My guest this week is Brian Singerman, a partner at the venture capital firm Founders Fund. Founder’s Fund is widely considered one of the top VC firms and its partners are known to have diverse investment strategies.
Brian invests across industries and focuses on backing exceptional founders. You’ll hear right off the bat that he cares about moat, market, and strong execution. I love his point that the only way to become a good investor is to do a lot of investing. He describes himself an investor who uses his gut a lot, which took me a while to get used to in our conversation. But I have to say that at the end of this episode I felt refreshed and generally excited to keep putting in reps in my own way, both in the podcast and the quant research settings. I hope you enjoy.
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1:28 – (First Question) – What Brian looks for when evaluating companies
2:38 – What a moat looks like in investing
3:11 – Most memorable initial moat
4:17 – How he evaluates a potential market
5:28 – Attributes they look for in founders
6:24 – Most significant technological changes and how they have impacted his investment strategy
8:57 – The sourcing of his deals
13:00 – Qualities he likes at various stages of deal sourcing
13:46 – How he evaluates the teams he may fund
15:17 – His take on the pricing landscape for deals
16:13 – How he allocates his time as a board member
17:16 – Thoughts on long term stock exchange
18:26 – How much research does he do on an industry in order to stay on top of his investments
20:10 – Outside information he follows
21:20 – Other investors he’s learned a lot from
23:12 – What values does Peter Thiel instill in the partners
24:05 – Process of StemCentrics
26:03 – Other places holding his interest today
26:57 – His interest in e-sports
31:44 – Interactions with LP’s
32:51 – What they look for in recruiting new partners
34:32 – How geography impacts the opportunity for new ideas
36:24 – Opportunities in public companies and other investment types
37:57 – Aspects of overseeing a startup venture
39:26 – Kindest thing anyone has done for him