Why are VCs launching SPACs? Amish Jani of FirstMark shares his firm’s rationale

It’s happening slowly but surely. With every passing week, more venture firms are beginning to announce SPACs. The veritable blitz of SPACs formed by investor Chamath Palihapitiya notwithstanding, we’ve now seen a SPAC (or plans for a SPAC) revealed by Ribbit Capital, Lux Capital, the travel-focused venture firm Thayer Ventures, Tusk Ventures’s founder Bradley Tusk, the SoftBank Vision Fund, and FirstMark Capital, among others. Indeed, while many firms say they’re still in the information-gathering phase of what could become a sweeping new trend, others are diving in headfirst.

To better understand what’s happening out there, we talked on Friday with Amish Jani, the cofounder of FirstMark Capital in New York and the president of a new $360 million tech-focused blank-check company organized by Jani and his partner, Rick Heitzmann. We wanted to know why a venture firm that has historically focused on early-stage, privately held companies would be interested in

Read More

Tech Founder Hadiyah Mujhid Partners With AnnenbergTech And PledgeLA To Create Equity For Black And Latinx VC’s And Founders

In business, it takes money to make money. Yet for many Black and Latinx founders, access to capital is a barrier to entry into their respective industries. Another barrier is often access to venture capitalists who come from similar backgrounds as them, who understand them, and who believe in their ideas and businesses enough to invest in them.

According to research, only 1% of VC-backed companies have Black founders, and only 2% of firms have investment team members who identify as Black. 

San Francisco based technologist, Hadiyah Mujhid, has been solving for that equity problem as the founder and CEO of HBCUvc. Prominently known for building pathways for underrepresented investors and founders, HBCUvc has led the charge on developing the next generation of venture capital leaders from Historically Black Colleges and Universities through their strategic programming and partnerships. With

Read More

Introducing the 16 rising star VCs backing healthcare startups

Many investors predicted Silicon Valley would be at a loss during the coronavirus pandemic, with cautious investors pulling back venture funding and startup founders fleeing to more affordable locales. But for healthcare startups and investors, that future never materialized.

Instead, healthcare investment has had a blockbuster year, with an all-time-high number of deals and a record number of dollars invested. Telehealth startups had a record-breaking first half of the year, with 154 funding deals in the second quarter alone, according to CB Insights.

The youngest employees at venture firms are typically its eyes and ears, relying on networking events and word of mouth to find the best entrepreneurs or companies to invest in. During the pandemic and largely working at home, that role has evolved into virtual coffee meetings, socially distant walks, and active group chats. The mission, however, remains the same: find the next big startup creating the future

Read More

Self-driving-car startups that could become next Waymo, VCs say

  • Business Insider asked seven venture capitalists to choose the two self-driving startups they believe have the most potential.
  • At least one of the VC’s picks had to come from outside their firm’s portfolio.
  • Many of their choices reflected the autonomy industry’s increasing focus on trucking and deliveries over ride-hail.
  • Aurora Innovation was picked four times, more than any other company.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Self-driving taxis have taken longer to reach widespread adoption than experts predicted during the 2010s. That may be why venture capitalists see potential in autonomous-vehicle startups that are focused on applications, like trucking and mining, that present fewer technological challenges than ride-hailing.

Business Insider asked seven venture capitalists to pick the two autonomous-vehicle startups they believe have the most promise, with the caveat that only one could be a company their firm has invested in. Their selections reflected the industry’s increasing focus on

Read More

“Covid-19 has Compressed VC’s Vision of 5 Years into 5 Months”

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Covid-19 has brought about a paradigm shift across industries, and venture investing is no exception. The pandemic and ensuing lockdowns have influenced consumer behaviour and preferences majorly, may be even permanently in some cases.

To understand how the investment landscape has transitioned amidst the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on long-term investing, Entrepreneur India interacted with Vinnie Lauria, founding partner, Golden Gate Ventures, an early-stage venture capital (VC) firm in Southeast Asia. Lauria shared his views on the nitty-gritty of investments along with the bounce back plan for businesses.

Impact of Pandemic on Investment and Bounce Back Approach

Most of the work operations continue to be remote in Singapore and Indonesia despite lifting of lockdown restrictions. “In a market like Indonesia, people are working from home and locked down. There were certain presumptions about bounce back

Read More

VCs are debating if the pitch deck should really be so important

  • The startup community is having a big debate on whether the classic Powerpoint-like presentations known as pitch decks should really remain so central to the money-raising process or if they can — and should — be replaced by conversations.
  • Some say conversations and relationships should rule.
  • But several venture capitals begged founders not to listen to this. They say pitch decks are crucial in helping founders tell their stories.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.


Some startup founders say that when it comes to convincing venture capitalists to invest, the good old-fashioned pitch deck, a Powerpoint presentation that sells investors on the company, is dead and founders should do “conversations” instead. 

But when Breather cofounder Julien Smith voiced his support of such a thing, he set off a big debate on Twitter where some VCs pleaded with the startup world not to listen.

“The best investor ‘pitches’ are actually

Read More