20VC: True Ventures Founder, Phil Black on 4 Major Risk Categories for Startups, Why The Funding Gap Is At The “Rational B” Round & Why VCs Must Start Small But Think Big

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Phil Black is a founder of True Ventures, one of the West Coast’s leading early stage funds with a portfolio including the likes of Fitbit, recent unicorn Peloton, Automattic (makers of WordPress) and more amazing companies. Prior to True, Phil learnt the craft of venture at Summit Partners and at the predecessor firm to Lightspeed Venture Partners. However, it was in 2003 that Phil co-founded a small angel fund, Blacksmith Capital with the mission to prove his thesis that great founders of early stage technology companies can and often prefer to start their businesses and get a lot of traction with $2.5 million or less of initial funding.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Phil made is first forays into the world of VC and his big learnings in the early days of cutting his teeth in the industry?

2.) What were the big takeaways for Phil from experiencing the massive dot com boom days to experiencing the very lowest of funding environments? How did that affect his investment mindset? How does that affect his view of startup raising?

3.) What does Phil consider the 4 major risk categories for startups? What combination of risk categories mean a successful outcome is more possible? Which combination mean that Phil would likely not invest in the company?

4.) How should startups determine the “right” amount to raise for? How does Phil assess optimising runway and evaluating burn? What does Phil make of the hailed “bridge round”? WHy does Phil believe lean is always best?

5.) With considerable funds AUM how does sharing in sub $2.5m rounds provide sufficient levels of ownership to ake fund returns? What is True’s required level of ownership? How does Phil assess reserve allocation and pro rata rights?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Phil’s Fave Blog: Om Malik, Dan Primack: Axios

Phil’s Most Recent Investment: Orecco

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Phil on Twitter here!

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

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