How to think about raising your first venture fund

Product Hunt Radio



April 23, 2019, 9 p.m.

Lee Jacobs and Brian Balfour join Ryan at AngelList HQ for this week's episode.

Back in the day, Lee was one of the first syndicate leads on AngelList and later went on to join as a Partner. He previously started an education marketplace startup called Campus Dock. Ryan got to know Lee at AngelList a few years ago, when Lee was kind enough to help him craft his deck as he went out to raise his first fund. Lee is now a full-time investor with his own fund, Edelweiss, which he started with Brian Balfour, Elaine Wherry, and Todd Masonis.

Brian Balfour invests part-time at Edelweiss and spends the majority of his time as CEO of Reforge, a professional education program for experienced practitioners. We've had some of our teammates here at Product Hunt go through the program. Prior to Reforge, Brian was the VP of Growth at HubSpot, EIR at Trinity Ventures, and the founder of several startups including Boundless Learning, POPSignal, and Viximo.

In this episode we talk about:

  • What kinds of questions Lee and Brian ask founders when they first meet them
  • Some of the mistakes that first-time fund managers make and how to avoid them
  • How to think about fund strategy and why the style of your fund should match your personality
  • The importance of cultivating resilience, both as a founder and as an investor

Of course, we talk about some of their favorite products as well.

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Bubble, Spoka, and Dipsea for their support. 😸

Quotes from This Episode

“Investing is actually a very time consuming thing. For any operators out there who are also thinking about investing, I would highly encourage you to consider finding a partner who has a completely opposite superpower than you.” — Brian

“The key is figuring out who you are, what your investor-strategy fit is, and designing a strategy and a way that you’re going to get deal flow and what the right check size is going to be, based on who you are uniquely.” — Lee

“There are some investors out there who are very thesis-driven and others that are very people-driven. The more I do this, the more I realize that we are not the best at forming and finding the most interesting ideas and markets. With so much interesting stuff going on, I’m not going to sit here and pretend I know how it is going to play out. The entrepreneurs and people who have an organic connection are going to be the ones to find the interesting problems.” — Brian

Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode

Dandelion Chocolate — A bean-to-bar chocolate factory in the Mission District in San Francisco.

Five Minute Journal — The simplest, most effective way to be happier every day.

Krisp — Mute background noise during calls.

TweetDeck — Create a custom Twitter experience.

Twttr — Twitter's new prototype app.

YouTube TV— YouTube takes on the cable providers.