David Tisch & Terrence Rohan: Biggest Misconceptions & Hardest Truths About Seed Investing | E1112
Seed Market Disruption
- The seed market is experiencing significant disruption due to several long-term trends and a recent shift in the market.
- The expansion and fragmentation of both the seed and venture markets have created more opportunities for new managers and generational change.
- Founders now have more power and optionality due to increased access to tools, capital, and know-how.
- The shift to online and distributed venture firms has made it easier for founders to access top-tier VC firms, increasing founder optionality and accessibility.
- The scale of cash that many firms have accumulated has led to a transition from a boutique high-margin business to a transactional industry with low margins, impacting the seed market.
Changes in Seed Rounds
- The definition of a seed round has shifted from a $1-3 million round to a $5-8 million round, with the sub-$2 million market remaining random and exposed.
- The $5 million seed round is not a new product, but it has become more accessible to founders.
Seed Investing Principles
- Seed investing is a hard job, and there is no one who is always right.
- The longer you are in the game, the more humility you have to have about how much of success is due to luck and randomness.
- Seed investing involves taking risks and embracing uncertainty, rather than focusing on reasons why a company might fail.
- Founders often make better investors than traditional investors due to their unique insights, networks, and ability to identify promising opportunities.
The Role of Relationships
- The best Founders choose investors based on relationships built over time and a history of providing value.
- Box Group focuses on building long-term relationships with Founders and being consistent in their approach.
- To be a founder's favorite investor, venture capitalists should prioritize building strong relationships and trust with entrepreneurs from the earliest stages.
Reserves and Follow-on Investments
- A reserves model for follow-on investments can hurt seed investing by depressing DPI and diverting capital away from the most deserving companies.
- Effective reserve allocation involves identifying and investing in companies before the market realizes their full potential.
Secondary Markets and Liquidity
- The panelists discuss the role of secondary markets in providing liquidity to early-stage managers.
- They agree that holding onto investments for the long term is generally more beneficial than selling off portions of a company too early.
The Future of Seed Investing
- The panelists believe that the seed round will always be essential for startups, as it provides the initial capital needed to get a company off the ground.
- They also discuss the impact of AI on venture capital and suggest that AI may make companies more capital efficient in the long term.
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