Jun 22 • 43M

FPV's Wes Chan: The path to backing 20 unicorns and 5 decacorns, raising a $450MM Fund 1, working closely with Sergey and Larry and Google, and what Bill Campbell taught him about helping founders

Episode 84

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Venture Unlocked is the playbook for starting, operating, & scaling a successful venture capital firm. Samir Kaji, Host of Venture Unlocked has +20-years of experience assisting & advising startups and venture firms. Listen for VC fund guidance.
Episode details

Follow me @samirkaji for my thoughts on the venture market, with a focus on the continued evolution of the VC landscape.

I’m excited to bring my conversation with Wesley Chan, founder and managing partner of his new fund FPV Ventures, which recently closed an oversubscribed $450M Fund 1. Wes brings a very unique lens to investing as he closely worked with the founders of Google (where founded Google Voice and Google Analytics), and went on to co-found GV before he joined Felicis Ventures. During his 13 year venture career, he has backed 20 unicorns and 5 decacorns, including Canva, Flexport, Guild Education, RobinHood, AngelList, Plaid, and Ring.

During our discussion, we spoke about how he’s been able to have such a hit rate in his investing career, what being founder-friendly really means, and his time working with people like Sergey and Larry at Google as well as what he learned from Bill Campell. I really hope you enjoy our chat.

About Wesley Chan:
Wesley Chan is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner at FPV Ventures, a $450M early-stage fund that backs and serves mission-driven founders. He is an investor in five $10B+ "decacorns," his most notable being Canva where he is a member of the board of directors, led the Series A and C rounds, and is worth north of $40B. He founded Google Analytics and Google Voice and holds 17 US patents for his work in creating Google AdWords.

Among Wesley's 20+ unicorn investments, he wrote the first or very early check into fintech API decacorn Plaid, logistics powerhouse Flexport, SMB payroll leader Gusto, enterprise software unicorn Lucid, and stock trading platform RobinHood (NASDAQ: HOOD)—and led investments in Canva, AngelList, Carta, Guild Education, Sourcegraph, Dialpad, RocketLawyer, Orca Bio, Checkr, CultureAmp, HyperScience, Zipline, Astranis, TrialSpark, and Ring (exit to AMZN). Business Insider named Wesley to their Top 100 Seed Investors list for two consecutive years in 2022 & 2021.

He was formerly a Managing Director at Felicis Ventures and one of the first General Partners at GV (Google Ventures). He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT and completed his Master’s degree at the MIT Media Lab.

In this episode we discuss:

01:22 Wesley’s path to becoming a VC
05:03 The start of GV, and the early days
05:59 How we got to current market conditions
06:57 Why Wesley doesn’t have a thesis driven approach
09:12 What he saw in the founders of Canva to give him conviction even when other investors would not invest
12:46 How FOMO and being incremental are so detrimental in being a VC
17:01 What is it about Wesley’s mindset that allows him to consistently be non-consensus
20:48 Why $450M was the right fund size for FPV
23:26 The ethos for FPV and how Wesley and his partner in FPV, Pegah Ebrahimi, decided to work together
26:40 Why you don’t always need to be on a board to be helpful
27:28 What founders really need from investors
28:43 How FPV thinks about differentiating itself from bigger firms
31:40 The impact of Bill Campbell on Google and also how he impacted Wesley’s style as an investor
34:36 Where the market is right now and what the next few years look like

I’d love to know what you took away from this conversation with Wesley. 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