Today we announce Jackson Square Ventures. We are an all-partner VC firm focused on Series A financings for SaaS and marketplace startups from our offices in the heart of the startup ecosystem in San Francisco at Jackson Square.
You may know a few of the companies in our portfolio, such as Docusign, Strava, and oDesk (now Upwork). You may know my fellow partners Greg Gretsch, Pete Solvik, and Bob Spinner. You may know the name Sigma West.
We spun out of Sigma Partners in 2011 and named ourselves Sigma West to hold the history of the firm, but it turns out that being tied to the legacy name created confusion. We probably should have done this before, but now we are choosing a name that fits us. We are Jackson Square Ventures.
There are three things you should know about Jackson Square Ventures.
1) We were all operators.
We don’t buy hype.
3) We are in it for the long run.
We were operators before becoming investors.
We believe that early-stage founders want and need investors with operating experience. This belief drives us. It means we take board seats and help entrepreneurs figure out how to build a sustainable business. It means that we’re confident enough to lead a round, and we almost always do. We are all former founders or executives and helped build successful tech companies. We’ve learned the hard way – by making mistakes, learning and iterating. We strive to only make new mistakes.
At Jackson Square Ventures, it’s not about having a massive operations team and staff recruiters or platform specialists. It’s about having a solid, smart, and adaptable advisor to join your board and partner with you as you build toward your vision. We’re not interested in just writing checks and seeing what happens. We take an active role and we’ll do everything we can to help.
We don’t buy hype.
Maybe it’s a little old-school, but we like solid business fundamentals. We like unsexy industries. We like defensibility, and network effects, and economies of scale. Press and buzz may get our attention, but we try not to let it impact our decision-making. We want to invest in potential category leaders, regardless of what others think. We don’t participate in party rounds and we don’t buy logos. What we really strive to do is partner with a small set of exceptional founders and work with them to achieve their vision.
We hold the same standards for ourselves as well. We’re quite proud of our portfolio and our performance as investors. But, we don’t shout about it too much – we fly under the radar and let our performance and portfolio companies speak for themselves.
We’re in it for the long run.
There are a lot of myths in the startup ecosystem. One is the up-and-to-the-right, overnight success story. We have been fortunate to be part of the journey to three separate billion-dollar companies (Equallogic, Responsys, Docusign) and counting. Each took a long time to grow into success and hit rocky patches along the way. We stepped up and supported these companies in times of need because we stuck to our beliefs in the team and the vision. We’re glad we did.
We are patient and selective investors. We’re probably never going to be at the top of the charts for active VCs (we don’t think “activity” should be a key metric for VCs). There is a lot of talk about billion dollar companies and the odds of an early stage investment panning out into one of these fabled creatures. Three of the thirty-seven companies we’ve backed have achieved this status, and we’re confident that there will be more.
So, what does this mean for you as a founder? If you take an investment from us, you’ll get the attention of investors who have walked in your shoes and are committed and responsive to your needs. Plus, you have at least an 8% chance of your company becoming worth a billion dollars. 😉
Come see us in Jackson Square. We look forward to meeting you.