David Tisch & Terrence Rohan: Biggest Misconceptions & Hardest Truths About Seed Investing | E1112

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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