From Norwest to starting Roble Ventures, Sergio Monsalve on equity and diversity in tech, adapting from large VC to a small, solo-GP, and investing in heated markets.
Follow me @samirkaji for my thoughts on the venture market, with a focus on the continued evolution of the VC landscape.
Today’s episode is with Sergio Monsalve, founding partner of Roble Ventures, a seed firm based in Silicon Valley that invests in solutions that help human progress. Their portfolio includes Kahoot, Mosaic, and Dragonboat, among others.
Prior to Roble, Sergio spent 14 years at one of the longest standing VC firms in the world, Norwest Venture Partners, where he led investments in companies such as Udemy and Adaptive Insights. Before he started his investing career, he held various roles in high-growth technology companies like eBay and Portal Software. He currently teaches at his alma mater, Stanford, on education and entrepreneurship.
We chatted with Sergio about equity and diversity in the VC world, adapting to a smaller GP model after so much time at a large partnership, and how he thinks about investing in human enablement technologies.
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In this episode we discuss:
02:19 Why Sergio decided to get into venture and the unique challenges he faced
04:47 Sergio’s departure from a large shop in Norwest to starting Roble
07:45 Transitioning from a partnership-driven ethos to being a single operator
10:23 The meaning of ‘human-enablement’ investing
13:27 Post-pandemic predictions
16:46 Why you must bring diversity on a team
20:31 Diversifying the decision making process and identifying implicit bias
24:44 Investing in highly competitive markets with discipline
28:19 Sergio’s parameters for investing
32:01 Capitalizing founders in the appropriate way in today’s market
36:19 What did Roble Ventures look to accomplish in the early days
39:58 The most counterintuitive thing Sergio ever learnt
41:27 Dominant trends coming up in venture
43:22 Investors he is inspired by
Mentioned in this episode
I’d love to know what you took away from this conversation with Sergio. 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.