"Living in New York, you get the sense that your part of the crowd. You see, everyone works in the city but wants the freedoms of a yard, family, and quiet that the suburbs promises. So every morning I would wake up at the same time - before sunrise. I'd put on my suit and hop in my lackluster car to head towards the train station.
The first thing we'd do is grab a coffee and the wall street journal. After working all day, and returning home around dark to a sleepy kid and tired wife, I'd prepare to do it all again the next day.
Then one day I woke up. I was standing on the subway platform, waiting for the train. We were like cattle. All in a row, stamped from a common mold with our Wall Street Journals and coffee in hand. We'd heard our way into the city, and graze back at night. One day I woke up. I realized that Venture Capital in NYC wasn't what I wanted."
Don Aquilano of Allos Ventures spent some time last night eloquently painting this picture. It stuck with many of us, as he talked about the merits of Indianapolis as a city and his diversified experience in the business world and venture capital.
Digging into the weeds, he simplified venture capital into a few key points that'll stick with me:
- Of 122 companies that he's invested in, just 1 has hit it's revenue projections.
- Venture capitial is simple: It starts with selling yourself and raising $, vetting and investing that money in early stage businesses, and allowing general and limited partners to reap the benefits when + returns happen.
- As simple as that sounds, the average fund follows a 10 year timeline, and follows a stark J-Curve: "The lemons ripen faster than the pearls".
- Don shared a number of stories about the types of companies and teams he invests in: most importantly, it seemed like a theme was "the stuff you learned in kindergarten matters." Integrity, passion, make the people around them better, etc.
Thanks to Don - everyone certainly learned a lot about careers, venture capital and entrepreneurship!