After several months of keeping it a secret, I'm proud to share that I have been accepted into Class 26 of the Kauffman Fellows. Today, I got to meet my fellow cohort members who come from varied walks of life, living in different countries, and each bringing a unique approach to the craft of VC. While the uniqueness of each individual is awesome, one clear commonality is that the Zoom Room was filled with highly ambitious, super hardworking, committed individuals. By the end as we were becoming acclimated to one another, the latent energy seemed tangible - like lighting in a jar.

Why I Decided to Join

Like a good entrepreneur, I did my fair share of customer discovery by talking to current and former fellows. Thank you to Ty Findley, Jenny Fielding, Lisa Coca, Will Prendergast, Andrew Goldner, Chung Xu, and Chris Smith for the advice. The perspectives were varied but all additive as I brought together the mosaic to make a decision. I'd be remiss to not thank my Partnership for the support - Jon Bradford, Barry Large, and Ted Alling who saw it important for firm growth as well as my personal growth. Additionally, thanks to my wife and son for being understanding (especially with Module 2 being 3 weeks after the birth of our daughter).

Ultimately my reasoning came down to:

  1. Reinforcing and extending my existing network
  2. Aided in building Dynamo into a best-of-breed seed investor
  3. Allowing me to become the best partner to the founders we invest in
  4. Staying focused on the founder from who everything emanates in this ecosystem
  5. Venture can be lonely and it's great to have close confidants in the journey

My Mentor

A major part of the Kauffman journey is that of the Fellow and their selected Mentor. It's a good time to note that I tend to be stubborn but am especially stubborn about the fact that we as VCs exist to serve the Founders. One of my VC mentors (who want's to be unnamed) encouraged me to double down on this and seek a Founder to serve as my mentor. "The best founders will take the opportunity to mold the next generation of VC - find him or her." It felt obvious after that conversation and ultimately I asked Maex Ament who is a repeat, venture-backed founder to serve as my mentor. Thank you Maex!

I'm excited for the journey ahead. Lot's of learning and growing to be best partner to the founders we invest in.

Published: 06/21/2021