Emerging VC Managers Are Founders Too

Today I had a chat with an emerging venture capital investor who’s raising his first fund. He shared the journey with me, and it didn’t sound that different from a start-up founder’s fundraising journey. He worked to refine his story and pitch potential limited partners (LPs) to invest in his fund. He’s heard more noes than he can count but pushed through until he heard yes.

The fundraise has been a grueling multiyear journey for him and his partner. It’s finally coming to an end (for fund one at least). I asked him what his big takeaways are. He has quite a few, but two stood out to me:

  • Knowledge gap – Just as founders don’t understand the VC landscape when raising for the first time, neither did he. It took him months to learn that each LP is different and looking for something different in the fund investments they make. After he filled his gap, he adjusted his outreach strategy.
  • Timeline – Their raise process initially was open-ended, with no timelines. Potential LPs were slow to commit or decline. He and his partner were in limbo, and so was the overall fundraise process. Once they established a timeline and asked people if they could respect it, they got clarity on who was serious.

This emerging manager and his partner hustled their way to raising a $50+ million first fund. He’s now focused on building out the team and infrastructure to support the operation of his fund. I walked away from today’s call thinking of him as more founder than investor.