What We Did Right.
Decisions that helped build Boost VC.
Boost VC is the Accelerator for Sci-Fi. We invest $500k.
Brayton Williams and I have been building Boost VC for 9 years now, which is wild. The first session ended in January 2012, and yesterday we just had the last weekly meeting with our 15th session. In between those two session we invested in 300+ companies and built out an alumni network of 700+ founders.
For any humans starting in venture capital, or building their own fund, I thought I would just list a few things that we did that evolved Boost VC for the better. *This is focused on operational decisions, not on “What deals to choose” which also has a dramatic impact on what type of fund you become)
We started with a $500k fund. So we had limited resources, but with those resources, we were able to invest in 24 startups. Something people should know is that it doesn’t take much money to catalyze a brand. We got to learn how to do things on a budget. We figured out our “VC stack” - What lawyers, what documents, what software… These decisions end up paying dividends over time.
We just started it. We didn’t ask for permission. We said “in 8 weeks we are going to have a program. We built the first website ourselves (Brayton did)… it was beautiful. We accepted applications through google docs. We just started investing in companies.
We completely committed to the program. Those early days were so fun. We provided housing and office space, and the companies would call if they needed anything. Brayton lived in the dorms we provided for 2 years. I remember being called up at 2am because the fire department had showed up and no one knew what to do, so I drove to the office to find all the companies hanging out in the office space.
We tried everything. We built internal tools, products, hosted events. We literally thought of ideas and would test them. I think it’s still important to test things all the time, but in the early days, we were testing everything all the time. Not many of those experiments ended up working out, but we are better for having tried. Over time, we were able to focus our experimentations on what mattered to us (The founders success).
We focused on one industry. We chose Bitcoin, and were able to assist in building out one of the most invigorating industries the world has ever seen. We are fortunate to have backed some of the most category defining companies, and they all started at Boost VC. That focus allowed us to learn how to build communities around different technologies and business models. This has been one of the most important pillars of Boost VC as we have evolved.
We kept our team small. Out of necessity, we kept our team small. When we hired, it was always out of essential need. Maddie Callander who runs the accelerator program, has now been with us for 6 years. Our team knows each other so well, maybe too well. We have been slow to grow the organism, and that has helped us focus on what matters at all times, which is the founders success, rather than building an empire.
We focused on one metric for success. Venture Capital is a long game, and if you don’t have indicators that you are headed in the correct direction, emotionally it becomes tiring. So Brayton started managing our focus. The focus ended up being on “How many companies raise more than $1m from the Boost VC portfolio, every 6 months.” I cannot tell you how much this has enabled our team to perform like rockstars. It focuses all our experiments in one direction. It also re-focuses us on the startup founders at all times. There is no perfect metric, but this one has been working for us for around 3 years and we have only missed the goal once.
Looking back on the last 9 years, it’s interesting to see what decisions I remember. These were some of the most important “Compounding” decisions we made, but there were probably a lot of decisions that led to these decisions. I’m really proud of where we are and where we are going.