20VC: Fintech OG Sheel Mohnot on Lessons from Investing in Flexport and ChipperCash and Missing Robinhood and Chime, Why Overly Large GP Commits are Dangerous, Biggest Mistakes Managers Make with Fund I and Emerging Markets; Which Survive?

Posted on 15th August 2022 by Harry

Sheel Mohnot is a Co-Founder and General Partner @ Better Tomorrow Ventures, a $225M fund that leads rounds in pre-seed and seed-stage fintech companies globally. Sheel and Jake (his co-founder) invested for many years together before founding BTV and wrote checks into Mercury, Flexport, Ramp, and Hippo Insurance to name a few. As for Sheel, before BTV he ran 500 Fintech for close to 7 years, and before that was a founder, founding two companies, both of which were acquired. If that was not enough, Sheel is also a master at measuring the width of swimming pools and making cameo appearances in music videos with Justin Bieber.

In Todays Episode with Sheel Mohnot We Discuss:

1.) Entry into Venture:

  • How Sheel made his way into the world of venture having founded 2 fintech companies?
  • Why did no LPs give Sheel money in the early 500 Fintech days? What were some of his biggest lessons from investing in 100s of companies with 500 Fintech?
  • How did BTV with Jake come together most recently? What are the biggest differences to Sheel of being a fund manager vs being an investor?

2.) The Power Law:

  • How does Sheel define “the power law” in venture capital? What multiple of return would be power law status?
  • Given the size of outcome available with these power law returns, how does Sheel approach portfolio construction? Would it not be best to invest in 100s of companies?
  • Who does Sheel believe has done the indexing approach best? Why?

3.) Venture Capital has Never Been Less Collaborative:

  • Why does Sheel disagree with Harry that venture capital has never been less collaborative?
  • Why now, for the first time, are large multi-stage funds taking single-digit ownership?
  • Does Sheel agree with Harry it is moronic to have “guaranteed pro-rata”? How does Sheel approach re-investment decision-making? When does he pay up vs not?

4.) The Biggest Wins and Misses:

  • What have been Sheel’s biggest wins from a cashback and a multiple perspective?
  • How did Sheel miss the chance to invest in both Robinhood and Chime early on? What did he not see? How would he have thought differently with the benefit of hindsight?
  • How have Sheel’s biggest hits and misses impacted how he invests today?

5.) Emerging and Frontier Markets:

  • Does Sheel share Harry’s concern for the removal of capital from emerging markets?
  • Why does Sheel believe that India, South East Asia and LATAM will be fine?
  • Why does Sheel believe Pakistan and Africa are most in trouble?
  • What advice does Sheel give to his emerging markets founders today?

Items Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Sheel’s Favourite Book: Enders Game

Want the latest 20VC insights?

Get all of the insights from of our latest epsiodes and more in our monthly newsletter. All venture, no spam.