Soraya Darabi of TMV on building and scaling a seed stage firm, Venture Unlocked 011


In this episode, we speak with Soraya Darabi, Co-Founder and General Partner of TMV.  The firm primarily focuses on investing at the seed stage through Series A and is active in areas such as the future of work, education tech, logistics and mobility, and sustainable solutions. While not specifically diversity-focused, the firm’s portfolio is nearly 2/3rd comprised of female or minority-led companies.

Earlier in her career, Soraya served as the Manager of Digital Partnerships & Social Media at The New York Times, where she spearheaded social media and digital partnerships. In 2009, she co-founded Foodspotting, named “App of the Year” by both Apple and Wired (later acquired by OpenTable, then Priceline). Over the years, she has been named one of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business” for which she was featured on the cover of the magazine. Additionally, Soraya founded and manages Transact Global, a community for female investors to share ideas on firm building and investing.

Soraya founded TMV in 2016 with her business partner Marina Hadjipateras. Each utilized their unique backgrounds  -- Soraya in social media and entrepreneurship and Marina in working for her family’s global shipping business. 

TMV is committed to investing in diverse, purpose-driven founders serving large markets, and leverages a strong operating team to help drive value well beyond what typical seed firms might be able to provide.

In this episode, Soraya and I discuss the following:

07:46 - Soraya’s definition of a purpose-driven fund

10:49 - Key lessons she learned in raising her first, proof of concept fund

12:46 - Why TMV and venture is really a services business

13:56 - How they prepared themselves between fundraises for scale

17:03 - TMV’s deal structure and process for mentoring investments

20:35 - The benefits of the TMV’s Venture Partner program

27:43 - Why she thinks there will soon be diversity mandates from LPs

31:10 - The story of Transact Global

34:49 - The GP she most respects

Mentioned in this episode:

I’d love to know what you took away from my conversation with Soraya Darabi. 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