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Series F - Issue #44: The Future of Venture Capital

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Series F

February 4 · Issue #44 · View online

The Future of Venture Capital


👋🏻 Happy Sunday! Thanks to all of you who shared the newsletter this week and welcome to the new subscribers!
This is Series F, a (hopefully) insightful weekly curation of the latest developments dictating the future direction of the venture capital industry.
Curated by @neilswmurray

Upsetting the Apple Cart 🍎
“As the founder of the Google Brain deep learning project and co-founder of Coursera, Andrew Ng was one of the most recognisable names in the machine learning community when he became Baidu’s chief scientist in 2014. He left there in early 2017 and quickly launched a number of new AI projects, including the Deeplearning.ai course and Landing.ai, a project that aims to bring AI to manufacturing companies. It turns out that what he was really working on, though, was his AI Fund”
Why this matters?
- To raise a specialist fund, you need to have considerable experience and reputation within your niche, Andrew Ng certainly has that going for him.
- However, this is actually not really a traditional fund. In fact, it holds more similarities with BetaWorks, as the ‘fund’ will essentially initiate new businesses and build new companies. This also helps to explain why so many VC funds have invested, including NEA, Sequoia, Greylock Partners and SoftBank.
- In fact, the more generalist the VC fund, the higher the need to ensure they have their bases covered in the ‘hotter’ verticals. Backing smaller vertical-specific funds is one clear way of doing this, allowing them to build a strong pipeline and getting an early foot in the door, despite not being experts in specific verticals themselves.
- You also see this play out in other ways too, with location-specific funds (like my own) or stage-specific. When funds invest in funds, it is predominantly this generalist vs specialist dynamic playing out.
Due Diligence 📚
1. Clearly Masayoshi Son must have been forwarded last week’s Series F, as a few days after I talked about why communications should be at the centre of every VC firm, SoftBank made such a move ~> SoftBank poaches Sequoia Capital’s communications chief
2. Venture Capital has officially moved to the Blockchain as SPiCE VC received over $40M in commitments during the pre-sale period which makes them the largest tokenised fund in the industry ~> Announcing the end of our pre-sale and the opening of SPiCE VC public token sale
3. An interesting crowdsourced fund being raised to invest in female founders ~> Veteran Chicago Trader Creates Angel Fund for Women Entrepreneurs
4. I love the transparency of Kima Ventures, and if people know how, what and why you invest, this can also serve as a competitive advantage ~> Kima Ventures 2017 Recap
5. Not content with teaching entrepreneurs best practices, YC have taken it upon themselves to educate wannabe investors too ~> Y Combinator Launches Free Online Course To Train New Startup Investors
6. As a pre-seed investor, I appreciated the myth-busting here ~> Five myths of pre-seed investing
7. Finally, if you haven’t come across it yet, I can highly recommend grabbing a cup of coffee right now and delving into FabricVentures and Token Data’s State of the Token Market
Always Be Closing ☕️
All feedback and opinions welcomed: @neilswmurray or neil@thenordicweb.com
Through my Angel Fund, I invest in the most ambitious pre-seed Nordic startups. If you’d like to know more about the European or Nordic startup scene then I’d love for you to reach out. And if you know any companies you think I should be talking to, then don’t hesitate to let me know! 👍🏻
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