FundlessFund Hijacks My Blog Today

Posted on January 18, 2010. Filed under: startups, venture capital | Tags: , , , , |

Since my blogpost on Friday introducing The Fundless Fund (FundlessFund@Gmail.com), a lot of folks have stepped up with interest in contributing to the Fund, and a lot of folks have been asking exactly what The Fundless Fund is….the short answer is…The Fundless Fund seeks to add as much value to the growth and development of early stage companies as a Y Combinator or seed stage investor, without any equity or payment in return…it’s an accelerant powered by fellow entrepreneurs, created in the vein of furtherance of our collective effort.

Based on the response I’ve seen so far, it seems like there are a bunch of related parties (investors, lawyers, accountants, established companies) that would like to pitch in.  That will be awesome for our “fund”, we just need to figure out exactly how to incorporate these parties into the mix without diluting one of the main values of The Fundless Fund, which is a complete alignment of incentives between the Fund and our entrepreneurs.  What I don’t want this to become is another “me too” organization sponsored by Sillicon Valley Bank or some law firm who’s primary purpose is simply to get a bunch of decision makers together in the same room (a room that happens to don the banners of those service providers).  I also have no interest in recruiting the 5 sexiest names I can get to sit on a panel, inviting a bunch of people to listen to a dog and pony show, and then prove to the 400 people who attend that my platform is strong enough to get 5 sexy people and 400 others to attend my event.  Rather, The Fundless Fund will take those 5 sexy people who are willing to donate an hour to our platform, identify the 5 most promising entrepreneurs who will benefit from an hour of their time, and we will use our “bullet” with those sexy people to get the 5 entrepreneurs into 1 on 1 meetings where progress can actually be made.  There is a place for networking events, and those groups and events are undoubtedly adding value to the New York Startup Ecosystem, but that is a saturated market that we’re not interested in playing in.

What we’re interested in doing is focusing a ton of high quality resources and attention on a much smaller number of people/companies…our goal is not to generate as much deal flow as possible, or to build the biggest community of NYC startup people…it’s rather to identify the brightest stars (whether first time or experienced) in our community and give them a leg up on fundraising, recruiting, and job search (if they’re not yet with a startup), all the while focused on a general transference of knowledge across the fund.  We want to help the best of the best to not get lost in the shuffle and noise of a not-fully-networked New York Startup community.  Why? Because it is our belief that those people with the most potential will build the biggest, most sustainable companies in the long run (but not without help).  Our city needs to birth a few multibillion public technology companies to cement an enduring infrastructure around this burgeoning startup energy, and it is our responsibility as entrepreneurs to maximize the likelihood of that occurrence.  Our fund is not a flash in the pan, looking for the next deal to bank/lawyer/account/invest in.  We have a long term view of this city’s ecosystem and we’re going to do our part to make it as easy as possible for resources (capital, talent, advice) to find the stars that are going to build New York’s homegrown Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc…

There’s a lot of plumbing that still needs to be worked through, but we’re off to a good start.  What you can do today to participate is as follows:

If you’re a startup/pre-startup that has raised less than $500K in the New York area, there are 2 actions for you to take today:

1)      Email fundlessfund@gmail.com with a short description of you’re company or future company, a link to some online public presence (site if you have one, linkedin profile, blog, etc…), and a brief description of your needs:

  1. People: (description of hires you’re trying to make)
  2. Capital: (no details needed, just are you going to need to raise money in the next 6 months)
  3. Advice: (general guidance and mentorship)

2)      Email fundlessfund@gmail.com and request to be added to our distribution list.  Even if you’re not in a position to join the fund’s portfolio today, stay connected and we’ll keep you up to date on how the fund is evolving and the best ways to get involved.

If you’re a venture/angel-backed entrepreneur or if you used to be and can still speak to the experience, and you’d like to be involved in the operations of the FundlessFund (i.e. sit on the “investment committee,” donate your time to meeting with applicants and accepted people/companies, etc…):

1)      Email fundlessfund@gmail.com with a link to some public presence online and description of what type of value/resources you’d like to contribute:

  1. Introductions to investors
    1. i.      Angels?
    2. ii.      Seed/Feeder Funds?
    3. iii.      Venture Capital Firms?:
  2. Strategic Advice/Guidance & general mentorship of high quality early stage entrepreneurs
  3. Career Placement: do you want to help high quality talent land at your own startup or another startup in your network?

2)      Email fundlessfund@gmail.com and request to be added to our distribution list.  As we figure out the best ways to work with established entrepreneurs and executives, we’ll keep you in the loop and you can decided if/how you’d like to be involved

3)      Email fundlessfund@gmail.com if you’ve build a platform like this in the past and would like to advise on the construction and implementation of the fund

If you’re an Angel Investor, Seed Fund, or Venture Capitalist spending time in NYC:

1)      Would love your input and ideas: fundlessfund@gmail.com

2)      If you want to interact with us going forward, request to add your name to our distribution list

NOTE: Thanks for your patience as we play catch up to demand…we subscribe to the concept of customer development…first step is to figure out what everyone wants, next step is to productize it and begin to scale up

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    I’m a NYC based investor and entrepreneur. I think there is one metric that can be used to measure the value of a human life and that’s impact. How did you change things? How many people did you touch? How different is the world because you lived in it and how positive was the change that you affected? (p.s. i don’t use spell check…deal with it) You can email me at Jordan.Cooper@gmail.com

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