20VC: David Tisch on How Multi-Stage Funds Changed The Game For Seed Rounds, Why Signalling Risk is BS, The Three Most Important Variables for Founders When Raising Their Seed Round & A Debate on Portfolio Construction: Does Ownership Matter
Posted on 27th February 2023 by Harry
David Tisch is the Managing Partner of BoxGroup, one of the leading seed-stage investment firms of the last decade having invested in over 500 seed-stage startups, including Plaid, Ro, Ramp, PillPack, Amplitude, Flatiron Health, Stripe, Warby Parker, Harry’s, Oscar, Flexport, Classpass, Vine, GroupMe, Airtable and more. David is also the Chairman of GoodDog, a marketplace to find pets online.
In Today’s Episode with David Tisch We Discuss:
1.) From Techstars To Founding BoxGroup:
How did David start his own firm in the form of Box having started at Techstars?
What advice from Brad Feld does David always remember and hold close?
What does David know now that he wishes he had known when started investing?
2.) The Debate: The Math Does Not Work: Portfolio Construction:
Ownership Does not Matter: How does David justify writing $100K checks from a $127.5M early-stage fund? Even if it is a home run, it does not make a difference to the fund?
Level of Diversification: If David is writing small checks like this, with his fund size he will have hundreds of companies, what does David believe is the right level of diversification?
Reserves management: How does David think about the ratio of initial to reserves when deploying the funds today? How does reserves management change in a recession?
How does David prevent other VCs from using this to try and push him down to always writing a $100K check?
Why does David believe that the size of check he is able to invest is the VC’s problem and not the founders?
Price Sensitivity: How does David assess his own relationship to price today? Why does he believe that company valuation is not something that the investor controls?
3.) Advice to Founders Raising Rounds:
What does David believe is the #1 role of the CEO?
What are the three most important variables for founders to focus on when raising their round?
How should founders analyze the tradeoff between the brand of the VC and the size of the round?
Does signaling really make a difference when a large fund invests at seed?
How did multi-stage funds change the seed landscape forever with a new product?
Who does David believe are the tourists in early-stage venture? Will they leave in the recession?
4.) David Tisch: AMA:
Why does David believe that consumer social is not fun anymore?
Who when they send him a deal does David take it most seriously?
How does David want to ensure that bad VC behaviour is exposed?
What would David most like to change about the venture landscape today?