Founders, have a ‘walk through walls’ attitude!

Investor & Uncork Capital founder Jeff Clavier talks about what he’s looking for in a startup (during pandemic times) and how to pitch virtually at #bits20

This guy discovered seed and early investing way before it was cool: Jeff Clavier joined us from Palo Alto, California, at 6:59am local time. Within his “View from the Top”, he shared some of his insights on the current situation and the investment and startup cosmos.

Jeff, who is experiencing his third economic contraction after the years 2000 and 2008 within his career, is optimistic. He feels in march and april everyone looked at their portfolios to figure out which companies were impacted and what they had to do about those that were short on cash, but that everybody got back to work and looked for new opportunities. From his perspective “[...] it’s almost sort of business as usual, sort of remotely. We at Uncork have made five investments without meeting founders.

And he even sees an advantage for founders these days: “There is a lot of activity downstreams [...]. It feels like VCs not having to travel [...] gives them actually a lot of time to jump on to opportunities and we have seen very robust sort of activity in terms of full-on financing.” 

What skills Jeff and his colleagues are looking for have not changed, though. They are still trying to find founders who have a unique perspective and view on a given problem, opportunity or market and will convince them that they are uniquely positioned to tackle any obstacles. 

In this environment even more than ever we want people who have sort of a ‘walk through walls’ attitude where you know a little pandemic is not gonna get in the way of them wanting to sort of build their dream [...]. It’s just a set of issues that you have to deal with as a founder on the journey to greatness”, he says. In terms of their investment strategy, Jeff told our Editor-in-Chief Britta Weddeling and the entire Bits community that Uncork Capital is trying to avoid any investments in sectors that are affected by the pandemic and rather look out for the sectors who have wins, like remote collaboration. He’s also a huge fan of developer tools and therefore has done several investments in SaaS, but also frontier tech, for example SpaceTech - the only requirement Uncork has is the focus on the US market. 

An investor’s point of view on your pitch  

Jeff is convinced that different investors like different styles. Either way, it is important that founders answer all the questions that might come up: "Who you are, what you doing, why are you doing this, what is the big vision, why now, why is this a great opportunity now and what are you going with the capital you are raising?”

And you need to be able to pitch your idea without the deck as well, because that’s what some investors like, he adds. Basics are also a good internet connection, audio and video setup and trying to have a conversation with the investor to build a personal connection.