Bijan Sabet on disrupting the gatekeepers, and mobile

Spark Capital Partner talks about what areas he likes to invest in

Investor interview by Bambi Francisco Roizen
September 17, 2012
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I recently sat down with Bijan Sabet, a partner at Spark Capital, an early-stage VC firm, which has invested in high-profile startups, such as Twitter, Foursquare and Tumblr. In this segment, the second of our four-part series, Sabet talks about his interest in mobile and why he likes investing in companies that are disrupting the traditional gatekeepers across multiple industries. 

RunKeeper and, both companies Spark has invested in, are disrupting their respective industries, said Sabet. 

He also talks about what he looks for in an entrepreneur. "We're looking for people who are product people," he said. He prefers "people who are building products for their own passion versus someone who's opportunistic." 

Interestingly enough, Sabet also says that even though experience is important, he will often invest in someone without experience in a particular industry. But he does look for entrepreneurs who have "an instinct about consumer taste." 

Take for instance, David Karp - the founder of Tumblr. "David Karp was a high school dropout," said Sabet. "[But] between his vision for what he wanted to do and his initial version of Tumblr," it was enough to impress him and get Spark to invest $350,000 initially. To date, Tumblr has raised more than $100 million in funding.