Sramana Mitra: If you look at your last 15 months deal flow, what do you see? What are the highlights of the trends you see in your deal flow?
Jeremy Schneider: One thing that has been exciting for us is that WIN has been around now for about eight years. In 2017, we started to see repeat entrepreneurs come through our network. We were really excited to have the opportunity to back our founders again. That was one exciting trend on a high level.
As for sectors, last year we started to explore new areas as a team and with our network. We started seeing many more companies in the augmented reality space. We saw many more hardware companies. We saw a lot of companies where we thought we could help which is at the intersection of machine learning and data combined with new types of sensors, approaches, or industries.
Our biotech investment, while stealth, falls directly in that category. We did a company that sits at the intersection of security cameras and data analytics. We started to branch out a little bit more in 2017 which was exciting for us.
Sramana Mitra: Talk about your current portfolio. What have you invested in? When these companies come to you, what metrics did they have? We’d like to get a window into how you look at investment opportunities and actually make investments?
Jeremy Schneider: What’s super important to us is making sure that we can help these companies. We believe that there is lots of capital out there. If we do make an investment, we want to ensure that we have a differentiated approach that can really help these founders. In practice, what that means is many of our companies come through our existing network. They are people that we’ve known or have followed for some period of time. That’s particularly true on the enterprise side of the house.
There, we’ll invest in companies that can be as early as pre-product if we believe in the market and also that the founder has unique insight into that market and they can go all the way to Series A or Series B. Then for marketplaces or for consumer companies, we just get really excited about founders who are super passionate about what it is that they’re doing.
We get introduced to people through all sorts of ways. Through our affiliates of which there’s about 90, we have a portfolio of about 80. They’ll send us things through incubators and through other investors. What we try to do is we try to pull in an affiliate or two to help us look at the companies and understand the market and the approach. This is particularly helpful for enterprise companies but can be applied across a spectrum. We’re looking for passion and expertise in a market that we believe is real.