Sunday, April 19, 2020

Ask A VC Anything: 10 Key Takeaways from the VC Who Named Zoom

Zoom founder Eric Yuan with
Jim Scheinman, Maven Ventures
For our third "Ask A VC Anything' episode, we put Jim Scheinman, the VC who named Zoom and invested extra early under the spotlight. Jim is currently investing from Maven Ventures and its $64 million, third fund focused on seed financing in game-changing consumer tech and self-driving startups. He's made a mark in venture investing with such deals as Zoom, which went public last year and is now the hottest startup around, and with self-driving tech startup Cruise, sold to GM for $1 billion. Jim has found his calling following this career path after trying his hand at being a lawyer, business executive and entrepreneur.  He's achieved five unicorn exits ($1 billion + exits/valuations) since forming Maven Ventures in 2013. Here are some insights from his investing style, as outlined during Silicon Dragon Online's weekly webinar, April 16. 


1. Strives to predict future consumer trends but not too far out. Examples include autonomous driving, tele-medicine, grab 'n go cashless outlets, and distance learning -- many of which are strongly emerging in this Covid-19 era. 
2. Invests in founders who are driven, trustworthy, passionate and have a vision worth fighting for 
3. Gets pitches from 3,000 companies per year primarily on Zoom and invests in only 6 annually
4. Invests at the earliest stage and works closely with the founding team on ramping up5. Keeps his fund size at a micro level (under $100 million) to hone in on investments at the earliest stage 
6. Invests in only one portfolio company in a market category at a time
7. Takes few board seats or observer roles, typically no more than 5 at one time contrasted with 10 or more by many VCs
8. Exits the board generally after the A round investment. Most of his portfolio companies get funded after the initial seed money
9. Focuses on the sectors he and his partner know best
. Invests in founders who come from trusted sources within his extended network 

During our one-hour webinar, we also discussed how the coronavirus has changed our lifestyles at home and work in ways we couldn't have imagined a few months ago. It won't be 'back to normal' after the Covid-19 pandemic clears, and it could take one to two years before a vaccine or cure is developed. Meanwhile, new ideas are already being developed by entrepreneurial souls. Jim is ready to fund a select few of these innovations that are arising during this crisis period.


For more insights into what makes this VC tick, we have an on-demand recording of the webinar available for only $20. Click to purchase, and Silicon Dragon will send you the recording.Our thanks to Jim and Maven Ventures for matching this webinar's registration fees and making a charitable distribution to local healthcare workers on the frontlines of the Covid-19 battle.


The next Silicon Dragon Online webinar is with Gary Rieschel, founding managing partner of Qiming Venture, a pioneer of early US-China cross-border investment and a specialist in funding healthcare and tech deals. 

Tune in April 23, 4-5pm PT. Sign up here to join in: Silicon Dragon Zoom with Gary