National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) named our partnership, True Ventures, as the venture capital firm of the year. It is always an honor to be recognized by our peers, but in the end, the award is a reflection of the people who we serve — the founders, their teams and their families. 10,000 of them. It has taken over a decade to get here — one startup at a time. Some of them are big (Automattic), some define the zeitgeist (Blue Bottle, Peloton, and Ring) and others are writing the script of tomorrow today, companies like Veniam and Zymergen.
And they all have one thing in common — they are part of a values-driven creative, entrepreneurial community we want to foster. This focus on values, human connection, and belief in founders is why I signed up with True as a venture partner ten years ago, and in 2014 became a partner. It was the belief that we could do better — not just by giving investment dollars, but by helping enable a more humane ecosystem.
“For the entire True team, the award isn’t about prestige or financial return,” founding partner Jon Callaghan wrote on the True blog. “Rather, it serves as validation of our commitment to the creativity of True Founders, whose ideas and conviction have had a positive effect on the world. “ The values-driven capitalism is what the world needs and that is why it is crucial to empower creative and self-aware founders. And it starts with people — founders and their teams. By bringing in good people, you attract more good people. And that has turned out to be true (no pun intended.)
Matt Mullenweg, one of my closest friends, introduced me to two founders who have become an integral part of the True story. Meebo founder Seth Sternberg introduced Jon to FitBit. Tony Falco introduced Puneet Agarwal to the founders of Evident (which was just acquired by Palo Alto Networks.) And the list goes on!
As we all know — good people don’t come in one color, one gender, and one location — so we go where they are. It is vital for a thriving, sustainable ecosystem to have social, cultural, geographic and intellectual diversity. It is a mission I believe in.
The NVCA award is a pat on the back, not for the best returns, but a sign of encouragement — we can, and we strive to do better for good people. By staying True to them!
March 16, 2018, San Francisco!