500 startups: the seed fund with a difference
Dave McClure, the founder of 500 startups is one of the most reconizable names and personalities in Silicon Valley.
He is, however, most definitely not your typical venture capitalist (VC).
At face value, he may run what appears to be a regular investment fund and accelerator:
There’s a fund, with a lot of money.
There are partners, who seek to find the best emerging entrepreneurs, an accelerator programme that puts this nascent talent through their rigours.
There is also an expansive network of some of the brightest business minds helping startups navigate the choppy waters characterizing today’s business ecosystem.
The difference however, is Dave himself.
The t-shirt sporting, flip-flop wearing venture capitalist is practically the antonym of any profile you had in mind for a regular VC.
“We aren’t a typical VC,” he begins.
“We certainly aren’t one to talk to a thousand different companies, invest in one or two, and then go and play golf. We’re going to talk to a thousand companies invest in 20-50 of them, or more, per person, per year. We’re going to bust our asses finding the best companies we possibly can.”
Back in 2012 a senior lecturer from Harvard Business School, Shikhar Ghosh, proclaimed in an article for the Wall Street Journal that as many as 75% of venture backed businesses fail, never to return any of the money back to investors.
So by taking the approach of investing in more startups than a typical VC fund, McClure hopes that, “by aggregate, if we help create more startups, a few of them will become large.”
Although heed warning, McClure suggests that investing in startups is a highly asymmetric business.
For more on why 500 startups is not your typical VC, listen to this week’s podcast above.