Monthly Archives: March 2017

Don’t listen to Vivek

Vivek, after trying to fix the gender diversity issues in tech, has now turned is attention to bashing Apple in regards to their India business. Here is his latest rant :: http://factordaily.com/apple-fail-india-iphone/

I love the catchy headline.

I was gonna dig into this one but many people beat me to it, but I think this is the best one :: https://nuclearbits.com/vivek-wadhwas-factor-daily-piece-titled-apple-destined-fail-india/

This dude is so full of crap now he is like the boy who cried wolf. No one listens.

Debt

I don’t watch his shows but have always loved Anthony Bourdain’s books. Kitchen Confidential is among my most favorite books ever. It could be that as a teenager I worked in a kitchen for many years and the book appealed to my culture that I was experiencing at the time.

I do love hearing the inside story of people and this latest from Anthony on wealth, money, debt and enjoying life is pure gold :: https://www.wealthsimple.com/en-us/magazine/money-diary-anthony-bourdain

That was really the first time I started thinking about saving money. About not finding myself in that terrifying space, that uncertainty that goes back to childhood. Will the car get fixed? Will we be able to pay for tuition? In very short order, I contacted the IRS and I paid what I owed. I paid American Express. Since that time, I am fanatical about not owing anybody any money. I hate it. I don’t want to carry a balance, ever. I have a mortgage, but I despise the idea. That was my biggest objection to buying property, though I wasn’t in the position to pay cash.

Getting my first mortgage also freaked me out due to the debt load. I always borrowed for cars too and just figured it was about building credit worthiness. Fortunately I have never lost my shirt on a house deal. But I know so many people that became “house poor” or defaulted on a mortgage.

One of the wonderful things about my agent, Kim Witherspoon, is she always presents me with two options when approaching a business deal, particularly when it comes to books. She’ll say, ”Look, you could go with these guys and get a whole shitload of money upfront, or you could go with these guys, which is the morally right and loyal thing to do, and negotiate an amount of money that fits in with what we actually think you’re going to sell.” I like to make money for my partners.

It’s amazing to hear how he cares about everyone making money. Not just himself.

I’d like my daughter and her mom looked after, both while I’m alive and after. They shouldn’t have to worry if something bad happens, so my investments and savings are based on that. I’m super-conservative. Money doesn’t particularly excite or thrill me; the making of money gives me no particular satisfaction. To me, money is freedom from insecurity, freedom to move, time if you choose to make use of time. My investments advisor understands that I’m not looking to score big on the stock market or bonds. I have zero understanding of it and zero interest. Life is too short. I like a limited amount of mail, and a limited amount of conversations with people who make the investments. If the money’s not less money every time I look at it, I’m pretty happy. If it’s a little bit more, great.

That’s the best part for me. The family first mantra and the I want to have fun while I am alive. Life is too short – I need to constantly remind myself of that.

Sounds like a cool dude.

Ask A VC #5

Question:

What’s the split between companies funded where you guys approach them / and those who approach you?

Answer:

Tough one to answer. In general it’s always a little bit of both. There are people you know about working on stuff but not looking to raise. You establish a rapport and hopefully stay in touch so when they do raise they call you. Potentially you just check in often and ask. 😉

Other times you only hear about a company when they call or email you looking for money. One hopes we would do better and find these companies before they ask but that will not always happen.

The purpose of having a good network and being seen around the town a bit is that your network will bring you deals before the companies go looking or bring them to you first.

We are a young firm though so lot’s of everything is going on and we continue to focus on getting better at what we do which should also lead to quality deal flow.

My crazy week

I ended Friday with more good news that I can’t share but before I had slept I read Term Sheet and Pro Rata.

SeedPlus happened to be in both.

Want to say thanks to the amazing SeedPlus team. We are just getting started.

Pro Rata :: https://www.axios.com/pro-rata-2278608696.html

Term Sheet :: http://fortune.com/2017/03/17/term-sheet-friday-march-17/

I’m a gonna lay low for weekend.

😂

Ask A VC #4

Question:

Do you put money keeping existing portfolio in mind or it’s the idea that you fund.

Answer:

Hopefully I have the context right on this one. First off, we would not fund a competitor to a portfolio company. Given that, yes we have to think about the existing portfolio at all times. Further to that, as a fund matures we have to essentially go into portfolio construction mode to be sure we have placed enough bets across the ranges we care about and start to find companies in area we want to invest in but have yet to make an investment.

TwoFer Thursday

Big day for SeedPlus.

First there is this – been working on this for quite some time :: https://techcrunch.com/2017/03/15/world-bank-ifc-seedplus/

Humbled to be working with such an amazing partner like the IFC.

And of course our main goal of this capital is to fund awesome companies, which makes for such an awesome day to be able to also announce our investment in Homage :: http://www.dealstreetasia.com/stories/sg-health-tech-startup-homage-close-1-2-million-in-seed-round-67505/

Okay – back to work!

Ask A VC #3

Question:

How do you evaluate a company pitching to you?

Are there any critriea or specific metric you look for?

Answer:

These are always loaded questions since there is no one answer to them. It also depends on the company and the market and the team. Context is everything to be honest.

That being said at seed stage I, but I am sure my SeedPlus partners will have their own opinions – look for market, team and strategy. Market is super important since we only want to fund things that can go big and that means having a product that goes for a large adddressable market size. Team is huge. We look for a team that likes to be with each other, is open to being challenged, and appears to enjoy a healthy discourse peppered with honest feedback. Strategy is a big deal as well. I like to see that the team has clear thoughts around what they are trying to do, how they plan on winning and what they might do when things go wrong.

There is never one specific thing or metric but obviously if the product is launched then it is good to see stats that make sense and that clearly articulate what the team wants to show. It is also good to properly portray things – for example, don’t show me CAC is just your google adwords bill but calculate for me a fully loaded CAC. This is a big subject and one we hope to put more material out on at SeedPlus.

Ask A VC #2

Question: 

How can female founders be empowered by being aware of this obvious bias in the market?

Answer:

I assume you mean the obvious bias is that VC is too male oriented. As a man myself I think even trying to answer feels treacherous. Let me state the lens that I look through a bit before I even try. I have a daughter, I think about this problem all the time and I work hard to find female foudners to fund.

That being said I don’t think I can give you a good answer since my assumption is that folks you might be pitching too or talking to should do their best to look at you and your team and your idea for what they are. My best advice though would be to find the angels and the other founders and VC’s in your area who have expressed interest in defeating this bias. They are out there and they would be the best to help you deal with it. There are plenty of female founders who are kicking ass.

On facebook I follow some folks that are leading the #ladybadass movement in Asia. These ladies are kicking ass and taking names. I would reach out to folks like this and get their advisory on how best to find your personal empowerment.

Example here :: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10154248092125933&set=a.192639120932.141229.531860932&type=3&theater

More on SAFE’s

Wrote this yesterday :: https://seedvc.blog/2017/03/13/good-read-from-fred-on-convertibles/

Term Sheet referenced this in rebuttal:

I don’t think Fred is saying never use them but I do agree that they can be used incorrectly. I think Fred is talking more about how they get overused and there are some seriously messy cap tables with rolling notes and no easy way to price anything or calculate dilution properly.

I think it goes without saying that there are clean cap tables and not so clean ones and in my experience the not so clean ones have a bunch of notes with no simple way of sorting them all out. This happens less with equity rounds.

I think there is a much broader discussion to have here around founder friendly techniques but also having to weave in doing stuff right for the good of all current investors and investors to come. Always a fine line.