Venture Unlocked
Venture Unlocked: The playbook for venture capital managers
Jonathan Abrams, 8-Bit Capital: Learnings from founding and running Friendster, Defining "Founder Friendly", going from Angel to full-time VC
Jonathan Abrams, 8-Bit Capital: Learnings from founding and running Friendster, Defining "Founder Friendly", going from Angel to full-time VC
Episode 99

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

We are joined by Jonathan Abrams, Co-Founder and General Partner at 8-Bit Capital. Jonathan previously was an angel investor and entrepreneur founding both Nuzzel and Friendster, the latter of which he helped grow to over 100MM users and where he met his current partner at 8-Bit, Kent Lindstrom. 

Jonathan also co-founded Founders Den with Zack Bogue of DCVC in 2011, which quickly became one of San Francisco’s earliest and most popular startup work and event spaces.

We think you’ll really enjoy Jonathan’s story, and how he thinks about all aspects of seed-stage investing.

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About Jonathan Abrams:
Jonathan is a co-founder and General Partner of 8-Bit Capital, an early-stage investing firm. He is also a co-founder and Managing Partner of Founders Den, San Francisco’s favorite workspace and community for startups and investors.

Previously Jonathan was the founder of the professional news discovery service Nuzzel and the pioneering social networking service Friendster, and a software engineer at Netscape and Nortel. 

Jonathan is an investor in over 50 startups, including AngelList, ClearTax, CoinList, Docker, Front, HelloSign, Instacart, Mixmax, Pachyderm, Republic, SafeGraph, Sense, Shortcut, Slideshare, Stream, and Zeplin. Jonathan received an Honors B.Sc. in Computer Science from McMaster University in Canada.

In this episode we discuss:

01:57 Jonathan’s journey to creating 8-Bit Capital with Kent
04:08 The opportunity they saw when founding 8-Bit
06:07 How his experiences at Nuzzel and Friendster shaped his view as an investor
08:20 What being founder friendly truly means
11:37 Shifting from an active angel investor to a fund manager
14:41 The hardest lessons leveling up from an angel investor
18:14 Dealing with the deal flow noise as a team of two
21:20 How to deal with conscious and unconscious bias when advising founders
23:28 Jonathan and Kent’s decision-making process
25:02 Thoughts on scaling 8-Bit
28:11 Competing against larger, later-stage funds getting into seed-stage investing
31:23 Deciding on follow-on investing
33:35 How they came to decide on 50-50 fund construction for follow-on
35:41 Keeping and increasing their pro-rata in competitive later rounds
38:19 Biggest lessons from Friendster
39:49 The advice he would give himself at the start of 8-Bit

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