Mark Suster of Upfront Ventures on Generational Firm Evolution, Why Fundraising is Like Enterprise Sales, & The State of Venture today

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

Today we’re excited to bring you my recent conversation with Mark Suster, managing partner at Upfront Ventures, a firm that was founded 25 years ago, originally as GRP partners.

Mark joined the firm in 2007 and became managing partner in 2011 and helped architect the new era of the firm while also actively evangelizing the now robust LA tech ecosystem. Upfront currently has $1.9B AUM and has invested in companies such as Overture,  Maker Studios, and Ring.

Prior to joining Upfront, Mark was a two-time operator, including selling the latter to Salesforce.com. He did his BA at UCSD, and got his MBA at the University of Chicago.

This was a fun one and we talked a lot about how they’ve rebranded and evolved as a firm, how raising funds is no different than enterprise sales, and the interesting paradox that faces every VC today.


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In this episode we discuss:

01:43    Mark’s journey into VC

04:16    Why he thought GRP was a good fit for him

08:22    How the firm transformed its investment focus

12:55    The process around the rebranding to Upfront Ventures

18:23    Human psychology of decisions

23:41    Why you need to be careful on when to share data rooms

27:41    How fundraising is like sales

33:05 Why creating scarcity is important

34:57    Talent retention and acquisition

42:26    The current state of the venture market 

Mentioned in this episode:

We’d love to know what you took away from this conversation with Mark! 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