20VC: Dave Morin on Why Building A Fund Is Like A Company, Why Venture Is A Craft & The Journey To Establish Slow Ventures

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Dave Morin is Founder & Partner at Slow Ventures, the leading valley venture fund with investments in the likes of Slack, Pinterest, Evernote, NextDoor, Postmates just to name a few. Prior to Slow, Dave was the Co-Founder and CEO of Path, the social network that serves tens of millions of people every day. Path was acquired by Kakao in 2015. If that was not enough, he also spent several years at Facebook where he led Facebook Platform and Connect during periods of rapid innovation and growth. Today, he serves on the Board of Directors of Eventbrite, Dwell, and Hinge.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Dave made the transition from Facebook and Path to founding Slow Ventures?

2.) As a new entrant to VC, how does Dave look to develop pattern recognition with founders and ideas? What is the most challenging element?

3.) Why did Dave, Sam and Kevin decide to institutionalise Slow for the ‘club’ to the structured fund that it is today? How did that change their investment decision making process?

4.) What role does network play in the value and operations of Slow? How do they look to increase the network effect to further provide value to their companies?

5.) What role does valuation and ownership play for Dave when investing? How does that change with the larger cheques?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Dave’s Fave Book: The Alchemist

Dave’s Fave Blog: The Information

Dave’s Most Recent Investment: Perlstein Lab

As always you can follow Harry, The Twenty Minute VC and Dave on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Snapchat here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

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  • malley

    Interesting discussion, but I was hoping to hear about the involvement of lawyers (JDs) in the VC process. I feel there are 3 major groups involved in startups involving computing devices: 1) Techies (Comp Sci/Engineers), 2) MBAs (mgmt/sales), 3) JDs. Obviously the focus of the VC would be on the first group, determining if the techies have developed a patentable product, while weighing the viability of the company, IE., reducing the value of the company as the amount of MBAs outweigh Computer Doctorates. What is often overlooked is a lack of JDs, and their influence, in the company, IE legal implications, including methods of data obtainment as it relates to privacy violations. Small startups are not interested in the “JD” issues, can’t afford in-house legal staff, and assume as the company grows it will hire outside counsel. Some Startups will even jeopardize the company by using non-JDs, hiring “CPOs” that claim they are qualified by merely passing online privacy courses. Even within the startup, JD’s are scorned by MBAs for impeding business, while Techies feel JDs impede the company’s new technology. The startup’s objective is merely to obtain as many users as possible, IE., 10 million users and the VCs will come calling, knowing the value of their company grows with each million users, while needing to overlook its risks. VC’s overlooks this area too, being more concerned with handing out “VC’s Candy” to volumes of upstarts, hoping to offset the mass funding if a small fraction become the next IPO, an apparent business practice revealed by the substantial volume of funded startups failing. As the startup scales, and the risks become apparent, the VCs withdraws funding at time “risk realization”, (lawsuit)

    Joe Malley (JD)
    Dallas, Texas
    Linkedin: Joseph H. Malley