Assure presents What's Going on in Venture with Mac Conwell of RareBreed Ventures. Jeremy and Mac discuss the playbook for breaking into venture. For aspiring fund managers who don’t have an Ivy-league background, a VC resume, and a network of LPs, Mac has proven you can build a brand and go out and raise money in non-traditional ways. In “the golden age of venture”, Mac talks about access to capital for outsiders and leveraging his uniqueness as a compelling investment thesis. Check out the whole conversation below.
"Getting them to understand my strategy, getting to share my track record. Getting to see how I'm evaluating companies going to see what kind of new companies I'm building. And that helps build a rapport. When I talk about the high net worth individuals, we use a lot of technology for our fundraising. You can go to our website, click a button, and you become an LP. Well, what happened was we had a lot of people clicking that button, getting access to our subscription docs. But they weren't signing, right? They were just waiting around watching. So the way I built the rapport with them, I would write these little stories about the companies. And I would send them out as updates. And so for all the people who are on our email list, they were constantly getting updates about these new companies we're investing in. And it was all a little bit about the founder, what the company does, why we were excited about it and how much we invested in it. And what I found was as I was sending those out, every time, I would get a couple of LPs reach out like I'm in. This is an amazing company. I can't believe you found this, or I love what they're doing. I want to back you."
Mac Conwell, is the Founder and Managing Director of RareBreed Ventures, a pre-seed stage venture fund based in Baltimore, MD. Rarebreed VC invests early in founders outside of the large tech ecosystem. With early meaningful cash upfront, wraparound services to increase capacity, and institutional knowledge, RareBreed Ventures aims to accelerate a company's growth at the earliest stages.
RareBreed Ventures is a pre-seed fund that invests in exceptional founders outside of large tech ecosystems, earlier than everyone else. Unlike other pre-seed funds, RareBreed takes a concentrated portfolio approach by writing checks of up to $250K as the first or one of the first investors.
1. You can find amazing startups anywhere in the world. There are amazing entrepreneurs everywhere with great ideas, building dope companies. Not just in Silicon Valley, New York, and Boston.
2. Some of these entrepreneurs are building products and serving communities that many traditional VCs do not understand or are not willing to understand. This leads to many missed opportunities to fund great companies.
3. Many VCs focus so much on getting deal flow from traditional sources that they don’t take the time to look beyond those circles. This also leads to missed opportunities to fund great companies.
4. Investing in pre-seed stage companies is a skill and requires a lot of conviction. You cannot use the traditional metrics to evaluate a company or, more importantly, the founders themselves.
5. Sometimes founders at the pre-seed stage aren’t as polished, don’t know all the VC lingo, don’t have an amazing network, or don’t know how to construct a pitch. Still, they are just as amazing as founders who have raised tons of money and have deep networks.
6. $50,000 is enough to get great founders started but not enough for them to fully execute to get to the next level. They still need to pitch to angel investors, go to pitch competitions, join accelerators, and do anything and everything else they can do to get additional funding along the way.
7. Amazing entrepreneurs with truly original and unique products, serving industries that haven’t had innovation in YEARS, do exist.
8. There are two types of founders that get us excited: those who have thought a lot about and executed on customer acquisition, and, those building products in markets that are often overlooked. These founders are out-of-the-box thinkers, which is critical to success.
9. Making pre-seed investments, you write fairly small checks relative to all of venture capital. But even small checks are life changing for some entrepreneurs, which can lead to amazing returns.