I came in into the teaching staff at Stanford, and that’s been great this year. This fall, I actually have been helping teach it at Harvey Mudd College, which has never had such a class. So it’s been amazing because I’ve been able to see the experiment of running that class in a different setting, same curriculum, same process, and I’ll tell you what we do. It’s not rocket science. All the curriculum is public, people can read it. There’s lots of videos, Steve has done an amazing job at sharing all of that. The idea is you come in with a class with a team and a project at Stanford. We are very lucky to have a lot of demand for the class. So we were able to pick the teams that make it so about 20% acceptance, which is very, very hard. And I wish everybody could take the class. So once we have those teams, they’ll come in with an idea or some hypothesis, like I believe I can sell lead gen software to real estate brokers, and between every class you’re supposed to go out and talk to at least 10 people. So could be in this case 10 brokers or and people in real estate and learn if what you understand if your hypothesis is valid or not valid, do people care about leejohn? What other tools are there? Would they ever pay? What is their biggest problem, and then you formulate a new hypothesis at the end of the second class. So people will intentionally go through these 10 Micro pivots during the class, sometimes very big pivots, but it trains them, it trains that muscle in people’s head as to how to navigate. That’s what I call the drunken walk, which is the initial phase of a company, which is just about getting the value prop, right. That’s all you have to do. And we force folks to get out of the building. That’s what we say on talk to other people not talk to themselves. Don’t do anything unless you have checked with some external data. You know, the good news is the system works every year out of eight people will get 1234 projects that end up being companies, which is crazy. And what is amazing is that I’ve seen it firsthand. Now at Harvey Mudd College, and it also works there, the students have made tremendous progress in same amount of time anyway, so I’m really excited.

Awesome. So one key component is you forced the teams to get out of the building and go to the customer isn’t there another where they they’re forced to pitch to each other routinely, you know, very often, and the way that class runs is a little bit like a reverse classroom. So during the week, you go into your interviews, you may build an MVP, whatever you’re running, you’re testing your hypotheses during class, you come and you present to everybody, right. And then the teaching staff, we are a little bit like American Idol, and judges, and what tell people everything they’re doing wrong, celebrate any wins, but mostly tell them where to go next. And the great thing is that everybody in the class is listening to that. So they’re learning from the other eight teams. And sometimes you know, as in venture we are learning just by being next to the founders. So these other seven teams that are listening to a team presenting the copy ideas, they avoid mistakes that somebody has made, etc, just by learning there, they provide feedback to each other, again, all the people taking the class, not just the teaching staff, they teach each other, right, a part of this philosophy is, you know, the founder journey is kind of isolated. And if you’re born to be a founder, maybe you can persevere through some of that stuff. But actually putting people in an environment where they’re just surrounded by other people that are iterating. And building becomes sort of a contagion effect.

Yes. And actually, we’ve had many people and Lean LaunchPad, that are fifth year, PhDs that would have never thought they were founders, and now they’re successful CEOs. And a lot of it is just being in the right environment and understanding that, oh, I can do this, I can do this, I can be good at it. And I have people that I can call and get help. They can help any of the students taking the class helps each other, they have a set of mentors that help them. So there’s a big network is a really good way to simulate what happens at the very, very early stages of a company, if you’re in the right environment. That’s what it does.

Pretty amazing, because I’ve heard about many of these entrepreneurial classes, and I haven’t heard one that has data connected to it and results like yours. Can you talk about the number of teams, the number of funded companies and the the number of large scale outcomes or enterprises that have been created?

Let me just make a comment. I think most entrepreneurial classes are lecture based, or most I’m saying most or maybe they have speakers come in and so on this half kind of like Speaker Series, some of them are practical, but very few involve everybody on the process and are kind of reverse classroom. So I think that has a lot to do with it. Probably our most successful companies zoom but with a you know, Z O N But zu M That’s its transportation solution for kids for and they started as a kind of Uber for kids. And now they’ve raised hundreds of millions of dollars Sequoia backed and they manage the transportation system of the major school districts in the country, San Francisco, LA etc. So it’s very successful. A female founder, which is super cool. We have companies like blue river that was sold. This was an early company, we sold pretty quickly for a few 100 million dollars. We have companies like freewill, Nova credit doc, so many others that have actually raised from index and inside and many other successful firms. But in general, like I said, we’ve been doing this for 11 years, and every year like a clock 123 companies will be truly venture funded by top people. So I should publish the list and everybody has them.

Incredible. And I know that you also have an initiative where you’ve assembled high potential women that desire to be founders. That’s not the same as last. Can you tell us?

Yeah, so we run a program at Perico female founders circles and one of the things again, partly based on my background, I thought if we get women And together, we’ll give them more confidence to be great founders and women are amazing founders. But many times were held back the same way. It took me four years to start Pear, I think if you, generally speaking, an average guy may have said, yes, they want. But I was like, I’m not I’m not the right person. That was my first reaction. And I think women have a lot of that. So we run an experiment about a year and a half ago, we’ll select a group of women that are all high potential founders, engineers that are PMS, they are working currently in industry and at least are interested in entrepreneurship. And we’ll put a program for them where we maximize the interactions between each of them. And we put them in context with other role models, other female role models that they can see themselves in. So we’ve run three cohorts. Today we are in the middle of the third cohort, the first cohort, we had about 200. Plus people apply, we picked about 30 women, we also picked another 35. Women, I think we had between the first two cohorts, around 75 women, roughly, and there’s been 47 companies started to date, which is crazy. I don’t think there’s anything more successful honestly, in terms of picking people that have no companies and then have companies and a lot of it is this women are just amazing. They’re all engineers, with not that many years of experience, but eager to do something, one of my favorite sessions is on public speaking. And we have a great session where we all practice how to speak in public. And it’s very fun, we’ll have fun events, like going to get a manicure and pedicure, which is also part of the journey of getting to know people and we have more serious things like folks coming to talk about building an organization or raising money or whatnot. I just had office hours for female founder circles yesterday, and the comments from every woman that I talked to were like, thank you so much for this community, I feel so many friendships, and so many people are helping me. So a lot of it is just putting it together, I’m running it, but the value just like the class comes from everybody is part of it. So the selection is actually very, very important that you have, you know, people that are going to be add ons to this community.

So more related to this conversation around characteristics that make for tremendous founders, we’ve seen these different founder mafias emerge. Notably, I think you’ve spoken about the PayPal Mafia versus the Google now sort of the per capita employee company outcomes for PayPal have been more successful than other companies in particular, Google, any thoughts or theories as to why that is?

I have a theory, but it’s not proven. And I think somebody should go do it get their PhD on testing this. My theory is that you know, when a company is hard, meaning that you don’t find success, day one, or you go through existential crisis is the DNA of that company is different from the DNA of a company where everything goes, right, if everything goes right, just like a founder, you’re not trained for understanding what happens when things go wrong. However, if you’ve been part of a company that was successful, but had a lot of trouble getting there, and you were part of it, so you were there was a culture of transparency where people were aware, were made part of the moments where it’s like, hey, we have a problem. We need everybody to come in, that gives rise to better found higher chance of success founders. That’s my theory, I could be wrong, obviously. And there’s many things it’s not like, Hey, you go to a failing company. And that’s a good thing. It has to be people that overcome that failure, right? Because not enough to fail is how do you overcome that failure? What do you learn? What are the next steps? That’s what makes you a great founder, not just failing all the time.

Interesting. So two part follow up on that? Will you look for founders of companies that have come from certain places that you think has a culture that makes for sort of the right characteristics? And the second part of the question is, when you’re looking at a founders background, and they come from a place that maybe is not known for building an entrepreneurial mindset, will that change the way that you evaluate the opportunity?

It’s not so much where they come from, you know, I think getting to know a founder, so individual, it’s like, so visual experiences. And as we have founders that have gone to war and come back, that’s maybe you haven’t been in a company, but boy, you have a certain experience that it’s really hard to replicate. So we really try to spend a lot of time trying to know where the founder comes from, and where experiences that they have in childhood, last company, even your last business, you may have had some sort of foundings experience within some company that you were just an employee of that is what we look for not necessarily whether they were in this company or that company that was more of a observation, rather than a way that Pear filters people.

I guess from personal experience. There’s there’s one large company in the Midwest that was built a certain way. And every time I meet a former employee that starting a business from that company, they’re kind of using similar principles, which is Yeah,

I bet. Yeah. But I would bet there’s probably somebody in that great company. That is great. Yes. So though you have no time trying to figure out who is this person etc. And that’s, you know, I think what the pandemic made that process For a Pear really hard because you really need to meet people and get to know them. I feel like in a pandemic, it was this kind of really zoom quick transaction, no time to meet people

more, how would you describe your style as an investor or a board member, you know, post investment.

I’m a very analytical person, I believe numbers don’t lie. So words can’t lie. So I tried to infuse in my founders assess kind of operational excellence from day one, I think for us, any seed company that we back, it’s my job to make sure they get to Series A. So that’s my responsibility. And I really want all our companies to make it. So when I invest in a company, the first thing I will do is okay, let’s agree on the targets, where are we going? And let’s build a plan to get there. And some people may think that’s overkill, because they say, Oh, my see company, I shouldn’t have a plan. I’m like, no, no, no, everything should have a plan. And even if the plan is I want to hire two people, it’s like, Okay, how are you going to hire two people? And let’s make sure that we’re making success on hiring those two people, right? Or whatever it is. So I’m a very data driven person. And that allows me to look at a company maybe six months after we invest and say it’s working, or it’s not working. And if it’s not working, what do we do? And how do we change? I think that’s part of the value that US that have been around for a long time can provide our companies, right? Always, you can warn them. And it’s hard for me to do warning if there wasn’t tracking or an operating plan that we were driving towards. So that’s my style. And I think it’s something that folks at pear are trained on. It’s not for everybody. But for the people that want to be success metric driven. This is the right way to do

more, you know, Doug Leone, Sequoia has said that this downturn is worse than 2002 1008. Do you agree or disagree?

I’m not an economist, but I do think we are through a process of adjustment, and there will be an adjustment. So a lot of folks raise money in 2020 and 2021, at super high valuations. And they were yet not proven companies, right? It’s not the founders fault. It’s also the investors fault, right for setting those prices and leaving everything companies that are a good company, so that have positive unit economics, and that can grow in a scalable way, we’ll be able to get funded. And I think that’s what I’m trying to tell all my seed companies, we you need to prove that you can make money, by the time you get to Series A, you don’t have to reach 2 million in ARR. 1 million, there’s no absolutes, but you need to show that you build a machine for growth, and that it with the right amount of money can grow. I think if you if companies get there, they will be able to raise money, it won’t be at the valuation that we had in 2021. Right. So and it’s unclear if that will last one year, two years, three years. My advice to founders is assume that the bar for fundraising is what it should be, which is you need to have a scalable business model and positive unit economics, I’m trying to drill that down. And everybody, if you do that, you will raise money. And if the downturn lasts a short time, your valuation will be higher, if it lasts a long time, it will be lower. So whatever the market prices, you are, but at least you will be able to raise money, which is important.

Will you advise them to sacrifice growth in order to get that system and the unit economics structured correctly?

Yes, always. I don’t blog a lot. But the only piece I’ve put out is basically what makes a good seed company on how to raise a series a I think I put it out on 2018 or 17? I don’t know. Yes, absolutely. 100% companies that grow but have fake growth, meaning that their margins are negative, or the net LTV Dukakis crap or whatever, those companies may be able to raise money in 2021. But even if those companies raise money, eventually they crash because you’re going to go public, and people want to know that you do make money, I think the gray area for us in venture and what what defines a downturn versus a bubble is that a founder can come and say hey, I don’t have positive unit economics yet but I’m growing very fast and everything is going great. So I will be able to reach positive unit economics at some point in an upturn. People are like great you’re growing so fast, doesn’t matter that you have unit economics that don’t make any sense. We trust you Mr. Brown or Mrs. Founder, you will make it in a downturn it’s like I’m not sure I am willing to take that huge risk if you haven’t proven it yet. Even you know we back DoorDash even DoorDash in their series A it’s very clear that they had their first region was working the retention was high unit economics were great. It wasn’t working and you know, it was all fake growth. So my point is like the fake companies they can raise money in a downturn, but they even though they never go public, it’s hard. It’s early

on now but you have a sense for some data around series A’s percent that valuations have come down the time it takes to close a Series A any firm data around it.

For the top five to 10% of companies raising a Series A today is as easy as it was in 2021. If you’re a top-five temporary and company, they’re all getting multiple term sheets and they close the valuations or have come down. There were some crazy valuations, you know, people with zero revenue or 100 million plus valuation, those are no longer happening, or I haven’t seen them. So they’re come down, I would say anywhere from 50 to 80 is reasonable, maybe even 40. On Series A, there’s a big chunk of companies that are okay, but not the top decile. And those companies are taking longer to fundraise and their bar is higher than it was. So you may have wanted to see a million in ARR. And now we’re some people are like, actually, I want you to be at 250k MRR, which is a big difference, right in terms of how you should run your company, or I want to see more proof that you may have been able to raise a series a with just founder sales. But if you now you they may want to see that you can actually hire a salesperson and make them productive. So you you know how your sales machine works. You know, again, if you’re in the top decile, nothing changes, if you’re in that bucket, I think there’s more demand for you to cross that line of closing a Series A and the bad companies, I would say they’re not raising money. That is new, because during the pandemic, everybody was raising money. I just remember telling my team assume there are no bad companies, anybody that walks through this door, can walk out and raise money.

If you had to guess how much do you think graduation rates will drop? Because I think we reached all time highs, like 70-80 %. But historically, it’s been 3040 I believe

it’s gonna revert to the mean perhaps a little higher, because there’s more money in the system. And it takes a while to get the money out of the system. But companies don’t change. Humans don’t change starting companies hard down to an upturn money, not money. It’s all about building selling something to somebody, I believe the basics of building companies remain the same no matter what. And that’s why I think we’ll go to the what what used to be the median or mean, especially also with I think a lot of the money in venture has been driven because LPS have put a lot of money, right, we raised even this year has been 150 billion raised by venture funds. And when we started Pear there were 22 billion raised in that year by venture funds. So that’s a seven and a half x or something for some amount of money put into the system. If the returns are not there, LPs will put their money back, right, and there’ll be less money in the system. So it takes a while though, to do that, because our fmps have to be get adjusted and FMVs have not been adjusted across the industry. So it’s gonna take a little while.

Mar, if we could feature anyone here on the show, who do you think we should interview and what topic would you like to hear them speak about?

I think you should feature my partner, Pejman, who has the most incredible story in the world came to this country from Iran without even speaking English, and started in a yogurt shop in a carwash selling rugs and that up in the Midas list.

Wow, incredible. Mar, do you have any habits, tactics or techniques that are a secret weapon?

Yes. One thing that I think really, really works for me, maybe it helps somebody that is listening. I wake up very early every day 430, sometimes 4am. And my coffee and I will work for two hours is the most productive two hours that I have in the day, I tried to reserve the hardest things to do for those two hours, whatever requires my thinking, whether it’s reading a board deck and trying to come up with advice or whatever needs real deep thinking, I will do it at those two hours. And then I will exercise for an hour which consists of me going running, and most of the times with nothing but my thoughts. And it’s an hour of meditation. So that’s my advice. It makes me feel really good. By the time I come to the office, I feel like I’m ready to go.

Wonderful. And then finally here Mar was the best way for listeners to connect with you and follow along with Pear? 

Pear is all over social media, you can reach me at mar at pear.vc. I don’t have a strong social media presence. But I do live by my email. So feel free to reach out, somebody will answer that email.

Well, Mar, thank you so much for the time today. And thanks for what you do to help create founders and amplify them on to great success.

Awesome. Thank you so much.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai