A little bit more than a year ago, we made our first investment in a COVID world…it was 100% virtual, all via Zoom from start to finish. What seemed highly unusual at the time became the new modus operandi for Version One and the VC industry as a whole. We ended up doing three more investments in April 2020 (our busiest month ever) and a total of 12 investments over the past year (our busiest 12-month period ever).
The rapid transition to remote work also triggered dramatic changes across our portfolio and startups everywhere, most notably by collapsing geographic boundaries. In a remote-first / digital-by-default organization, you no longer have to build your business in a top-tier startup ecosystem to have access to the best talent. The entire world becomes your talent pool. Many of our portfolio companies were able to recruit incredible talent that they never would have had access to previously.
It’s one year in and we’re reflecting on these massive shifts. Location no longer has much bearing on the investment process. Geography no longer controls where you can build a successful company. That means it’s probably time for us to revisit the geographical focus in our investment thesis. From the start, we have limited ourselves primarily to startups within North America, with a handful of exceptions: Nexus Mutual and Drover (UK), Guesser.com (Spain), and Headout (India).
We’re excited to announce that we are officially changing our investment mandate going forward and are now investing on a worldwide basis.
Even though our geographic focus is expanding, a few things aren’t changing. We still look for pre-seed & seed stage opportunities, as we believe this is the stage where we can add the most value. We back mission-driven founders, those who will stop at nothing to solve a deep pain point that they know well. And, our core interest areas are still primarily marketplaces, SaaS, crypto, healthcare and climate. In particular, crypto projects are already set up for this global mindset: their platforms are immediately accessible on a worldwide basis and their open-source nature has always relied on distributed teams.
While we’re not focused on where your startup is headquartered, we are uniquely interested in founders with global ambitions to build a category-leading company. Entrepreneurs looking to build the “xyz” for country “abc” aren’t going to be a fit for us.
In addition, we always strive to be the most helpful investor around the table…the first to be called when a founder needs advice. When evaluating an opportunity, we’ll consider if a large time zone difference will impact our ability to make the kind of impact we’d like.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “Talent is equally distributed. Opportunity is not.” We truly hope that our decision to broaden our investment focus will help bridge this gap and contribute in a small way toward making opportunity more equally distributed in the future.
If you’re a founder ready to go after big things, we want to hear from you – no matter where you’re located.