E1061 AMA: Hustle Fund Co-Founder & General Partner Elizabeth Yin answers 50 questions from founders!





about this episode

Hustle Fund Co-Founder & General Partner Elizabeth Yin answers questions from founders:

Join the TWiST Slack: https://launchevents.typeform.com/to/kLq5Bi

Check out Hustle Fund: https://www.hustlefund.vc/

0:43 Prashant: Would you have benefited from an AngelList equivalent for venture capital? In other words, if up and coming venture firms can find Potential LPs in every corner of the world, instead of just SF?

1:23 Kate: What do you look for in a stand-out startup, specifically? How can I attract investors interested in what I do that will find it rewarding to invest in me besides providing raw numbers and projections?

2:50 Emin: What FOMO tactics are you using while fundraising?

4:23 Cindy: Are you open to funding sextech? How do you approach the vice clause?

5:30 Kevin: How are other seed/early-stage firms investing right now? Does Hustle Fund’s approach vary greatly from the industry standard?

6:36 Susan: How do you think about investing in blockchain, AI, spatial computing XR & AR?

7:23 Matt: At what stage should a startup calculate CAC? We are early, so my co-founder and I physically visit customers to obtain them. Eventually, we will change to a cost-effective channel. Should we put a $ value on our time and begin calculating CAC or not bother at the moment?

9:25 Saul B: How do you think about investing in the biotech/education space? Would you invest in biotech companies tackling the lack of genetics education in K-12?

10:16 Vinay: We are a startup building the graduate program search engine. We are doing what you had done in beatthegmat.com Are you still investing in this business model?

11:16 Kevin: Favorite business models to invest in these days? Conversely, least favorite business models to invest in these days?

12:36 Simeon: What would be the minimum traction for a prop-tech that you would be looking for, before investing in a startup?

12:59 Ed: What kind of trends do you see in sports tech?

13:59 Andrew: I’m an LP in Hustle Fund. How can I be a better backer? Beyond money, what can investors like me do for funds we back?

15:21 Emin: What kind of startups do you want to see in the next 5 years?

18:27 Arjun: What is too early or too late stage for Hustle Fund? Asking because we’re told our MRR $15k is too early but others say not at all.

19:05 Henry: How has your selection criteria changed for founders as a result of COVID? Are there new verticals you are backing given the circumstances?

20:07 Aaron: During this downturn, we had time to re-evaluate our approach and uncovered an exciting new path forward (with a much larger TAM). It contributes to the flywheel but is very different from our core model. How can we effectively communicate that this is the best (albeit riskier) path forward?

21:56 Gustavo: How did corona change the dynamics of raising funds in-person vs remote meetings? And do you think we’ll fully revert to old practices once things normalize?

23:23 Emin: What is your north star vision for the future of Hustle Fund?

24:51 Jason: What’s the best pitch you ever got that resulted in the quickest yes and a check from you personally? How did that investment go?

26:29 Farshad: What is the nature of raising a seed round with only an MVP app in a highly regulated industry? There’s the catch 22 problem where you need a small round in order to get approval and move forward. How do investors evaluate those investments and how should you approach it as a founder?

28:05 Marten: How do you see your roadmap for approaching globally thinking, European based pre-seed/ seed startups? Many non-diluting public grants are around in the EU/Nordics which are accessible with just a small amount of private funding.

30:19 Jing: Considering different industries move/evolve at different paces: When evaluating deals, how important is this for making your investment decision? (ex: social media moved faster than e-commerce, B2C user growth is faster than B2B2C)

31:33 Timothy: How do you typically work with founders you backed? And given the larger portfolio you run do you try to focus on a certain number at a time?

33:44 Suzanne: Are you noticing any interest from investors related to problems arising out of our aging society?

34:26 Alex: When you look at growth metrics, how much do you attribute to marketing vs product market fit & demand, and how do you determine the difference when it’s early stage? IE: Great Marketing / Go To Market vs Great Solution or perhaps you just need both for it to be worthy?

38:11 Austin: If you invest $20,000 in a startup what do you ask for in return and has that changed due to COVID?

38:20 Nirav: For people using social advertising to acquire customers what should early companies target for click-through rates? What are the best in class startups’ click-through rates? (Calm.com and similar)

39:12 Juan: What’s your recommendation or hack on getting intros to Angel investors?

40:05 Peter: Is there a clearly defined process to pitch you?

40:48 Harry: How would a member of this audience invest in one of your companies? Is there an online demo day? For new Angels, what’s the smallest acceptable check? If you can’t write 25K, should one stick to syndicates?

42:53 Ken: How much support would an investee expect from Hustle Fund in connecting them to other investors for later rounds?

43:25 Jean: Last week you started a conversation on twitter about “fundraising rounds” and if the concept of rounds is outdated. Maybe you can share a bit more of your thoughts on your idea? When I read your tweet I immediately thought about rolling venture funds (introduced by Angellist earlier this year).

45:22 Chuck: Are LPs/high networth doing more direct investments into startups? Will early-stage funds get in on later stage growth rounds?

46:16 Lee: If you are building a few different MVP’s before going all-in on one, do you want to hear from people only once they are at the all-in stage? If prior to “all in” stage, how should we approach you if one or many of the different ideas fall within your thesis?

46:50 Huong: Can you please name some industries that you view as dying/dead?

47:47 Max: Given the high volume of portfolio companies you invest in, how do you and your partners find time to give advice? How do you prioritize which portfolio companies to give your time to?

49:47 Priyanka: What are your thoughts on the DTC space, and is there a change in your thesis due to COVID, or does it remain largely the same?

51:16 Betsy: What, if any, biases do you have in evaluating deals that you would like to rid yourself of, that you think would make you a better investor?

52:18 Emin: What is your AHA moment when you see a founder and want to invest in their startup? What is your favorite or top founder persona?

54:37 Harish: How much value do Letters of Intent have as you evaluate a deal? This is before a pilot gets launched but the prospect is very interested and is waiting for legal and other hurdles clearing up.

55:44 Ian: If early customer adoption is important for your fund, in other words “getting paid”. Do you like or dislike MVP, or are you bothered

56:47 Jean: Can you share your ratio of solo founders vs. founding teams in your portfolio? Is the coaching & mentorship you provide different based on that?

57:46 Vishal: Does hustle fund also help with h1b sponsorship for founders?

58:26 Ashley: What are your top three reasons (observations/triggers) for scheduling a second meeting (assuming a standard VC process)? and the opposite, any immediate red flags that make you want to [politely] end the first meeting before time is up?

1:02:21 Heidi: What type of advice can you share with founders who are looking to raise now, who have traction in their sales/product and overall operations – knowing we’re in the middle of a global pandemic.

1:04:08 Charles: You gave a wonderful example of a bakery pivoting from selling bread to selling bread kits. How can a founder spot when it is time to pivot and what opportunities there are? Should they tentatively test and iterate or is this a time for bold strikes?

1:07:00 Emin: Do you mostly invest in founders with domain expertise or non-domain who changes customer/user experience?

1:07:50 Maciej/Mike: What do you search for in hardware and hard science startups? What are your thoughts on hardware (or software + hardware component) startups? Has the perception changed over time?

1:09:43 Jodi: Many investors invest in companies when they know the founders. What is your advice on how to build those relationships if you don’t live in NYC or SF?

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