20VC: Portfolio Construction, Optimising SPVs, Opportunity Investing “Between Rounds”, Being Distribution-Centric Over Product-Centric and Capital Concentration Within Funds With Sumeet Gajri, Chief Strategy Officer @ Carta
Posted on 17th January 2020 by hstebbings1
Sumeet Gajri is the Chief Strategy Officer @ Carta, the startup that helps companies and investors manage their cap tables, valuations, investments, and equity plans. Sumeet is largely responsible for all things fundraising and M&A and Carta have raised over $485m from a16z, USV, Thrive, Spark, K9, Lightspeed and Meritech to name a few. Sumeet is also Managing Partner @ Original Capital, where he has partnered with companies including Front, Tonal, Instabase, Everlywell and Cockroach Labs to name a few. Finally, Sumeet is also an LP in world-leading firms such as USV and Valar Ventures.
1.) How Sumeet made his first foray into the world of venture in NYC having grown up in Scotland? How that led to his move to operations with Carta? How his learnings from Carta led to his establishing Original Capital?
2.) How is Original Capital different from every other micro-fund? How does Sumeet approach portfolio construction with the fund? What is the optimal number in a portfolio? How does Sumeet think about loss ratio? What 3 criteria dos every new investment have to pass to make it into the portfolio? How does check size vary by deal?
3.) How does Sumeet invest in some of the best companies in between “official rounds”? What does this conversation look like with the founders? How does Sumeet analyse reserve allocations? What makes the right strategy? What are his capital concentration limits per company? How does Sumeet think about using SPVs effectively?
4.) Sumeet helps his companies fundraise a lot, what does the first step look like? How does he advise on investor selection? How does he advise on pipeline management? Should founders speak to investors when they are not raising? How open should they be in these meetings? What can founders do to catalyse the process? Where does Sumeet see many founders make mistakes?
5.) How does Sumeet think about distribution vs product? What can founders do to adopt a more distribution first mindset? What have been some of Sumeet’s biggest lessons in turning Carta from a single product company to a multi-product company? Do companies have to own their own lines of distribution today?