Posted on Friday, May 7th 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 Ann Winblad.
Ann Winblad, Co-founder and Managing Director of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, is one of the most successful women VCs in our industry, and as I mentioned in my introduction, I have never heard her whining about bias against women. One of the most encouraging things she discussed when we spoke in 2014 is how her firm is sourcing interesting ventures from all over the world, not just Silicon Valley. Mulesoft, one of their hot portfolio companies, had its CEO based in Malta, originally!
You can listen to the podcast interview
here and the entire roundtable program here: VIDEO Sramana Mitra: Ann is a legend in our business. You will hear a lot of whining about bias against women in the industry. I’ve never ever heard Ann whine about any of that. She is successful in her own right as a venture capitalist. She is the most successful female venture capitalist in the industry. We’re going to have a conversation in general about what she sees in the industry in cloud computing in particular. Then we’ll talk about some of the issues vis-a-vis women and entrepreneurship. You’ve been in the industry for a long time. You’ve seen the full evolution from the 90’s all the way till now. Where are we in the history of entrepreneurship and history of venture-funded entrepreneurship? Ann Winblad: I started my career as an entrepreneur myself. I started my first company the same year that Microsoft started. That was a long time ago in 1976. That was a seminal time for company creation. Apple started after that. Oracle started about that time as well. It seemed even at that point in time that we pretty much discovered everything. Today, we’re at a really interesting place for technology and for entrepreneurship.
We talk about it as web scale infrastructure. That web scale infrastructure is globalized and commoditized at the developer level. This means that the cost of building a company is far less than it was even for me where I had to go out and buy some computers that cost about $25,000 each. As a result, there’s an explosion of innovation globally both at the enterprise level and the consumer level.
We are seeing this creation happen in Silicon Valley, specifically. In the US, $30 billion of venture capital was invested this year with 60% of that going to California. Here, it is still the Mesopotamia of company creation. The rest of the world is doing pretty well. I just came back from Stockholm where they’ve had a number of billion dollar exits in software companies, both consumer and enterprise. I’ve recently been to Berlin. The same situation there. Most of our companies are global.
One of our largest companies here in San Francisco is Mulesoft, which is into web scale integration and has several hundred people in Buenos Aires. It’s quite exciting to see the ability for any entrepreneur to start a company. Capital creation is now part of this web scale infrastructure with crowd funding platforms and entrepreneurs who believe that if they are successful not just here in the US, they should give part of their earnings back to creating other entrepreneurs. We are at a very flourishing time for both technology and entrepreneurs.
Sramana Mitra: What is your personal investment thesis today? As a venture capitalist, what kinds of opportunities are you looking to invest in? What sector? What types of businesses? Ann Winblad: It’s called a focused fund meaning that we do have specific strategies that we use for investing. We start all of our investments at the A round. That means that many companies that come to us have no capital or seed capital. We invest in all business to business opportunities, primarily those that are aimed at the enterprise. At the enterprise, we have two levels. There’s the core software infrastructure that includes development tools, data center infrastructure, integration, and security. On top of that, we’ve always been investors in analytics. That is going quite well right now.
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 . 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