All Things Venture #075
Yesterday a good friend of mine texted me out of the blue, “A billi.” This was my response:
To be honest - I was totally off on what he was talking about. As soon as he said “A billi” my mind got immediately time warped back to eigth grade when I was rapping alongside to Lil Wayne absolutely losing my mind/foaming at the mouth for the opportunity to say things like “Okay you’re a goon but what’s a goon to a goblin?”
But in reality what my friend, Tyler (who is the absolute man btw), was saying, was congratulations. Earlier that day here at FirstMark, we announced our latest funds - FirstMark Capital VI and FirstMark Capital Opportunity Fund IV, two venture capital funds totaling $1.1 billion in commitments. Venture capital funds focused on continuing to foster, partner with, and accelerate the growth and development of the earliest stage companies. Venture Capital and Entrepreneurship are team sports. I’ve written a bit about my thoughts on that here, and I genuinely believe in that perspective. And a day like yesterday, where we had the opportunity to announce $1B+ of commitments is a validation of that perspective.
Now to be clear, I am a newbie in the grand scheme of VC. I started less than a year ago. I didn’t touch the fundraising the process, and so I can’t really speak to the nuances of that endevaor. BUT. What I can speak to, is who and what that capital is for. The $1B+ we’ve raised as a firm has a simple, sole, and direct focus - for backing the best entrepreneurs. Our job is to find you all, support you all, and give you all the tools, resources, and network to become category defining leaders. In my year-ish of being at FirstMark, I can say with absolute certainty that the team here is committed to that endevaor. We live and breathe it here. Top to bottom there is a desire, emphasis, and effort on doing whatever you can to move the needle for entreprenuers.
Pretty regularly people ask me what early stage VC is like. It can be a hard question to answer because the experience is so varied, but here’s what I think. Early stage venture capital is an all consuming team sport. It’s a simultaneous exercise in hubris and humility, where self awarness, risk-appeitite, and hustle are daily requirements. What it means to work at the earliest stages of entrepreneurship is to constantly challenge what is currently possible, with what can be possible. It means answering whatsapp calls at 1 AM in Berlin to help a founder with round construction and pricing. It means taking unexpectd calls in between meetings to talk through feedback on a pitch. It means being their for the lows of the product launch not gaining any attention, and for the highs of when the business gets an offer to be acquired. It means building fundraising decks, and cap tables, and conducting market research. It means doing the work, day in and day out, to have a one in a million chance to meaningfully leave an impact on society through the business a founder you believed in has built. It means to listen with intensity and to advise with sincerity. It means finding great people, supporting great people, and instilling a belief in the possible, and disdain for the impossible.
If you’re thinking about starting something, have already started something, or just want to get a better sense of how the entrepreneurial sausage is made, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at email@example.com. We’re here for you, we’re ready for you, and while yeah we may not have Lil Wayne in the lineup - in the succint wording of my friend Tyler Swartz, we do have “A Billi.”
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