Responding to a popular request, we are now sharing transcripts of our investor podcast interviews in this new series. The following interview with Kara Weber was recorded in November 2018.
Kara Weber, Founder and General Partner at Brilliant Ventures, speaks extensively about her commitment to female founders.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s get you acquainted with our audience. Tell us about yourself and a bit about your investing focus. How big is the fund? What kind of investments do you like to make? Let’s get acquainted.
Kara Weber: I founded Brilliant Ventures a couple of years ago after a 20-plus year career as an entrepreneur and operator. I was one of the first women starting one of the first companies at the dawn of the internet era. I went on to run or lead six more startups in early and growth stage, internet-based, and tech-enabled companies over the next couple of decades. Of those seven companies, four of them had exits.
I have a ton of experience as an entrepreneur and operator. In 2016, I decided to apply that experience on the other side of the table as an investor. I specifically focus on the pre-seed and seed stage of investing because I think this is where my experience as an operator comes most powerfully to bear.
I know when I see an entrepreneur that has that special something. I have been through it so many times personally. I have had wonderful experiences. I have also had horrible experiences. When you’re investing at the seed stage, it is about who that founder is, their drive, their motivation, their hunger, their intelligence, their EQ, their IQ.
Sramana Mitra: Did I hear you say pre-seed as well?
Kara Weber: Yes, that’s a pretty rare circumstance though. We prefer to invest in companies who are post-revenue generally.
Sramana Mitra: What is the revenue threshold where you like to engage?
Kara Weber: It isn’t so much about a number threshold. If you have a product that is in the market, we can help you take that product more effectively and more scalably.
Sramana Mitra: So $10,000 counts as revenue stage for you?
Kara Weber: Absolutely. There have been situations where we have invested in companies that haven’t actually started charging but have proven to us that they have a passionate customer base that will pay. We feel like there is enough evidence for product-market fit. It’s a flexible threshold but it’s a specific one based on what we bring to bear.
Sramana Mitra: What size is the fund?
Kara Weber: It’s a small fund. Our check size is quite small. We write a $50,000 check but we like to say that we punch well above the weight of our check size. Our investment is not only our capital but our expertise. The founders and CEO’s of companies that we have invested in would firmly concur that that is what we offer.