Brian Garrett of Crosscut Ventures on building a regionally based seed firm outside of SV, the rise of LA, raising during a recession, and how Crosscut has evolved over the last 13 years.


Today, we’re seeing major startup hubs emerge across the US (and globally). Up until fairly recently, LA was not considered a major US technology and venture hub. My guest on this week’s episode, Brian Garrett, has been in the LA venture ecosystem for two decades now. He also co-founded Crosscut Ventures, one of the very first seed funds in LA (if not the first). Today LA has claims companies such as Snap, TrueCar, Maker, Honey, Dollar Shave Club, Honest Company as examples of companies that reached scale in the now rapidly growing ecosystem.

Crosscut began as a very small vehicle of $6MM, but now has over 120 investments and is one of the largest seed fund platforms in LA with $300MM+ AUM. In our episode we discussed everything from the rise of LA and non SV tech hubs to fundraising during a recession to the importance of self-discovery and mental wellness.

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In this episode we discuss the following topics:

01:54    Brian’s journey into venture

03:48    Why they started Crosscut in 2008, initially as a part time project

06:31    Crosscut’s conviction on why LA would become a strong startup ecosystem

08:28    The strategy for Crosscut’s early funds

11:55    How they scaled to a true institutional sized fund in Fund III; did anything change?

14:30    Mental model for investing based around ownership

15:13 Why Fund IV is the best indication of Crosscut and what is happening in LA

17:22    Why big companies can be built outside SV

20:00    Thoughts on sector focused funds

22:36    Being local as an advantage

29:22    Brian’s journey into wellness

32:02    How being centered has made him a better VC, and how it’s shaped Crosscut’s culture

34:02    The best piece of career advice he’s received

35:53    His anti-portfolio

37:50    The investor he admires the most

Mentioned In This Episode:

I’d love to know what you took away from this conversation with Brian. Follow me @SamirKaji and give me your insights and questions with the hashtag #ventureunlocked. If you’d like to be considered as a guest or have someone you’d like to hear from (GP or LP), drop me a direct message on Twitter.

Podcast Production support provided by Agent Bee Agency