Rosie Wood is a (fictional) associate at the VC firm Mild Conviction. It’s a generalist, multistage fund with offices in London, Paris and Verbier. They’re not like normal VCs — they don’t need to do a tonne of due diligence to decide on an investment. Instead, they’re simply looking for companies and founders that are pretty good. Because pretty good is usually good enough. Catch up on her other dispatches here.
The partners have finally recovered from the fact that we weren’t mentioned in that Sebastian Mallaby FT piece about European VC (our PR firm has been fired, however). But the soul searching is nowhere near finished.
In an email to the team today, managing partner Rupert Nickerson laid out our response. We will double down on cutting-edge trends and be even more founder-friendly.
By cutting-edge, he’s talking about Web3, an opportunity the investment team has been ordered to take very seriously ever since our partner Alex Cholmondeley’s wife made $100k flipping MetaBirkins. To help support this effort, we’ve hired another associate called George who started mining bitcoins in 2008 and likes to remind everyone that he was almost named a Thiel fellow. George says he has an autographed copy of Zero to One, and it’s visible on his bookshelf in Zoom calls. I’m hoping he brings it in to show us one day.
On the founder-friendly side of things, Rupert is announcing founder office hours in the metaverse later this week. He’ll be doing two hours a week, so any and all founders, please sign up via our Twitter! Meta didn’t have presentation functionality so we’ll be hosting the office hours in a beta version of the Microsoft metaverse.
We’ll all be getting NFT versions of ourselves to use as Twitter profiles, featuring each of us with glowing laser eyes. The intern has been asked to scan OpenSea for something “authentic, yet affordable”.
I know that it’s a move to try and seem like the cool mum in Mean Girls but I’m not sure how authentic it is if partners don’t know the origin of the meme? What would happen if a founder actually asked our investment staff about memes in a pitch? Probably would not go down well. (Founders: I will back a company issuing “driver's licences” for meme knowledge, which can themselves be sold as NFTs.)
That said, it’s all very exciting to be working on this technology before it’s even hit the mainstream! You don’t get this at Deloitte.
But something has been bugging me. Are we giving up and doing JPEGs when we haven’t even started backing some of the real stuff that’s going to change the world? Feels perhaps like a bit of an a16z cop-out.
And our existing portfolio has not exactly been getting the “follow-on” love that I believe our pretty good founders deserve. Gopuff bought the Italian speedy grocery in a so-so deal, the Finnish baby creators startup raised a Series B from Apple Strudel Partners and Mariah Carey’s family office, and the synthetic-womb-as-a-benefit startup is negotiating a term sheet now. But they aren’t scaling as fast as I thought they might.
So betting too much on the Web3 hype makes me a bit nervous. I wish we could just invest in some boring SaaS companies for once…