Feb 9, 2021 • 45M

Beezer Clarkson of Sapphire Partners on the #OpenLP effort, How to Pitch LP’s, & what she sees in the venture ecosystem - Venture Unlocked 021

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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

On today’s show we have Beezer Clarkson, Managing Director of Sapphire Partners, the LP arm of Sapphire Ventures. Not only does Beezer have tremendous depth and insight into the world of VC, but she catalyzed the #OpenLP movement, which looks to bring transparency within the LP world. She’s someone I’ve known for nearly a decade and one of the smartest minds in the LP world.

Beezer began her career in financial services over 20 years ago at Morgan Stanley in its global infrastructure group. Since, she has held various direct and indirect venture investment roles, as well as operational roles in software business development at Hewlett Packard. Prior to joining Sapphire in 2012, Beezer managed the day-to-day operations of the Draper Fisher Jurvetson Global Network.

Additionally, she is a judge for 100&Change, a MacArthur Foundation competition that provides funding to solve critical challenges of our time. In 2014, she was named to the Forty Over 40 list of women to watch.

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In this episode we discuss the following topics:

01:51    Beezer’s journey into VC

03:50    Launch of Sapphire Partners as a fund for predominantly Series A funds

05:46    What’s changed (or not changed) in Venture over the last 15 years?

06:56    What “value-add” means in today’s marketplace

11:27    How she evaluates managers and performance.

14:40    Does past performance really act as an indicator for future fund success?

17:25    Her thought process in bringing on a new manager (or not following on an existing manager)

21:22    How to get Sapphire’s attention to invest

24:41    What is Minimum Viable Fund size and when to do a first close

27:33    Giving away economics to get early LP’s; the pros and cons

33:29    What is the diversity audit and OpenLP

35:35  Diversity in emerging manager firms vs. established.

39:03    Best career advice she heard as an LP.

40:45    Her biggest missed fund opportunity

42:15    The best advice for GPs pitching her for the first time

Mentioned in this episode:

Sapphire Partners

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