By guest authors Irina Patterson and Candice Arnold
Irina: Do you have a preference for capital-efficient companies?
Mark: For the most part. We’re in a couple of companies that haven’t been the most capital-efficient businesses, but they’re still great outcomes. We’re not a big enough fund to play in companies that raise $50 million or $100 million. We try and find companies that can get to a degree of profitability and scale on less than $10 million.
Irina: How long on average you stay invested in a company before it exits?
Mark: It’s hard to say. Anywhere from a year to eight years. One of our portfolio companies just signed a letter of intent to be acquired. It was a 2003 investment for us. It’s going to be a company that sells for well over $100 million. That’s a seven- or eight-year-hold for us.
Irina: What is your biggest success to date?
Mark: I think all the companies we’ve exited from have been, in our eyes, very successful. Some have been bigger financial returns than others. Any time we’re an investor in a company where the entrepreneurs make money and our investors make money, we feel that it was a very big success. It’s a hard business.
Irina: What are your relationships with the startup accelerator TechStars?
Mark: I’m a mentor at the Boulder TechStars program. As soon as the companies arrive [for their three-month acceleration program] in the first week, I start spending a lot of time in Boulder working with a couple of the companies and getting to know all of the companies quite well. We’re spending as much time as we can there and we have invested in a number of TechStars’ companies.
Irina: Thank you, Mark. Fantastic insights.