Responding to a popular request, we are now sharing transcripts of our investor podcast interviews in this new series. The following interview with Taylor Greene was recorded in April 2019.
Taylor Greene, Managing Director at Collaborative Fund, shares his firms’ investment thesis.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to you and to Collaborative Fund. Tell us about the fund. What is the fund size? What size checks do you like to write? Let’s get to know one another.
Taylor Greene: Just to give you a little bit of information about Collaborative, Collaborative was founded in 2010 by my partner Craig Shapiro. It started off as an $8 million fund that was largely a continuation of Craig’s angel investing. We were writing smaller checks into early stage companies.
Then you fast forward to 2019, we are investing out of our fourth fund. It’s a $100 million fund where we now mostly lead early-stage investments. They tend to be mostly seed rounds focused on consumer-facing companies that are focused on profit and doing some good for the world. We are a venture capital firm. We have institutional investors who measure us on our returns. It’s important for us to also invest in founders and companies that also do some good for the world.
That’s where we think the world is moving and that’s where we think the opportunity is in entrepreneurs and companies that are really aligning their values with companies that they built.
Sramana Mitra: So impact investors.
Taylor Greene: We’re not impact investors. Impact investors are measured on their ability to invest in companies that are more on the for-good side. Our companies are for-profit businesses first and foremost.
They happen to have mission-driven entrepreneurs. They have missions that we believe are good for the world. We actually think that because they have that mission alignment, it actually gives the company a better chance of success.
Sramana Mitra: Fair enough. It’s a good distinction that you underscored. When you say seed, can you help define seed for us? The venture ecosystem has changed tremendously in the time that you have been in business. I’m sure you have been in business as entrepreneurs probably before that.
I’ve been in the Silicon Valley venture ecosystem for a good 20 plus years. There used to be seed and Series A. Now it’s pre-seed, seed, post-seed, pre-Series A, small Series A, large Series A. Where in that continuum do you play?
Taylor Greene: It’s a great point. I’ve been investing full-time for about the last six years. I’ve seen a little bit of this movement. During that time, the whole pre-seed industry has come on the scene. We’re really investing in early-stage companies.
Sometimes it’s called Series A. Sometimes it’s called the seed round. Other times, it’s called pre-seed. We are okay if we’re the first check into the company. It’s okay with us if the company has already raised from some angel investor.
Usually, a seed round is a $2 million to $3 million round. We typically take about half of that round with our initial check. Then we syndicate the rest of it.