Paul Martino from Bullpen Capital on being an early pioneer in post-seed, conviction to back non-consensus startups + another way to think about the SPAC movement

  
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Contrarian based investing requires extreme conviction, and the ability to consistently invest in founders and businesses that don’t always have mainstream acceptance. Bullpen Capital has long been known as a firm that will not shy away from the overlooked companies, but instead seeks out the undiscovered gems to drive alpha for their investors and founders.

This week’s guest Paul Martino, one of the confounders of 2010 founded Bullpen Capital is one of favorite people to talk to given his unique insights and radical transparency.

Bullpen was founded in 2010 with Duncan Davidson and Richard Melmon, and was a pioneer in post-seed round funding—the gap between seed and A round. The fund has $383 AUM and invested in several success stories including Life360, FanDuel, and Ipsy, among many others.

Prior to Bullpen, Paul was an operator that founded eight companies and he holds over a dozen patents. He was an angel investor in companies like Zynga, TubeMogul, and uDemy. Paul is also a recognized expert on sports betting and gaming, appearing on CNBC and Fox Business regularly.

In this episode we discuss the following topics:

01:09    Paul’s journey from the operators side to venture

03:11    Seeing the post-seed gap in the market

05:06    Why fundraising for fund 3 was so tough

08:00    Being the only firm “dumb enough” to pursue post-seed

09:48    Looking for unloved and undiscovered companies

12:52    Getting LPs comfortable with their investing thesis

13:24    Why he loves backing underdog founders and why it’s been a successful strategy

14:25   How strong conviction gets deals done at Bullpen

16:33   Bullpen’s team approach in servicing companies

18:24    Keep a culture of contrarianism

20:21    The gap between boutique and larger funds

21:55    How Bullpen’s reserve model has evolved over time

23:42    SPACs have a certain parallel

27:29    Thoughts on emerging managers that will become institutional

29:57    The best advice he’s gotten as a VC

30:55    Paul’s anti portfolio

32:43 The investor he admires the most

Mentioned In This Episode:

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