Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

Losing the ability to identify or losing the desire?

When you get down to it, if you have a $50m fund, you might want to invest in ~10 A-rounds at ~$5m each. If you have a $1.5bn fund however, do you really want to invest in 300 A-rounds?

Nope. The best way to spend your time is looking at the bigger, later investments. You probably still only want to have roughly the same number of total investments to oversee. So if an A-round company is gonna take the same amount of attention as a B-round or later, you shouldn't waste even a second of your time considering them.

It's nothing to do with ability to identify, just correctly prioritising the time the VC's have available to them.

In our case that isn't actually how we think about any of this.

First, when we (or any venture firm) makes an A-round investment, we typically reserve another 2-3x of the A-round investment size for participation in future follow-on rounds for that company. So a $5M Series A shows up on our books more like a $20M commitment. The other $15M isn't necessarily always deployed, of course, but we also double down even more strongly in certain cases (either out of opportunity or sometimes necessity) so it balances out.

Second, it's not either/or -- we do venture rounds as small as $3-5M and we do growth rounds as high as $100M. Each fund has a blend of both.

In practice, we don't pay a lot of attention to any of this. When we get a great A round opportunity, we take it. Same with B rounds, and same with later-stage growth rounds.

Interesting to know, thanks. My example was probably a bit too hastily made-up.

So I guess in summary, it's not so much about investor time and attention but mostly about managing the risks of the different sectors.

Consumer startups are inherently less predictable and therefore you invest only when a company appears to have found its market and be at least partly on the way to success. Whether that be A round or later is irrelevant.

Whereas the enterprise startups are more predictable, in that if you find a great founding team with a good idea, they are more likely to make a success of it in that sector. Therefore you can cast a wider net, earlier in the lifetimes of the companies, than you would for consumer startups.

Or to summarise the summary: A good, predictable bet is better than an unpredictable one. Or maybe, never look a gift horse in the mouth?

Generally yes. Distilled down, quality of team seems to be a better predictor of success in enterprise than consumer, in that we see many more great consumer teams struggling to get traction than we do great enterprise teams struggling to get traction (on a proportional basis). There are many other factors for both but the "lightning in a bottle" element for consumer startups is real and very frustrating for teams that end up not being able to capture it.

I would just take out "only" from your comment -- there are exceptions everywhere. When we talk about patterns like these, they really are only patterns -- the truth is always in the specific details.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact