As we settle into 2024, we wanted to reflect on the past year— particularly given the choppy environment for fundraising. Our mission is, and has always been, to bridge the gap between early venture and growth-stage investing.
Today, we want to share what that means to us, and, more broadly, how we invest and operate.
What We Look For
We look for companies that have developed solutions to increasingly important, massive, and deeply challenging problems.
We seek to partner with determined founders with domain expertise who can capitalize on high-growth and rapidly changing markets in ways that yield scalable, enduring businesses.
Some examples of this from our past include:
- Peloton – Capitalizing on a significant shift in consumer behavior in the United States, where there's been a growing emphasis on fitness. This trend is highlighted by the increase in gym memberships from 2000 to the present.
- Coinbase – Gained advantage from the rising market cap of digital currencies since 2013, reflecting the growing acceptance and value of cryptocurrencies.
- Crowdstrike – Leveraged the shift in cybersecurity towards endpoint security, benefiting from the expanding and increasingly complex nature of threat intelligence networks.
- Appfire – Thrived by fostering symbiotic relationships between software vendors and their app marketplaces, catering to enterprises' ongoing need to enhance their workflows.
- Recent Investments in Defense and AI Enablement Technologies – Capitalized on increasing government demand for private sector applications, combined with the tailwinds provided by advancements in Large Language Model (LLM) tooling.
We look for companies that believe value is most easily shown through a clear ability to convince customers to routinely buy their products and services. Additionally, they should have the capability to build a rapidly scaling revenue base of at least a few million dollars.
Beyond traction, we focus on leadership teams that understand the problem they are solving in unique ways - and can demonstrate their ability to effectively convert that knowledge into a strong go-forward pipeline where they see high conversion from prospects in the months following our initial investment. This often includes a maniacal focus on distribution as a way to monetize the solution they’ve created. Said differently, we prioritize teams that understand the value of effective distribution and not just product.
Ultimately, the companies we seek out are generally able to do all of the above while continuing to accelerate growth in a capital-efficient manner with a path towards 70%+ gross margins while they capture a large portion of their respective markets. This philosophy is grounded in the conviction that for every dollar a company spends, it should be able to get more than a dollar back.
We seek out founders who can amplify that effect exponentially, constantly pushing themselves and their companies forward to go above and beyond to solve the problem they’re addressing. This is an ethos we share.
How We Invest
Conviction. We do the work to see through the oscillations of trendy spaces - when we partner, we look past the consensus and hold our convictions in closing new investments, even if dated partnerships have folded. We aren’t just looking for a singular favorable trend; we seek spaces catalyzed by multiple tailwinds that expand TAM and amplify customer demand over time. Once we’re committed, we stick to our word. Reference us, and ask us about the specifics here.
Collaboration. We don’t squeeze valuable syndicate members to solve for Ansa’s ownership threshold. We built our careers by earning the right to be ‘cut in,’ and we believe in the value of committed, complimentary partners. We’ve seen how the right investors can influence the outcome - and conversely, how fancy names without alignment can misserve entrepreneurs.
Concentration. We invest in only a handful of companies a year. We value our time, in part, because it’s proven an ability to impact the CEOs we serve - we, respectfully, won't meet with you if there’s no genuine interest in investing. New investments to us are not “bets” - they are focused commitments with the potential to change the world, enable employees' financial independence, and return our funds many times over. We want to be able to call on all of our relationships and resources for each company we invest in - this can only scale if you stay concentrated.
Candidness. We’re open, casual, and low-ego. We read every email and write back when we have something useful to say. The more direct, frequent, and high-fidelity the information we share, the better we can work together. We understand the distraction that errant VC questions and requests can create and seek to communicate with intention and value.
Consistency. We follow through and seek out teams that do the same during the relationship-building process. Our commitment to you will be consistent - we will always want you to succeed. We’ve seen it all and done our homework - you won't need to “sell us” on anything.
Cash. We look to provide a runway of 36+ months - in many cases longer and work with teams that ultimately build for freedom from a reliance on the capital markets. We want founders who create for the long term. We’re aligned with you on duration and realize it can take time to build a team, scale, go to market, and demonstrate the irrefutable customer love you need to control the future outcome of your business.
How We Work
Trust: We know that the best entrepreneurs have VCs knocking on their doors every day. We work hard to make sure we build relationships and stand out from day 1. We seek out bi-directional relationships ahead of fundraising so that we can demonstrate our value and get to know founders well before we start discussing capital.
Growth: Our singular focus is taking companies from initial revenue traction to achieving sustainable, exponential growth. We’ve built out our entire network to support entrepreneurs in doing just that as it is the lifeblood of not just our investments but also the venture ecosystem as a whole.
Accountability: We move quickly after meeting companies that inspire us, and are aligned with us. We hold ourselves to a high standard to give quick, direct feedback. We do the same in how we partner post-close, acting as an accountability partner for founders as they continue to scale.
We hope this provides some clarity on what we do and what we look for. If this resonates, get in touch.