Jan 19 2024

Endings and Beginnings

We just made public over on the Foundry blog that our 2022 fund will be our last Foundry fund. I wanted to add a few personal thoughts here. 

When we started Foundry, we were very open about our intention to eventually wind our operations down rather than try to build a generational firm. Over the course of Foundry, we deliberately structured our work in a way that reflected this goal, keeping our organization small and each of the Foundry partners closer to the portfolio (both the companies each of us was responsible for, but also across the portfolio more broadly). We’ve avoided unnecessary silos and kept our focus externally – on companies and our investors – rather than spending time on firm building. For a minute, we flirted with the idea of Foundry continuing (adding more new partners and creating a platform that would outlast us), but as we discussed it more, we ultimately returned to first principles – we focused on investing and supporting our portfolio and not on creating a platform that would outlive us. This is exactly what we envisioned when we started Foundry in 2006, and today marks the public acknowledgment that, with the 2022 fund, we’re ready to stop adding new funds to the mix.

This is something that I’ve personally been thinking about for a while. About a year ago, I started talking publicly about my plan for the 2022 Foundry fund to be my last as a partner at Foundry. I didn’t make a big announcement about it – just started mentioning it in situations where it seemed natural to do so. It felt good to acknowledge it and while I didn’t have a great answer to the obvious next question, I was excited to be able to talk openly about such an important transition in my life. At the time, I wasn’t sure if we would make the same decision for Foundry as a whole, but since I knew my intentions, I thought it would be appropriate to be open about it. 

After more discussions internally and careful consideration, we decided that the 2022 fund would be Foundry’s final fund as well. Choosing not to be a legacy firm is one way we’ve challenged norms in the venture industry and just one of many things we take pride in as we reflect back upon our time building Foundry. We’ve loved experimenting with the venture model, whether that was building the first VC AngelList syndicate, investing in markets across the country where venture capital was less prevalent, being among the first GPs to institutionalize a fund investment practice, and attempting to bring transparency, openness (and hopefully some humor) to the venture industry. 

We announced our latest fund last May, and we still have plenty of capital to deploy into new companies as well as into the existing portfolio. For now, it doesn’t really change anything in terms of our day-to-day work. 

Making a statement like this – that we’re done raising new Foundry funds – is anticlimactic. Venture is a funny business: there’s no day when you pack up your desk, get your gold watch, and leave. So tomorrow will be much like today – we will continue to look at new investment opportunities and work with companies across the Foundry portfolio. I have the same board seats today that I had yesterday. I woke up today focused on my Foundry work, just as I did yesterday and just as I did last week. We raised our last Foundry fund at a fortuitous time, just as the markets cooled off (it’s a great time to be investing), and we have another two years or so of new investments to look forward to. Not to mention a decade or longer of work with the portfolio after that. 

I love Foundry and am incredibly proud of the work we’ve done and continue to do. I had no idea in 2006, when we started Foundry Group, what this journey would be like. I was incredibly lucky to be at the right place, at the right time, and with the right partners (who are among my closest friends).  We have always prided ourselves on a collaborative work environment and have genuinely supported each other over the past 18 years. At the time we started Foundry, I don’t even think I knew enough to have considered the path that we eventually took (8 funds and over $3Bn in assets, starting a fund of funds, nearly 200 investments, and an honest and transparent approach to venture). It was, and continues to be, an amazing journey. I have a true love for this work, my partners, our portfolio CEOs, LPs, co-investors, and the many others with whom I have the pleasure of working.

The obvious question, I suppose, is “what’s next.” And while that’s a fair question, the truthful answer is: “I’m not entirely sure.” I have a bunch of ideas for how I’ll stay close to startups – my real passion continues to be around engaging with founders. But with a decade or more in front of me working with the companies we support at Foundry and a few years remaining in the investment period for our 2022 fund, I’m more focused on my current work than on what’s next. That said, I have some ideas I’ve been working on in the background that I’m excited to share more about when the time is right. More than what I do, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I do it: how and where I spend my time, along with the elusive dream of having more control over my schedule and the ability to be more fluid and less structured in my work and life.

I’m excited for what comes next…