Our Story. Our Mindset.
In The BeginningRyan, Brandon and Boz (along with a handful of engineers, designers and growthhacks) formed Venture51 Labs to create and scale digital products by bringing together the best ideas, talent, resources and financing through a centralized platform.
The VC EvolutionAround 2009, several common themes were forming in the venture capital industry, especially at the seed level. These themes included lower startup costs, and faster company evolution.
First Fund LaunchedVenture51 launches it's first fund, and starts placing investments in the seed, and traction round. The firm was one of the first to start investing specifically in post-seed financing rounds.
Venture51 Makes 40+ InvestmentsThe firm fully deploys the capital from Fund I into more than 40 startups. Notable investments from this fund include: DoubleDutch, Videolicious, Betable, eToro, SpaceMonkey, Life360, and Tout.
Fund II Raised + Deployed Into 16 StartupsVenture51 Fund II was raised, and then deployed into 16 high-growth startups. Notable companies include: Betaworks, Classy, Fitmob, Honk, Wedpics, and Zealot Networks.
Inaugural Post.Seed Conference - Huge SuccessIn December of 2014 Venture51, in partnership with Vator.tv and Bullpen Capital launched the first annual Post.Seed Conference. Speakers included Peter Theil, Naval Ravikant , Chris Dixon, and Keith Rabois.
Fund III Raised - Deploying CapitalIn the beginning of 2015, Venture51 began deploying capital out of Fund III. Notable investments include Reserve, A PLUS and Classpass.
5 Strategic Models
Post-Seed Investment Criteria
50,000 ft Flyby
We receive a product (URL, App or Device), high-concept summary and pitch-deck (summarizing the opportunity (in no particular order): market potential, traction, product vision, idea genesis, team, competition, fundraising mechanics, etc. Latest product revisions and metrics (non-vanity) required.
10,000 ft Partner Dive
Once we establish that the opportunity meets our core criteria: themes, thesis, geography, stage, and size of investment, we socialize it internally between all partners and associates.
We quickly gauge whether there is any risk of competition or overlap with the rest of our portfolio –any conflict will automatically relieve us in participation. Given our active involvement with our companies – especially at the early stage – we avoid any overlap or risk of conflict at the time of the investment. If a company is found not to be a fit, we try to let them know ASAP.
3.5 ft Team Pitch
If we are interested in learning more, we set up an initial Web and conference call.
We strongly prefer first meetings over the Web, as it gives us the ability to get down to initial business quickly.
This meeting is to validate the pitch-deck data, dive into the traction metrics, evaluate the product, and most importantly, get a feel for the founders.
Meet The Team In Person (Culture Check)
If the Web pitch goes well and we are interested in a deeper dive (like the team, value the product, and see product/market fit – we go to the founder(s) for a visit). We strongly prefer to conduct these meetings in person, as this is an opportunity for us to determine whether or not we can work with each other culturally. Typically, this meeting involves one member from our team.
Deal-Swarming Due Diligence
Favorable meetings lead to additional conversations, deep technical dive, data modeling, discussions with our contacts (non-competitive) and experts in our network and reference/background checks. One of the goals of our deal swarming is to spend time together to establish that we have culture fit.
This stage is where we “open” of the relationship. Most investors refer to this as closing, but for us it’s the beginining of something big.
If everything checks out for both sides, we’ll talk terms –based either on what has been discussed with the lead of the startup’s round, or on matters we’ll discuss if V51 ends up in lead position. In the latter case, we make an offer via a termsheet – including clean, simple terms. If the discussion (and sometimes a bit of negotiation) is satisfactory to both sides, we commit to the round and invest, once the legal documents have been drafted by counsel and reviewed by the law firm representing the investors.