Presenting Founder Collective


As readers of this blog know, I’m a huge fan of the startup and venture capital world but also a sometimes critic of how the venture capital industry works. For a long time I’ve wanted to do more than talk about this and actually start a new kind of venture firm, designed the right way from the ground up.

Last year two friends of mine who are both very successful, serial entrepreneurs — Eric Paley and Dave Frankel — were brainstorming ideas for what to do next when the thought occurred: why not make their next startup a new kind of venture firm, the kind we had wished existed back when we started our first companies?

So this is what we, along with a bunch of other serial entrepreneurs, decided to do. We call our new firm Founder Collective. Joining us are Mark Gerson (founder of Gerson Lehrman Group), Zach Klein (co-founder of Vimeo/Connected Ventures), Bill Trenchard (co-founder of LiveOps), and Micah Rosenbloom (co-founder of Brontes). We expect to add more founders over time.

We think of ourselves as part of a new wave venture firms led by Y Combinator, First Round, Maples, Ron Conway/Baseline, and Betaworks, among others, that have adapted to a world where venture capital is abundant but authentic seed capital and, more importantly, mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs, is scarce. We have many similarities to these firms and also some differences:

  1. We have a small fund – approximately $40M – and intend to keep it that way. This means seed investments are our entire business — they are not options on future financings. Hence our interests and the founders’ interests are aligned. This also means we are happy with smaller exits if that’s what the entrepreneur wants to do.
  2. Each person involved in Founder Collective is an entrepreneur, most of them currently running startups full time (my full-time job is CEO/co-founder of Hunch).
  3. We believe the best people to predict the future — and create it — are fellow entrepreneurs, not former bankers drawing graphs and developing abstract theses.
  4. We try to be respectful. We’ve all sat in countless meetings where VCs show up late, email while you are presenting, and generally act arrogant and dismissive. We try really hard not to be like that.
  5. We’ll make investments anywhere in the world but tend to favor our home turf – New York City and Cambridge, MA. New York is a hotbed for online media and advertising startups. In Cambridge, there is a constant flow of ideas coming out of places like MIT that just need a little capital and guidance.

We realize the word “Collective” sounds a bit radical, even socialist. This is deliberate. While we have an actual fund — we are not just a group of angel investors — we also have a unique structure where active entrepreneurs lead investments, work hard to help their investments succeed, and share in the profits when they do.

Think of it as peer-to-peer venture capital.

Next post: Pitch yourself, not your idea
Previous post: How to select your angel investors

Views expressed in “content” (including posts, podcasts, videos) linked on this website or posted in social media and other platforms (collectively, “content distribution outlets”) are my own and are not the views of AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) or its respective affiliates. AH Capital Management is an investment adviser registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Registration as an investment adviser does not imply any special skill or training. The posts are not directed to any investors or potential investors, and do not constitute an offer to sell -- or a solicitation of an offer to buy -- any securities, and may not be used or relied upon in evaluating the merits of any investment.

The content should not be construed as or relied upon in any manner as investment, legal, tax, or other advice. You should consult your own advisers as to legal, business, tax, and other related matters concerning any investment. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Any charts provided here are for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, I have not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. The content speaks only as of the date indicated.

Under no circumstances should any posts or other information provided on this website -- or on associated content distribution outlets -- be construed as an offer soliciting the purchase or sale of any security or interest in any pooled investment vehicle sponsored, discussed, or mentioned by a16z personnel. Nor should it be construed as an offer to provide investment advisory services; an offer to invest in an a16z-managed pooled investment vehicle will be made separately and only by means of the confidential offering documents of the specific pooled investment vehicles -- which should be read in their entirety, and only to those who, among other requirements, meet certain qualifications under federal securities laws. Such investors, defined as accredited investors and qualified purchasers, are generally deemed capable of evaluating the merits and risks of prospective investments and financial matters. There can be no assurances that a16z’s investment objectives will be achieved or investment strategies will be successful. Any investment in a vehicle managed by a16z involves a high degree of risk including the risk that the entire amount invested is lost. Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by a16z is available at Excluded from this list are investments for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly as well as unannounced investments in publicly traded digital assets. Past results of Andreessen Horowitz’s investments, pooled investment vehicles, or investment strategies are not necessarily indicative of future results. Please see for additional important information.