How do micro VCs (sub-$50M) differentiate their value?

Mitos Suson · November 7, 2014 · Short URL:

Several hundred have emerged, what do their brands stand for? How do they attract LPs, startups?

Alastair Goldfisher of Thomson Reuters joined us as moderator of the panel: "The Explosion of Micro VCs (sub-$50M)". How do they differentiate? They come in all shapes and sizes and while they sometimes co-invest with one another, many have different strategies. Meet some of the micro-VCs and learn about which strategies are working best.

On the panel at Vator Splash Oakland were Marcus Ogawa (Founder & Partner, Quest Venture Partners), Erik Moore (Founder & Partner, Base VC), Jim Schienman (Founder & Partner, Maven), Jason Portnoy (Founder & Partner, Subtraction Capital). Wes Selke, Partner at Better Ventures, emceed the afternoon of investor sessions.

Thanks to our Vator Splash Oakland video sponsor, Oakland Forward and Bryan Parker, Oakland Mayoral candidate.  

Want to learn more about seed-stage investing and how these micro-VCs are navigating the Post Seed stages? Join us at Post Seed, on Dec. 2 at Cowell Pavilion in Fort Mason, San Francisco. 

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Mitos Suson

I am currently affiliated with Vator. I co-produce the Vator Events and enjoy the challenge. I am learning and growing a lot, being involved with Vator and I love it!

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Quest Venture Partners

Angel group/VC

Joined Vator on

Quest Venture Partners believes in entrepreneurialism and the magnificent achievements the right team of individuals can accomplish. We invest in early stage companies with great ideas, and even greater people behind them. We typically are the first institutional money in, investing between $100k-$1.5mm, with our sweet spot being around $500k. We believe a successful startup must excel in these six points and more:

  • Surrounds itself with the best and the brightest of ambitious, dedicated and passionate people; the best give the expertise and experience needed, the brightest will always find innovative solutions and the ambition & passion will give the courage required to pick yourself up when you fail.
  • Understands that it will, baring incredible luck, likely fail catastrophically at some point and is always planning for this.
  • Has the patience, courage, conviction, and irrational faith to persevere even when there are better alternatives in the market and when the going gets tough.
  • Recognizes a significant and genuine market pain. Provides a cost-effective and adoptable solution to an undiscovered need or problem that exists and is better than any present, emerging or conceivable alternatives.
  • Knows how to successfully market and monetize their solution. Validates their market pain and monetization plan by lining up potential customers for their solution early on.
  • Executes, executes, and executes. Makes sure to do the right things and to do things right. Thomas Edison is known to have said “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” He is also known to have said “There is no substitute for hard work.”

Erik Moore

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Wes Selke

Joined Vator on

Wes is Managing Director of Better Ventures, a venture firm that backs early-stage technology companies creating innovative solutions to big and important problems.

Marcus Ogawa

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Marcus is a Managing Partner of Quest Venture Partners, and is responsible for new investments, evaluating and closing seed / A rounds and working closely with management from portfolio companies. He enjoys strategy games and Greek mythology.

Jason Portnoy

Joined Vator on


Alastair Goldfisher

Joined Vator on

I've worked as a business reporter and an editor since 1994, with the last 10+ years focused on venture capital, covering everything from startup to exit, including fundraising, data and tech trends, personnel, M&A, IPOs and entrepreneurs.

Jim Scheinman

Joined Vator on

Entrepreneur, Founder, Investor, Bebo ($850M sale), NBCi ($350M), Social Gold ($100M), Friendster, Tango, Check, Banjo. TED Speaker. Founder & CEO of Maven Ventures MicroVC & Growth Labs