May 25, 2021 • 45M

Nnamdi Okike of 645 Ventures on thoughtfully growing funds, data driven sourcing in venture to reduce bias, and building one of the largest BIPOC led venture firms.

Samir Kaji
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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

Using data to make better investment decisions is a common theme these days, but Nnamdi Okike, co-founder and managing partner of 645 Ventures, a firm that uses unique, data driven methodologies to improve sourcing while helping to eliminate the biases that often present themselves when assessing new opportunities. Using public data that to accompany their own automated systems, they’ve found an interesting way to consistently find undiscovered founders.

After leaving Insight Ventures, Nnamdi co-founded 645 Ventures in 2013 with Aaron Holiday, starting with a $8MM proof of concept fund. Since then, they raised a $40MM Fund 2, and most recently closed Fund III at $160M making them one of the largest underrepresented led managers in the United States. The fund focuses primarily on seed and series A and has a portfolio that includes companies such as Iterable, Goldbelly, Eden Health and Squire.

Prior to starting his career, Nnamdi got his bachelor’s, JD, and MBA from Harvard. 

Our wide ranging conversation covers: considerations when growing fund sizes dramatically, the power of using data driven approach to sourcing, and his lessons as a venture investor over the last decade.

In this episode we discuss the following topics:

01:12    Nnamdi’s journey into venture capital

03:37    The opportunity he saw to start 645

09:20    How and why they raised $8M for their first fund

12:27    Methodology around data that they use to decide on investing

16:32    How 645 Ventures weeds out bias in their methodology

20:58    The evolution of and growth of 645

26:27    Deciding to jumping up weight class in the ecosystem; the value they add

30:31    Using their connected network as a strategic advantage

32:48    The future of data in VC

34:06    His best advice to emerging managers

36:22    His biggest portfolio miss

40:31    What emerging managers should think about as they are starting

Mentioned In This Episode:

We’d love to know what you took away from this conversation with Nnamdi. 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