We are optimists and believe that venture funded businesses play a critical role in securing a better future for all of us
As seed stage investors, we understand it is a combination of big ideas and deep customer insights, wide and deep markets, great technology (using that term broadly), and a strong team that set the foundation for future success. And even then, we know that only a very few companies will grow into category makers and leaders.
Having made investments in more than 130 early stage companies, we can say with confidence that many if not most benefit from a light touch from their investors. What they do need is broadly predictable, but idiosyncratic to the firm.
Our process for supporting our founders mixes both process and targeted domain expertise. Our approach to adding value to our portfolio companies reflects the fact that a large percentage will move on to a subsequent funding round (in our case, almost always a “A” round) within about two years of our initial investment. It is usually at this point that lead investors become much more involved.
Our program of support begins with how we onboard new investments to our portfolio and our Ulu family. We conduct an in depth meeting with the CEO to do the following:
- Coordinate marketing efforts
- Surface near-term business risks and support needs
- Identify key performance indicators and metrics
- Start the conversation about the next funding round
- Set the cadence for regular check-ins
In some cases, we take board seats, but usually we do not. So, an organized process built around the idea of constructive dialog is the baseline for how we support our founders.
To that cadence of communication we periodically schedule virtual and physical gatherings on specific topics, including fundraising, sales and marketing, human resources, and diversity and inclusion.
The Ulu Ventures team brings together a broad range of skills and domain expertise in areas that are important to the success of seed stage companies.
- Capital formation
- Business strategy and business model development
- Pricing, contracting, and revenue acceleration
- Marketing: branding, funnel management
- Sales, account management, and customer relationship management
- Financial modeling and Financial management
And, through our network of contacts, we can marshall resources on almost any question our founders need answering including human resources and technical issues.