Jeff Clavier of Uncork Capital on being one of the earliest seed stage VC's, lessons in fundraising during a downturn, and building a multi-generational firm


We’re thrilled to bring you my recent talk with Jeff Clavier of Uncork Capital, one of the early trailblazers of the emerging manager community.

Jeff started investing in seed full time all the way back in 2004 well before the Micro-VC moniker was even conceived (back then we called them Super Angels). Today the firm is one of the most active seed funds in the market with over $500MM in AUM and having invested in companies such as Poshmark, Fitbit, Eventbrite, and Molekule.

In this episode is a broad conversation covering the history of VC, raising in a downturn, his thoughts on the hardest things about building the firm, and trends that are influencing the future of venture.

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In this episode we discuss the following topics:

01:54    Jeff’s start as an investor with $250k of his own capital, and his first investment

03:01    The decision to start a fund with third party capital

06:10    Fundraising in the global financial crisis of 2008

09:01    The strategy shift in fund III and the questions it raised from LPs

12:10    Why Uncork has kept funds smaller thus far

16:45    Thoughts on the service provider model VC’s need to embrace

19:16    Building a multi-generational firm with brand recognition

21:36    How to attract high-quality talent

23:46    The day-to-day challenges of running a firm

25:56    Maintaining culture with remote work

30:56    The future of VC after the pandemic

34:48    The amount of firms and innovation in the market today and what it means

39:24    How the future is so hard to predict

40:38    The best advice he’s gotten as a VC

42:51    His biggest miss and the lesson he learned from it

46:19    The advice he would give to a new manager

Mentioned In This Episode:

We’d love to know what you took away from this conversation with Jeff! Follow @SamirKaji and give your insight and questions using 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 a direct message on Twitter.

Podcast Production support provided by Agent Bee Agency