Ep. 510 w/ James Green General Partner at CRV
CRV (Charles River Ventures) is an early-stage venture capital firm that has backed over 500 startups in its 50-year history, including Airtable, Doordash, Drift, Dropbox, HubSpot, Postman, Twitter and Zendesk. The firm focuses on enterprise & consumer investing globally.
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Kevin Horek: Welcome back to the show too. We have James Green. He's a general partner at CRV. James. Welcome to the show.
James Green: Good morning. How are you doing.
Kevin Horek: Very well yourself?
James Green: I am doing great lovely day here in the bay area.
Kevin Horek: Very cool, man. Well, I'm excited to have you on the show. You've done a ton of really interesting stuff, but maybe before we get into all that, let's get to know you better and start off with where you grew up.
James Green: Great. Yeah. I grew up south of Ashley web Peaky. Blinders is set Somewhat how I describe it to people which has been really helpful because otherwise everyone thinks England is just London. If you were to ever meet my family, they sound. Maybe that was someone that wasn't doing. They sound exactly like Peaky blinders does. My fiance needs somewhat of a translator with them, but yeah, it's near Birmingham, middle of England and moved out to the states about 10 years ago now, which is why my accidents all sorts of funny.
Kevin Horek: Very cool. You went to university, what did you take and why?
James Green: I did go to university. I did a evolutionary psychology and cognitive neuroscience.
Kevin Horek: Are you passionate about that?
James Green: Of a sad story, but my grandma on a grid I've got CJD, which is mad cow disease. You learn a lot about people and the brains and things, almost sides. So, I was very heavy in neurobiology and then ultimately went into some like human behavior and then a long story short found my way into tech. I studied that, which was a fascinating experience, but I can't say I do a lot of neurobiology these days.
Kevin Horek: What do you mean dealing with tech entrepreneurs? Isn't.
James Green: I can't tell you how many models of brain behavior I've built over the years Now.
Kevin Horek: Fair enough. I'm curious you were you into rowing really early on and I think obviously there it's different, but I think there's a lot of takeaways from that and relying on people that you either can I maybe give advice to teams or you working with other people and just being in sync with each other because I've never actually done it, but from what I understand, you have to be basically doing the exact same thing at the exact time, or it's just a complete disaster, is that correct?
James Green: That is correct. If you're not in time, you usually will end up in the water somehow. There's a couple of things that are pretty interesting about it in that it's both a really big team sport in that you're only as fast as your slower person in that, where they guys or nine cause someone steering and you are only as fast as the team, but it's also kind of a really stupid sport, Okay. This is someone who did it for the best part of 10 years. It is, I'm sure most of your lessons and you put some point I've been on the road machine. It's very hard and you go very slowly backwards. What it is it is an instrument of just work. Candidly, there are the act of actually rowing, I not falling in the water, putting your all in the water and pulling very hard is not actually that difficult.
James Green: Yes, you do need to be in time. Yes, team work really matters. That is a fundamental exercise that you have to intuitively trust that people are going to work with you together, but it's also just a function of work ethic. There's a, whatever the R rating is, but there's a huge correlation between work ethic and going fast. I kind of associate that with a lot of what I do today. Some of the founders I work with, like if you think of a bell curve, distribution of intelligence, 90% of the world sits in the middle of the bell curve. Like people are very intelligent, very eloquent. They can communicate. There are some people who are crazy smart, who are you? I will never get to keep up with. There are some people who's still score below the average on the standardized testing, but what differentiates between a lot of people and going back to the road is like the work ethic and the teamwork.
James Green: Like, can you communicate well, can you trust people to do what they say they're going to do when they say they're going to do it. At the end of the day, can you work harder than the other people in technology market? You can basically start a company easier, faster than basically ever before. You get set up on Stripe, Atlas, you, then you go on AWS, then you get a bunch of open source stuff. You stick your expenses on various stacks and off you go. A lot of it is, how you, how do you differentiate from work ethic? How do you differentiate from the team? There's a lot from growing that I still take today, but the act of actually putting an order in the water was not one of them.
Kevin Horek: Interesting. No, fair enough. Okay. So walk us through your career. Maybe some highlights along the way up until coming to CRV. And then we'll dive into that.
James Green: Yeah. I, my first into technology was that a consumer internet company called Cowell whiny. I want to say, am I remember the early, that might be 2013. And I had no skills like actually, Because I was young and I was modeling brain behavior. It's not exactly like I do have to create a marketing funnel or customer acquisition funnel, or did I know how to score leads or even I could code, but not to the level of doing the day job. And I had very little experience. What I did was I went on the internet and I Googled, and this was back when I was thinking about living in the UK and I for various reasons. I went, I Googled top a hundred startups in England and emailed the CEO of every single one of them. I went down the list. I think I probably said the same thing to everybody because I was young, dumb and stupid.
James Green: I said, look, this is the way I am. I'll basically work for anything and just come and let me work for you. I ended up working in this company called Cala, which at the time was based out of their seed funds VC office back when everyone was actually in offices and was doing all sorts of stuff from Diggy about lead scoring, talking to customers, all these things. Does that mean my first foray into technology.
Kevin Horek: Came from one of those emails, sorry to cut you.
James Green: Off emails. I probably spoke for who said I actually had, I know I emailed all of them. So, and I, at some point I probably find the Google sheet will the email name, where I was in the funnel kind of process emailed all of them. I probably got a quarter responses and half of them were like, who is this kid? Please leave me alone. In some responded and I worked for pennies, they guy, one of my best friends at the time was living in London and I sat on my sofa. That was my first foray into tech. Just because James hind used to CEO of Cowell said, sure, that sounds great. Come work with us.
Kevin Horek: That's amazing though. Okay. So keep going on your journey.
James Green: Yeah. So it did that. At the end of my stint there, I said, I still don't really know anything, so maybe I should speak to 10,000 software companies and just figure out what's good, what's bad. Just speak to as many as humanly possible. That had to be a better way. Emailed them my personal email saying, please speak to me. I figured investing would be a good way to do it. I did basically the same thing and emailed a bunch of VCs and budget investment firms and said, look, I don't really know what I'm doing, but we'd love to learn. I also, at the time had negative dollars to my name was student debt and, come from the middle of nowhere, England where didn't have a lot of money and wanting to just know to make some money for me and my family. Went into wanting to invest in for lots of reasons.
James Green: It's one of the best things I've ever done, but went in and got by first ever job found good insight where I spent the better part of five years. And that's where I started my career.
Kevin Horek: Interesting. Okay. So what made you come to CRV? And then let's dive into that.
James Green: Yeah, that's been a long time and insight and had heard of CRV. It's a story from, it's been around 52 years, multiple firms, multiple categories, category training companies and foundational businesses, I think global scale. And also we've gone through multiple transitions. It's one of the very few firms that is equal. You think about equal partners, equal decision-making and USV benchmark and ask them, there were a couple of others, but those are the kind of the big ones. And so that was fascinating. I've known the team for a little while and I really wanted a change to go earlier to go closer to the Genesis of companies to spend time in a different culture. And so that really catalyzed it. And, but I was new. I was very happy with what I was doing, but it's like, but the pitch or the pull from the partners here was so compelling that I joined just over a year ago, I guess now.
James Green: It's been a pretty amazing ride even with the seesawing and ups and downs, the public markets, private markets, the rise and fall and rise again of crypto it's, it's been very interesting time to be in the world of venture.
Kevin Horek: Okay. Interesting. Let's dive into what types of stuff do you invest in at CRV and then maybe let's dive into some of the companies.
James Green: Yeah, it was there. I think maybe there's three lines for that. There's what we do as a firm. That's what I do personally. Kind of some of the stuff I've done, I think as a firm, one of our favorite questions is can this be a foundational company? That is a qualitative and quantitative question and quantitative, it's somewhat simple. It's going to have enough revenue to support a public company. Cause it was like, what does the world need to look like for this to be a public company going back to the early days of door dash? Well, what had to happen for that to be a public company, to do billions in revenue? I don't think anyone would have said a global pandemic because I wasn't quite on everyone's radar back then. Obviously that was a huge catalyst for all the online food delivery companies and many others, but we really invest at the earliest stages.
James Green: We'll invest pre-launch, even some cases, pre idea for founders, we've known for a long time and all the way to kind of series B's, which are hyper-growth companies still trying to figure some of that things out. What we think is on a massive value creation path to be 10 20, $30 billion plus company. We pretty much do every category, at least in software and internet, the advantages. I guess disadvantages in some cases of being around 52 years is what it means is you basically started investing in semiconductors, you were in semiconductors, then you were kind of in box software. Eventually this thing called the cloud happened and now we have a crypto and then we have the whole world and the proliferation technology. Ultimately the difference is just the technology stack. We know we're still looking for businesses that have huge accretion of value, very foundational add massive value to wherever the end customer is business or consumer.
James Green: Like, and that's kind of where we come in. I spend personally most of my time on financial technology and then infrastructure and developer tools. I do that because of basically two reasons on the financial technology side, you go and look around the world and look at legacy financial institutions and you don't really need to have be a finance major or investment banker to see this like they're very profitable businesses and typically businesses that are giant and very profitable, not good businesses for the consumers or for the businesses they serve because they have huge product profit margins. They're massive businesses locked in product lines and ultimately get fat, lazy, slow. If you look at the world and for your us listeners that JP Morgan's a Wells Fargo is all these people are classic examples, but in lat time you have businesses similarly in Brazil and Mexico, and the same as Europe and you pick a country.
James Green: The VC's 10 years ago used to look at Oracle's product lines and say, okay, how do we replace articles, but our lines, because it's the same thing. We would really no difference now, but just I'm picking up a bigger, slower, moving, more profitable company. We're spending a lot of time in financial technology, broadly made number of investments, probably maybe the most public facing in the U S the business with mercury and my partner saw led. In LATAM where we're spending a lot of time for all the reasons we just mentioned, we led the series B of G, which recently, or announced a series C. That is just calling on the same thesis. The legacy financial institutions are insufficiently serving customers. It has to be a better way. We're going to layer on Larry on software. So that's kind of us. I guess where I'm spending my time, there are so many different founders I could talk about, but yeah, the obvious one is to, as I mentioned, just given the recent fundraising announcement and the leap has been a phenomenal partner to work with, and that's the use of vernacular and the use of language.
James Green: You certainly think about a lot at CRV. Have you meet deliberate with your words? And, we don't invest in people. We work with people, we're trying to build foundational companies and know that's extremely important to us. The number of companies, people that Jeeves has had an impact on since we made the investments is counting the thousands and maybe even tens of thousands. That's why the business is growing so quickly. It seems one of the fastest growing businesses we've seen. Why is having such a big impact on you? Why it garnered more investor intention, further series C, but it's been an amazing story to be part of. It's one that I think, yeah, I've been guilty of it, but I'm going to do it anyway because I, even though the dislike, it really does feel like very early days for this business. It's already in tens of countries with multiple products, hundreds of employees, a real fast growing scaling revenue.
James Green: There's a lot to go do, but I really think this could be one of those foundational companies.
Kevin Horek: Nope. Very cool. For people that have never heard of them, what did they do just for some context.
James Green: Yeah. And that is totally on me. The, if you think about, as a business, if you have your work in a business or you have a expense card, and so you go, you buy a cup of coffee, you buy lunch with a client, whatever you do. This business provides the credit and the credit card to go do that, but does it in a cross border fashion? I, we at CRV have employees in 10 countries. We have 10 different currencies, 10 different expense systems. It brides the all in one single system. As the world went remote in the last couple of years and it continues to be distributed today, this problem is kind of accelerating in an exponential fashion. The classic example is companies in Mexico city, where the company is founded, have to do a personal liability line to get a credit card for a business.
James Green: You can raise 10 twenties, millions of venture funding and a traditional bank. Won't give you a credit card for your business.
Kevin Horek: Wow. Fascinating,
James Green: Crazy, absolutely insane.
Kevin Horek: Well, they give them free to people that don't have jobs in north America or other parts of north America.
James Green: Oh, it's absolutely. Not only did they do so difficult to get one. Yeah. I would encourage your listeners to Google the average interest rates of Latin American credit cards. You know, wow. It is a, for lack of a better term predatory. This company is solving so many issues, the better technology on the backend, so easier to run your company, ease and access to capital allows you to hire people in different countries, a lot easier. It's it really is on lots of different kind of big macro waves and the team is executing against it.
Kevin Horek: No, that's very cool. Do you want to maybe cover one or two more other investments that you've done recently?
James Green: Yeah, sure. We also made a investment in a business called release, which is more on the developer tool side. The other side of the house, where I spend my time. This is founded by a team who used to be the senior executives of a business called which ironically is going very full circle is what the business Cowell was based on. It was my first ever job. Going full circle, the, and what it does is it really empowers developers. We think about empowering people and companies, and, this is focused on developers and allows them to spin up development environments very easily in almost any scenario at any time, instantly, which before would have taken hours of work, lots of dependencies, lots of people. I can basically allow anyone to spin up a development environment. Yeah. Someone like me, who I would describe as past technical in that I have an actively go to in a decade, he can spin up an environment today.
Kevin Horek: We had our own language, sorry to cut you off.
James Green: It can be, it's very, it's many different languages and lots of different types of clouds as well. It's really very extensive and it allows you to spin those up and in lots of different ways. This is a classic example of empowering people and amazing team who are really trying to build a business that makes a huge difference in business lives. That was that we invested in last year where we led the series a and it, again, there's another one where continue to execute everything. They said they would work harder than basically anyone. I know they, lessons when I go on the website that are very family oriented people and their remote culture now can actually spend time with all the kids which they have on that picture, on that website. It's a lovely little thing that they've got. They're.
Kevin Horek: Very cool. And one more.
James Green: Sure. We invested a business called recapped, which well, this business does is allows salespeople to collaborate actively with their customers. If you're selling a piece of software today, maybe you're selling release and you're selling it to the development team, except they need to get sign off from the CFO. These get started from legal, maybe they have compliance, or maybe they have a couple of other stakeholders in the past that would be done through email, Hey, James and compliance. I need you to sign off on this. It's just an email that gets lost in fever. This is a revenue collaboration platform that allows people to collaborate in lots of fashions and really close deals faster. Basically it, what it allows is hand perfect handoff between the sales teams who are selling the software to whoever is then to the customer success team and all the other respective stakeholders in a sales process, we to go on and go the gambit of having led B's A's and now seeds that we led the seed relatively early when I got to CRV.
James Green: It was probably almost a year ago. Eh, they have customers like Pendo and comply advantage, and other large enterprises using the platform to kind of empower and service in this case sales teams. In that, in this case, this is based in New York and we're pretty agnostic with what I found as a base here. I would say still the majority of our investments are in the broader they area, but we're focusing on personally focusing a lot on LATAM and we've made investments remotely, New York, Oslo, you pick a pick a place. We, we probably made it, made an investment.
Kevin Horek: Very cool. This is, I know this is probably like a really general question related to kind of who you're dealing with and company and how their history is . You mentioned earlier that you guys will invest, obviously if you've known the, for founder for awhile and they're working maybe on a new idea or when nothing's been built or obviously later stages when something's built, but where, or what advice would you give entrepreneurs? Because I know like, forget bootstrapping, but they know they need to raise money for whatever reason. Do you think it's better to have kind of an MVP or a prototype or nothing, or have some revenue, or what do you, what advice do you give to people that when they should potentially raise money because as a founder and some of this done it before, it's very challenging to know when to actually do that.
Kevin Horek: I'm always curious to get investors advice and thoughts on that.
James Green: Yeah. This is a great question. I've invested in businesses that have bootstrapped to tens of millions of revenue. I've invested in businesses that, like I said, at PowerPoint stage, I would say the point of which people should raise money is when they think it can be really big. There's not, and it's not a bad thing to start a company that is not going to be listed on the NASDAQ. And it's not a bad thing. If you think it can be less than the NASDAQ and you eventually don't get there like that happens. If you fundamentally believe that you want to try and you think it can be a foundational company, that's what people should try and raise money. I see people at the seed stage raising large seed rounds on kind of an intuition that they want to be a big company, but they're really just raising money and don't quite have the longterm legs or vision or thoughts about what they're trying to do and end up working for multiple years, the business sells and they don't make really anybody or kind of have a life-changing exit.
James Green: Whereas if you bootstrap to, a business that you ultimately decided, okay, we're not going to be a foundational company. We sell for $5 million. That's a life changing amount of money for you and your co-founders and the employees. The question I always ask people is like, why are you doing this? Like, w w what's the motivation? What do you want to be? What do you think this can be? If the answer is, I really think there's going to be a public company and you have to say it with conviction and believe it. If you really do believe that it can be a public company for X, Y, and Z reason, like that's when you should raise money, because that's why you can get off the ground. That's when you get the help, that's when you get everything that comes with venture capital, but you should believe that at least in yourself,
Kevin Horek: No, I actually think that's really good advice and an interesting way of putting it, because you're right. Like if you bootstrap a company, you sell for $5 million, like, yeah, that's awesome. If you raise $10 million in sell for five, like it sucks. Yeah.
James Green: And it's terrible. And I see the law. Yeah. It's kind of depends on when this gets ahead, but there's a lot of recent stuff in the news or anything, a lot of money and not working out. It's really tough, but it's mostly tough for the employees because they may be fans of taken secondary or whatever it is. It's really sad for all the people involved when that happens and match. Capital's not right for everybody. It's right. For some people. I really think, we think about this every day is like this be a foundational company. How can we help you? What do we do? How can we be involved where we can, when we push, where can we get out of the way? If you start your own company and don't raise money and sell it for five, $10 million, like you're really set. I always ask people like, is this the right thing for you and your company?
James Green: So,
Kevin Horek: Okay. No, I think that makes total sense. So, but, okay. If I, if hypothetically, if I'm pitching you and you asked me that question, how do you, or what do you look for in my answer that can convince you that, yes, I actually want to take my company public and that I actually am in it for the long haul, because I find sometimes so many people think that they're going to start a company they're going to sell for tens of millions, if not more. They're going to be rich in, a couple of years and you, and I both know that's never the case, but how do you kind of weed that out? Or is there any advice you give to people to actually prove that they've either done this before or are willing to grind it out for 3, 5, 10 plus years? Sometimes.
James Green: Yeah. The, the fundamental understanding of what taking venture capital means is the, this of it, right? Like, it's okay, this is a journey. This is what a cap table is. This is what a preference stack is. Like, do you understand what this means for you and your employees? If they have that understanding, that's a good first step.
Kevin Horek: Okay.
James Green: Secondly, because there's a lot of education out there in the world today. We should have access to that level of knowledge. The second is what do you think the world will look like if this is a public company? I don't expect people to go back to the financing, I don't expect people to go deep on what does the revenue model look like and how will the flow of proceeds and all those things. That's, it's not that important. It's like, well, what is important is like, why does this need to exist? And why will it be really big? What does the world look like? This is a public company and you can envision it, you get excited by it. You have conviction in what you're saying. That is what drives me to believe that, yes. Okay. You think this can be a public company. It's the intellectual rigor of knowing, okay, this is what I'm signing up for.
James Green: This is how venture capital works. It's also the true belief that I'm taking this money, because I want to change the world. I want to create a foundational company and it will look like this. If it looks like this, then ultimately we'll have a successful business.
Kevin Horek: All right. Interesting. No, I, I agree. I think that makes a lot of sense. I'm curious to get your thoughts on no code because you, or low code, because you invest in developer tools. Do you think the future bit of a hybrid model between what we have kind of now and that, or what's your thoughts on that?
James Green: Yeah, it's a pretty interesting question because a low-code and no-code buzzwords been around for a long time. You can kind of, if you go even into the public market, that's Pegasystems and big companies that have been quote unquote, no code, low code for decades, and then you have the next generation of businesses, like, eh, table, where we're privileged to be part of it with Howie and continues to ride the wave and accelerate on every year. To answer your question directly, there is going to be a universe with both of them, and that's not a, a hedge. It's actually what I believe is the increasing of the total addressable market. If you look at the number of developers in the world, it's growing, but it's not growing as fast as the number of software companies. So, which is why supply and demand happens, which is why the average salary of developers is continue to accelerate every year for the past decade.
James Green: If that continues to happen, the really ceiling of which the capital markets will allow developers to get paid and people to get paid for X, Y, and Z unit of work. If that's true, we only outcome can be a software platform that allows non-technical people to produce some level of technical output, which has to be no code, low code, but otherwise you just continue to have this increasing salary from developers. Actually what I had to think of will happen in both. I think the production of software will continue to accelerate way faster than the number of people. Low-code no-code will accelerate in ways, which I think we can't even conceive to think about, but also developers will continue to be one of the most popular jobs and popular career routes for many young people in school today.
Kevin Horek: No, I think that's actually really insightful and I a hundred percent agree with you, it's it. I just being in tech for a couple decades now, myself, it's funny how the trends have come and gone a few times. And what they're called is just different. Like you said, no code, low code has been around for decades, but they've had different names throughout the deck different decades. Right. And I agree with you. I think they'll be both. Right. It's interesting to get your perspective on that, but I'm curious because you guys have been investing globally for very long time now, and you still are. How has the pandemic change the state of venture capital? What are your thoughts like it's from an outside perspective, it seems to me there's a ton of money floating around and investments happening kind of all over the place. That a true statement or what are your thoughts on the state of venture capital these days?
James Green: All of that is true. So there's more dry powder. The history of venture capital driven by low interest rates and needing to find yield from large LPs. Money has flooded venture capital and the pandemic for some reason or another, because there's always been interesting companies all over the world. A lot of our peers have said, oh, there are companies outside of the bay area, which, we've been missing out on the bay area for decades, but the, and so the money is going everywhere. The pandemic has allowed people to do that from the comfort of the home. We, and you see that in the output of the dollars. We see last year was the largest year in funding in LATAM, in the history of time. That has also been true in the U S it was also true in Europe. The people who are always like this city is better than that city or San Francisco is the most important place in the world or whatever it is.
James Green: It's very much a zero sum game that we're in a global technology. Well, the internet is global, pretty much wherever you are in the world, you can have access to it. And there are great entrepreneurs everywhere. The pandemic has accelerated it, which is clear to happen. Having said that you're also seeing the rise of traditional Silicon valley firms, open offices in different places. You have people opening offices in London, people are in offices, New York, there's this talk of Miami, there's talk of lots of different cities. While the pandemic accelerate the flow of capital to different regions, what it really did, I think was made people look around and ultimately decide, yes, you still need people on the ground. Yes, you still need human connection, but it's not a zero sum game. While San Francisco will, and is the center of the world of technology is accelerating way faster than anyone could ever think.
James Green: Again, going back to our previous conversation, that it's not a shock, that dollars are going all over the world when the growth of the market is way accelerating the growth of dollars.
Kevin Horek: Yeah. Interesting. Now,
James Green: Sorry to interrupt that about the cloud vendors. You put together the AWS GCP and Azure is annual bookings growth. In the billions of dollars, it doesn't the dry powder in the U S let's take the U S just for easy math. Doesn't really equate to the top cloud vendors, booking growth. You have AWS GCP, Azure, and you maybe first snowflake in there that had in billions of dollars a year, and you may have a hundred billion dollars of dry powder if you include a lot of the private equity firms. It's actually still, diminimous the issue is we, you still need to invest in foundational companies and that's why prices are going up. I actually believe that the growth of the software market outstrips the growth of the private market dollars, and the reason people have gone elsewhere is because they want to put those dollars work in a more unified fashion that hopefully a lower, more rational price, although that's not really happening.
Kevin Horek: Interesting. Okay. Okay. No, I w okay. Why do you say that just out of, and why is that your opinion? Just out of curiosity then?
James Green: Well, it's not abundantly obvious to unbeliever in the role of technology in the world. I, there are still billions and billions of dollars of compute locked in on premise that we're very early in the cloud days, and that's accelerating. It's not decelerate in any way. It does not, it's not to talk about the role of work three in the world. So, because of that, there's more dollars chasing and bigger opportunity. While prices have gone up while dollars become more diverse and dispersed, I think we're still in the early days, we really do.
Kevin Horek: No, I a hundred percent agree with you. I think we're just at the start of kind of the tech rush. That's going to hit every industry and accelerate like crazy in the industries it's already in. Right?
James Green: Yeah. I mean, it just, you go to any major city in last am, I'll go to any major city in Europe and then go to a business and say, what technology are you using? A lot of people are still on all windows operating systems, or a lot of people are still using on-premise technology. There are data centers all over the world in people's offices still. I'm sure we've all been in a bar and seen someone using article's micros instead of toast. Like we are really early.
Kevin Horek: No, I a hundred percent agree. I'm curious, what advice or what is CRV and or yourself looking for when companies want to pitch you guys to actually get some investment?
James Green: No, go unfolds local to the wrong thing. I, I look for voracious hunger. Like I really do like a big will to win someone who goes to sleep, thinking about this, wakes up thinking about this, cause stops the heart, and it's not linear. We know it's not linear, but we have a portfolio approach where, we make multiple investments in a fund. The founders have typically one company that they're running at any one time, sometimes more than one, but mostly one. We, and I looked for this deep hunger and well to win. On top of that, why do you have a unique point of view? Like what was your unique insight in why this, your approach or this company or whatever it is going to be foundational. Lastly, it's like, how does your team work together? Yes, we care what you've done before. And, but really it's how are you working together here?
James Green: How do you communicate? How are you delineating roles? What are you thinking about milestones? Who's in charge of milestones, the true accountability of that in the operations. Those are the kinds of things we look for. And, there's a, w w I have to keep people good asking me how to cover it. That spoke to my life. It's probably more than 10,000 and have made around 20 investments for ease of math. It's, it's a fraction of a fraction. The number of times we make investments and there's sometimes that's involved with the whole, the market, but you call it's very, very small number. And, and so is that really like that magic sauce. When it happens, it is like one of the best parts about this job that you fall in love with the vision you fall in love with people's hunger, or you just have to figure out a way to work with these people.
James Green: That's something that gets me really excited and something that everyone at Civ gets excited about, because we think that hunger, that willingness to work together, that unique insight is the early sparks of what could be a foundational company.
Kevin Horek: I think that's really good advice. What's your thoughts on people getting to know, say yourself or other investors at CRV? Should we build a relationship with you first, before we pitch you, or you find that the cold pitches or the warm introductions, what do you would recommend?
James Green: Hopefully it's obvious from my background that I'm very comfortable with cold pitches,
Kevin Horek: I figured.
James Green: Would be a little bit hypocritical world. Also some wants to do a warm intro. I'm happy to do that too, but definitely uncomfortable with cold pitches. I think this is an interesting question because there was a period over the course of the last 18, 24 months, which rounds will happening very quickly. This is not a nuanced point of view, but I'm going to say it anyway. It caused some shotgun marriages and some people are happy about it. Some people are not. A, an investment is actually much harder to get out of than a wedding. Most people can get the bolts in the U S then they can get out of assigned dogs for an investment round. You would, I don't know all the founders in the world, but you would probably not get married on two meetings over 48 hours.
Kevin Horek: Fair enough.
James Green: While, I guess it's easier to reference a VC than it is easy to reference a potential partner. It's irrational to me when Browns get done in 48 hours, you, if you believe you're going to be running a foundational company, and if you believe that's going to take time, why are you rushing into a process when it could take a very long time to build a business and you should get to know these people, you should, somebody would want to be in person. I understand the hesitancy around COVID, but you should just spend time with people figuring out what they like, what they don't like, what motivates them, why they're doing this on both sides. Cause it really is a partnership. There are different stages investments, and then there are, but at the earliest stages, it really is a partnership. We partner with our founders. We don't invest in them.
James Green: We work with, and that really matters. So, yeah, I, I mean the GS example is a great example. I knew that the team probably nine months before we made the investment and we'd spend multiple times together, I'd flown all over the world to spend time with them. That was really super important to us and to them and in a universe where there's a lot of capital and you need to differentiate yourself in ways you should know who you're working with. I tell this to any company who I'm trying to have the privilege of working with any one of the founders I've backed on my LinkedIn call message, any of them. And I'm happy to introduce you. I'm happy for you to call them whatever it is, because you should know who you're working with because it's very hard to get out of it.
Kevin Horek: No, I think that's actually really good advice. I'm curious then how did you meet them? What advice do you give to people that want to start that relationship with you or other partners? Because especially if they're coming from a cold email, like, what are you expecting in that first kind of intro?
James Green: So I met the GST. I sent them a Cody to the hello app, try jeeves.com email. Oh,
Kevin Horek: Wow. So you did it.
James Green: I did it. Yeah. You can see the, if you go on people go on and CLV website, look at the blog posts. I wrote about the series B. I emailed the hell out of dot com like a week after I started at CRV. And, and that was for theory day that was happening. I was late too. Cause it just started at a CRV and then we'd let the B with me, email me, James crv.com. Most VC firms are first name at firm's name.com and so happy to receive cold emails. It should be as simple as this is who I am. This is what I'm doing. Has any traction. I have his, any numbers or whatever the KPIs are. What's your, what are you raising? Here's a deck and off you go, that's what I would recommend. I read every email I got sent to me.
James Green: Sometimes I'm a little slow in responding, but I will read every email that people send me. That I think is true of most of my peers.
Kevin Horek: No, I think that's actually really good advice, but sadly we're out of time. How about we close the show with mentioning where people can get more information about yourself, CRV and the companies you invested in and any other links you want to mention?
James Green: Yeah. Everyone can get the information on our website, which is a cov.com where we have all of our lovely team members and a lot of the founders we've had from us tobacco. You can see some of that backstory. We think that we've done a nice job of telling people on who we are and why we do this. That's the best place to get information on us and all the founders we work with.
Kevin Horek: Very cool. Well, James, I really appreciate you taking the time of your day to be on the show and I look forward to keeping in touch with you and have a good rest of your day.
James Green: Yeah. Thank you. You too.
Kevin Horek: Thank you. Okay. Bye.
James Green: Bye.
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