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Meet a VC: Dave McClure .

Nasdaq is highlighting the venture capitalists that built the startup landscape we know today. This week, meet VC: Dave McClure, 500 Startups

Meet a VC: Dave McClure

Dave McClure Meet a VCHow did get your start in the venture capital community?

After leaving PayPal, I was an angel investor and advisor for 15 companies over 5 years including successful exits Mint.com, SlideShare and Mashery. I joined Founders Fund in 2008 where I made over 40 investments including Lyft, Twilio, Credit Karma, and Wildfire. I also managed the Facebook fbFund incubator in 2009. In 2010, I founded 500 Startups with ex-Google alumni, Christine Tsai. After 6 years, we’re now over 100 employees with 1,500 companies in 50 countries around the world.

What’s a day in your life as a VC like?

My day could be anything from flying to Vietnam to launch a new fund, speaking at conferences, or just hanging out with founders helping them with a pitch or having a beer. Also trying to keep up with way too many f*cking emails.

How many companies have you invested in and what is your overall investment?

We’ve invested in 1,500 companies including Twilio, CreditKarma and Grab (formerly GrabTaxi). We make lots of little bets, expect most of them to fail, but a few will succeed beyond our wildest dreams.

What stage do you focus on and how much capital do you look to deploy for each portfolio addition?

500 Startups focuses on seed stage companies at an average of $100,000 USD per investment, with occasional follow-on activity at up to $500,000.

What matters to you most when evaluating a company as a potential fit for your firm and how does that relate to the ambitious companies that you have worked with in the past?

Products that customers love and teams that hustle like crazy. There are many paths to success but few of them that don't have at least those two ingredients.

What differentiates your firm in the way you add value to the startups you invest in?

The 500 Startups community of founders and mentors is a global network of thousand of geeks and entrepreneurs from all over the world. Our accelerator and growth-hacking teams provide startup expertise, internet marketing & analytics training, and connections to hundreds of investors with capital. Like our founders, many folks on the 500 team are former entrepreneurs who have built products and teams and companies and we know what it's like to fail a lot and succeed a little.

What advice do you offer to a first time founder?

Pick yourself up when you have the shi*t knocked out of you, again and again and again. Don’t feel sorry for yourself because nobody else will either.

What is the one common denominator that stands out to you across all great investments your firm has made during its history?

Perseverance in the face of adversity and a hell of a lot of luck.


Meet Dave along with hundreds more at the East Coast’s Investor & Entrepreneur gathering – Fusion Conference on March 16-17 in Washington DC. A proud partner of NASDAQ. www.fusionconference.com

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See Dave along with hundreds more at the East Coast’s Investor & Entrepreneur gathering – Fusion Conference on March 16-17 in Washington DC. A proud partner of NASDAQ.
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