Posted on Wednesday, May 5th 2021
If you have been bootstrapping and think you are ready for investors, you need to learn how investors think. First, please study our free Bootstrapping course and Investor Introductions page. Then start looking for entrepreneur – investor fit. Today I introduce you to Yanev Suissal.
Yanev Suissa is General Partner at SineWave Ventures out of Washington DC and Silicon Valley. The firm invests alongside some major firms like Andreessen Horowitz and NEA. Yanev talks about how they invest, and also the trends he sees. You can listen to the podcast interview
here. Sramana Mitra: So tell us about SineWave Ventures. What is the focus of your firm? How big is the fund? What size investments do you make? Yanev Suissa: SineWave mainly works with enterprise technology startups similar to the ones in the 1Mby1M network. We look for commercial technologies where we can help them as a VC firm in navigating both commercial and public sector partnerships.
We’re big believers that the overlap between the private sector and the public sector is only increasing. Enterprise technologies, across the board, need to pay attention to public sector in terms of them being giant customers, which can be very sticky in terms of regulatory risks. We end up using our significant resources and ecosystem to advance those startups.
Smarana Mitra: You are located in Washington DC? Yanev Suissa: We are. We have an office in both Silicon Valley and Washington DC, but the main headquarters is in Washington. Sramana Mitra: T hat’s actually interesting. How big is the fund? Yanev Suissa: The fund we manage is over $60 million. We’re on our first fund right now. We’ve done a few deals already. We do seed, Series A, and Series B. Our main focus is on seed, A, and B always alongside another top tier investor in our syndicate who we sometimes bring in or who sometimes brings us in. The typical check size could be as small as $250,000 for seed. On average, an A is usually around $3 million to $5 million. Sramana Mitra: Do you lead these rounds? Yanev Suissa: We can lead rounds. We always syndicate with top tier partner of ours. Usually folks want that partner to lead because they’re usually the bigger guys like NEA, or like my former firm, or Andreessen Horowitz. Usually those guys lead, but we do often lead when it’s an internal round or when they want different pricing. Sramana Mitra: I’ve worked with NEA for many years. They invested in one of my companies. I’ve funded other clients through NEA. That’s a very big fund that can only do much later stage work. If you do seed and series A, that’s not NEA’s sweet spot. Yanev Suissa: No, that’s not true at all. I worked at NEA for about a decade before starting SineWave. NEA is very closely involved in SineWave as are some of the other firms. A lot of the seed funds, smaller funds, and entrepreneurs who’ve been burned sometimes like to harp that these larger funds like Sequoia and NEA are all later stage vehicles. Actually the majority of NEA’s companies are Series A investments. They do, at least, 30 or so seed deals a year.
Sequoia, I imagine, does even more deals, but I don’t know the exact numbers. They do everything. The difference with a big fund is you de-risk your financing because they put some in a seed round, as well as in an A round, B round, and also in a C round. They do put a lot of money into a company, but they do it in multiple rounds rather than all in one.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s actually take the example of working with a deal with you and NEA as co-investors. How would that play out? Obviously, given NEA’s fund size, they can’t put partners on the board of these seed deals. Help us understand who prices the deal, who leads the deal, and who gets on the board of the deal on NEA’s behalf. On your side, I imagine, it’s much more straightforward. Yanev Suissa: Great question. We work with all different kinds of parties. Our deals go three ways. The top seed investors tend to be a little different than the top A and B investors. Sometimes we find a deal and we bring it to them. Sometimes they find a deal and they bring it to us. Sometimes we target a deal and we say, “Hey, I want to be in this deal, because I think I can really help this company.”
The way it would typically work is, the big investor takes the board seat. At SineWave, we usually don’t take board seats in our partnerships. We take observer seats. We like to be in the board meetings to hear what’s going on.
When you mention that you’re trying to work with Amazon, I could say, “We know the senior folks at Amazon. We can help you.” We like to be there to know that we can help, but we don’t require a board seat. The big fund would take a board seat for their seed investments. To be fair, I grew up at NEA as a VC so I know how they do it a little bit, but I don’t want to speak for them.
Our conversation continues
here. This segment is a part in the series : Best of Bootstrapping . Bootstrapping to an Exit . Why is Bootstrapping Important? . How Can You Play this Low-Probability Game Intelligently? . Do NOT Go to VCs as Beggars - Go as Kings . Excess is NOT Required for Success . Bootstrap First and Raise Money Later . Some Bootstrapping to Exit Case Studies . The Buy Side of Bootstrapping to an Exit . Blitzscaling vs. Bootstrapping . Bootstrapping to Unicorns More »» . Cinedigm Acquires Bootstrapped 1Mby1M Company Future Today for $60 Million . Mailchimp Bootstraps to $600M Revenue . Bootstrapping from Arizona to $10 Million . Bootstrapped Basecamp Executes a No Nonsense Strategy . How Under30Experiences Bootstrapped to $5 Million . Bootstrapping with a Paycheck . How Algo.ai CEO Amjad Hussain Bootstrapped using Services from Michigan . Seed Investors Who Like Bootstrapped Businesses . How iHeartRaves CEO Bootstrapped a Niche e-Commerce Company to $20 Million . Bootstrapping with Services . How The Intern Group CEO David Lloyd Bootstrapped to $13 Million . How Passageways CEO Paroon Chadha Bootstrapped from Indiana . How SmartBuyGlasses CEO David Menning Bootstrapped to $50 Million . Death by Overfunding . How RainmakerForce CEO Mack Sundaram Bootstrapped Decisively to $5 Million+ . How FormAssembly CEO Bootstrapped a Virtual Company with a Paycheck . TimeSlips CEO Mitch Russo Bootstrapped to Exit with Sage . The VC-Entrepreneur Compensation Disbalance . BioConnect CEO Bootstraps with Sophisticated Strategic Maneuvering . Tremend CEO Marius Hanganu Bootstraps from Romania . Gesture CEO Jim Alvarez Bootstraps to $10 Million . SproutLoud CEO Bootstraps to $30 Million from Florida . Tuft & Needle CEO Bootstraps to Over $100 Million . Co-founders Bootstrap Linguamatics to Over $10M from the UK . Ownership Matters . Vainu Co-founder Mikko Honkanen Bootstraps from Finland . Entrepreneur Couple Bootstraps to $10M from Colorado . Power2Motivate CEO Bootstraps to $80M from Canada . Financial DNA CEO Bootstraps to $10M+ from Australia . Big Barker CEO Bootstraps a Niche E-commerce Brand . PrecisionLender CEO Bootstraps to Over $10M from North Carolina . Master Bootstrappers with Over $1B in Exits . Ultra Mobile Founder Bootstraps to Over $100 Million . Bootstrapping a Two-Sided Marketplace to $10M . Can You Bootstrap a Virtual Company to Over $5 Million? . Capital Efficient Entrepreneurs Turn $1M into $80M . Discussing the Journey Through Failure to Success . From a Small Town to $12 Million . Bootstrapping to Y Combinator and $10 Million Series A . Bootstrapping a Marketplace to Over $10 Million . Freightwise Bootstraps to $33 Million . Bootstraps First to $5M ARR, Raises $10M Later . Bootstraps in Europe, Raises Money and Goes Global in the US . English Major Bootstraps a Tech Company . Bootstraps with a Paycheck to $15M from Tennessee . Queue-It Bootstraps from Denmark to the US . 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Discussing the Evolution of the Indian Startup Industry with Sasha Mirchandani, Kae Capital . Lean Company Bootstraps to $7M . Saatva Co-founder Bootstrapped a $25M E-Commerce Company . Looking at Terms with Heidi Roizen of Threshold Ventures . ADDA Co-founder CEO Bootstrapped with a Paycheck in India . Duda Co-founders Bootstrap with Paychecks . The Importance of Building Value with Shomit Ghose, Onset Ventures . Get Real Health Founder Bootstrapped Using Services . Bootstrapping Unique Vintage Using a Paycheck . Discussing E-commerce Startup Trends with Daniel Gulati, Forecast Fund . Bootstrapping a Digital Startup with a Paycheck . Discussing Seed Stages with Amir Banifatemi of K5 Ventures . Bootstrapping Avelead Using Services from Atlanta . Founder Bootstrapped a Big Data Company Using Services . Discussing Future Unicorns with Warren Weiss, Foundation Capital . Founder Bootstrapped Axosoft with a Paycheck . Raised a Series A with $10 Million in the Bank . 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Bootstrapping LittleThings First, Raising Money Later . Bootstrapping eMazzanti Technologies Using Services . Reltio Founder Bootstrapped Using Services . Co-founders Bootstrapped Ateb Using Services from North Carolina . Bootstrapped HireVue While in School, Raised Money Later, All in Utah . Bootstrapping the First Venture, Raising Money for the Second . Co-founders Bootstrapped BeenVerified with Angel Money . Bootstrapping a Significant Software Company from Australia . Bootstrapping Meltwater to $200 Million . Bootstrapping Casewise from London and Scaling in the US . Bootstrapping Lessons Learned by FairWarning Founder Kurt Long . Abacus Group Founder Bootstrapped a Virtualization Services Company . Seismic Audio CEO Bootstrapped a $10 Million E-Commerce Business . PhishMe was Bootstrapped Using Services First, Raised Money Later . Firmex Scaled with Angel Money in Canada . Wrike Founder Bootstrapped First, Raised Money Later . Bay Dynamics Co-founders Bootstrapped Using Services . Building an AI Software Company from Dallas . RJMetrics Co-founders Bootstrapped First, Raised $22M Later . Bootstrapping Niche E-Commerce Business BuyAutoParts to Exit . TemplateMonster was Bootstrapped to $15 Million . Bootstrapping Edge Hosting to $18 Million . Bootstrapping, Fund Raising and Exiting with Sefaira . Bootstrapping IdeaScale to $5M from Scratch . Bootstrapping to $10M from Finland . Happy Grasshopper CEO Dan Stewart Bootstrapped to Inflection . Bootstrapping Gravity Pro Using Services . Founder Builds Multiple Bootstrapped Education Software Companies . Bootstrapping to $10M from Australia, Raising $25M from the US . Bootstrapped Y Soft to $30M from the Czech Republic . Bootstrapped from Belarus, Raised Money from Silicon Valley . Bootstrapped SproutLoud to $30M from Florida . Bootstrapped 2600Hz Using Services . A Serial Bootstrapping Entrepreneur’s Journey . Bootstrapped First, Raised Money Later from Udupi, Karnataka . Bootstrapped with Services, Raised Money, and then Acquired by Salesforce . Bootstrapping Niche E-Commerce Company Modded Euros . Bootstrapping KURU Footwear from Utah . Bootstrapped to $5M First, Raised Money Later . Ninth Wave Founder Bootstrapped Using Services . Bootstrapping Vantage Circle from Guwahati, India . Bootstrapping JobNimbus First, Raising Money Later . Bootstrapping Infragistics for 30 Years . Bootstrapping Zimit Using Services to $10M . Entrepreneur Couple Bootstraps an E-commerce Business Using a Paycheck and Crowdfunding . Co-founders Bootstrapped Using Services, then Raised $10M and Scaled to $16M . SearchStax Founder Bootstraps to $10M Using Services . Bootstrapping an AI Startup Using Services . Bootstrap to Exit and THEN do a VC-Funded Venture . Bootstrapping Using Services to $26M and a Fabulous Exit . Solo Entrepreneur Bootstraps with a Paycheck to over $15M . Bootstrapped and Later Raised Money from Oregon . Bootstrapping Evenica by Piggybacking . Bootstrapping a Vertical CRM Product using Services . Bootstrapping Using Services from Helsinki, Finland . Solo Entrepreneur Bootstraps First, Raises Money Later in Utah . Art.com Co-founder on Bootstrapping First, Raising $30M Later . Bootstrapping to Exit . Why is Bootstrapping So Important? . How Can You Play the Low-Probability Game of Start-up Funding Intelligently? . Don’t Go to VCs as Beggars – Go as Kings! . Excess is NOT a Requirement for Success . Bootstrap First, Raise Money Later . More Bootstrapping to Exit Case Studies . The Buy Side of Bootstrap to Exit Startups . Blitzscaling versus Bootstrapping . Bootstrapped Unicorns . Bootstrapped from Arizona to $10M . Bootstrapping Under30Experiences to $5M . Bootstrapping Algo.ai with Services from Michigan . Seed Investors Who Like Bootstrapped Startups . Bootstrapping a Niche E-commerce Company to $20M . Bootstrap Using Services . 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Master Bootstrappers with $1+ Billion in Exits . Bootstrapped Ultra Mobile to Over $100 Million . Bootstrapping a 2-Sided Marketplace to $10M