If Black Swans are unforeseen calamitous events, Red Swans are great companies most of us never saw coming. They are built by entrepreneurs who create joy for their customers, provide meaning to their employees, and who scare their shareholders by passing on acquisition offers. They tend to be movements as much as businesses. We are honored to be a part of them.
We look for a retrospectively-explainable but hard to predict collision of three factors required for a large disruptive outcome:
A relentless, caring, brave, and self-aware entrepreneur
An unfair advantage in the pursuit of a deeply authentic vision
The desire to build not just a business, but a company
We think culture is important at companies. Ones that get big with high employee turnover are Pyrrhic victories. Customers and shareholders may be happy but what joy is there in Mudville if the people building the company have none?
We won't invest in a round that has an unfavorable structure for entrepreneurs and we'll take on other investors who suggest bad terms. From participating preferred's to excessive liquidation preferences, which paradoxically remove your incentives in a side-ways case, we think what's in your best interest is in ours and that's how we play ball.
A lot of angel investors fight for their pro rata. We fight for you. We like to invest with investors who we admire and who do this full time so we know that you are in good hands. For us, it's a hobby. Congratulations. You now have a friend in your round who isn't paid a management fee to ask you questions. Entrepreneurs like our advice because they know honey badger don't care.
Traditionally VCs fire the founding CEO when things aren't going well. This is often a road to perdition. The biggest outcomes usually are created when founding CEOs stay on board. We back self-aware leaders because we believe they are the first ones to raise a hand, if it needs raising. We are fascinated by the founder's dilemma and love helping with the founder scaling issues that confront every company.
We'll never ask for a board seat. We believe board seats are privileges to be offered and earned and that the most influential advisors to companies are often the ones that don't need to carry the card.
Andy likes apex predators, including gummy bears, and believes the future is discovered as much as it is made.
Dave mixes dinner party guests just as well as ingredients, and is a snuggly kind of fierce.
Chris is proof that you can google and later marry your high school crush, and that entrepreneurs can be born anytime.
Mareza believes that the chief danger in life is that you may make too many precautions.
Jon finds that, concerning hummus and design, the details are more than just details.
Bryan's perfect Saturday includes the Premier League, the New Yorker, and one really agreeable disagreement.