As Early Stage VC Investors, Our GP’s Deep Founder Experience + Global Network Provide the Critical Difference

Issue 21 - 2020 and Virtual CES, Looking Back, Looking Forward

The content and distribution of Azafran’s INSIGHTS newsletter is focused to our LP, incubator, research, investment and partner ecosystem. As we look to build a two-way dialogue benefitting our collective efforts, each month we highlight important news and our approach to the emerging intersection of deep technology, end to end solutions and platforms driven by voice, acoustics/sensory and imagery.

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As Early Stage VC Investors, Our GP’s Deep Founder Experience + Global Network Provide the Critical Difference

If you want to start or become great at fly fishing, all the reading, videos and study
will not net that first rainbow trout. You must go through hours of trudging through
mud and creek, untangling fishing line from the bushes, mending cuts from the hook, making cast after cast, there is no substitute.

When investing in early stage companies, a deep perspective of the founder and startups is gained by investors who travelled a similar journey, spending years in the trenches understanding the market problem, assembling the team, productizing the solution to the problem, getting funding, going to market and identifying the exit trajectory. Some say it takes a degree of insanity to go through the startup process and it’s certainly not for everyone as it takes melding your passion with an incredible amount of faith, stamina, fortitude and vision.

For Azafran, our LPs and portfolio companies, it starts with our intrinsic DNA as founders and operators - our General Partners have started and operated dozens of companies with 13 exits, participated in 120 M&As, creating $9B of enterprise value between them. Just as important for our formula is operationalizing our Global Network which we have been building for decades alongside all our ventures. Azafran’s Global Network, now reaches all corners of the globe with tens of thousands of experts, CEOs and founders at our reach.

When researching and compiling background data for this issue, our team was surprised to find that only 40% of GPs at top tier VC firms have direct experience as startup founders and less than 20% of the GPs have experience as founders among the rest of firms surveyed. 100% of Azafran’s GPs are founders and 50% of the entire Azafran team are founders.

This dynamic is particularly important in Early Stage investment, as founders and younger companies need hands-on assistance in a number of areas including building out the team, productizing, market development, connecting with partners and supply chain.

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