Nov 10, 2022 • 50M

Valar Ventures Andrew McCormack on running concentrated portfolios with higher ownership vs. larger portfolios, learnings from working with Peter Thiel, and thoughts on valuations today

Episode 96

Open in playerListen on);

Appears in this episode

Samir Kaji
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

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

This week we are joined by Andrew McCormack, one of the founding partners at Fintech-focused Valar, which was founded in 2010 and has raised north of $2B. Before starting Valar, Andrew worked closely with Peter Thiel at Clarium Capital, Thiel Capital, and Paypal.

Aumni is an investment analytics company dedicated to improving private capital markets. Aumni’s technology digitizes hard to track unstructured data from private transaction agreements and organizes it in a structured database through an intuitive dashboard. 

For investors across the board, the insights provided by this data improve the managers ability to build strategy and make better decisions. Today, Aumni tracks data from over 250 thousand private market transactions to provide anonymous, aggregated market benchmarks.

As someone that works deeply in the private fund space, I’m incredibly excited that Aumni’s solution helps fund managers provide more insightful accurate reporting to their investors.  

Check them out at

Subscribers of Venture Unlocked can sign up for 20% off when you mention Venture Unlocked

About Andrew McCormack:
Andrew is a founding Partner at Valar Ventures. Andrew’s career in technology has included business and corporate development roles at eCount (acquired by Citicorp) and Yahoo!. He joined PayPal in 2001, where he worked closely with Peter. After PayPal’s sale to eBay, Andrew helped launch Clarium Capital and later founded a restaurant group in San Francisco.

In 2008, Andrew rejoined Peter at Thiel Capital, where he led various international initiatives for Thiel Capital and Peter personally. Andrew received his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania.

In this episode we discuss:

01:47 Andrew’s journey into the technology world and working a Clarium
11:38 Valar’s early investment thesis
18:49 Valar’s fundraising journey
21:15 Benefits of smaller portfolios with more ownership
25:42 Career prolonging investing vs return maximation investing
31:09 How Valar’s model has worked in the down market of 2022
34:30 What was wrong with the 2021 valuations
37:26 The strategies that Andrew thinks will be successful in the Venture market moving forward
41:39 Lessons from some of Andrew’s misses
46:35 The career lesson he learned while he was operating a restaurant group

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