47 episodes

Origins is a podcast about Limited Partners, the firms and institutions that invest in venture capital funds. Through a series of interviews, we explore what has historically been an opaque corner of the startup ecosystem and learn how the people behind the capital make decisions. This podcast was created by Alex Lines and Nick Chirls, partners at Notation.

Origins - A podcast about Limited Partners, created by Notation Capital Notation

    • Investing

Origins is a podcast about Limited Partners, the firms and institutions that invest in venture capital funds. Through a series of interviews, we explore what has historically been an opaque corner of the startup ecosystem and learn how the people behind the capital make decisions. This podcast was created by Alex Lines and Nick Chirls, partners at Notation.

    "Portfolio Construction" w/ Beezer Clarkson, Alda Leu Dennis and Trae Vassallo

    "Portfolio Construction" w/ Beezer Clarkson, Alda Leu Dennis and Trae Vassallo

    This is a special episode of Origins focused entirely on the concept of VC portfolio construction. We recorded this discussion as a panel with three guests that provide different perspectives on this important topic. Beezer Clarkson is an LP and managing director at Sapphire Partners, Alda Leu Dennis is a partner at Initialized, a seed-stage venture firm, and Trae Vassallo is a founder and partner at defy, an early-stage venture firm focused on Series A investments.

    In this episode we cover many of the most critical items related to portfolio construction and how different LPs and VCs might approach different strategies, including portfolio company concentration, reserves and follow-on strategy, recycling, time diversity, opportunity funds and SPVs, and much more. Of all the episodes we've recorded on Origins, this might be the single most important one we've done, for VCs and LPs, emerging and established. We welcome any and all feedback, as well as thoughts on topics or strategies not covered, so that we might do so in a future episode. Send us an email at hello@notation.vc or tweet with #OpenLP to join the discussion.

    As always, a huge thank you to Carta, the title sponsor for this season of Origins. It's a core product that we use daily --> Get 10% off when you use the Notation Signup Link (Terms and conditions apply). This season is also sponsored by SVB and Cooley, two of the earliest and most trusted supporters of our work at Notation.

    • 1 hr 5 min
    Chad Byers, Susa Ventures

    Chad Byers, Susa Ventures

    Chad Byers is a co-founder and partner at Susa Ventures, a seed-stage venture fund based in SF that has backed companies like Robinhood, Flexport, and Andela. Chad discusses growing up in Silicon Valley, his path to venture, the unusual founding story of Susa with his partners, and how they've strategically planned their funds over time. Chad is one of the smartest young seed investors in SF, and this episode was essentially a playbook on how to build a seed firm.

    A huge thank you to Carta, the title sponsor for this season of Origins. It's a core product that we use daily --> Get 10% off when you use the Notation Signup Link (Terms and conditions apply). This season is also sponsored by SVB and Cooley, two of the earliest and most trusted supporters of our work at Notation.

    • 52 min
    Lo Toney, Plexo Capital

    Lo Toney, Plexo Capital

    Lo Toney is the founding managing partner of Plexo Capital, a new $42.5 million fund incubated inside of GV focused on making investments in seed-stage VC firms led by women or people of color. In addition to investing as LPs, Plexo Capital makes direct investments in startups that are funded by firms where Plexo has an LP position. The fund’s investors include Alphabet, Intel Capital, Cisco Investments, the Royal Bank of Canada, Kapor Capital, the Hampton University Endowment and the Ford Foundation.

    Previous to Plexo Capital, Lo was a partner at GV and Comcast Ventures, as well as an operator in various capacities at Zynga, Nike, and eBay. In this episode, we discuss Lo's unique career journey, some of the early lessons he learned helping to build iconic web products in the dot com era, how he landed at GV and more recently decided to build his own venture platform in Plexo Capital.

    We're excited to announce Carta as the title sponsor for Origins this season, a product we use and love. Get 10% off when you use the Notation Signup Link (Terms and conditions apply). This season is also sponsored by SVB and Cooley, two of the earliest and most trusted supporters of our work at Notation.

    • 50 min
    Fabrice Grinda, FJ Labs

    Fabrice Grinda, FJ Labs

    Fabrice Grinda is the founder of FJ Labs, a company co-creation and investment firm, focused on marketplace businesses. FJ Labs has invested in companies such as Flexport, Shippo, Lime, Brightroll, among many others. Fabrice is also a serial entrepreneur, previously founding three companies - Zingy, Aucland, and OLX - All of which scaled to significant size. He was born in France and is an avid traveler, writer, and speaker.

    In this episode, we cover what it was like to come to the U.S. for college, starting his first company in the dot com in France at the age of 24 and riding it to massive scale before experiencing the fallout in the early oughts, as well as starting again, successfully exiting companies, and becoming a true expert on marketplace business dynamics. We also discuss the transition to investor, the unique aspects of FJ Labs, both from an LP perspective and an investment perspective, as well as making a personal decision a few years ago to live "asset-light."

    • 59 min
    Paul Mace, Tufts University

    Paul Mace, Tufts University

    Paul Mace is the Director of Investments for Private Equity and Real Estate in the Tufts University Investment Office. He is responsible for evaluating private market managers and their investment strategies to potentially include in the university’s portfolio. Before joining Tufts, Paul was an investment banker evaluating M&A and private equity transactions for a boutique advisory firm.

    In this episode, we dig into the many similarities and differences in evaluating private real-estate funds and venture funds, two areas that Paul is responsible for at the Tufts endowment. We also discuss how the Tufts endowment has evolved over the past 15 years, and their plans for the future, particularly their approach to venture capital and emerging managers.

    • 43 min
    Beezer Clarkson hosts Anne Martin, CIO of Wesleyan University

    Beezer Clarkson hosts Anne Martin, CIO of Wesleyan University

    In this special episode of Origins, Beezer Clarkson of Sapphire Partners hosts Anne Martin, the Chief Investment Officer of Wesleyan University. Anne was previously a Director of Investments at Yale University, where she oversaw the private and natural resource portfolio. At Wesleyan University, she oversees all aspects of the endowment and reports to the university's board and investment committee.

    Over the course of the conversation, Beezer and Anne cover exactly what it means to run and invest a university endowment, Anne's goals for the program, how she thinks about investing across asset classes, and particularly how she approaches venture capital and picking managers. Their discussion is a unique look into what is a typically opaque part of the Limited Partner ecosystem, and a must-listen for anyone considering raising capital from endowments.

    • 49 min

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