VC Brian Singerman talks about what he looks for and what he avoids
Most recently, Founders Fund, had a nice liquidity event for one of its portfolio companies - Powerset, which sold for $100 million to Microsoft. And, it looks like Founders Fund, started by former PayPal executives, will have a pretty good track record for exits when it comes to its current portfolio, which includes Slide, Facebook, Zivity, Quantcast, and now Clickable (with the just-announced $14.5 million round raised). Founders Fund continues to look for new ideas. Last year, it raised $220 million for its second fund. Brian Singerman, a VC at the firm, stopped in to talk about what he and his team are looking for in ideas and entrepreneurs.
The firm likes to invest in the "consumer Internet," and be "first-money in," said Brian. But recently, the company has tried to diversify and look at different models and invest larger chunks.
"The cool thing is nothing is too crazy," he said. Typically, Founders Fund will invest half a million to $1 million. But "we'll go up as high as we need to," said Brian.
One of the areas that's most interesting for Brian is companies that can figure out how to monetize engagement. "There's a whole bunch of sites that engage," said Brian. Being the solution provider to help monetize those engagements would be a big business, he added. (One company that fits into this space is Nuconomy. Check out the Vator Box segment, where Brian is our guest host and discusses his views on this analytics/monetization company.)
Brian also talks about the type of entrepreneurs he'd invest in. He said he looks for entrepreneurs who are confident enough to think in billions rather than multiple millions. The common mistake entrepreneurs make is "selling their business short and not thinking big," he said.
So, how do you connect with Brian? Put your company profile on Vator (public or private) and ping him here.
(Editor's note: Peter Thiel, who started The Founders Fund, is the lead investor in Vator.tv)
Related Companies, Investors, and Entrepreneurs
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Slide is the largest personal media network in the world, reaching 144 million unique global viewers each month and more than 30 percent of the U.S. Internet audience. We help people express themselves and tell stories through personalized photos and videos created on Slide.com and viewed anywhere on the web or desktop.
Slide's products — including Slideshows, FunWall and SuperPoke! — are popular on top social networking and blog platforms, including MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, Hi5, Friendster, Tagged and Blogger. Slide is also the leading developer on Facebook with more than 84 million applications installed and the most active users than any other developer.
Launched in 2005 and founded by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, Slide is backed by Mayfield Fund, Blue Run Ventures, Khosla Ventures and Founders Fund.
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We are company founders first and investor second: we have built companies from the ground up, including PayPal, Facebook, Napster, Plaxo, Palantir Technologies, and Clarium Capital. We have experience from concept to realization, from shared offices to public offerings. Every stage of the company creation process is familiar to us, from finding seed capital, to building defensible products, scaling up the organization, and realizing lasting value for employees and shareholders.
Our current investments include Facebook, Slide, Geni, Powerset, IronPort Systems, Zivity, Quantcast, and Project Agape. Our fund is $50 million and we focus on investments in early-stage consumer Internet companies. We typically invest $500,000 - $1 million per investment. At the end of 2007, we raised $220 million for The Founders Fund II.
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Clickable is an online solution that makes search advertising Simple, Instant and Profitable. Clickable’s immediate activation and intuitive user experience make it easy for marketers to manage performance across all major ad networks, including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft. Clickable’s powerful recommendations and reporting make marketers more efficient, effective, and confident – even at the very first login. Clickable’s ActEngine actually learns marketers’ preferences and enforces best practices to maximize return. Clickable always listens and constantly improves. That’s why customers often say: “Clickable is like having a trusted advisor always by your side ensuring success.”
For advertising agencies, Clickable drives profitability by growing margins, staff efficiency, and capacity to serve more clients. Predictable, performance-based technology costs enable agencies to capture new market share from smaller clients, historically unprofitable under traditional agency cost structures. With easy white-label reporting, agencies can groom smaller clients into full-service accounts. Finally, Clickable rapidly enables and educates agency staff with embedded contextual help, multimedia training, and community.
For ad networks, Clickable offers growing access and scale to thousands of advertisers and agencies, while providing parity with all major ad networks. Simply “Clickable enable” your ad network to grow customer loyalty and market share by integrating with the one platform where advertisers manage all premium networks.