Megatrends in tech and missed opportunities with Garry Tan of Initialized Capital

Product Hunt Radio



Dec. 18, 2018, 9 p.m.

Today I'm visiting Garry Tan at Initialized HQ, a multi-stage fund that he started with Alexis Ohanian, one of the co-founders of reddit. The fund has grown tremendously over the past six years with nearly $1B under management, a team of more than 10, and investments in a few companies you might be a customer of, including Coinbase, Instacart, Algolia, GOAT, Opendoor, and a bunch of others. They were also investors in Product Hunt.

In this episode we talk about:

  • Garry's early years working as a software engineer in tech, including some major missed opportunities (in hindsight). He recounts the story of Peter Thiel trying to hire him away from Microsoft to join what became the multi-billion dollar company, Palantir.
  • Initialized's decision-making framework for figuring out which companies to pass on and which companies to invest in, as well as their honey badger mascot.
  • Why an often overlooked skill for founders is managing conflict, even when the team is still small. Garry explains why he backed a company that aims to help create harmonious startup teams founded by his former therapist.

We also discuss some of the Initialized portfolio companies that Garry is most excited about and the “megatrends” that are creating opportunities for investors and founders in tech today.

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. Also, big thanks to our sponsors, GE Ventures, Rally Rd, and AngelList for their support. 😸

Quotes from This Episode

“The hard part about being a founder is you have this fog of war: you have no idea why you’re growing and a lot of times you also have no idea why you’ve stopped growing.” — Garry

“Peter looked at me and said, 'you’re a great engineer, why are you doing that?' Come join us, we are going to change the world. How much do you make at Microsoft? He got out his check book and started writing and said, 'here’s a personal check from me to you; you can cash this and this is a risk-free opportunity for you...' So I said, 'thank you very much Mr. Thiel, but I might get promoted next year at Microsoft' and I didn’t take the check. Opportunity knocked and I said no, and that company turned out to be Palantir.” — Garry

“Basically everyone has a plan until you get punched in the face, and as a startup you're going to get your face punched in. The important thing is 'what do you do next?'” — Garry

Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode

LogDNA — Instantly collect and analyze logs real-time on any platform.

Standard Cognition— AI-powered checkout. — Leadership growth driven by data, powered by people.

Check out for a shot of Initialized's honey badger mascot.