Sramana Mitra: Now which kind of sectors do you have these special relationships? You said you don’t have it with Verizon.
Andrew Romans: I don’t think it’s responsible for me to disclose LPs in an open setting.
Sramana Mitra: You can talk about sectors right?
Andrew Romans: On our website ehen you click on Team, you can see who our venture partners are. Every single one of them is a personal investor in the fund. Things range from consumer electronics including smartphones and laptops, oil & gas companies. In our LP base, there’s internet fixed and mobile advertising companies. There are VCs who are investors. It’s a broad set of industries.
Also over the last year and a half since my book was published, I’ve been having half-day seminars and two to three-hour evening events all over the world where I invite very senior people from large corporations that either already have a corporate venture capital program or they’re thinking about launching one. I’ve done this everywhere from San Francisco to New York and also in places like Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, Paris, and London.
Sramana Mitra: That’s actually a good segue into the discussion on geography. Where do you like to invest? Is there a geographical boundary or preference?
Andrew Romans: We’re probably about 70% San Francisco Bay Area and a balance of 30% New York. If it’s close to our two core offices, we can go in pretty early. We can consider going in pretty early in London where we’ve got a lot of people on the ground. The further array from New York and San Francisco offices, the more later stage we want to see the company. There’s no rules.
There’s no government money telling us where we can or cannot invest. We can invite anywhere but the further away they are, the later stage we want them to be. We want to see a major local VC that we know already investing in the company or is leading this round. Outside of the US, we’ve invested in one deal in London. I’ve known the CEO for 18 years already. I knew every single VC in there very well. We will invest more in that area.
Areas outside of the US that I like the most are London, Stockholm, Berlin, Paris, and Amsterdam. I worry about investing in a startup located in an ecosystem without a lot of elements of the ecosystem. With that said, I would think that over the next 20 years, I hope to launch Rubicon Venture Capital in China and India. I would like to have a dedicated fund for the UK, a dedicated fund for France, a dedicated fund for the Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey, and Singapore for Southeast Asia.
The only place in the world that doesn’t want a Silicon Valley in their home turf is Silicon Valley. I think governments are going to be putting together or they already have them to anchor VC funds to invest in local startups. When that happens, we’ll be investing in local startups and telling them, “When are you coming to Silicon Valley? I’ve got a week of meetings lined up for you.”
Roughly 82% of all VC-backed companies worldwide get acquired by American-domicile buyers. I hope that the dots will connect in the reverse direction. If we have local teams working with local LPs in Jakarta or Singapore, we can introduce our California startups to do business there more efficiently.