Manage episode 280307927 series 2543812
“Talent is everywhere, opportunity is not”. This is a quote from my latest Escape Velocity Podcast guest, Marvin Liao, formerly a partner at 500 Startups. 500 Startups is a venture capital fund that runs an accelerator in San Francisco and invests in seed rounds for tech startups. At the time of recording this interview, they backed a lot more than 500 tech companies as their name suggests... How many? 2300+ and counting. Investing in seed-stage startups is risky, too. When many startups first ask for funding, they’ve often only just assembled their MVP. They may have a handful of customers, but they’re still testing their product-market fit and hoping to grow. This is where investors like Marvin have to evaluate the SaaS and decide: “Is the risk of investing worth it?” Securing a great round of seed financing can help turn your rough idea into a polished, growth-ready business. I sat down with Marvin to ask how he picks which startups are worth that risk - and which aren’t. Check it out. Although Marvin has moved on from 500 Startups, the company still flourishes with an ever-expanding portfolio.
They are proudly considered the most active early-stage investment fund in the world, with over 5000+ entrepreneurs from 75+ countries on their portfolio. In our interview, Marvin reveals:
- The structure of their accelerator program
- Which investment risks paid off the fastest (and which didn’t)
- The 500 Startups investment thesis
- Why they are seed only… and won’t invest in your series A
- How to let your SaaS “die honourably”
- How the HBO show Silicon Valley is surprisingly accurate
- The necessity for executive coaching
- The entrepreneurial business of investing This is an eye-opening interview. I’ve met many SaaS founders that hold investors on a pedestal, treating them like the gods of success. It helps to realize that investment funds are run by living, breathing humans with interests, questions and faults just like everyone else.
-- Dan Martell has advised more startups than his hometown has people and teaches startup founders like you how to scale. (Get the free 3 videos to grow your business here.) He previously created, raised venture funding for and successfully exited two tech startups: Flowtown and Clarity.fm. You should follow him on twitter @danmartell for tweets that are actually awesome.